Thursday, October 30, 2014

All About That Bass… and That Treble

Post by Allie Sheetz for the Love for Love series.

image found on

Now at this point y’all are probably pretty used to me catching up with you once a month to chat about love of all things animal, but today I want to talk about something a little different. Love of all things You, and of all things Me, and of all things We. I want to talk about a different way we give and receive love – through our own bodies.

I know Body Image has been talked to death and back, but with society’s recent focus on that Boom! Boom! I’ve got some (maybe) new thoughts to share. So if you would, please excuse me while I ring the Body Image bell one more time…

Lately society seems to be All About That Bass, which is totally great. I love the song. I love Meghan Trainor. I definitely love the video and I love the message she is sending – for the most part - because it’s great for those who have or want a more voluptuous figure. It makes that bodacious bod cool and sexy again; a classic example of how society dictates what is and what is not desirable. I mean really, the sigh of relief from the millions of girls and women who have been fighting their waistline for decades is all but palpable.

But what isn’t discussed much is how this most recent change in the definition of sexy casts out those who might be, quite naturally or otherwise, bean poles. Of course this isn’t the intention, at least not of most. One would hope that the booty’s surging popularity didn’t come about as a way of shaming or “getting back at” the naturally thin people of the world – people who were once described as “genetically privileged” back when skinny was sexy. Meghan Trainor isn’t sticking it to the “skinny bitches” she refers to in her song. But either way, as the pendulum of popularity swings back towards a fuller figure, someone is left out.

I wasn’t alive in the fabulous days of Marilyn so I can’t speak to what was praised or shamed. I do know that when Skinny took over the mainstream definition of sexy anything but a slim and sleek figure was cast out. Fad diets began their hay day period and liposuction dreams were born. Everyone was desperate to get rid of all the junk in the trunk and trim away muffin tops. Rates of eating disorders began to climb to the unprecedented levels we know them to be at today. Thinspiration took hold. Thigh gaps - all the rage.

Now, please remember that I am not bashing (or praising) the Skinny Era. I am simply recapping what happened when the pendulum swung in the opposite direction. Besides, there were good things that came about from that period too - one being the focus on eating a more balanced diet, another being the consideration and importance of exercise which we all know to be wonderful when approached mindfully and with an eye on overall health & well-being. But at the same time, body image became a serious stressor for anyone who didn’t fit society’s definition of “sexy.”

The same thing is happening now. People don’t talk about it, but it’s there – the insatiable desire and relentless pressure to manipulate one’s body to fill the mold chiseled out, not by your genetics or God or source or whatever you want to call your natural framework, but by popular opinion. People who were once looked upon with envy and jealousy for their (inherent or otherwise) sleek figure are now given the cold shoulder as we turn our collective focus to a curve here and a bam! there.

Again, this doesn’t have to be intentional. I like to believe that it isn’t. No one is to blame; it’s simply part of the human condition that emphasizes duality. This or that. Black or white. But if we’re to experience this life for all it is, we need to embrace all that it is, and all that we are - a return to wholeness, embracing every form and figure. Let us give ourselves permission to fill whatever form we take, as long as we feel vibrant and nourished. Readjust our focus back home, rather than out there. Ultimately it all comes back to self-love (surprise!) and holding yourself accountable for staying true to #1 – yourself.

So here’s to all that bass, and all that treble too, because I personally like a well-rounded piece of music. After all, what would Ave Maria sound like without both hands on the keyboard? Not the same, that’s for sure. XX

Allie is the heart & creator behind Allie’s Grandola, specializing in the fine art of oats & nuts. 

She sells her handmade, gluten-free and vegan granola at

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's all part of the process

Post by Laura Summers for the Love for Love series.

Late Fall reflection by Ron Reiring on Flickr

Fall has always been my favorite season for all the obvious reasons; my birthday, Halloween, fuzzy socks and woolly sweaters. I’m happiest with the window open, snuggled under a blanket with a book. Oh! – and the deep orange, red, and ochre leaves that pile on the ground and crunch under my feet.

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Weather-wise, it is a winter wonderland for the better part of the year (or it feels that way by February anyway). Sometimes we go from winter to summer with very little transition and we lose the very important spring and fall seasons. I always feel cheated out of fall when that happens. I have always felt uniquely connected to the transitional properties of fall. It is the time I feel intuitively withdrawn. I spend more time with the introverted parts of my personality. Physically and mentally, I slow down - way down. I read more. I write more. I work to create safe and comforting spaces for myself both outside of and within myself. Fall is the time of year I feel most like myself.

Preparing for the coming year, I reflect on the days gone by. Doing this keeps me grounded. Just as the leaves are changing, I am changing. I feel the girl of the past shedding parts of her former self to make room for new growth in the spring. In allowing my bare branches to show, I practice vulnerability. This process is necessary, and completely natural.

As November creeps up on us, the air gets crisp and the dark comes early. As winter approaches it can feel like loss. It can feel like a gradual sadness settling in. The challenge is to embrace the opportunity we get to hibernate.

Go to bed early.
Sleep late.
Layer clothing and stay warm.
Slow the pace of your life.

When you emerge in spring, having shed your winter coat, you’ll realize the change in seasons is all part of the process.

~ Missed the first 4 parts in this series? No problem! 

 Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 ~

Finding that honesty was ALWAYS the best policy and that forgiveness is a gift she strives to live in line with those values. 

Mama to a college quarterback and a rescue pup, she finds joy in a touchdown pass and go fetch. 

Ever working on improving herself, she'll finally have that bachelors degree in the Spring.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beauty Bullies

Post by Lynn DeVasto for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of

I have a friend who had somebody tell her she had fat knees and heavy legs when she was in her mid 20's. As a result, she always wore pants, never skirts or dresses. She was also told that she had to "make it" in her chosen field by the time she was 35 or she would be washed up. These are just a few "stories" that were imposed on her and unfortunately imprinted themselves on her psyche. As a result, when she hit 35, she pretty much gave up. She woke up in the morning, rolled out of bed, put on jeans and her Uggs, with no time or energy for makeup, put her hair in a ponytail and went to work, doing the bare minimum only to come home and start all over again the next day.

I feel for this woman, not only because she is my friend, but because I can relate to her. As somebody who was bullied as a child as well as struggle weight issues all of my adult life, I understand the hiding, the despair, the giving up. I understand how easy it is for body and age issues to beat you down. We are the same age (mid 40's), and STILL, almost every day somebody will make a snide comment about her weight and how she dresses.

Here's her reality, the public face in front of the hidden stories. My friend did a lot of self work, years of counseling, years of self awareness and lots of self love. A decade after she was told she would be washed up, she is a Style and Beauty Expert, has been featured in publications such as WebMD and is a prolific fashion blogger. She is frequently stopped randomly on the street to be photographed for the Style sections of newspapers and magazines. (For some reason this has never happened for me?!?) She is beautiful, both inside and out, the kind of beautiful that rescues animals and the kind of beautiful that is a little intimidating when you first meet her. And so, people tend to stop right there and make up their own stories to diminish her beauty to make themselves feel better.

We all want to be loved for who we are, so it's time for each of us to start doing what we wish others would do with us, which is to look beyond our physical looks, age, race, whatever it may be...and look to our souls to discover the true beauty that we hold deep within our beings.

To healthy and happy,

Lynn DeVasto is the owner of Live and Love Your Life, which helps you deal with the trifecta of Food, Fitness and Feelings. She has taken her experience of losing 90 pounds and her certifications in Personal Training, Holistic Wellness Coaching, Sports Nutrition and Barre to create a premium coaching experience. This allows you manage your health in a way that works for you instead of against you. Click HERE to get her juicy tips to Live and Love Your Life!
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Monday, October 27, 2014

I refuse to be reduced by what happens to me

photo by Jenny Ingalls Nelson

I am privileged to know some people who truly live this saying. Recently, a friend-of-a-friend (someone I'm friends with on Facebook, but have only met a couple of times), posted that his brother was killed. Clearly this is horrific and he received an appropriate outpouring of love and support.

A few weeks later, he posted an update. He said that he was lucky.


Yes, lucky. He wrote a beautiful update about how grateful he was to have had the time he had with his brother, and how the outpouring of love and support from friends was a gift.

I immediately commented and told him that he's awesome. To me, he truly epitomized the kind of person who can be changed by a situation, but not reduced by it. I started thinking how easy, and completely understandable, it would be to be reduced by that situation, but he's choosing to be changed by it. To appreciate things, to be grateful for what was, and to live what is.

That small Facebook post will stick with me for a long time. Quotes are wonderful, and clearly I love them, but to see a real life example of someone living this quote, was something that definitely impacted me.

Thanks for being on this journey with me.
❤, Lara

CLICK TO TWEET today's Monday Motivator: I refuse to be reduced by what happens to me.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Along came a pusher…

Post by Carina Lyall for the Kind Kindred series.

look within wax seal necklace created by PlumAndPoseyInc on

This past winter it had been snowing a great deal in Denmark. It was piled up everywhere in our neighborhood, and it was hard to get around with a stroller.

One day my daughter and I were on our way home from a play date. We and the stroller got stuck in the snow. I'm sure if I had brought out my inner Hulk I could have gotten us out...but hey, sometimes you just have to throw in the “Please help me” card.

Several people walked by, and no one stopped to help. It was dark, we were cold and I just couldn’t seem to yank it out of there.

We lived in a very colorful part of town, where pushers, sex shops, prostitutes and families live side by side. Anyway...a pusher stopped to help us out. No questions asked, he just stopped, took the stroller and carried it out of the snow. He asked if that was all, I said thank you, and we parted.

Out of all the people on the street I never thought he would stop. Why I wonder? Was it because I thought he was a pusher, and just automatically didn't think any good was there to be found? Was it because I feel very strongly about his line of "work" and therefore he couldn't be capable of doing something nice for someone?

Was I blind to the fact that he was someone I could ask? It doesn't change how I feel about pushing drugs on the street. But I don't know ANYTHING about him or his story. I really don't even know if he is a pusher. He didn’t offer me any crack…I just saw him hang out on that corner. Yet I had put him in a box before he even looked my way. Do we reject kindness because we reject the giver?

Being caught up in all this judgment, and thinking "I know how the world works" happens at other times as well. How many acts of kindness have I missed due to this?

We think we know how our partner will react, what he/she will say, what our kids will be like when they get up in the morning, what our boss will say when we call in sick, and even how we, ourselves, will feel or react to certain events in our lives.

I am sure if we opened our hearts and minds a little, our experiences could change. We could see new sides of others and ourselves. Can the "evil" on the street also be caring? Maybe the boss won't be mad but give you a get well call. Maybe our partner isn't such a pain all the time, and our inner demons become our teachers.

I love the quality of an open mind. Children have it by nature, but it seems to fade as you grow up - for many reasons. But it is there in all of us, and it can, with intention, be present in our lives. It gives us a way of letting go of stuck perceptions and patterns and gives us a fresh start in every moment. We don't really know what will happen next.

Thinking we do and thinking we know what others will do might leave us missing out on the beauty of life - the surprises. The quality of giving ourselves and others a chance to grow and change, because we look for their truth rather than only see our own, is amazing. So thank you “mister on the street that day” for reminding me to stay open.

Carina Lyall is a story worker, meditation teacher and mother of two girls. She works with women to re-connect to themselves and support them to show up exactly as they are. 

Carina is passionate about the theme of belonging and connection and the impact it can have on us if we don’t feel that in our lives. 

She can be found Online and on Facebook 
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's all part of the process

Post by Laura Summers for the Love for Love series.

Awakening the Goddess by Bosnart on Etsy

After a volatile breakup, wrought with infidelity and the like, it is easy – too easy, in fact – to cloak oneself in the pain of betrayal. Wrapped up in the warmth of resentment, tucked in the furry fleece of contempt, our thoughts can become powerfully dangerous. The transition from confident woman to wailing waif is unsettling and there is always someone on whom to lay blame.

The process of separating oneself from responsibility is instinctual. It’s a mechanism of survival, I believe. A Woman Scorned has a powerful ring. Friends will willingly climb aboard your pity train (for the purpose of providing solace and solidarity.) Family will sing the “I-told-you-so” refrain, but then be there for you every step of the way. These offers of support, although well-meaning, will serve to cocoon your damaged heart. They will serve as the buffer you need to feel the righteous indignation to any person who dared leave a footprint on your fragile heart, not to mention ego.

Now, with others at your side, you feel especially justified in your anger - validated in the unkind words you speak and completely absolved of your own participation in the demise of your relationship. If you’ve never been in this place, I bow at your feet, for you are far more developed than I. I have engaged with my lizard brain on more occasions that I would like to admit, and although behavior has some fascinating stories to tell, each of them ends the same way. Me - sorrowful and more than just a little ashamed for having reacted and/or OVER-reacted.

It seems obvious now that I have been enslaved by my own lack of self-control. Telling my story, owning my shit, and consciously working to rid myself of thoughts and behaviors that haven’t served me well is a path I MUST set my feet to E-V-E-R-Y Single Day. It is because out of my most dishonorable moments was born my desire to stop allowing myself to regress into conduct that is inappropriate. Isn’t that how growth works?

Sound like a lot of time and energy thinking about you and the way you think and act in the world around you? Yeah? So what if it is? It is perhaps the most meaningful time and energy I’ve ever spent on myself. The process of personal evolution brings with it a unique reward; the extraordinary ability to seek out in oneself and in others stronger qualities of human kindness and acceptance.

Finding that honesty was ALWAYS the best policy and that forgiveness is a gift she strives to live in line with those values. 

Mama to a college quarterback and a rescue pup, she finds joy in a touchdown pass and go fetch. 

Ever working on improving herself, she'll finally have that bachelors degree in the Spring.

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