How DO I Look?

I grew up in a small town, was a good student and swam competitively from the age of 6 on. I never focused on my body weight, body shape or foods that I ate. I was CONTENT with myself!

Then, I was discovered and swept up into the New York scene right when I graduated high school. All of my friends were at beer parties and eating pizza in their new college campuses and I was in New York City in an apartment wondering how many carrot sticks I could have for dinner. One night my roommate Kelly Emberg came home and caught me eating a whole head of iceberg lettuce. She laughed at me and I started to cry because that was all I was eating that day. “It’s only 50 calories”, I sobbed.

I had to learn quickly at 18 years old how to maintain my weight and still have enough energy to “look good”. It took years of trying new diets to figure this out. I even wrote an eBook on Amazon called DIETING LESSONS.

One day working with VOGUE and Irving Penn, a famous photographer, I decided that I was too fat and boycotted breakfast and actually stood up through lunch, waiting to go on set to shoot the clothes. I stood as I didn’t want to wrinkle the clothes and Mr Penn had called a quick lunch when I was already dressed in the outfit. It was easier to stay dressed than change in and out of the clothes. When it came time to go on set, Mr Penn took one look through his famous lens and declared that I had no life in my eyes. I was banned from the set and never worked with him again. So much for not eating, huh?

I thought being thinner would mean I was more desirable as a model and to be honest, I still struggle with that. I still worry that I am not good enough.

Many of us struggle with body image. I look back on growing up and realize that it was a good thing to be so ignorant about how I looked. A part of me envies that innocence in certain people. They just have no idea or don’t care how they look walking around. I was content living that way as I didn’t know any better. Now, I see myself through others eyes from years of being trained. I know how I look to others from each angle and how to present myself to the camera. I learned from feedback how to stand or sit and how to relax my face to look my best from each angle. Sometimes it is kicking a leg out casually or putting my hand on my hip. It may look natural but it is from years of other people telling me what looks good and what I should never do again.

So, is it right to just accept ourselves without trying to present our best selves to the world or should we work on it daily? How much is too much, worrying about how we look to others?

Struggle

I was in South Florida the other week at my hotel getting ready to film at the kitchen set for my new tv show, Food Quest. I had time before I had to be on set so I decided to head out for a run. As I pushed open the hotel front door, I realized how windy it was. I decided, like any good runner, to head into the wind on the first part of my journey and be able to take it easy on the way back.

 

As I ran, struggling into the wind, I felt like I was enduring it. The wind was strong with heavy gusts between the buildings along the way. It was work and not once did I forget that it was windy out.

 

A I turned around, my whole perception changed! All of a sudden it was quiet and almost peaceful. Very quickly I forgot about the wind and started to enjoy my surroundings.

 

I noticed that as I turned around, I was a grateful for a reprieve from so much wind but then I quickly forgot about it. Instead I almost had a hint of pride as my stride got longer and I felt faster with a smooth, strong gait. I had to remind myself that the wind that hindered me on the first half of the run was now my friend pushing me from behind. I became grateful for that same wind as it guided me back to the hotel.

 

I think we are like this in life. When we struggle, all of our attention is on the struggle. We can’t wait for the struggle to be over. Once it is over, we quickly forget and can sometimes let pride sneak in thinking we are succeeding on our own. We aren’t. We were self absorbed in our own struggles and maybe could have forgotten about them for a bit by reaching out and helping someone else in need. 

 

Sometimes life is calm. Calm enough to enjoy your surroundings and feel like you have things under control. Life seems easy. You have hit your stride. Remember to feel grateful during these times. It is not by your own steam. Sometimes that wind that you had to push through is the very same wind that will turn you around and get you back to your finish line.

 

DETOX

Detox!!!

 

Detoxing is all I can focus on right now. Out with the “OLD” and “IN” with the new!!!

I have done numerous detoxes over the years.I have done them one organ at a time like a liver cleanse, a kidney cleanse and of course colon cleanses…I have never done them for a whole month with easy to follow recipes, until now.

I found this company called Green Smoothie Girl and she developed a 26 day cleansing of all organs. I watched the videos on how detoxing can be good for health and decided to do one with my new husband. I am actually kind of making him do it with me, as it is easier to do with a buddy. 

For those of you who have not done any cleansing, I would recommend getting up out of your comfort zone and learning about them. Some are harsh and you are just down right miserable the whole time counting seconds until you can go back to eating the same. I have done enough over the years along with high colonics to know what a wonderful feeling it is to be cleaned out from the inside. I have left the colonic place vowing to never let junk food into my cleaned up body again. What happens? Time and slowly forgetting that clean, light feeling.

Well, I am back! I am reading up on how great cleansing and detoxing is and I am ready to take on the new challenge. I am on a trip and so excited that I decided to take out some of the bad foods that won't be allowed anyways on the cleanse like coffee, dairy, sugar, salt and animal flesh. I have been drinking teas to help get things moving like Smooth Move and found that I got a "jump" on the cleanse. Water weight is coming off and I feel better already!

I will keep you up to date when I start, which I hope is New Years Eve and how I feel so you can learn and possibly get excited to change your health also.

 

Winter Discipline

Well, it is still winter here in New York City. Even though it has been a mild one, I still find that I am stir crazy and waiting for spring. Little purple crocuses were just starting to bloom in Central Park and then we got hit with a ton of snow. It can be discouraging. For those of you who live in warm sunny weather year around, bear with me in this article.

 

I have had to find ways to keep my mind happy while being alone in the big city. Normally when it is nice outside, I can go for a long walk or head over to Central park to hang with a wonderful collection on human beings, but it is cold outside! I need a change of plans! Being self employed and having my own hours to get stuff done out of my apartment leaves a lot of wiggle time to juggle things around. I find that I am happiest when I stay on top of things and be disciplined with my time and tasks. I also have to watch what I eat while cooped up during these winter months. It would be way too easy to sit back and hibernate while shoveling in more food than I need. (Do you love that verb “shoveling”?)

 

I love going to my health club and find that I am spinning a lot. Not only does the fellowship of a class help me but I love the competition and also the knowledge of burning a ton of calories. Since I have to sign up a day early, I find that I look forward to working around my spin class and organize it around all my other activities. It is nice to look forward to a crazy spin class.

 

I also have a “spa” tip called hydrotherapy. After my work out and then the steam room, I head to the showers to get clean but also use that time to stimulate my lymphatic system. I am super hot coming out of the steam room and when I go into the shower, I put on the cold water for 30 seconds before turning it to the hot setting. During body washing, shampoo and conditioner I make sure that I turn the cold water on for 30 seconds three times in between the 3 minutes or so for the hotter water. This helps me pump and circulate my lymph system removing waste products and helps my immune system kick into action also. I feel vibrant when I come out of the showers! Our lymphatic system plays a vital role in removing waste products that we are exposed to daily. Don’t get me started in all of the toxins around us! The hydrotherapy also helps me have healthier hair, glowing skin, less stress and improved energy levels. BONUS.

 

When it is cold out, I also love to have a tea in the afternoon. I have found an interesting tea called Jiaogulan that claims to be the herb of immortality. I can’t make those claims and wonder who can but I DO find that I like the tea with both the taste and how it makes me feel. It doesn't have caffeine but I also don’t want to drink it late at night!

 

So, if you find you are struggling with winter blues, try stimulating yourself in one of the ways above, stay disciplined and let me know how you do! You are not alone!

 

Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground

When I first moved to NYC at eighteen, I had come from a small town and a quiet family that didn't argue much. Coming from a small town, I didn't know the meaning of fighting for space. Growing up with no conflict in my home, I didn't learn to stand up for myself the way other people had to, coming from either a bigger family in a smaller house or a family that loves to argue. Yes, there are families that love and thrive on arguing!

 

I was timid to say the least moving from my little hometown to the big city. I was also timid jumping into a new business that I didn't understand. My only photos taken of me growing up were simple ones where I didn't even know that I should be doing certain things to make the photo look better. I had also not really worn make up and I had long, straight hair that I left alone. 

 

When I started working as a model in New York City I found that I stayed quiet a lot and just watched and learned from the experts in my business. I slowly learned what to do in front of the camera and how to put on my make up and do my hair and I became more confident. When I would hit the streets to either go on a casting or a new job, I found that I was always letting other people go by on the sidewalk and stepping aside anywhere else there were people fighting for space.

 

Years have gone by since then and I find myself back in New York City. I am back to stepping aside for others thinking I am being polite. No one seems to care. I find that I have to tell myself that I have a right to my space on the sidewalk and that I don't have to step aside or dip my shoulder in order not to hit someone. I have found that when I stand my ground, at the last minute people make way for me. It is a struggle though as my tendency is to not fight but to give way. I am finding it empowering to keep my course on the sidewalk and to not make the effort to give others more space.

 

You may come from being raised differently than me. Maybe you don't get the stepping aside thing. I find that some people don't even know or care that I let them go first. They expect it!

So, as a Christian woman, what is the right thing to do? My struggle is feeling that I am good enough. I always seems to come down to that. I have to tell myself that I don’t have to step aside for others but that if I chose to, then I am doing it for me, so that I feel better as a person. Who knows, maybe being polite will pay off!

Happy and Single at Christmas

Coming out of Christmas Happy!

Christmas ended up being different this year after being divorced for the last 3 years. I came back to the town I last lived in while married and raising the kids. I have moved around to different cities to live in the last 38 years since I left my parents house to move to New York City to model, so I didn't have solid traditions. Once I got married though, at 25, I always had my husband or kids with me to take care of and celebrate Christmas with. 

This year, everything was different as I was single with no husband and grown children with lives of their own. It was hard to come back to a place with so many memories, especially at Christmas time. I wanted to be with family though and 2 of my 3 sons were here as well as my sister and my parents. I have been divorced for 3 years and this is the first Christmas that I have been strong enough to come back to all the memories.

If you have not been through divorce you may not understand what I am talking about but to all of us who are trying to rebuild a life after divorce, coming back can be difficult. To "get though" Christmas, I found that I had to prepare to be alone for some of it and not really have any expectations as I knew I didn't want to be disappointed. I was trying to guard my emotions.

I came down for a week and ended up staying at 3 separate friends houses. Focusing on that right there makes me so grateful and blessed that I had those options opened and friends who cared enough to see me  even though I moved away and our friendships changed.

I tried to see my sons as much as I could and work around them and their schedules this past week. I recognized that I raised them to be independent and if they were busy, I chose to feel confident that I raised happy, healthy kids who had a life instead of feeling neglected by them. I want them to have their own lives. I didn't want to put pressure on them just because I was down for a visit. And it was Christmas. It ended up working out really well and I had a great time with both of them.

Christmas can be such a tough time for so many. I learned to enjoy each moment and situation as it comes. To tried to make plans to see people but also to understand when schedules change. It is a matter of being comfortable with yourself no matter what and to focus on the real reason for Christmas. It isn't delivering presents or getting them as much as it is celebrating the birth of Jesus and the love of family whatever the situation. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas also.

Reflections of 2016

I have learned so much since moving to New York and I wanted to share some of it in celebration of 2016 coming to a close.

I find that I am happy and thriving in the heart of New York City even though I am such a nature girl and animal lover. I do like to get out of the city at least one weekend a month for my sanity. It seems to ground me and let me be able to enjoy NYC all the more. 

 

I look back on 2016 and am amazed at myself for the big LIFE steps I have taken. I wonder why I am not only okay with the big life changes but really happy and thriving. So I asked myself what I have learned in 2016 and why learning is so important to me.

 

I find that I need to grow and learn new things to stay happy. I find I do not want to be stagnant. I left my small town where I grew up just two days after turning 18 to move to NYC and start a new career. Two days after that, I hopped on a plane to Rome and Paris for the collections with Harpers Bazaar. Just days after that I had my first magazine cover for Harper’s Bazaar Italia. That was a busy month! The whole 18 years before that I had been existing in comfort; the same town with the same friends and stores and neighborhoods. How could I just take off and make such big life decisions at 18 and be fine with it? I actually do not know the answer to that but I not only survived, I thrived!

 

I look back at all the people I have had the privilege to meet since I moved back to NYC this past summer. In the last 3 months, I have met the most creative, interesting people who are genuinely kind and caring. I have met people with different beliefs than I have from numerous countries all over the world and find that they are easy and wonderful people to talk to. I also ma able to approach beggars in the street and have conversations with them and treat them like real people. I used to be scared of them!

 

I don’t seem to mind putting myself into new situations by attending events alone. Last night I walked into a ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel for a Policeman's Charity Ball. I was unaccompanied but meeting the friend and his wife who was putting the event on. I met many new people and enjoyed myself and found that I was okay and I could still be happy alone. I wanted to be with people helping out the charity event instead of being home.

 

So, I have learned that I don’t need a man to make me happy. I love people. I love to grow and learn. I try to find the good in others. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings my way. How about you?

Jerusalem Trip

Jerusalem

 

I woke up last Monday to an email from a friend that said, "Come to Jerusalem today. Your trip will be paid for!".. it was from a close girlfriend that I have known for over 30 years. Amazing even myself, I was packed and on a plane within hours of the email... then it hit me, I am heading to Israel for the first time! 

 

I have always wanted to go but it had never panned out before because of schedule or kids or something else that kept me from going. This time, when I was asked, I was ready and unencumbered; no young kids, no set schedule yet a free spirit ready to embrace new things!

 

I left Newark at 4:40pm that same day and landed the next morning at 10:30 to the start of Yom Kippur..within a couple of hours of my arrival, the airport and streets were shut down to all cars.

I got to the King David hotel with no problems. The hotel itself is quite famous with numerous signatures of famous people along the main floor of the lobby. Politicians, movie stars and rock stars have stayed there.

 

I quickly found the people I would be hanging with for the next week. We were there to pray and worship. The whole week would be magical with praise and prayer and meeting new people while exploring all that the old city of Jerusalem had to offer. I walked down to the wailing wall that very night of Yom Kippur to see the activity and it was a very special site to behold.

 

A couple of days later I went with my girlfriend, Barbara to some of the major sites that most tourists who love Jesus want to see. We had an Arab guide who had become our friend and was part of our praise and worship. He volunteered to take us around for 3-4 hours, getting us into many things for the "local" price that I would not have known about. He and his family go back 700 years in Jerusalem! How special it was to feel taken care of and protected by this wonderful young man. Vendors would leave us alone even though we were obvious tourists because we were with Jacob. Never in a million years did I think that I would get to see these amazing site with an Arab who loved Jesus but it was a special time.

 

We started by walking part of the old wall from Jaffa gate and walked around the the Damascus gate.. we then walked up the street and found the Garden Tomb, the tomb where they put Jesus’ dead body. It was one of my first sites and so powerful and special that I am still absorbing how amazing it was. It was also so peaceful there more than any other location I would visit. Next we hopped on an Arab bus to the Mount of Olives, took a camel ride, then walked down the steep path into the Kidron Valley to go to the Garden of Gethesame where Jesus wept.

 

We then found the via Delarosa with the stations of the cross. I was amazed at how commercial it was with the loudspeaker going with Muslim prayers being blasted out in the air. It took some of the specialness away. We went into a couple of Catholic Churches along the way, each claiming something different about Jesus. It was a great experience though.

 

Other part of the trip held surprises also. I got to go under ground to the newly excavated City of David museum. Then had dinner with the archeologist who discovered some of the city, Eli Shukron. I was brave and went through Hezekiah’s tunnel which was a trip in itself. I was totally under ground. It was dark with water up to our knees or higher with areas where I had to duck in order to get through. We brought a 10 string harp and sang the whole journey! Magical again!

 

I will never forget the amazing people I met and talked to on this trip. I now have 7-10 people I would call friends that live there and I plan on visiting again very soon. 

 

 

 

Opportunity

Moving back to New York City from a comfortable, peaceful life filled with friends but with no established job, has taught me one major thing...and many other things that aren't so minor either!

That I am either very dumb to just step out in faith, or I am very tuned into what God has next for me - making me strong and seemingly invincible! I have patiently waited on God....waited to get me the inner strength to do this stepping out of the nest. I have had years of waiting, while not being envious of others who were thriving when I was stalled out in Colorado.

I am very tuned in to opportunity. I have positioned myself, knowing that I am supposed to be here in the city. I also have learned not to have regrets. I am not looking back wondering, "Dear God, what have I done?" I downsized, I gave away, I let go and I moved forward. Am I stupid or am I ready for new things to fill me up?

I sit here in New York alone - I don't want to be alone but I need to be ready. I am fully tuned in to each and every opportunity that comes along even if it is something I have never done before. When I look back at all of the different skills I have accomplished because I said yes and was willing to step out in faith and say, "I have never done this before, but I am willing to learn!" I know that I was always taken care of. 

I started to model at 18. That was new to me and I was very green in fashion and beauty as I grew up a tomboy and athlete. Then I was asked to go on Good Morning America to be the fashion correspondent and when I said yes, they put me on LIVE the next morning.

When asked to speak, I had to learn a new skill set.

Now I am writing and you can ask my English teachers; it wasn't my strong suit.

So what makes me tick? What makes me move forward? It is an overwhelming passion deep with in me to keep going and not quit until I have been positioned to encourage women of all ages to be strong in whatever area they are battling. What makes me go on is the feedback I get after a speech, where someone comes up and says that they were going to kill themselves until I shared my story. I am willing to be vulnerable because I know I am taken care of and that I am strong in Him when I do things in His Will and in His timing.

I hope that this gives you the strength to wait for the right opportunity and do something new.