Tag Archives: kindness

People I Love: Part One

Today was a pretty awesome day. My dermatologist told me I’d only have to take Amnesteem for another month (we originally thought it would be 10-12 months, instead it’s just 7! YAY!), AND mini Gwinn said “hewwo” while he waved to his accordion. Yes, my kid has an accordion. He’s that cool.

So, anyway, as promised, I’m starting a series on amazing people I love/ am so grateful to have in my life. This serves a few purposes, one being that it is a way to display kindness. There isn’t enough of it in the world.

Let’s begin!

Dear Bresus,

As far as friendships that I never saw coming, I am a major fan of ours. I must admit, when I first met you, I was wary, given that you were friends with what’s her name from CLP’s long long ago. But now? I am beyond grateful that you are in our lives. Time and time again you have gone above and beyond and have been an outstanding friend to one crazy mama. You are generous, funny, and smart. I envy you, sometimes (successful career, living the urban life dream), but it quickly fades into pride for you in all you have accomplished. One of my favorite things about you is this dichotomous representation in your personality of a tough lady with a major nurturing side. Everyone that truly knows you is happy to have you in their corners, and I am happy to say that I fall in line with them. Your cooking skills? Rad. You and the Viking? Super cool. Your ability to be funny, loving, accepting, clever and giving? Priceless.  I dubbed you “hot pants” a while ago, but “Bresus” is much more suited to who you are- you have saved our family from crises enough times that you officially deserve a cape. By the way, I’ve forgotten to tell you, but mini Gwinn LOVES his Holy Grail rabbit. Like thinks it’s the bee’s knees. Plus, who is so cool as to give Monty Python gifts for Easter? HELLO, BRESUS.

Thank you for being such a wonderful friend.

Love Always and Big,

Warren G


Get Skinny Workouts Ad Nauseum

Hey! Happy late Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, etc! I have been super out of the loop lately. There have been so many ideas on my mind, but finding the time to write seems increasingly impossible with mini Gwinn wandering everywhere and getting into everything. Seriously. This morning he was slamming a cabinet door into the oven just because he could. It kind of happened overnight, but now I have a wild child toddler, and I’m a busy B (yes, “B”, not “bee”.).

I digress. This topic has been weighing on my mind for weeks, literally. It has bugged me so much that I finally locked mini Gwinn in our computer room with my coffee so I could sit down and knock this one out before I adventure out to the gym. Get ready, it’s not gonna be pretty, but let’s hope I get the message across.

If you’ve ever walked by a magazine rack at the grocery store or looked at Pinterest for more than thirty seconds, you’ve seen those absurd “do this lame workout for seven days and watch the pounds drop!” claims, all accompanied by an image of a ridiculously toned/ skinny chick in a bikini or less. To anyone who will be duped by this, please read these words carefully: that chick did not do this lame seven day workout to look like that. No one did this lame seven day workout and immediately looked amazing. Please, put down the Prevention magazine, stop pinning those “inspiring workouts and words” to your fitness board, and take a few steps back from this entire concept of “get fit quick”. Just like getting fat doesn’t happen over the course of a week, getting fit doesn’t happen in 168 hours.As harsh as it may sound, dough doesn’t transform to granite over the course of a week, or sometimes even eight weeks. It takes a lot of time and a lot (I mean A LOT) of sweat to melt fat and gain visible muscle tone. While a week’s worth of working out will make you feel better, give you more energy, increase your appetite (that is a good thing!) and help you sleep better, it won’t magically give you a bikini body for next week’s vaycay. Your best you comes from dedication to improving your health, not attempting to mimic a rail thin model’s body or society’s idea of “beautiful” (unless you happen to fall into that naturally, and if you do, yay for you!) .

In that same line of thought, I have to admit that I was under the impression that “diets” had fallen out of favor with the gen pub. I could not have been more wrong. Seriously, my reaction to seeing “follow such and such celebrity’s three day smoothie diet to fit into your skinny jeans”pins/ magazines was, “HOLY CRAP DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THIS STUFF?!” If all someone consumes is fruit smoothies for a weekend, s/he may fit into skinny jeans, but s/he will put those on to run to the nearest McDonald’s to indulge in a Big Mac.  Healthy consumption of lean proteins, veggies and lots of water as a way of life, not a temporary starvation diet, will be a better fuel for working out/ health improvement. It makes me sad when I see women who are desperate to feel better grasping at hollow ideas for health.

I’ve heard of many women starving themselves and then running on the treadmill for forty five minutes. If anything, this teaches your body to store up any calories consumed because it thinks it will never be fed AND has to endure major cardio. That’s pretty much the opposite of what any (good) personal trainer would tell someone.

My advice: 1. Learn your body fat percentage, not your body mass index (BMI). Your BMI doesn’t tell much at all about your health. By that same token, your weight doesn’t tell you much about your health. How much fat you’re carrying around? That’s WAY more telling. Gyms will measure your body fat percentage for free. Check out what the numbers mean at Health Check Systems.
2. Eat. A lot. a 130 lb. woman looking to lose fat and maintain/ gain muscle tone should consume at least 50 grams of protein a day. I say “at least” because dietary professionals will suggest as low as 45 grams a day and as high as a 1 to 1 ratio of pounds of weight to grams of protein. That seems impossible to most women, especially given the fact that the average woman consumes around 20 grams a day. Protein will keep you fuller for longer than simple carbohydrates and give you the energy you need to build muscle/ lose fat. Vegetables and chicken, vegetables and fish, whatever your poison for meat- this combo keeps you full. Avoid simple carbohydrates like the devil (this includes: bread, cereal, rice, cupcakes, cake, cookies [my weaknesses], etc). If you just can’t live without grains, try quinoa and oatmeal, both complex carbohydrates that take longer for your body to break down and keep you full longer. Kelly the Kitchen Kop gives insight with an interview from Dr. Davis on the dangers of modern wheat and other genetically modified grains. I’m not pushing “anti-carbohydrates”, veggies have carbs too (say what?), I’m pushing “anti-genetically modified grains” here.
3. Don’t limit yourself to cardio. Weight lifting and body weight/ resistance exercises are going to help you burn fat more quickly and efficiently than just cardio (unless you are morbidly obese). Another myth to these crappy “get skinny quickly” workouts is that you can target weight loss to fat in certain areas of your body, like “7 Days to Lean Arms!”.  If that were the case, all my body fat would be in my boobs and my thighs would look like pillars of marble wrapped in skin. While you CAN target muscles during workouts, you can’t target fat, which is why mixing up a workout is paramount to actual fat loss/ muscle gain. The best fat burning technique I’ve tried- interval training. I’ve pushed this on other blog posts in the past, and I’m pushing it again. My current fave? Turbulence Training, as seen on the Greatist.

I suppose what I’m preaching here is the opposite of what many women do, which is “starve and go easy at the gym”. I say, spoil yourself by eating a ton of yummy, healthy food, and abuse your body like crazy at the gym. Go at it until your clothes are soaked and you can barely walk out the doors. These three day diets and seven day fitness routines aren’t going to cut it; quick fixes NEVER do. Dedication to fitness and a true lifestyle change in how one approaches food will result in a total health and body transformation. It’s pretty obvious I’m no personal trainer or health expert, but I am passionate about my personal health. This makes me seem like a self indulgent psycho to some, but my health matters for the sake of my family (and my sanity). If you’re anything like me, when you feel better, everything seems better, more accomplish-able, less insurmountable. Plus, I’m a lot less likely to Hulk out on someone when I’ve burned all my excess energy (read: rage) at the gym. It boils down to the fact that I just want people I care about to be healthy and happy.

So, in the coming weeks, or whenever I find time to sit down and write a bit, I’m going to start working on the reverse side of “Being Kind is Hard”. Every post for the next several weeks will include a glowing review of someone I love in my life. It will serve as a very public way (with his/ her consent) to display my appreciation, and hopefully spur kindness in myself and others.

❤ to you!

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In today’s society where everything is instant, people are out for “number one”, and giving to charity is more for the tax breaks than the gift of giving, generosity is a lost virtue. Distrust seems to be more common than gratitude and many question the nature behind the act of being generous.

I was raised in a home where acts of charity were blessings delivered at just the right time. In second grade someone swooped in to pay my private school tuition- an act of anonymous generosity- so I wouldn’t have to switch schools because of cost. As an adult I still remember trying to wrap my seven year old brain around why someone I didn’t even know would do something so kind.

My life is filled with generous people. When Ehron and I first moved into our home, we didn’t have a washer and dryer, and realistically couldn’t afford new appliances while paying rent at two places and juggling our new marital demands (read: bills, commuting, and more bills). A sweet woman with whom I worked told me her parents had a dryer for us, which they gave to us for free. At just the right time they had this dryer available, and their kindness still warms my heart (and my clothes). While I was pregnant I desperately needed a haircut. A mention of this on Facebook led to a free haircut from a lovely girlfriend of mine at her incredibly posh salon. Without this generous gift, I would have never otherwise had the funds or the guts to enter the doors of Jamison Shaw.

Anyone that knows my mom and dad will know that “giving” is their favorite, much like “smiling” is Buddy the Elf’s favorite. My parents would give their children the clothes off their backs to make sure we stayed warm. My siblings and I can say without a doubt that our parents have kept us afloat many a time. Between “grocery shopping” in their pantry, sweetly worded, hand written cards with a $20 bill folded between the page, and all the time they have sacrificed, my parents deserve some kind of award. They instilled this in my brothers and sisters.

Amidst all the noble, virtuous people, I still feel petty. I worry that my home isn’t clean enough or decorated properly. I look at my skin and feel disgusted, and assume everyone else around me thinks the same. I am jealous. I am fickle. I feel undeserving of the love lavished on me time and again.

My sisters are all quite good at this “decorating the home” thing. Each has her own style, her own eye for certain pieces, or a way of putting together a room in such a way that I will never be able to do. One sister in particular finds the best deals on gorgeous things for the home. Tonight she sent me a text to let me know she was bringing me new clothes and things for my house. Waves of emotion hit me when she told me this, and I’m still tearing up even as I type. She is so generous and so giving! It floors me. I live in the small, selfish world of my mind and there are people that love me enough to go shop for me, to put forethought into an action that’s both time consuming and bank account- draining.

Captain Laser Pants is generous with his kindness. He is tender with his words. My sisters are generous with their time. They invest in our relationships, travel to visit me and little Gwinn, bring us cupcakes and treats for much needed pick- me- ups. They encourage me. My mom and dad are generous with their constant, unwavering love. They give when I hate to ask. Our friends are generous with their patience and understanding as we test the waters with a new baby. They brush off my concerns of him crying with a casual wave. The giving that surrounds me is overwhelming.

I want to be a more generous person. I want to be more generous with my words. To be more encouraging, more loving, more giving- these are virtues I want to embody now so my son learns them and benefits from what it means to have a generous family, just like I did.

Thank you friends and family, for your generosity. I am so, so very grateful for the love you lavish upon us.