Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 New Product Launch!

So pumped coming back from our Global Training Conference! We have so much to be thankful for with Arbonne. We are committed to being the leading health and wellness brand, as evidenced by our "Not Allowed List." This list includes 2000 ingredients that are not allowed in any of our products, helping us to be healthy inside and out! Arbonne so understands the connection between what we are eating to nourish our bodies and what we are putting on our skin. Using our nutrition line in connection with skin care and cosmetics is a winning combination!

Let's get to the new products!

RE9 Advanced Prepwork
New skin care line for the Millennials, but can also be combined for us who are a bit <cough> older :-) Everyone should be taking care of their skin, after all, we wear it out EVERY DAY! This line is skin care line is targeted to woemen ages 18-35. Check out the video below, but this line includes a Superfood Cocktail of ingredients across four steps of the process:

1. Cleansing Polish: Gently exfoliates to buff your skin and also cleans of makeup and oils

2. Gel Eye Mask: These are amazing. Put them in the fridge. Then when you wake up, put them on. Puffiness and bags considerably reduced!

3. Hydrating Dew Cream: Airy hydration with a creme to gel formula.

4. Soft Focus Veil Mineral Sunscreen: Blur baby lines and protect your skin before you go out! 

As someone who has been using Arbonne for the past two years, I use the Calm wash daily, for one of the washes, but can definitely see including the Prepwork wash as well. The Gel eye masks will be a nice addition to the rest of my routine! I'll probably stick to the RE9 Advance for the toner, serum, eye cream, and day/night cream. I also incorporate the Intelligence facial oil, especially in the winter months when my skin is dry.

Mind Health
Our nutrition line has created this amazing product I could have never predicted, Mind Health. This is a nutrition supplement meant to be taken once a day. It's purpose is to produce focus, concentration, and enhance's there to nourish our minds! One of the ingredients it's formulated with is phosphatidylserine, a key ingredient in all our cells. We get this mineral from food, but usually not enough of it; it's a "key building block for the billions of cells in your brain!" (source). Arbonne knew this and created Mind Health. I've had this as my drink for lunch the past three days, and even though my to do list is insane this week, I notice a calm sense about it for sure. Must collect more information, but in the meant time, it tastes great - a very light cherry lime flavor, and even better with fresh lime!

Blackberry Fizz
These won't be out until June first, but a third flavor is added to our nutrition line! Fizz sticks are an awesome pop and coffee replacement, and provide clean energy via B6, B12, and chromium. The new Blackberry adds to our others of Citrus and Pomegranate, and are great in the morning or afternoon to deal with the sleepies. Check out our adorable Dr. Tanda Cook (Arbonne Independent Consultant and Holistic Health Coach) as she tells you more about the Fizz...

Reformulated Body Cleanse
Our Cleanse has also been reformulated! Formerly a liquid, it's now a powder. It has a lemon ginger flavor. Aloe soothes the gastrointestinal track, ginger supports healthy digestion, and choline supports liver function. As we know, the thing about Arbonne is that we are putting out supplements to support our organs of elimination, to continually eliminate those things that don't serve us. This cleanse is meant to be used along a whole-foods, clean eating plan, and is gentle enough to be used daily! Arbonne recommends using this quarterly to feel your best! Jump into our 30 Days to Healthy Living group and they will cover all of our nutrition supplements more in depth, and also teach you about why we eliminate those acidic, addictive, and allergenic foods!

Essential Oils
We've added two more Essential Oils to our line, Tea Tree and a Focus Blend. Many people were missing our Tea Tree shampoo from the intelligence line, but now you can simply add a few drops of the oil to your shampoo! Tea Tree Oil is also a great one ot use on acne and cleaning, and a range of other uses, as blogged about here

Our Focus Blend is for just that - getting things done. Diffuse this one, or place on your pulse points to be reinvigorated, and add to energy and mindfulness with this earthy blend.

Check out both of them on the video below, and just a note from me, our oils are in such large bottles that some from another brand - I'm talking 3 times as much fluid (0.5 vs. 0.17 fluid ounces) for a way more affordable price point! We also offer lemon, peppermint, lavender, and a harmony blend!

It's quite the lineup, right? I'd love to have you over to try out some of these new products! If you're local to Chicago, I will have a Healthy Happy Hour on Friday, May 4th, hope to you can join me! And some of my Preferred Clients have a free gift on their accounts now, so hope you are able to take advantage of that and try something new! Our Free Gift list has changed just a bit, so be sure to check out the new one below.

Be sure to keep up with me daily in my prive facebook group, weekly on Instagram, and of course here on my blog!

If it's Arbonne, or another brand, wishing you health, wellness, and happiness, friends!


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Fave New Music

I've recently gotten a music upgrade with Spotify. It's social music. My little sister is making me playlists and I'm following playlists from my yoga teachers, I LOVE IT! And, discovering new music, too! If you don't have a Spotify, highly recommend. And if you do, let me know so I can come stalk check out your albums, too!

Here are some of my fave songs as of late...

Leave Right Now & Sweetheart, by Thomas Rhett

Light, by San Holo

You and Me, by The Hunna

Don't Call, by Lost Kings

Drink Up, by Train

Kinks Shirt, by Matt Nathanson

Sit Next To Me, by Foster the People

Mine, by Bazzi

What songs are you LOVING right now? Leave me a comment so I can add to my playlists!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Spoken Word Poetry Faves

It's National Poetry month, and in celebration of that, I bring you some of my favorite Spoken Word Poems!

All time fave - Poet Breathe Now by Adam Gottlieb. Part of Louder than a Bomb here in Chicago, here's a great reason to write, and share, poetry.

Touchscreen, by Marshall Davis Jones. While technology is wonderful in many regards, we mustn't forget those personal, face-to-face connections.

Knock Knock, by Daniel Beaty. Just heard this one for the first time today and it's powerful. Family connections and loss. Making the world a better place, and sometimes having to do that on your own.

What Teachers Make - a classic, a favorite since my first years of teaching. I'm sure students would love it too! Discusses what teachers make, and not necessarily money. And if you like Taylor Mali, check out this link for more of his work.

If I Should Have a Daughter, by Sarah Kay. Wishes from a mother, to her future daughter.

Three Ways to Speak English, by Jamila Lyiscott, a "trilingual orator." If you've ever been around someone who says with a negative connotation, "Oh, that's just how *they* speak..." this poem is for you. Code switching, and pride for all the ways we do that.

Complainers, by Rudy Francisco. You're having a bad day? Let's put that in perspective. Thanks Gorz for sharing this one :-)

Somewhere in America, by Brave New Voices. (Explicit language and mature content.) Three girls discuss the ironies of America.

I am not black, you are not white, by Prince Ea. Racism, or labels? Listen and you decide.

Lift Off, by Donovan Livingston. "Our stories are the ladders that make it easier for us to touch the stars." What are students meant to do? Donovan explores that in his address at Harvard's Graduation ceremony.

Trigger Warning, from four girls from Hinsdale Central High School. This poem is a dedication to the shooting in Parkland, Florida, performed in Chicago at the March for our Lives Rally. 

Just a few of my favorites, what about you? Leave me a comment with yours!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Braving the Wilderness

On Thursday evening, scrolling through my facebook feed, I came across a friend's post that stated his children (middle/high school) were not spoken to about Parkside. I immediately felt embarrassed, because Thursday I did not speak to my middle school kids, either. But not because I was trying to avoid the conversation - more so because I don't have cable, my antenna is annoying and spotty, and just really hadn't read much news by that time. I decided then that I would talk to my coteacher about speaking to our students.

So we did.

Friday morning, Andrea and I gathered each of our 8th grade classes in a circle at our meeting space to open up this conversation. With a cup of tea in my hand, I asked who had spoken to their parents or another teacher. Many, but not all, raised their hands. I told them that while God forbid anything like that ever happen at Heritage, we must be aware of the procedures at our school for such a disaster. We reviewed our lock down procedures, spoke to kids about how to move about the room if something like this were to happen and we were to be together at that time. They listened silently, respectfully, and with their hearts as we told them that we are a family, and each one of us is important, that kids must report anything "off" they noice in the hallways or elsewhere. We told them we loved them, and that we would do our best to protect them while they were in our care. We gave them a space to ask questions, and also told them it would be a great idea to speak to their families and friends about this matter.

Thought it was a difficult conversation, it was needed and appropriate.

But then I come back to facebook and I see the black and white conversations going on about this issue that is plaguing our country. To me it seems that many people think that you have to be for guns or against guns, but black and white thinking is a common thinking error. This problem is complex, there are, in fact, many facets to it.

There is a problem with violence in our media. And we all know how much media we consume. Thank you, Holls, for sharing that research.

There is a problem with access to mental health, (thanks, Kaytee) and health care in general, particularly in communities that are poverty stricken. This is a prime reason, I believe, that everyone should have access to health care. As communities, we should want to take care of one another and leave no one behind.

Like it or not, the NRA does have a hand in this mess. They are giving millions to our government officials to run their campaigns, and like it or not, our government leaders are then on the hook for something there. Maybe that is why in Trump's address after Parkside, there was ZERO MENTION of the gun part of the problem.

Guns, too, are part of the issue. Have a listen to this podcast from New York Times, The Daily, for Friday February 16, 2018 (thanks, Coalson). This episode is all about the AR-15. Here you will learn it is easier to purchase this semi-automatic weapon than it is to purchase a handgun.

Another theme we can notice is our family dynamics are changing. Parents, in some cases, are not around as often as they used to be, for a multitude of reasons. Kids are left alone more often, and have high access to the internet's information superhighway, and all kinds of messaging there. While I am a teacher with a very firm set of expectations, and am pretty unwavering in the areas of mutual respect and kindness, one could also argue that kids are different than they used to be. If anyone has a study on this, I'd love to have that in the comments.

I'm sure there's areas I'm missing, please comment with those.

So here's how I want to wrap this up - leaning on Brené Brown, who I admire so much. It started when I read this blog post, which is based on her new book, Braving the Wilderness. While I haven't read that book, I'm coming to understand that this wilderness she speaks of is probably the culture and climate that we are immersed in today.

To speak up about something you are passionate about about takes a lot of courage and vulnerability. To be silent does not. To be curious and seek to understand someone's point of view different than your own takes patience, and courage, and vulnerability. To spout off your ideas only, does not. To be kind in moments when you feel others are on the wrong side of the argument takes courage and vulnerability. To name-call does not. To listen with the passion that you want to speak takes courage and vulnerability. To interrupt, to call something "fake news," to dismiss a side to the argument because the source of the information is not one you believe is factual, does not.

I'm sure we can all agree we want our children to walk into our schools and be safe - both physically and emotionally, and they learn new things and grow. I'm sure we can all agree we do not want people shooting up our schools. I'm sure we can all agree that we want what is best for our children, our teachers, and all those work work in the public sector that make our communities great.

So can we listen to one another? Can we open our hearts and minds and have conversations that will lead to something purposeful happening, that will keep our communities safe?

It can start with you. You can be curios. You can be kind. You can listen with the passion for which you like to speak.

And then together, we can advocate for comprehensive legislation that falls somewhere in the grey area - somewhere between I'm for guns, or I'm against guns. Somewhere where people's rights aren't taken away, yet our communities become safe once again.

I'd love comments with articles on either side of this complicated issue in our country. Even better if they are sourced to studies by the experts.

My apologies if I am mistaken anywhere in this post. In an effort to "brave the wilderness" I'm putting it out there, so just get back at me with anything incorrect and I'm happy to adjust.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

#Arbonne30 completed and sustainable!

A few years ago (2012, damn, that was a long time ago!) I competed a Whole 30. This is a program that is a jump start to the Paleo lifestyle. It's an elimination diet. With this program you eliminate dairy, alcohol, grains, legumes, added sugar, Carrageen, Sulfites, and MSG, and "junk" food. What you eat on a Whole30 is veggies, fruit, unprocessed meats, seafood, eggs, nuts & seeds, (some) oils & ghee, and coffee. (Reference)

When I completed that program all those years ago, I lost 6 pounds. You can read about my month-end reflection at this link.

Since then I've tried many things, and most recently it was Arbonne's 30 Days to Healthy Living and Beyond. Our program is also an elimination diet for 30 days but our philosophy is a bit different. We eliminate all things that are acidic, allergenic, or addictive. These foods cause inflammation in our bodies, and lead to poor health and eventually disease. Arbonne's mission is to add health to our lives, and we do that by eating clean, whole foods, and supplementing them with products that support our bodies. More on that in a bit.

Before I dive in a bit more about Arbonne's philosophy and why I have such belief in it, I have to tell you that with Arbonne30, I lost 13.1 lbs in four weeks! That is double what I did in four weeks of the Whole30. DOUBLE. And that's just the scale victory. I had a lot of other non-scale victories, too, like:

  • No more cravings
  • Eating WAAAAYYY less, but never really feeling hungry
  • No head fog after too many carbs
  • No headaches from caffeine
  • Way more energy
  • Clear and glowing skin!
  • Clothes fit better (actually pulled out some old pants that hadn't fit in a while)
  • Happier - you guys, generally speaking, I'm a happy person, but the past few weeks I've been extra happy. It's kinda crazy!
So, what sets Arbonne apart? This image is a nice summary:

Arbonne is focused on a few things:
  1. Whole Foods Eating - we shop whole foods (think: 1 ingredient)  that are organic, cage-free, or grass fed
  2. Avoiding inflammatory, addictive, and triggering foods, specifically gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, caffeine, and alcohol, which trigger the immune system and cause inflammation
  3. Focus on the importance of absorbing our foods - Our supplements are nutrient dense and not depleting. They are meant to help your organs absorb all the nutrients you take in with each meal

Our philosophy is to guide people into a whole foods way of eating. We give people the tools to put down the inflammatory foods, and also create a lifestyle which is totally sustainable.

Another HUGE difference with Arbonne is that we created supplements to add helath to our bodies and support our organs of elimination - our liver, GI track, skin, and lungs. These organs help our bodies expel what it doesn't need, so, being the smarties they are in our Research and Development department, Arbonne developed products to optimize the work of our elimination organs:
  • Detox Tea - replaces coffee and helps our liver work it's best. For example, milk thistle supports detox pathways in the liver. Peppermint (tastes great!) and has an affinity for the GI Tract. (And there's like 5 more - watch the linked video, our Dr. Tanda Cook, Naturopathic Physician and Arbonne Independent Consultant.)
  • Digestion Plus - We need beneficial bacteria in our diets because they help us break down and absorb our food. You guys, I've learned: we are not what we eat but WHAT WE ABSORB. Let that sink in. We are what we absorb. So, if you do not have enough bacteria to break down and absorb the nutrition you're eating, you're not getting the benefits of all that kale and raw nut butter and free range chicken! Additionally, serotonin, the feel-good hormone, is produced in our GI tract, and needs these enzymes to produce at good levels. Perhaps this is the reaosn for my excessive happiness? :-) :-)
  • Fizz Sticks - These replace pop and coffee (which are acidic, and sugared) but have so many benefits. They are a clean energy source and way more ALKALINE-forming. They taste awesome and have B Vitamins which help us out with stress. They contain chromium, which helps balance our blood sugar. WINNING!
And there are more, including Fiber Boost, Vegan Protein, and a 7 day cleanse.

But wait, there's more still. Our program offers a 30 day private facebook group that delivers education around everything we do, topics including: 
  • Gluten
  • Gut Health
  • Elimination Organs
  • Soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Balancing Blood Sugar & pH
  • Truth about Olive Oils - which are good quality and those that aren't
  • Meal planning, including 4 weeks of compliant recipes (that are delicious!)
The list goes ON and ON and ON.

That Facebook group is important for the education, but also the community. It's great to see people's results, have them cheer you on from the sidelines, and have a group to be there together when you are struggling, too!

At the end of the day, I'm not settling. I'm not settling for feeling or looking poorly, not settling for anything less than health and wellness, and from a business standpoint, I'm not settling on a teacher's salary that cannot deliver the things in my life that I want and need.

I share Arbonne because I BELIEVE in their philosophy and what they do, and I get that this company is a vehicle to financial and time freedom. 

So what did I learn in 30 days with Arbonne?

1. You can restrict the American Diet and not feel bad. You can go to a baby shower and have the veggies, salad, fruit salad, and meat minus bread, and still be happy. It's just food, not love. (Friends reference, anyone?) It's okay to let it go.

2. When the scale won't move and you've only "cheated" with a Lara Bar and some fruit, you better start counting your calories and make sure you've gotten enough so your body does not think it's going into starvation mode and store fats, rather than releasing them. My week four my scale was exactly the same as week three until the last day when I added more nutrition. The last day of the week? Down another 1.2 lbs!

3. When you do this kind of program, do so with a friend! There are currently three of us that work together, and we each make different recipes and swap them around for variety. We work together, cheer one another on, and are there to support one another. 

4. Yes you can! Yes you can complete this challenge and actually continue going. I'm planning on continuing for another four weeks, with one cheat meal around Fat Tuesday. With the education and recipes, this program is meant to take you beyond the 30 days, and you most certainly can.

5. It's affordable. Many people skoff at eating organic and grass fed, but if you spend your money there, prepare food at home, and use the supplements as they are meant to be (and in a pinch), it all comes out in the wash. You can afford this. (For perspective, I'm a single teacher living alone on the north side of chicago and I can afford it. You can too.)

6. It's not all just easy and rainbows and puppies. Anything worth doing takes discipline. You will need discipline, especially getting through the first week or two while you are detoxing yourself. The supports are put in place for your success with this program, and yes you can accomplish it. (Nod to my brother-in-law for reminding me of this and inspiring my One Word for 2018: Steadfast.)

7. Working out: In January I did eleven sessions of yoga. That's it. This challenge takes place in the kitchen and is focused the way we are nourishing our bodies, but the yoga? That's helpful too, for physical and emotional well being.

8. From a business standpoint: Lead by example. ALWAYS lead by example. People are talking to me about what I'm doing because they look at me and I look better and I'm happier. If you want your business to flourish, you have to get disciplined about your work.

Want to know more, including taking a look at my before and after photos? Head over to my Private Facebook Group (click Join Group) to check those out. You'll also get a feel for what Arbonne is all about. In this group I share about health and wellness, well being and happiness, and keep my shoppers up-to-date with the new promotions and incentives that Arbonne offers. I'd love to see you over there learning along with us!

Wishing you health and wellness this month and beyond!

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Live Free

As you all know, I'm a teacher, and I love what I do.
I love teaching kids.
I love creating readers and writers out of them.
I love being around people all the time, especially middle school teachers, who, like the kids we teach, are a unique tribe of people themselves.

But I'm also passionate about so many other things.

Health and wellness.
Open lines of communication.
Taking time to take care of yourself.
Seeing the world.
Experiencing new cultures.
New outfits, with the perfect accessories.

The list could really go on and on.

Except I'm kinda stuck, because my teaching career can only afford me so much in the way of financing the life I dream about.

I don't want to be two days out from payday asking a friend if we can grab a coffee instead of lunch because my checking account has taken a hit. Or saying no to another friend's trip to Europe because I'm buried in some credit card debt.

I'd love financial freedom.

I don't want to be so exhausted from teaching that I do not do what I need to do for myself, which is work out after work. And I really hate that alarm going off at 5:30am every morning calling me from my peaceful slumber into a cold (litearlly - it's like 10 below in Chicago the past few days) world.

I'd love time freedom.

I certainly do not want toxins in my daily care products. If I am going to get myself toxic, I'd rather do that with a bottle of wine and a friend than with my shampoo and mascara.

I'd love freedom from toxic chemicals that infiltrate the products we use on a daily basis.

As much as I love teaching, it just won't give me certain freedoms I desire. That's why I said yes to Arbonne about a year and a half ago.

Now, in my free time, I get to teach others about health and wellness, how it means more than just what we're eating and how often we exercise.

I get to share the joy of our culture and community with anyone who is interested, and introduce them to a whole bunch of women who are all my new friends now!

Let's get a coffee and talk more about it! I'd love to show you how you can create a willable asset for your family and loved ones by simply changing where you shop... and get a whole crew of new friends as a result! Just drop me a message and I'll reach out!

And until then, be well, friends!

Winter break for DAZE

I am really loving Christmas break this year. We worked up until the 22nd of December, and while that was hard to be so busy preparing for Christmas without having many days off, I made it work. Fast forward traveling, seeing family, celebrating Christmas, eating a lot of food, New Years, and then a flight back to Chicago, you know, feeling that holiday hustle and DAZE, but now... thankful for the seemingly unending DAYS of Christmas break, because I'm out till the 8th!

It's been so nice, too, to slow down. Take today: slept until 7:30. Stayed in bed until 8:30. Got up, did a few chores around the house, ran by school (don't judge me, but the main reason I went was to take the Christmas decorations down and put up the Valentine's Day ones! hahah), then visited a friend, and now I'm chillin' at Starbucks with a tea and writing.

And it's pretty neat.

I still have a few more days off and I'll be able to spend time with my coteacher tomorrow going to yoga, do a little bit of work with my side hustle (Arbonne), work out at home a bit, prepare for a healthy living challenge, and not have to wake up to an alarm.

These breaks certainly make a difference for creating balance in teacher's lives.

I've also realized how important it is to have some plans on the calendar. I've got two trips in a few months: Vegas in April and Denver in May. Having plans to look forward to make such a difference, especially in Chicago when it's a tundra and below zero with the windchill.

Wishing you peaceful vibes on break or school days that are blissful with your kiddos!

Cheers to 2018!