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Grey Hair, it’s so good

Going grey doesn't have to be bad. Silver hair shines beautifully. Be inspired and love your natural hair too

I first tried the year my daughter turned one, that is tried to go without coloring my hair and embrace my age.  I wasn’t quite ready. I got about 6 months in and decided I needed a “boost.” I wanted to look a little brighter and more vibrant.  So I highlighted, then lowlighted and highlighted again. Seven years later, I was spending too much time in a salon chair for my liking.  I am a bit of a perfectionist and of course with highlighting and lowlighting the look is never “exactly” the same, leaving me always a bit disappointed.  My colored hair never looked “right” to me.

Author and Mom with the beginning stages if grey hair growth and highlighted hair ends holding an infant about one year old
When my daughter was one-year, I had grown out my highlights and was showing the start of silvery strands in my part.

I have been told by enough stylists and friends to believe it, that I have “great hair” not too thick, no too thin and just right “wave.” But my color since childhood has been “dirty blond” naturally darker at the roots and lightening easily in the sun.   I never embraced it.  Now, at the age of 47 years old I am ready to embrace my “natural” hair with its now natural cool tones and slightly wild waves.

Since doing so, I found a wonderful group of women who are taking the same journey and notably for so many different reasons. Some women have mentioned a desire to reduce exposure to chemicals.   This really, had never been an issue I considered but it certainly makes sense as I have switched to more natural soaps, household cleaners and products.   The actual evidence I will post later once I research it.  Others “go grey” as a statement against societies celebration of youth while marginalizing older age. Well, go get ‘em if that is your reason: I feel more powerful and influential now as a 40-something than I ever did as a twenty-something and it is absolutely time for people to be valued for their being not their age.   Still others have mentioned cost savings, preserving condition of their hair and most recently wanting to be “naturally on-trend” with the hair color of the year . . . yes, silver has been declared hair-color of the year for 2019!!

But for me, it is all about where and how I want to spend my time.   I am passionate about saying YES to the things that truly bring me joy; while looking my very best is important to me sitting in the chair getting my hair colored is NOT included on that list.  This notion is in no way directed to all the lovely and talented people who have poured their artistry over this mane.  I have so many other things I would rather be doing and I no longer feel the need for it.   I believe my “boost” to look brighter and more vibrant comes from inside. Hydration, nutrition, exercise and self –love radiate from my eyes and my complexion (great skin care helps a ton too).    I have gone beyond acceptance of my age and I am in a place where I want to celebrate it, rejoice in it and help others feel fantastically vibrant too. 

I would much rather be enjoying my time with family and friends

These are my top three tips for starting your transition too:

1. Find a support group

I don’t exactly remember how I found the Silver Circle but I asked to join this closed Facebook Group and have been forever thankful.  In addition to feeling inspired by other women (and some men) on their own journey to dye-free hair there is also an abundance of tips, tricks and advice from shampoos to do-it-yourself strategies.  I love it!  There are many others: Going Grey Gracefully, Silver on Purpose and Going Grey to name a few.

Of course in person supports help too so make sure your friends, spouse and kids know what your doing and why . . . so they can encourage you too.

2. Talk to your stylist

I spoke with my stylist who did not get it or just didn’t agree and instead ended up doing some color which set me back about 3 months.  So if your stylist isn’t on board then find a new one.  Talk with them about what is best for you.  Some people will remove color to decrease the demarcation line, lighten their hair and color it grey to match the roots (NOT for most due to cost, time and subsequent damage to hair) or adding highlights to minimize and break-up the line.  I did the latter also known as grey hair ombre, which has eased my transition tremendously.

3. Increase your self-care 

Hair like skin depends on proper hydration and nutrition to look its very best.  So amp up your self-care.  Drink at least as many ounces of water as half if not more of your body weight  (lbs.) in water for ex if you weigh 140 lbs., you should drink at least 70 oz. of water a day and that is a minimum!!  Make sure you get enough; I cannot emphasize this enough.  Also pay attention to your nutrition.  More on this in a future post but at minimum focus on getting enough Vitamin B7, D, Magnesium and Calcium.  How?  Yogurt, spinach, eggs, almonds and quinoa are ALL a good place to start!

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Goal Setting for a Successful Life

Goal Setting, Happy Goals, feel happy, New Years Resolution

In the Spring of 2017, I was hard charging toward some BIG goals. Unfortunately, I found myself running hard and getting nowhere fast. What was my problem? Why couldn’t I “just do it”? There were many reasons: I really didn’t know where I was going and even if I knew, I didn’t have time to do the work it would require.

 

So I dove in deep to the world of Goal Setting and Productivity. I listened to POD Casts, I read articles and books and I set out to become a subject matter expert so I could finally “just do it.” And then I did and I also shared what I learned in a recorded call that was subsequently listened to Live and then on repeat by thousands of go-getters just like you.

 

With the New Year, I decided to revisit that call and those strategies so I can make my 2019 the best year in terms of setting goals and smashing them in the most efficient ways possible aka in the pukas (Hawaiian term for “holes”) of my life! Today I want to share that call with you so that you can get to smashing your goals too.

I also wanted two short “assignments” to get you started, one for if you have never really thought about your personal goals and another for if you have already identified your goals but can’t seem to get started! Watch now.

https://youtu.be/EIs3aUzxB4s

 

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Fashion over 40 . . . doesn’t have to be dull

over 40 style and fashion

In my twenties, I used to ask myself, could a 70-something year-old women wear this? If the answer was yes, I would try not to wear it.  I have always been a drawn to classic, sophisticated clothing – some might even say a “more mature” look.   But, I also wanted to be age-appropriate, a little boho, edgy, preppy and occasionally even trendy!  My style was well, all over the map.  Back then, I wasn’t confident to rock my own style so even if I loved the St John blazer, I could neither afford it nor pull off  the look, plagued with self doubt as I was.  I resigned to buying and wearing what was easily purchased at mass retailers and inevitably, soon to be thrown away due to poor quality or quickly changing trends.

But now, now it is a whole different story.  At 46 years, I have found a way to think for myself outloud with style.  This self assuredness allows me to go beyond the trend and actually present myself creatively with joy and fun! And although St John clothing has yet to find its way in my closet, being both cost prohibitive and perhaps a bit “too mature,” in reality I could  rock it without pause on both counts!

Lovely HUNTER BOOTS.  I had longed for years to wear boots like these.   I debated hard over the High Gloss versus the Original and went with the High Gloss for easier care.  Similar can be purchased at Nordstrom.

 

Love these high rise, super skinny Levi 721 jeans. They are as flattering as they are comfortable.  I couldn’t be happier that low-rise are out of style. Similar can be purchased at Nordstrom.

Here I am sporting a J.Crew wool sweater and a classic wool scarf purchased in Germany! My hope these days is to share my style, inspire you to define your own and chat a little bit about the benefits of spending more on classic pieces that will serve you over time and reduce the impact of throw-away fashion.

 

 

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5 Habits to Manage Burnout

recover from burnout, burn out,

When I went through medical school, there was no talk about burnout, resilience or managing my many hats as a military officer, wife, mother and oh yes, physician.  Somehow these issues weren’t discussed instead the focus was on patient needs over personal needs, self-sacrifice, and getting the job done no matter what the personal cost.  Obviously, this culture of self-denial was not healthy or sustainable. Yet, it wasn’t until I had my first child that the ridiculousness of this mentality became apparent to me.

My daughter and I at my promotion ceremony.

Being a Physician Officer is a blessing and a challenge.

It was about that same time, that physician suicide also came on my radar in a very personal way: a physician at my facility suicided.  So I started studying burnout and physician depression. I also began reaching out to physicians who were under increased stress; either struggling in residency, having experienced an unexpected outcome or under increased scrutiny for whatever reason.  Talk about painful.

My career took a swift turn toward caring for physicians who were “burned out” and struggling. Soon, my own “mom guilt,” high personal standards and unhealthy drive led me down a similar path  as well. One I’ll share later. But for now, these are my top 5 tips for managing burnout as a professional woman no matter what your career field:

  1. Call it by its name

So often we attribute our fatigue, sadness and lack of motivation to “being a working mom.”  We tell ourselves “of course I am going to feel blah I work hard.”  But it does not have to be this way if we recognize it for what it is and do something about it.

Burn-out is characterized by three things: emotional exhaustion, a withdrawal from relationships and an approach to others marked by cynicism and a sour, callous attitude, and finally a sense that the work you do, doesn’t matter.

For women, the first sign is usually emotional and physical exhaustion, trouble sleeping and waking feeling tired. Many professionals feel a bit tired at the end of the day but with burnout you never recover, even after a long weekend.  This is a red flag, if you feel exhausted between shifts then call it what it is, burnout! Then do something!

  1. Eat enough and Eat Clean

Our jobs are hard and we run from one thing to the next, often skipping meals or eating processed, readily available “junk.”  It may not be enough calories and it is likely not nutritionally sound. Start simply by taking steps to eat clean.  What does that mean? Eat foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.  The easiest and simplest solution, LOTS of fresh vegetables and fruit.  My easy morning routine includes a simple “green smoothie” and I do meal preparation for the week of lunches on Sundays.  Easy peasy!

My favorite smoothie recipe is so simple 1:1:1.5

I cup of greens (I like baby spinach)

1 cup of almond milk

1.5 cup of ripe fruit (I usually use blueberries or pineapple – frozen)

tips: to avoid leafy chunks blend almond milk and leafy greens FIRST, add the fruit second and if you use non-frozen fruit throw in some ice cubes

  1. Exercise, every damn day

It is counter-intuitive but exercise gives you energy and you need energy so do it. It can be whatever you love.  It is important to schedule it just as you would an important meeting and do NOT flake on yourself.  You are too important.  Moving every day is not only good for your body but it is also good for your mind. It allows you to get out of your head and into feeling the power of YOU! With time you will start to see improvement in your endurance and strength, giving a boost to your self esteem (which likely has been suffering a bit as well).

An easy way to get started is to simply walk.  Set your alarm 30 minutes early, put on some tennis shoes and get outside. Using your senses, enjoy the experience: smell the world around you, note the temperature of the air, feel the wind on your cheeks and listen to the sounds of birds, dogs, cars, whatever.

  1. Take action to schedule JOY

Use Sunday as a day to prepare for your self-care during the next week.  It need not be elaborate or complicated and in fact, it shouldn’t be otherwise you won’t do it.   Really think about what brings you joy, makes you smile or has you feeling inspired, then schedule it or work to have more of it in your schedule.

At home with two children, I rarely get a moment for myself so I have created a skincare ritual that brings me joy.  It’s easy to escape to my bathroom for 5 minutes, shut the door and take care of me. Plus, my skin looks better than it has in years and I love looking and thus, feeling my very best!  I also love time with friends but I don’t often have the availability to do a big “girls night out” instead I do a two-fer!  I meet up with a girlfriend for a walk . . . wham bam, exercise and gal-pal time in a quick hour.

At work, I enjoy a cup of tea in the afternoon.  The warmth of the mug, the smell of lemongrass and green tea bring me calm.  I take 5 minutes and do nothing but drink my tea and enjoy it.  It is a priority, it centers me and then I am ready to tackle my less enjoyable work requirements such as notes in the electronic medical record.

5. Find meaning in the moment

If you are burned out then it may seem like the work you are doing really doesn’t make a big difference.  That is the burnout talking, you’ve recognized it as such (#1) but it is not so easy to shake that feeling.  Think about the work experiences that are in line with your personal goals and passions (or what they were) and search for those moments in your day.  You are likely out of practice since your brain has been a bit cynical and negative.  So make an effort and heck, challenge yourself to write two to three things daily that resulted in a positive outcome or had a positive influence on others.  At the end of the day and first thing the next morning, review your list.  Pretty soon, you will be orienting to good, to the meaning of what it is you do.  It really doesn’t matter how big or small the action or event.

This is just a start and event these may seem overwhelming at first so pick ONE to start with then add another and another.  Eventually, you will be feeling better one moment, one action at a time. It is a series of small steps that if done consistently will bring you big results.

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Which one and Why . . .WOW, beauty matters

skin care for all types, beauty matters,

Being balanced has always been a bit of challenge for me.  In fact, once I start on a path of action I tend to push hard in that direction until I am done.  It is a trait that served me well in Medicine since really no one in their right mind would go through the training if they looked at the time-cost benefit.   With that being my nature,  I started down the organic, all-natural path myself many years ago (which is great, I thought)  but I got stuck.   I  like to live healthy and make good choices but I am also a bit thrifty and I like results from my products. I simply could not rationalize spending the extra money for products with so-so results and that maybe did or did not impact health.  My skepticism was increased even more when I found out that products labeled “organic” didn’t really have to meet high standards.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland is rich in minerals like silica and sulfur, thought to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis.

I dove in to the literature and found an incredible amount of information available (while some topics remained untouched) about which self care and beauty products are the best, safest and most effective.  So much so, that it was difficult to sort through it all let alone make a decision about which products were right for me.  It was so confusing!  One day on a  long walk with a friend, several questions came up about this exact topic: do we need to worry about our personal care products?   Then and there we coined the term “beautifully balanced.” Acknowledging that while, we will try our best to make “good” choices we will also accept that sometimes there is limited to no risk and much more benefit to traditional products.

In the Which one and Why  (WOW) series, I want to explore the wellness and selfcare choices we make every day in our beauty and personal use products to answer this sort of question, which one is best and why? Does organic soap really matter? what about natural deodorant? and so many other similar questions. I want to present the actual data in terms of impact on health balanced with efficacy and risk so that you can decide which one, and why that product you use every day is the right one for you.

While my skin felt fabulous, my daughter complained of burning and irritation. Natural, yes but right for everyone, perhaps not.