Category: health

friends, health, home, lifestyle

soulful spring cleanse


I’ve done nothing but clean, cull and move since January! I am so over it. So, I’m offering up a different kind of spring cleaning. You know how I love to be different.

The Windows=Attitude.

How do you see the world? Your world? This is all you; your attitude. Do you need an attitude cleanse? A cold, long winter can build up feelings of inner despair. All that hunkering down with comfort food because you “deserve it”, because your job is miserable, your relationship isn’t what you hoped, “True Detective” is over…whatever the reason. This I know is true: YOU are in control of your attitude. Guaranteed change only comes with change in you. Let’s Windex that attitude for the season and see what good energy reflects back your way.

What you send out through social media says a lot about your “window”, as well. (No, not that your hand on your hip makes your arm look thinner…we get it.) Are you sending out solutions or are you adding to the noise? Are you a hater or are you an inspiration to others? If someone were to pull up your “feed”, what are you serving up?

The Baseboards=Relationships

We all need a support group. Maybe not in a fluorescent lit room, in a circle of chairs, jones-ing for a cigarette, but a group of friends that support YOU, no matter what, without question, James Taylor/Carole King style: you just call out their name and they are there.

I wouldn’t have the gumption to write, live big or simply survive without my Scrabble girls. We started getting together for speed Scrabble, 10 years ago, but, then it became oh, so much more. We have gone through life and death together. We have prayed desperately together, we have traveled together. We have cried together. And, my God, have we laughed together. As we recently reminded each other, our friendship is based on absolute acceptance. We never have to apologize for ourselves when life gets in the way of our time together. True friendship should never be taken for granted, and the care and keeping of these special friends is vital.

I have a group on Twitter that shares a passion and love for classic film. I love when I have free evening, turn on Turner Classic, open my Twitter feed and instantly we are all together; offering trivia, critiques and laughter … Read the rest

health, parenting, reflection

a new year high

Part One: The end of the beginning

Trout Creek, Montana
Trout Creek, Montana

We were told only to dress warmly. The guides provided Brawny Man snow boots and gloves. They gathered the eight anxious and emotionally worn families, assured us that we would have “fun” and we headed out.

In knee-deep snow, I quickly found a cadence that allowed myself to navigate the loose powder like a gazelle, prancing over a billowy blanket. The scenery can only be described as Mother Nature at her finest meets…..Fargo.

Ahead of us, the pristine, untouched snow represented the hope and dreams of every person on that trip. By simply looking behind us, our footsteps and the wrecked, demolition of nature in our wake represented why we were on this adventure, in the first place.

For fifteen minutes we trudged, Jordan and Larkin at my sides, we were already giggling. “Where are they taking us?”  Joshua walked ahead with his new friends. I thought to myself, “He’s only know these guys for 30 days and they know everything about each other.” Then, I realized, “Hell, I’ve just met these other parents 4 days ago and I will remember them forever.” Let’s just say, you really get to know folks pretty quickly in a “group” setting.

What a week. Starting the New Year, 2013,  in Montana. At a young men’s rehab facility. What was it, that Dr. Seuss said? Ah, yes…”Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Larkin and I were not blind sighted by our son’s addiction to prescription pills. Addiction runs loyal  and deep on the male side of our family. Hello? Remember my brother-in-law’s book? (And yes, he is named after his uncle.)

Still, you’re really never prepared to watch your child pour out his heart, declare his failures and share his darkest secrets in a big circle of strangers under fluorescent lighting.

I had never been to any kind of group therapy/meeting. I had always said my last name when I met new people and I most certainly had never heard my name echoed right back to me, by a room full of people who looked exactly how I felt. Heartbroken, terrified and clueless.

We were all shell-shocked families gathering in a warm cabin, remarkably sharing the same story. We were all the same. Sure, different backgrounds, different settings. But, we all had the same questions burned into our eyes, written all … Read the rest

friends, health, motivation, reflection

inspiration for 2014

I know we have that kind of relationship. We don’t talk everyday. Yet, when we finally get together, it’s like time hasn’t passed. We don’t skip a beat. Just that kind of relationship.

I don’t want to be a buzz kill on NYE, but I am so ready for 2013 to be over. To end the longest year ever, I wanted to give you some straight up Living Lola inspiration.  Spunky anecdotes that really helped me through this tumultuous year.

These past few days have been filled with sending our kids back to their cities, cleaning out the fridge (so much damn food; Resolution #1: less waste) and willing the evergreen garland to last until the New Year or at least, heavy trash day.

The end of the holiday season always brings a little melancholy with that certain spark of hope. A clean start.  A new year.  Right after you throw out the gross food and dead evergreen remains.

Gratitude. Inspiration. Motivation. ‘Tis inevitable.

There is much to be thankful for, but there is also much work to be done. Larkin and I have big changes coming in 2014. I was just about to start making my lists, my resolutions, my game plan. Then, on the corner of Overwhelming and It Will Never Happen, I came across this:


Elana Miller, MD
Elana Miller, MD

*Beep. Beep. Beep.*….Back it up.

Twitter is a funny thing. You read 140 words from people who are like-minded. People who share your interests. People who make you laugh with the scroll of a thumb. People you’d like to drink with at a cozy, neighborhood bar.

@ElanaMD has inspired me, made me laugh, offered advice.  And, “Holy Shit…” she has cancer. She could probably use a drink, too. Her blog post announcing her diagnosis will make you reevaluate your NY resolutions. Her humanity and candor will inspire you. I welled up reading her blog post, filled with emotion. She’s on my Twitter feed, for Godsakes!

Do we cry over Twitter/blogger relationships? (Do we really capitalize “blogger” or is WordPress spellcheck just fucking with me? (Resolution #2: less colorful language)

Well, I say “yes.” (To the first question, of course. Screw the capital ‘B’. Unless you’re Beyoncé, which obviously starts with a “Queen”, anyway.)

My Twitter feed is a personal, custom-made window to the world, as I choose to see it. Roger Ebert’s amazing tweets left a huge, … Read the rest

health, lifestyle, motivation

friday, a beginning

Mary Shelley via
Mary Shelley via


On this very rainy Spring day, I find myself offering “new beginning” messages and advice to some of the closest people in my life. And, God, by no means do I have the answers. I just happen to have an over-abundance of the one thing that always seems to be the most annoying thing to the people closest in my life: a positive, self-disciplined, roll up your sleeves and show some muscle, “We can do this” spirit.

Several friends and family going through divorce. Some starting ALL over. Devastating and heart-breaking, yes. But, I also see the liberating, shake up the Etch-a-Sketch side. The fresh start. The clean slate. (This is usually where annoyance kicks in.)

Our kids, all in their twenties, are all making big life changing choices right now, as well. Ah, but that is what your twenties are for, no? The growing and maturing out from under and away from your parents. Trying on new locales, lifestyles and different jobs to see what is a good fit.

“Good fit”…hmm?….well, let me start with that.

New you. If you are trying to actually get fit, then do it now. It will never be as easy as it is in your twenties. Just saying. Make it a habit now. Get crazy about it. Fall in love with being good to your body. You will always have to be active in some way, as long as there is good food and cocktails. So start the self-discipline this minute. You will thank me when you are 47. And, you can thank me by taking me out for a cocktail.

New cities. Did you leave home to go to college, swearing you’d be back in four years? Do you stay in your college town, because it is just that awesome? Do you live where you have always dreamt of living? What holds you back? Do it now.  Now, while you’re young, nimble and traveling light. Spouses, jobs, kids weigh a freaking ton. It is so much harder to chase your dreams with a conga line of baggage. Albeit, beautiful and loving and Louis Vuitton-esque. It is still baggage. Even with the LV’s plastered all over it, it is STILL heavy.

New jobs. This is what you wanted that awesome education for, right? Get the job you love! Take your … Read the rest

empty nesters, health, home, lifestyle, motherhood, recipes

For Julia


When I began this post, I didn’t realize I would be posting it on the 100th Birthday of Julia Child. A recipe post is very apropos. Her legacy lives on in every food blog, every recipe “Pin” and every Instagram picture we share. Creating good food is an art and social media has helped up become part of this Food Appreciation culture.

Julia encouraged us all to simply TRY. She is the Godmother to all of us, the kitchen goddesses and gods everywhere, that play in our kitchens each day cooking, baking, entertaining and sharing our love of food.  Happy Birthday, Julia!


Everywhere I go, people are kicked into high gear “Back to School” mode. Especially this past week, as I have been helping my sister and her teacher/friend/colleague decorate their classroom. (Jen, what the ‘h’ do you call Carolyn?) As you can see, I have had to turn on my “teacher speak” since working at a place that molds and shapes young minds. Not easy when a hammer, nails and a power sander are involved. That is how my sister and her teacher friends speak…”What the “H”?!…”Don’t be such a ‘B’!”

That is why I could never be a teacher. I would yell, “What the HELL?” Then, open the TOP drawer of my desk for my flask. Why even bother hiding it in the bottom drawer? I have raised four children. I know exactly where the stash should be hidden: Within reach.

I remember those getting ready days. All the forms to fill out, the summer reading to cram in, the packets to pour over, trying to wind down summer sleep schedules for the brutal early mornings around the corner. I lived it. I loved it.

I do not miss it.

I listened to my sister and her friends going over “first day” itineraries and lesson plans. As I worked quietly on the bulletin boards, all I could feel was relief and gratitude wash over me. Relief, that I do not ever have to receive an email from “EDLINE” again and Gratitude, that the good Lord up above gave me the strength to survive emails from “EDLINE”.

(FunFact: Edline is an online service for students and parents to keep up with grades and assignments under the guise of being helpful, when really all it does is stress you out entirely.)

Being an empty … Read the rest

health, Martha's Vineyard, Texas, yoga

Free Hot Yoga at Home

I’m back in Texas.

Hot Home, Sweet, Hot Home.

It’s odd to be “on vacation” back in Texas. It is great to be with hubby, full-time again. We really don’t do well apart. After 24 years, we still act like teenagers talking on the phone at night for hours, when we are living bi-coastal. Go ahead. Roll your eyes.

This week is filled with “re-entry” (as a friend says), i.e. mail, restocking the fridge, remembering what is where. Also, catching up and visiting with family and friends. Two months away is a long time.

The funny thing is that here, in The Heights house, there aren’t any hungry kids popping in and out, arriving with friends or staying out late. There aren’t big meals to plan or loads of laundry (oh my God, the towels!) to stay on top of.  Here, I have my devoted Lorena, helping me to make sure our home continues to look like, well, a hotel. An empty nest perk, just you wait!

Every night, it’s a romantic dinner for two and since we live in The Heights, the restaurant mecca of Houston, it is almost criminal to NOT go out.

Who’d have thought that The Heights would become our vacation home?!

It’s pretty freaking wonderful.

Except for the stifling humidity, heat, crazy flash floods and mosquitos, that are big enough to carry Juliet away. It is almost paradise.


Juliet on the Vineyard.  No Hot “Doga” for her. She refuses to go outside in Texas unless she is dragged out, on a leash. 

So, let’s make the most of it, shall we?


The benefits of a Hot Yoga class in a yoga studio are immense. I have practiced Bikram Yoga for 11 years and maintain that it is one of the best workouts to kickstart a healthy lifestyle. It will truly change the way you look at the dreaded diet and exercise routine, forever.

In the meantime, why not give it a go by simply grabbing your mat and heading outdoors? You can take advantage of this lovely, natural God-forsaken heat.

I am currently nursing “impingement syndrome” (it’s a thing!), which is the new bursitis. Bursitis! How old am I?!  Hot Yoga on my balcony has done wonders for stretching and healing my sad shoulder. I set my mat out, 15 minutes before I want to work out and … Read the rest

health, recipes

hot yoga in a dish

I know, I know. A spicy, Indian-like chili dish in summer. But, it has been “chilly” and rainy here, so we were craving, well…chili.

With the fat burning properties of turmeric and super powers of kale combined with summer temperatures, think of it as Hot Yoga in a dish.

via eHow


Your mind, body and soul will thank you.

Healthy, Hearty Turkey, Lentil, Kale, Bean Chili



2 cups mixed lentils

2 quarts vegetable broth

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 pound ground turkey

1 large can of fire roasted tomatoes ( 28 oz)

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (I may have used 4; I really went to town)

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 can of kidney beans, optional for extra “heartiness”

2 cups chopped fresh kale

salt to taste (taste before salting; kale has a salty flavor…we don’t need extra salt)


Bring lentils and vegetable broth to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, onion, celery, ground turkey; cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly and no longer pink and looks more like ground beef, so the men-folk don’t balk; about 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, turmeric, cumin. Play with the spices to your personal level of zest-iness. Simmer about 5-10 minutes.

Stir the turkey mixture into the simmering lentils. Add the kidney beans, if you wish to do so. Continue simmering until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

Right before serving, stir in the kale and just look in awe at the gorgeous color of healthy, green goodness. I garnished with a low-fat cheddar cheese and avocado slices, because we are Texans.

The Boy, who is growing and always hungry, could only eat one bowl. He was actually satiated for one hot second.

Namaste.Read the rest


Stand tall

Nne Ekeogbede via Pinterest

Last month, I began my Pilates certification on the apparatus known as the reformer. When I have completed my training, I will be able to teach Pilates. And possibly qualify for the “B” team of Cirque du Soleil.

This is not my first certification rodeo. I am certified in floral design, feng shui and even have a throwback aerobics certification from the 80’s, before they used headset microphones.  I have sat through classes in yoga, meditation, cooking, aromatherapy, brain aging, buddhism and most recently, blogging and web design.

A “Jackie” of all trades.

My Pilates trainer, Joseph, has become my guru and mentor throughout this process. I train with him everyday and, quite honestly, he is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He is my “Mr.Miyagi.”

A few weeks back, I was working with him on the teaching dialogue of body alignment and I said, “Stand up straight.” Joseph gently corrected me, saying we are not built to stand straight, but to “stand tall.” Obviously, we each have our own curves and sinewy lines, while standing tall and correctly.

Wax on. Wax off. Stand tall.

I am a posture nazi. My daughter was 5’8 when she hit middle school and there was no way in hell I was going to let her shrink her shoulders and play it down. I wanted her to rock it like she was on the runway at NY fashion week. My kids have fond memories of me walking up behind them and jabbing “my bony finger”, as they lovingly recall, into the middle of their back. That was all I had to do when I wanted to correct them in public. At home, I just yelled, “posture”! Too bad I didn’t have “stand tall” in my mother’s arsenal, just yet.

There is so much metaphor to this simple correction. I find it creeps up in my day-to-day. When someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t honk or get angry, stand tall, take the high road, let him pass. If you’re working on something challenging, take a deep breath and stand tall. It’s just one day, you can do anything for one day. If you are unhappy in you current place in life, stand tall. Grab hold of your courage and take small, considered steps you need to better your position and take control of your life.

Read the rest
decorating, health, Latina, recipes

for the love of Kale

I had planned to post this on Friday, but had to attend a funeral in South Texas. As we made the drive from Harlingen Airport to Brownsville, I was taken aback by the sheer number of brand new fast food restaurants that lined the freeway. South Texas, known as “the valley”, is 81 percent hispanic. This many fast food options, in this area, simply does not make sense.

 “According to a national examination survey, Mexican Americans are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.  They have higher rates of end-stage renal disease, caused by diabetes, and they are 50% more likely to die from diabetes as non-Hispanic whites.” –Office of Minority Health/U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

March is National Nutrition Month. As a Latina, health conscious blogger, I felt obligated to pass along these statistics, along with good information about how vital it is to make better choices about food and your health, especially within the Hispanic community.

I’ve had so many relatives develop Diabetes, including my dad, who also survived a massive heart attack last summer. Between my mom, my sister and myself, he is lucky: he has 3 bossy, latina women in his life that tell him what to eat!  So, once more, here you go, dad: for the love of you…and Kale!

Last year, I spent my first New England winter at our vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard. MV is a popular summer haunt that depends on the tourist season to survive; many businesses and restaurants shut down for the winter. For year round residents, fresh food variety can get pretty limited and expensive.  I noticed that the market, which carries local farm produce, was always in abundance of this inexpensive, beautiful, green leafy vegetable…Kale. I was intrigued.

 In Texas, we eat greens, as well. There are plenty of southern dishes that include mustard greens, collards, cabbage and spinach. But, I wasn’t familiar with preparing kale. Well, there are as many ways to add kale to your diet, as you can imagine. Remember “Bubba” in Forrest Gump? “…shrimp gumbo, shrimp creole, shrimp kabobs….” It’s just like that with kale.

 The best news is that Kale is not just good for you. Kale is a Superfood!

And, what is one of the best foods to combat diabetes? Yep! You guessed it. is an … Read the rest