Welcome to Week 8 of Summer of Well-Being! This week our emphasis is on the well-being dimension of eating, and making sure we eat healthier. As we get older we tend to start eating better. Slowly, the days of quick Pop Tart breakfasts and Ramen dinners disappear and are replaced by early morning green smoothies and late-night buckwheat Soba noodles.

Today, in honor of the Summer of Well-Being, we have Leoncio Alvarez from Munch This!  who has revamped three of his recipes to make them more health-conscious. Try them out and let us know how they work for you!

Vegetable Spring Rolls

Fried empanadas are swapped out for baked vegetable spring rolls that you can make with whatever veggies on hand. I had some sweet potatoes and corn and added some black beans. If you have zucchini, or carrots that would work. Just because a recipe says you have to use something doesn’t mean you have to. You’re in charge of your kitchen!


  • 15 spring roll wrappers (can be found at your nearest Oriental market)
  • ½ yellow onion (peeled, diced, finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled, diced, chopped)
  • 1 can of whole kernel corn (drained)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 egg
  • ½ Tablespoon olive oil

Step 1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and sweet potato and cook for 12-15 minutes or until sweet potato is soft but not mashed. Reduce heat if needed.

Step 2. After cooking veggies for 5 minutes add curry powder, turmeric and coriander powder.

Step 3. After 10 minutes add corn and black beans and combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 4. Crack egg into a small bowl and add a 1 Tablespoon of water. Whisk and set aside.

Step 5. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 spring roll wrapper on a cutting board. Add 1 Tablespoon of veggie mixture to top edge. Create spring rolls using this video as guidance. Repeat with remaining spring roll wrappers. Any leftover vegetables could be stored and used as a side for another meal.

Step 6. Place prepared spring rolls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until crispy.

Chicken Meatballs

Cuban-style ground beef can get tiring in Miami. Chicken meatballs are 98 percent fat free and taste just as great. The addition of steel-cut oats adds fiber and makes these meatballs plump up in the oven. When buying oats make sure you get steel-cut compared to rolled oats. Steel-cut should have no added sugar and are less in calories. Serve meatballs with a drizzle of soy and honey.


  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 small onion (peeled, finely chopped)
  • ½ red pepper (finely chopped)
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (minced, chopped)
  • 1 egg
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of nonfat milk
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped basil
  • 2 Tablespoons of chopped sage
  • 3 Tablespoons of tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add all ingredients in order in a large bowl and combine.

Step 2. Use an ice cream scooper to make meatballs and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center. You can test by taking a meatball and cutting through it with a knife to see how it is in the center.

Try these out with ground turkey too! You can serve with your favorite sauce.

Brown Rice Coconut Pudding

Grandma’s rice pudding is decadently creamy, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add some healthy ingredients to make it even better. Coconut palm sugar is being recognized more and more as a substitute for white sugar.  The effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar are measured by the glycemic index. Regular table sugar  ranks between 60 and 75, while coconut palm sugar is just 35 on the glycemic index. Your blood sugar level could spike depending on how high the glycemic index is for the food you’re intaking.

This pudding is not as sweet as grandma’s, but cranberries and toasted coconut and pumpkin seeds add a delightful sweet-and-salty crunch.

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 11.43.54 AM

  • 1 ½ teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • ¼ cup of coconut palm sugar
  • 1 13 ½ oz can of lite coconut milk
  • 2 cups of almond milk or skim milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup of toasted coconut
  • ¼ cup of toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
  • ¼ cup of cranberries

Step 1. In a large pot over medium heat add lite coconut milk, 1 cup of almond or skim milk and brown rice. Heat until boiling. Bring down heat and stir every two minutes to make sure rice never sticks to the bottom.

Step 2. Add cinnamon, ginger, coconut palm sugar and vanilla. Keep stirring every two minutes for about an hour.

Step 3. Add remaining milk, lemon zest and cranberries and continue stirring rice. Cook for another hour never forgetting to stir, until rice is soft and pudding is creamy. If rice pudding gets too thick, add a few spoonfuls of milk. Top with toasted coconuts and pumpkin seeds Enjoy!


Try out these and more recipes from Munch This!

Mary P
 Leoncio Alvarez
Founder/Chief Editor of Munch This!
Leoncio Alvarez is a Miami native who loves to share his passion for food and cooking with others. He has been munching out on Munch This! since 2010, developing and starring in his own Youtube cooking show in 2013. He is a graduate of Florida International University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
Website: MunchThis.net



I’m particularly excited about our guest blogger today, because she addresses a subject I speak about, train about, and is at the foundation of my personal beliefs, which is taking responsibility of our energy. Below, Mina offers us a simple, yet very powerful practice for giving us back so much of the energy that is ours to direct toward productive and joyful tasks. I hope you accept her challenge!!

Mina refers to her Mastermind program, of which I am a member. I just love surrounding myself with like-minded women who want to create meaningful and powerful lives for themselves and for others. I was not able to take on her challenge during the Mastermind, due to my vacation, but I will take the challenge now! Please join us both in doing so!

Need to catch up on Summer of Well-Being posts? You’ll find them all here.

Here’s Mina!

MinaShahEnteC40a-A05aT04a-Z_iconAhhhhh Summer……….

When I hear the word summer I am reminded of clear skies, images of kids laying in the grass looking up at the sky, and the freedom of 3 months without school to do whatever my heart desires. At least as long as my parents agreed.

It would be safe to say that for most of us as children summer brought the feeling of being carefree and fun. Today for most adults, it doesn’t feel that way. The year-round responsibilities are still there and they have to be handled. Just because the kids have 3 months off doesn’t mean that you do, and if you don’t have children, the year-round responsibilities are still there in the summer.

So how does one experience the feeling of being carefree and having fun with all these responsibilities? How does one have a Summer of Well-Being?

If you look at the definition of Well-Being it is the state of being happy, healthy, or successful.




As a coach I have helped my clients experience happiness, health, and success. I’ve helped them do everything from lose the 35lbs they have been carrying for over 20 years to helping them hire an entirely new rock star staff and making their business more profitable. Having worked with thousands of people over the last 6 years creating happiness, health and success in their lives, there are quite a few things I could share with you today that would help you have a Summer of Well-Being.

However, I have a strong belief that less is more, so today I am going to share with you 1 Simple Thing you can do now to experience more happiness, health, and success in your life.

One thing that you may be doing without realizing. One thing that is affecting your life in a bigger way than you can possible imagine.

What is that, you ask?

It’s simple.

Stop Complaining.


Yes, Stop Complaining.

Now, I don’t know you and I don’t know if you are someone who complains a little, a lot, or if you are just someone who is surrounded by complainers.

If you complain a little you will want to read further.

If you complain a lot. As in, you could land the gold in the Complaining Olympics – you definitely want to read further. You may even want to read this twice.

And if you rarely complain but are surrounded by complainers, read on and then find the share button on this page to send this over to the complainers you know with a smile and a wink. They deserve a Summer of Well-Being, right?

Now Why Stop Complaining?

Let’s go back to being a kid during the summer. Imagine you are with your best friend. You both have been playing outside and now you are laying in the grass, looking up at the sky, the breeze blowing, and you are trying to make shapes out of the clouds when all of a sudden you hear:

“The grass isn’t comfortable!”

“I think I wore the wrong shoes! These are too tight and they are hurting my feet!”

“Why is the sky so blue? It’s almost too bright!”

“Move over you are too close to me!”


Immediately the blissful picture you have in your mind is gone. This is what happens when we complain, we prevent ourselves from enjoying all the awesomeness that is around us.

Go to any network or social gathering and you will find that complaining has become the #1 way to communicate. It can be as innocent as complaining about the weather, the traffic, the city you live in to all the way to complaining about your job, business, co-workers, spouse or a past relationship. The challenge is that this robs you from the very happiness, health, and success that you desire. Is this true? Is complaining actually that damaging? Absolutely.

Here are 3 Things that Happen when you complain.

1)  You give an inordinate amount of energy to the problem. The very thing you don’t want more of you are giving your energy to. Do you ever feel happy when you are complaining? Highly doubtful. Complaining is usually accompanied by the emotions of stress, frustration, and aggravation. You are giving your emotional energy to something you don’t want.

2)  You burn your time. Ever been cut off in traffic or have a client or vendor wrong you and then tell the story of what happened to 15 people over the next 24 hours? What could you have been doing with that time? Complaining burns your precious time and kills productivity.  Part of being successful is spending your time wisely. Where could the time spent complaining go?

3)  You lower the energy of those around you. You know those people in your life that you LOVE to be around? That light up your day? When you see their number on your phone you pick it up no matter what you are doing? Do they complain very much? Not likely.  People who lift us up are using their energy on things that are positive and uplifting, not replaying a recent horrible incident for anyone within ear shot. By complaining you become one of those people who lower others’ energy and you lower your own. Not exactly healthy.

So what happens when you Stop Complaining? What’s the upside?

SWMMMeme132I’ll share with you a real life example. Recently at a Mastermind group I lead we had 40 women from 2 groups participate in a 3 day no complaining challenge. The entire group started on a Monday and committed to not complaining for 3 days.

For some the challenge seemed daunting, and for others they thought it would be no big deal as they didn’t feel like they complained that much.  As part of the challenge they would post in our private Facebook group about their experience.

The feedback poured in.

“I think I complain more than I thought because my boyfriend was really excited when I told him I was doing a no complaining challenge!”

“I thought I never complained and after only 30 minutes of being at work I realized I had called the AC guy and been complaining the entire time on the phone!”

“I thought I was the negative one in my house and my husband was the positive one, but after not complaining for 3 days I realized he complains just as much as I do if not more!”

When the women came back at the end of the month each one had the opportunity to share what happened as a result of not complaining.

Across the board the biggest distinction was:

“When I couldn’t complain it caused me to think about what was actually bothering me and I realized the things that I have been complaining about, I complain about all the time, but I haven’t been doing anything about it!


I realized that I was using complaining as a way of avoiding dealing with the issue. When I couldn’t complain anymore I actually did something about it!”

I actually did something about it.

They say that for something new to come into your life, you must make space for it. A question I posed to the group in our Mastermind was, “When you are not complaining, what will you find yourself talking about instead?” By eliminating complaining these women now had the energy to solve their problems and focus on moving their life forward!

Here are the top 3 things these women experienced and the 3 Great Things that Happen when you Stop Complaining!

1)  You recognize what the actual “problem” is. Often complaining is usually a way to avoid actually dealing with a specific problem.  Most of the time people complain about the same 3 things. This could a number of things: work, their body, the diet they are on, the government, a family member, or that they “don’t have enough time”. By eliminating complaining you have the opportunity to be with the situation and see what you would like to do about it. You allow the space for a solution to come to the surface.  So let’s take a look in your own life. What would you say are the top 3 things that you complain about?

2)  You experience less stress and less tension in your body. Imagine if you were watching a 3 minute commercial where the entire time it showed the person complaining. At the end of it how would you feel? Probably tense, annoyed, and wanting to get away from it. When you complain, although you are not as annoyed as if you were watching someone else, you still experience the effects in your body. If you catch yourself complaining take a moment to check in. First, stop talking (just cut yourself off) and check in with your body. Are your shoulders scrunched up around your ears? Is your body tense? Is your face all contorted? Have you stopped breathing? If so relax your body. Your shoulders, arms, face, jaw… and then count back from 10. 10……..9……..8……..7……..6……..5……..4……..3……..2……..1……..

Then ask yourself the question: “What’s really important?” When you have the answer ask yourself. “How can I focus on that right now?”

3) You connect more deeply with those around you. This means, when people walk away from a conversation with you they feel neutral or great. Not drained. I shared with the women in the groups that eliminating complaining is one of the quickest ways to create a closer connection with your spouse. It’s important for women to know that because of the ingrained need that men have to make their woman happy and to fix things, when you complain to your man it makes him want to stab himself – in the eye – with a shrimp fork!

Seriously. If you are in a serious relationship there is nothing your man wants more than for you to be happy. If there is a problem he wants to “fix it” for you. When you are complaining there really is nothing to fix because it’s simply venting and clearly you are not happy. The man in your life feels helpless to help you and few things are more frustrating for a man. Please note, I am not saying you cannot express your day or concerns to your man. I am talking about the ongoing, non-stop complaining that is exhausting for both parties. When you stop complaining you get to have a more pleasurable experience with the people closest to you and create a greater connection. Most people have a person they dump all their problems on. What if you stopped dumping on that person? How would that change your relationship with them?

So I invite you!!!

I invite you to experience a Summer of Well-Being by starting off with a 3 Day No Complaining Challenge on Monday!

Call a few of your friends and decide to do it together. When you start to do this you will experience less stress, more connection, and solutions to what you were complaining about will finally have a chance to pop into your head.

I would love to know if you decide to do it and how it goes! Comment below and if you have any questions about how reduce complaining post them below. I am happy to answer them!

Wishing you a wonderful summer. One of sunshine, well-being, and no complaining!

Mary P
Mina Shah
Speaker, Trainer and Founder of Smart Woman Making Money
Mina Shah is motivational speaker, trainer and the Founder and CEO of Smart Women Making Money. Through Smart Women Making Money she teaches women of all ages the skill set necessary to confidently and courageously speak up for what they want and create the life they have always desired.
Website: MinaShah.com





An important part of our well-being is how we support ourselves and our growth through our thoughts and feelings. They are always the precursor to action—good or bad. Accessing your Brilliant Zone has everything to do with the well-being dimensions of Thinking and Feeling, and ultimately Transcending ourselves to achieve our BIG  life goals. This week, our well-being expert Mike Rosenfeld shows us how we can access our Brilliant Zone in three easy steps! As well as, how to be on fire, share your gift with the world, and how to play it big, not safe. Watch his video below!

Mary P
Mike Rosenfeld
Peak Performance Coach
Mike Rosenfeld is highly respected as a peak performance coach and motivational speaker who counsels CEOs, entrepreneurs, and professional, Olympic and collegiate athletes. His Authentic Power program assists individuals and teams maximize their unique strengths and abilities and excel in all areas of life.



It’s Week 4 of Summer of Well-Being!

If you’re new to our community, WELCOME! WE ARE SO HAPPY TO HAVE YOU! You can find all previous blogs/vlogs here.

On Thursday we welcome a vlog by Mike Rosenfeld, Peak Performance Coach who works with CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Athletes/Olympians. Mike is going to teach us how to access our “Brilliant Zone!” I can’t wait for his video! His energy is CONTAGIOUS, and I know you’ll appreciate what he has to offer us this week.

Today, I close out my blogging about Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive. This book is truly a gift for everyone, but in my opinion, more specifically for high-achieving and successful professionals and executives who know in their gut that there is a “better way” to operate and to define success, and certainly, a better way to feel about our work, our impact, our relationships, and our well-being. I’ve been picking parts of the book that resonate strongly for me, and I invite you to do the same for yourself.

The last chapter in Thrive is all about giving. In the very beginning of the chapter Arianna states,

“Well-being, Wisdom, Wonder: All are critical to redefining success and thriving, but they are incomplete without the fourth element of the Third Metric: Giving.”

I believe that most of us intuitively understand the importance of giving, caring, empathy and compassion, because of our spirituality, religious practices, or simply by how we were raised, or the role models in our lives. I also believe that for some, giving is in their DNA. Now, with Social Entrepreneurship growing in popularity, it’s easier to integrate our desire to help others with our desire to be financially “well”. We even see this trend with the Millennials who lead the way in volunteering, with 43% of them engaged in service. And, universities have been on to this for quite some time, folding-in service learning and leadership into the fabric of college life. Here, at FIU, it is directly tied to our strategy, to the experience we want our students to have, and to the impact we want them to make in our communities once they graduate. Even companies and innovative start-ups are realizing that by providing their employees with the opportunity to serve others and be impactful in ways they decide helps them to stay engaged in their work and even increase their productivity and longevity with the company. Here are some numbers to back this up, based on a 2013 study by UnitedHealth group about employees who volunteered:

  • More than 75% of the employees said they felt healthier.

  • More than 90% said volunteering had put them in a better mood.

  • More than 75% reported experiencing less stress.

  • More than 95% said that volunteering enriched their sense of purpose in life (which, in turn, has been found to strengthen immune function!)

  • Employees who volunteered reported improved time-management skills and enhanced ability to connect with peers.

Regardless of the trends and stats, however, do we truly understand the capacity to which giving not only helps others and the world we are connected to, but the capacity to which it CHANGES US? Again, intrinsically I feel we do, but where’s the proof that Giving is the Miracle Drug? If you’re like me, you’ll get emotional, and even shed a tear or two when you see people doing good. I just can’t help it! Have you seen the Pay It Forward commercials by Liberty Mutual? I just love them! You can view one of them here. This is the intrinsic stuff I’m talking about. You watch this commercial and you immediately feel better, and perhaps you want to go out and pay it forward.

How do we pay it forward more often, and how is paying it forward directly linked to our wellness? Here’s some MORE good info Arianna shares in Thrive:

  • One study demonstrated that volunteering at least once a week yields improvements to well-being tantamount to your salary increasing from $20k to $75k.

  • A Harvard Business School study showed that “donating to charity has a similar relationship to subjective well-being as a doubling of household income.”

  • A study by scientists from the University of North Carolina and UCLA found that participants whose happiness was mostly hedonic (i.e., focused on self-gratification) had high levels of biological markers that promote inflammation, which is linked to diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. Those whose happiness included service to others had health profiles showing reduced levels of these markers.

  • A 2013 study led by Dr. Suzanne Richards of the University of Exeter Medical School found that volunteering was connected to lower rates of depression, higher reports of well-being, and a significant reduction in mortality risk.

  • In Give and Take, by Wharton Professor Adam Grant, “Those who give of their time and effort to others end up achieving more success than those who don’t.”

Pretty interesting, yes? We can read all the studies in the world and believe in their results, but at the end of the day, we must pay attention to what we feel and what we know. For me, I have no doubt that these links are true, based on my own experiences of philanthropy and compassionate actions. In fact, in my courses and coaching about Energy Leadership, we look at the benefits of shifting our thoughts and actions from Level 2 (conflict and competition) to Level 4 (compassion and others focus) and what that does for our energy, whole-life well-being, and how we lead others. What’s your experience?

Now let’s look briefly at how focusing on our well-being can increase our capacity to be giving and compassionate!

  • A 2013 study by researches from Harvard University, Northeastern University, and Massachusetts General Hospital found that “meditation enhances compassionate responding,” providing “scientific credence to ancient Buddhist teachings that meditation increases spontaneous compassionate behavior.”

  • Oxytocin, known as the “love hormone”, when released can promotes empathy and giving. It increases the compassion toward one’s family and the groups one identifies with. Oxytocin is in a constant battle with cortisol, the “stress hormone”, which increases in our bodies when we are exhibiting behaviors related to: judgment, fierce/negative competition, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, fatigue, etc.

Small shifts in our well-being, then, as we have been promoting these last few weeks during our Summer of Well-Being, can help us lead more compassionate and caring lives, which clearly boomerangs right back to us with a greater sense of wellness. It’s a full circle!

I agree with Arianna that compassionate behavior is something that can be cultivated through certain wellness practices–not only for ourselves, but for our children–how we educate them and teach them how to feel better and solve problems.

So how do we learn to give each day? To live outside ourselves and not what’s important only to us? How do we find opportunities to give and to tap into the amazing healing power that it has?

I like this view, by John Burroughs,

“The great opportunity is where you are. Do not despise your own place and hour. Every place is under the stars, everyplace is the center of the world.”

Yes, the opportunity to give and to care is always right where we are. As in the commercial I shared above, small gestures go just as far for others and for us as do the large, intricate ones.

How will you pay it forward today? I’d love to hear your thoughts around Giving as the Miracle Drug. Chime in below.

It’s your life. Lead it well!




This week our well-being expert is Lina Acosta Sandaal teaching us about Emotional Intelligence. Read her blog below to learn what emotional intelligence is, how to achieve it, and some great ways on how to increase your emotional intelligence day by day!

The Nest Miami2We all experience positive and negative feelings. Most of us want to protect ourselves from negative experiences and avoid negative emotions. However, every time we tell ourselves that our negative emotion is intolerable, we rob ourselves of an opportunity to develop emotional intelligence and a way of walking through our emotions into taking intentional decisions. Most importantly, neurologists know that we best engage, learn, and make meaningful decisions when we are in a receptive state. A receptive state  is when someone feels seen, soothed, secure, and safe. The alternative is a reactive state  where we are constantly looking for danger and reacting by fighting, running away or freezing. If we work on our emotional intelligence, we move towards being in a receptive state more times than not. Ask yourself these two questions:


Take the answers to these questions and the next time you feel them, go through the process that I will walk you through next. If you practice handling these emotions with emotional intelligence you will no longer need to “react” to the feeling, and will become more “receptive” to the information these feelings give you.

Emotional Intelligence is being able to:

  • •Feel an Emotion
  • •Tolerate Emotion
  • •Recuperate from Emotion

This is learned by:

  • •Naming and labeling emotion
  • •Physically experiencing emotion
  • •Seeing and empathizing with others   (REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT)


Tools to Build and Increase your Emotional Intelligence


  1. Label the feeling. (“I am scared of this new job hunt. I am embarrassed what my friends will think.”)
  2. Pause (try 90 seconds) and remind yourself that this emotion is transient and not permanent and no action needs to be taken while experiencing/labeling  the feeling.

“It takes less than 90 seconds for an emotion to get triggered, surge chemically through the blood stream, then get flushed out…..anything beyond that is of your own choosing.” —Jill Bolte Taylor  (http://www.ted.com/talks/view/lang/en//id/229)


  1. Narrate to yourself what is happening:
    1. Describe the feelings in your body.
    2. Wonder what the feeling reminds you of.
    3. Check in with expectations or “shoulds” that may be helping you to feel this particular emotion.
    4. Walk yourself through what happened right before you started feeling this way and how you have walked yourself out of this feeling before.
  2.  Make a choice to breathe, move (i.e. walk, jump or simply pump your fists) or embrace yourself until you feel the emotion begin to pass (placing one hand over you heart and another over your stomach while breathing soothes most people.)


In the moment:

  1. Continue to tell the story of “the FEELING event” – this time observe yourself and tell yourself, as if you were a lawyer, the facts of the event.
  2. Reinforce how you were able to calm down – tell yourself several times what you did to calm down.


Day to Day

  1. Learn to breathe and calm down, most of us hold our breath more often than we think.  Just one deep breath will reboot our neurology. (i.e. Yoga, meditation, Simply Being app)
  2. Journal or get used to speaking regularly to a close friend/partner about your emotional state allowing yourself time to process and understand your emotions.
  3. If you find that when you ask yourself “what does this feeling remind me of?” you remember past hurts, you may want to work with someone who can help you understand and know your history and how you make sense of your own emotions as it is influenced by your past history (eg. therapists, personal coach, clergy)

“Anyone can become angry-that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way-that is not easy.” —Aristotle


Mary P
Lina Acosta Sandaal
Lina Acosta Sandaal, MA, program director of The Nest in Miami, is an expert in child and adolescent development and infant and early childhood mental health, having worked and trained at Vista Del Mar in Los Angeles, Yale’s Minding the Baby, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and Child Trauma Research Programs.
Website: thenestmiami.com
Facebook: facebook.com/TheNestMiami
Twitter: twitter.com/thenestmiami



Welcome to Week 3 of Summer of Well-Being! If you’ve been following our last few blogs, you know that I’m reading and writing about Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Each week we also have been featuring a guest expert to share a tip on improving your well-being. If you missed those, make sure to check out Mary Trontz’ blog about Strengthening your Core, and Davis Mitchell’s vlog about Hydration.

This Thursday you’ll hear from Lina Acosta Sandaal about Emotional Well-Being. So much of what I teach through my courses and coaching has emotional intelligence at its core.  You simply cannot lead your life well or lead others successfully and meaningfully without having or acquiring this skill through practice. It’s one of the most difficult skills to master, because you have to be aware and in tune almost all the time. Lina teaches us a great way to practice this skill!

Last week we discussed the importance of Wonder for our wellness. I promised I’d report back on all the wonder I discovered on my vacation, and my promise to myself that I would not head to the office first thing on Monday with so much stress that my vacation would have been pointless!

Well, the vacation did not come without stress. My daughter ended up in one of the Bahamas’ medical centers, day 1, with what we thought was an eye infection. And, on day 4, she slammed into the pool wall, injuring her chin! Luckily, she is healing nicely and had lots of love and support during both incidents. I have to say that I kept it together and focused on all the positives, which were many! Being intentional about how I wanted to feel during and after my vacation really helped! In fact, I’d love to share with you my video below of the two dolphins—Exhuma and Robella, who were the cause of much WONDER and joy during our trip! We actually got to swim and play with them in the open ocean and experience their beauty and brilliance. And, it is my first morning back to work and I’m feeling great! A bit tired, but staying focused on getting things done with a Caribbean state of mind.


Wisdom and Success

This week, I’d like to focus on the importance of Wisdom on our journey toward well being. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington describes it in this way:

“Wisdom frees us from the narrow reality we’re trapped in—a reality consumed by the first two metrics of success, money and power, long after they have ceased to fulfill us. Indeed, we continue to pull the levers not only after their diminishing returns have been exhausted, but even after it’s clear they’re actually causing us harm in terms of our health, our peace of mind, and our relationships. Wisdom is about recognizing what we’re really seeking: connection and love. But in order to find them, we need to drop our relentless pursuit of success as society defines it for something for genuine, more meaningful, and more fulfilling.”

When I read this I naturally want to question, “What is success, then, and how do we redefine it, understanding that the majority of our waking hours are spent trying to achieve ‘it’?” Maybe you have struggled with this question as well? In reading one of my favorite blogs—Sources of Insight, Zig Ziglar’s definition of success is:

“…closing the door on your office at the end of the day knowing that you did a good job and knowing that those that interacted with you had a positive experience.”

“…looking forward to getting home and seeing the people you love.”

“…turning out the lights and saying to yourself it just doesn’t get much better than this.”

When I read this definition I get excited! Yes, success should be measured (daily) by how we affect other’s lives positively, connecting with and loving others, being purpose-driven in all that we do, and being grateful. You with me?!!! All of these concepts are found in Thrive.


Wisdom and Time

In Thrive, Arianna refers to the epidemic of “time famine” and how it sucks the wonder and wisdom out of our lives. She shares,

“In order to manage our time—or what we delude ourselves into thinking of as managing time—we rigidly schedule ourselves, rushing from meeting to meeting, event to event, constantly trying to save a bit of time here, a bit there. We fear that if we don’t cram as much as possible into our day, we might miss out on something fabulous, important, special, or career advancing. But there are no rollover minutes in life. We don’t get to keep all that time we ‘saved’. It’s actually a very costly way to live.”

How can “time famine” affect our well-being? A study led by Lijing L. Yan at Northwestern University found that young adults exhibiting time urgency and impatience had a higher risk of developing hypertension and weight gain. No surprise here! If this study measures young adults, can you imagine how adults who live unconsciously this way year after year are affected over time?


Wisdom and Habits

So much of wisdom is tuning into our minds, our hearts and our intuition. How can we put ourselves on a path to well-being if we are not aware of what is working and what is not working in our lives? In the book, Arianna shares what poet Mark Nepo says about this understanding:

 “(Sacrifice is) giving up with reverence and compassion what no longer works in order to stay close to what is sacred.” Arianna adds, “So recognizing when habits are no longer working for us and sacrificing them is a cornerstone of wisdom.”

I also appreciate what Arianna shares about “Keystone Habits” from Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit:

“Reprogramming the autopilot (in each of us) takes different amounts of time. What makes it easier is focusing on ‘keystone habits’; when you change one of them, it makes changing other habits easier. (This) starts a process that, over time, transforms everything. Keystone habits say that success doesn’t depend on getting every single thing right, but instead relies on identifying a few key priorities and fashioning them into powerful levers.”

Arianna’s keystone habit was and continues to be sleep. By getting more sleep regularly she is able to more easily create other new well-being habits, such as meditation and exercise.


Finding Your Thread

In closing, I love a Greek Mythology story that Arianna shares about Ariadne (also Arianna’s given name), in which Theseus could be saved and free to return to Athens only if he entered the labyrinth and slew the Minotaur (monster, or our old habits!). All who had gone before him had perished, but Theseus, guided by the thread Ariadne had given him (what guides us back to our center; our core sacred being), was able to make his way into the labyrinth and come out of it alive and victorious. What a great analogy, huh?

So, here’s my challenge to you this week:

  1. What is your Keystone Habit? That one thing that you can do that will be the foundation for your path to well-being?
  2. Create one small action step to begin creating that Keystone Habit.
  3. Take a piece of thread that will remind you of your step and tie it around your wrist as a reminder.

Here’s a picture of mine! My Keystone Habit is movement! I’ve noticed the difference in every aspect of my life (especially how I sleep!) when I move—whether it’s yoga, walking, biking, dancing, etc. My step is to do a minimum of 20 minutes a day.

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Please share what your Keystone Habit is below, and I’d love for you to share a picture of your Thread! Thanks for tuning in today. “-)

It’s your life. Lead it well.


Photo courtesy of Neerav Bhatt


Our expert this week is Davis Mitchell. In this video Davis shares with us her insight into the importance of hydration, and she also gives us some expert tips! Watch the video below to find out:

• The three things you need to know to take care of your cells.
• The symptoms and side effects of dehydration.
• The damaging effects of alcohol and caffeine.
• Her formula to determine how much water you should be drinking for your body weight.

Davis Mitchell
Davis Mitchell
Inspiring confidence and self-worth in young women through clean vegan eating and a healthy lifestyle, Davis Mitchell is the expert in the realm of women’s health and vibrancy, leading with compassion and heart. Her methods deliver results when you decide, commit and resolve to take your health to the next level. Join her as she lives by choice, not by chance!
Instagram: @davisjaclyngreenlife



Today, Mary P. Trontz helps us focus on the well-being dimension of Moving, and how we can better lead our bodies and our lives from our Core in just a few seconds everyday.

Along with a sound diet, the key to obtaining a lean, toned torso is building a strong core. To build a strong core you need to exercise a variety of muscles from your hips to your shoulders.

When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support. When this happens, we are able to generate powerful movements of the extremities.

A strong core distributes the stresses of weight-bearing and protects the back:
• Reduces Back Pain
• Reduces the Risk for Lower Back Injury
• Improves Posture
• Improves Athletic Performance

Planking is an exercise that engages several muscles and strengthens your core.


Try to plank at least 30 seconds every day.

There are several plank exercises. Here are just a few to get you started:

Regular or Side Plank — begin with a 30 second hold & increase gradually
Plank Jacks — adds leg workout & cardio
Hip Twists — tap hip side to side to workout your obliques/love handles
Suicide Planksas you advance add shoulders/arm workout (start with 5 per side & increase to 10 gradually)

If you’re holding a standard plank, here is some expert advice, so you get the best results:

• Keep your shoulders square above your wrists
• Tuck your hips under by contracting your abs
• Keep your neck long and relaxed
• Focus on something directly underneath you to keep your spine and neck neutral
• Keep your back flat (your body should be in a straight line)
• Stay up on your toes and keep your heels down, low, or flexed
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Mary P
Mary P. Trontz
Certified Fitness Trainer & Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach
Mary P. Trontz is a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She obtained a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of North Florida. Currently, she spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant.
Website: www.Beachbodycoach.com/MaryTrontz
Facebook: www.facebook.com/MaryFitnessCoach
Email: maryfitnesscoach@yahoo.com



Thank you, Mary, for sharing this strength-building exercise for our core, in just a few minutes a day! If you’d like to use this platform to help stay accountable to new ways you can improve your well-being, list your SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely) goal below in the comments!



And so it begins …The Summer of Well-Being Program launches today, and runs through the end of August. Each Tuesday you will receive my personal blog, and each Thursday you’ll receive our Guest Expert’s blog — both focused on helping you think about what well-being means to you, and what small shifts can help you increase it.

Thank you for joining us on this journey! I’m excited. I hope you are too!

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If you watched my intro video to our Summer of Well-Being, you’ll know that part of the time I’ll be blogging about Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive. In the book, we learn that Arianna’s journey into wellness started at a very young age, with her mother imparting wisdom, practices and values that would help her make those necessary changes at those most crucial moments. One of those moments for her was when she was burning the candle at both ends; trying to do it all and do it best. She was running on fumes, which was the norm for her, but on this day she couldn’t power through; on this day she landed on the floor with a broken cheek-bone and gash over her eye. This was her wake-up call. That inner wisdom kicked in, the small changes began and what has emerged is a new Arianna who has continued to “thrive,” but not just with the usual two success metrics of money and power, but with the addition of a third metric she has created, one of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

In the book we learn that 60-90 percent of doctor visits are to treat stress-related conditions. Women in stressful jobs have a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease, and a 60 percent greater risk of diabetes. And, as women have made substantial strides in the workplace, self-reported levels of stress have gone up by 18 percent. Arianna shares:

“The Western workplace culture — exported to many other parts of the world — is particularly fueled by stress, sleep deprivation and burnout. I had to come face-to-face, or face-to-floor, with the problem when I collapsed.”

But, of course, it’s not just a problem for women. In the book, former president of Google China, Lee Kai-Fu, shares about being diagnosed with cancer in 2013:

“I naively used to compete with others to see who could sleep less. I made ‘fighting to the death’ a personal motto … It’s only now, when I’m suddenly faced with possibly losing 30 years of my life, that I’ve been able to calm down and reconsider. That sort of persistence may have been a mistake.” He shares that his new plan includes, “Sleep enough, adjust my diet and start exercising again.”


My Accident.

In 2007 I had a similar experience that really began a transformation for me — one that challenged my idea of what was truly important, and mostly, how I wanted to feel about myself and the world I lived in every day. It challenged all of my decisions, as well as my knowing of what impact I wanted to make; legacy I wanted to leave. That’s why this book resonates so strongly with me.

I remember that day vividly. I was devastated and embarrassed. I asked myself, “Did I really do this?” My schedule was so hectic during that time, by choice. I was striving for a level of success (and a definition of success) that just wasn’t achievable, sustainable or purposeful. I would come home from a full day of working, kiss my family, change clothes, and leave again to tackle a side job 40 minutes away. Intuitively, I knew I had made some terrible decisions, but I did not want to fail. I was in rush-hour traffic, and I was exhausted, as I always was those days. Well, I didn’t make it to where I was going that evening, because I fell asleep while driving and struck the car in front of me. I woke up when I hit her, and I woke up in many other ways as well.

Just from that one incident I was able to clearly see that I was off purpose and vision, operating in a way that would continue to damage my health, career and my family life. I also learned that my lack of sleep and diet was contributing to my exhaustion. I made immediate changes that made a huge difference. That was 7 years ago, and I’m still learning daily and finding the right techniques and tools that work best to help me accomplish my life goals.


Success Redefined.

You don’t have to fall on your face, get diagnosed with a disease, or fall asleep at the wheel to make changes. My hope for all of us is quite the opposite. My hope is that we all will be proactive in making small, better choices that will help us redefine success — from the inside out — and think about “Third Metric” living! As Arianna states:

“This book is designed to help us move from knowing what to do to actually doing it … practical daily practices, tools and techniques that are easy to incorporate in our lives … to reconnect with ourselves, our loved ones and our community — in one word, to thrive.”


Simple Steps.

In part one of Thrive, Arianna provides a lot of research and data that suggests that there are three simple things we can begin to do to have dramatic effects on our well-being:

  1. Get just 30 more minutes of sleep to immediately improve your health, creativity, productivity and sense of well-being. Either go to bed earlier, get up later, or take 2 short naps a day. In the book, Bill Clinton admitted, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”
  2. Move your body, in any way, anytime! Walk, run, stretch, do yoga, dance, etc.
  3. Introduce five minutes of meditation into your day. Build up from there.



During the Summer of Well-being you will learn great ways to do what Arianna is suggesting from our experts. You are invited to try what calls to you. In the book I was drawn to a concept by Thoreau called “Shake off the village,” referring to freeing ourselves from the distractions that are constantly begging for our attention, and fully experience the world around us. Thoreau says:

“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily, without getting there in spirit … What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”

The idea of shaking things off mentally, physically, emotionally, etc., feels so freeing to me. It is the one thing I do every day without fail. I happen to be on a beautiful campus surrounded by awe-inspiring trees, lakes, birds, etc., that it has become a daily mindful retreat for me. I feel the moment when it’s necessary and take to the outdoors for my mindful walk. I shake it all off! And then I am back, refreshed, recharged and ready to keep things moving.

So, I hope you will join me and the multitudes of others who have joined in on our Summer of Well-Being, to take small meaningful action toward a life well led.

Please share with me along the way what steps you’re taking. I can’t wait to hear what tips resonate for you, and how you are feeling.

On Thursday, we welcome Mary P. Trontz, a Certified Fitness Trainer and an Independent Team Beachbody Diamond Coach. She spends her time as a bootcamp instructor, personal trainer, fitness coach and nutrition consultant. She’s going to teach us how to live well, starting with our core!

Mary P

If you still haven’t joined our Summer of Well-being, do so today! Just subscribe on this page (upper right-hand corner) to make sure you receive our weekly tips!



“Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage by considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them; every day begin the task anew.” — Francis de Sales



Need to bring a little green luck into your work life? There’s no better time than this week to help you find that ever-evading pot of gold!

Feng Shui is one of my favorite topics and areas of study. At its essence, when you are practicing Feng Shui you are bringing your environment into balance and ensuring that the energy around you is flowing and not stagnant or “stuck.”

Feeling stuck at work? This may be a sign that putting into place some meaningful and easy “cures” is needed, helping you get back into the flow of productivity, creativity, and maybe even some new clients, or even a promotion!

Although it may sound light or “out there,” Feng Shui is a respected ancient practice, both in the east and the west. In fact, many businesses (even architects designing new buildings, work spaces or corporate parks) consult with Feng Shui practitioners to create balanced and vibrant work environments. With this practice not only do you see the difference, but you really feel it.

Here are some “green” tips to get that energy and those ideas flowing again. When I think of Ireland, I think of expansive lands, dirt and trees, mountains, four-leaf clovers, and of course, the color green! Here’s the most important tip of all: When you enhance your space, do it with intention. Without focus and meaning, it won’t do a damn thing!

*The color green represents growth and expansion — think of seedlings beginning to sprout. So, one of the best things to do is to bring live plants into your workspace. Not only will they increase the amount of oxygen in your environment (keeping you alert!), but they also represent the growth of things — money, recognition, health, relationships, etc. Place it in the area of your space you want to enhance. You can see a western Feng Shui map, or Bagua, here.

Important: With a western Bagua, you are not using actual compass directions, but you are placing the map at the entrance (door) of your office and/or workspace, with “north” facing directly across from you.

*This idea of growth and expansion can also be enhanced by items or images of things that are tree-like … like paper, bamboo, wood, tall and rectangular-shapes, or pictures of the sun rising or mountains in the spring time with lots of vibrant green grass! If you really have a new idea you want to launch, make sure to place that plant or item in the Creativity quadrant of your office space.

*Bring in that pot of gold! If it’s more money you want to attract, or the feeling of prosperity and abundance, bring in some shiny coins or dollar bills (or pictures of what wealth represents to you) and place it in your Wealth corner. And yes, definitely pictures of four-leaf clovers, or the real thing, if you can get your hands on one!

*Want to feel revitalized? Need to drive up your feeling of health and well-being? How about a comfy green pillow or pashmina? These will do the job, especially in the Health quadrant of your office!

Have fun with these tips! Feel free to share how your enhancements work for you. I’d love to hear from you.

Until then …

May your troubles be less,
And your blessings be more.
And nothing but happiness,
Come through your door.

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste … Monique