Monday Morning Mojo: Thanks-Giving

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Thanksgiving is a time to give Thanks and hopefully be able to make a difference and Give back in some way to those we love and those less fortunate than us. We can give by holding a hand, by giving a hug, volunteering, or giving tangible items or money. As much as I love the holidays because I can spend time with my family and friends, it’s unfortunate how commercialized it has become. Heck, now Black Friday has really turned into Black Thursday and Friday with stores opening on Thanksgiving Day and then there is Cyber Monday in an effort to maximize profits. Are you kidding me…is this really what Thanksgiving and the holidays are all about?

One of the things we have always been passionate about at Intero is giving back and making a difference. Not just over the holidays but every day of the year. It doesn’t take much to make an amazing impact and really better the world around us. At the same time it fills our hearts with positivity attracting good things toward us and making us more productive. Who doesn’t want that?

In fact there’s a story behind the Intero Foundation that is just that, giving small and getting BIG! Back in 2002, the Christmas following the launch of Intero, a bunch of us had the urge to purchase a few bicycles and deliver them to local children in need on Christmas morning. Wow, was this one of those moments that almost made you cry. Imagine knocking on the door of a child with no Christmas tree, no toys from Santa, barely jammies on their backs, and then you bring them a bike. Each child lite up as they opened the door and realized what was happening. Joy came over their faces, relief to their little bodies, and amazement came over them. It was more than a bike to them, it was bigger, it was a memory and an experience these children may never forget. We gave a moment of hope.

What did those that gave that day receive? Well I can’t speak for everyone, but I know what came from that day was the inception of a great organization known as the Intero Foundation. Since then, our agents and employees have helped raise more than $3 million dollars and lent support to more than 130 non-profits helping thousands of children in need within the local communities we serve.

Some of the non-profits we’ve recently granted include; Sunday Friends Foundation, YMCA of Silicon Valley, Peer Court, Good Karma Bikes, Jose Valdes Math Foundation, NatureBridge, Grateful Garment Project, Next Door Solutions, TeenForce, The DreamPower Foundation, and the list goes on. The Intero Foundation partners directly with the non-profits it grants to make SURE the dollars given directly impact the children through the purchase of clothing, school supplies, computers, or by simply giving them an opportunity to experience life as all children should.

On Tuesday, December 2nd the Intero Foundation will join an international movement and day of giving back called #GivingTuesday. In the week following Thanksgiving, Americans will spend billions of dollars in the shopping frenzies around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. #GivingTuesday is a day to remind us all that giving means much more than the exchange of material goods—it means volunteering at a local shelter, helping out a friend in need, and, of course, donating to worthy causes, like our Intero Foundation.

So take this as an opportunity to help us impact a child in your own neighborhood, which may need some extra help. Donate anytime now through December 2nd at www.InteroGives.com and be confident the money is going where the children need it most.

I thank you again for your support.

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Weekend Wellness: A Plan For The Holidays

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It’s here! The Holidays. Halloween was the intro, but Thanksgiving is a full court press of the Season!

This is a wonderful time of year, however working with clients, these can be some of the most challenging weeks of the year…late November through January.

There’s travel, shopping, family, friends, parties and FOOD…wonderfully decadent food! We want to be able to kick up our heels, relax on the couch, avoid workouts, sipping eggnog, enjoying homemade pastries, laughing with friends and family and pretending that if we have an abundance of cheese, double servings of stuffing, samplings of every dish made and drink wine instead of water that it is ok.

Well, it is ok, but you might just put on a few pounds. But maybe that’s ok with you! Maybe you worked hard in September and October to allow yourself to put on a few pounds. Maybe you’ve hired a personal trainer (I know some great ones) who will help you burn it off. Or maybe you are like so many who have this happy place called denial and in January you feel puffy, sick, heavy, toxic and have the same 10 pounds to lose that you work on every January.

Here’s a novel thought…you can laugh, enjoy friends and family, relax and still have a great time. You can make this season different…you can start January off with a healthy body, a lean tummy and kidneys which love you!

Here’s the trick. Decide now how you want to feel come January 1st. Decide now if you are willing to make some adjustments (I didn’t say deprivations) which will help you wind up at your destination place in January; feeling pretty darn good!

Let’s say you are at a healthy body weight now and you’d like to be there in 6 weeks. You will need to make some choices now on how and what you will eat and do. How about you decide you will get in 200 minutes of activity a week, any way you can fit it in. Decide that now and calendar it. Invite your family, invite your out of town guests to be active because chances are they, too, are stressed about getting in enough activity! You will be giving them a gift quite possibly.

Then you decide you will eat some out of the box foods, but only those which you might not ever get to try again, or won’t for another year. Decide to fill up your plate with 70% vegetables and then if you want more, you wait 20 minutes and get only 1 item which is “calling” to you.

Decide now you will drink 80+ oz of water a day (I recommend at least 100).

Another consideration is if you are looking at the food options and there’s rolls, potatoes, and pastries, you take a pause and realize you could have those ANY time of the year. They aren’t just available during Thanksgiving, so consider saving those for another occasion.

Think about it this way…when you start buying Christmas gifts, most of us decide on a budget so we don’t end up paying off our credit cards for the next 8 months of 2015 from this time of year. We set our boundaries now and look for the deals. It’s the same way with our health. If we can pay “cash” (so to speak) for our health and not go in to debt in January, we’ll be ahead of the game with our health. What an amazing feeling that will be!


Cool Apps: Tis’ the Season for Red Stamp

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This is a friendly reminder that Christmas is only 34 days away. Scary isn’t it? I’m here to help you knock at least one task off of your Holiday To-Do list. Even do it before Thanksgiving!

redstampRed Stamp, a great little app we’ve previously written about here, will help you quickly and effortlessly design and distribute holiday cards. Once your card is designed, a few clicks allows you to email, tweet, Facebook, Instagram. Even better, Red Stamp will print eco-friendly postcard and deliver them, with postage, to a list of recipients you can upload.

Redstamp screenshot

Take a look at our review for some more information here or visit redstamp.com to create this year’s holiday cards in just a few minutes.


Monday Morning Mojo: You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

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“I’m not a morning person” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that over the years.

So often people talk about how they just can’t squeeze in the most important activities in their life because “I’m not a morning person”. When we are young and with little or no responsibility except for ourselves…or retired and our kids are out of the house, it is easier to slip in those important activities after that first cup of Joe in the morning, at lunch, in the afternoon, in the early evening. For me, that is not an option…and my guess is for most of you reading this that is not an option either. We have kids, a house, lunches to make, work, kids homework, baseball, soccer games, dinner to make, grocery shopping, wash…the list goes on and on.

Trust me, when my alarm goes off in the morning at 5am, I am not all fired up to jump out of bed and “hit it”. Candidly, many mornings I am telling myself “you have got to be kidding me…it feels like I just closed my eyes”. But I know the short term pain and discipline of putting my feet on the floor and getting started with my day is easier than the long term pain of regret, disappointment and not accomplishing my goals.

Let’s face it…for many of us we have tried for years and years to squeeze in those most important activities sometime during the day, but then life gets in the way and the most important activities end up taking second fiddle to the chaos. I am not saying you have to wake up at 5am, but if you really want to get those most important activities done, unless you are an anomaly, you probably need to make it the first thing you do each day before the chaos begins, while most of the rest of the world is still sleeping.

Remember, we are our biggest asset and if we don’t make a commitment to take care of our body, mind and soul no one else will. You can’t delegate it, you can’t run down to the store and buy it…you have to have the discipline to JUST DO IT!!!!!


Weekend Wellness: Gratitude

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November is thought of as the beginning of the Holiday Seasons. It’s thought of as the marker for the changing of the weather and it’s recognized for bringing gratitude to the table, so to speak.

Whether you use November as your month of gratitude, or you profess your gratitude daily all year long, it’s wonderful to recognize who and what in your life there is to be thankful for.

Think about all the circumstances and people in your life that are easy to love. They just float in and out with a lightness which helps make your day and your life easier. These people and situations are what makes it all worth it. There’s no real work involved in having them in your life. It feels good.

Now think about the people and circumstances which are a bit distant, a bit unfamiliar but still there isn’t any real “work” involved one way or the other to create a happier life. Like the person you see at the gym who gives you a smile, or the neighbor who has an immaculate lawn you can enjoy or the fact that you are just one of those lucky people who has a great smile…it’s easy, but not earth shattering.

Then there are those people and situations which just pull the rug out from under you. They can aggravate, irritate, provoke and instigate. These moments, these people can take that wonderful feeling of appreciation and turn your life into a chaotic tornado of frustration.

What if when you were provoked you were able to take a step back and consider if there’s something in that lesson which can help you appreciate something else…something bigger something which can help you be a better “you”?

Looking at these dark emotions takes a lot of patience and sometimes takes days even months to embrace. But occasionally if we are able to take just an itty bitty part of the pain, the anger, the emotion which causes negativity and find the hidden pearl inside, we can find a way to be grateful for the new perspective. That is gratitude.

Thank you November for helping us remember what we are grateful for.


Cool Apps: So Much More Than A Doorbell

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Last month we brought you Piper, the smart and elegant security and home automation system that connects your phone to the inside of your home but what about the space around your home? Specifically right outside your front door. You’ll never miss a welcomed or unwelcomed visitor because today’s app is a doorbell that acts as a security camera…or is it a security camera that acts like a doorbell?

Ring-video-doorbell_Ring, formally Doorbot, is a doorbell and camera in one. It allows you to view anyone coming to your front door via wi-fi. The goal with this little device is to be a pre-alarm system. You get an alert sent right to your phone every time someone rings your doorbell. The camera allows you to see exactly who it is and with the two-way microphone, you can even speak to them making it look like you’re home even when you’re thousands of miles away. That way it will always look like someone’s home.

The device itself comes in multiple colors to match the esthetic of your home and it’s super easy to install. You can connect it to your existing doorbell wiring or run it off the built-in battery. It’s even weather proof. Connect it to your home’s wi-fi and you’ll have guest notifications coming to your smart phone and tablet before you know it.

Beyond the doorbell, the device is also outfitted with infrared sensors that give it night vision and has motion detection software that can alert you to any activity happening in front of your house. You can sleep soundly and go on vacation knowing your house is being watched over.

Check out this great video that explains even more about this great little addition to your home security system.

Ring Video

Click here to play


Weekend Wellness: Diabetes

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month, which is quite appropriate being that most sugar is eaten between October 31st and January 1st!

I receive an informative newsletter monthly from Healthwatch I’d like to share with you:

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s 2014 report, 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the U.S. population have diabetes. Read that again…over 29 MILLION people!! Of the 29.1 million, 21.0 million have been diagnosed and 8.1 million people have not yet been diagnosed.

In the over 20 years of age population, 15.5 million men have diabetes and 13.4 million women have diabetes.

The country is in the midst of a diabetes epidemic, which has contributed to our national deficit, not to mention shortening millions of lives!

Here’s the good news… Diabetes need not be your destiny if you take charge of your blood sugar. The benefits of optimal glucose control are many: fat loss, increased lifespan, better memory and cognitive function, healthier blood pressure, reduced risk of heart attack, increased mental and physical energy, and possible reversal of diabetes.

People who have diabetes know the importance of keeping their blood sugar (glucose) level in a healthy range. Glucose levels that are too high damage blood vessels and can lead to many complications, including heart disease, dementia, blindness and amputation. Those of us who are not diabetic should also be cognizant of glucose levels. We don’t go from healthy to diabetes overnight. Glucose levels tend to rise with age, increasing the possibility of a diabetes diagnosis. Furthermore, studies show that even high-normal glucose levels increase the risk of heart attack.

Excessive sugar and starch consumption along with a sedentary lifestyle leads to risky pre-diabetes glucose levels. Pre-diabetes can also be identified (as a gauge) by abdominal obesity. A waist circumference over 39 inches for men, 34 for women, is a red flag, especially if you have high blood pressure, high triglycerides or low HDLs (good cholesterol). This group of symptoms is known as Metabolic Syndrome and indicates insulin resistance, a pre-diabetic condition. Like the term implies, insulin resistance means cells develop resistance to the effects of the body’s own insulin, the hormone that lowers glucose. Insulin is necessary to allow glucose to enter cells and be burned for energy. When cells become resistant, both glucose and insulin levels remain dangerously high.

If you didn’t know…you can take Charge of Your Blood Sugar! YOU are in control.

The good news is that you can take control of your glucose level by practicing good eating habits. Overconsumption of calories, especially refined carbs (i.e. white flour, rice flour, sugar and even wheat flour), can acutely spike blood glucose. For this reason, it’s best to divide daily calories into several smaller meals with a lot of fiber and lean, unsaturated proteins. Limit your intake of flour products and go for black rice in moderation, unprocessed oats, and beans with a primary focus on vegetables…especially green ones. Increasing water (up to over a gallon) while limiting juices and sodas is a great place to take a complete U turn. Supplement with a multivitamin-mineral that includes chromium, which stimulates glucose uptake. Following a healthy routine of diet and exercise will help keep blood glucose in a healthy range.

This is good information we hear over and over, yet so many of us ignore the strong facts. If you are ready to make some changes, consider joining me (and about 50 others) on my “no desserts challenge” and “activity challenge” now through the Holidays. If you cheat…you can donate money to the American Diabetes Association or the Alzheimer’s Foundation. It’s a big commitment…but one you will be so proud you dove into. Email me for more information if you are interested.


Cool Apps: Find Calm in the Chaos

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Between the open houses, client meetings, driving the kids to soccer practice, and grocery shopping I think it’s safe to say, every now and then we need a break. A quiet moment, a quick power nap, a short walk, maybe even a long breath makes a huge difference in our ability to perform at our best. That simple little break allows us to come back stronger, re-energized and re-focused. To help you weed through the chaos of your normal life and find those quite moments,  we’re Calm-Appbringing you calm, the app that gives you just a little bit of just that, calm.

It’s a super simple (visit their website and you’ll see just how simple it is). From the moment you open the app on your phone, be ready to go to a calming place. A babbling brook, a beautiful beach, or maybe a relaxing rain storm. Then let the relaxing begin. You’re guided through how to fully take advantage of your quiet time, then a short mediation gives you the chance to take your thoughts inward for just a few moments.

calm

The free version offers access to a calm meditation or the timer allowing you to step away for just a few moments to relax while listening to the soothing background sounds offered. With premium access (available as a monthly, 6 month or year subscription) you have a wealth of meditation programs at your fingertips. Choose from programs for gratitude, focus or even energy. Let your mood decide.

So the next time you need a break from the stress of everyday life, remember calm. Your escape from the chaos.


Monday Morning Mojo: Positive or Negative

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Every time you see them, you try and avoid them like the plague because they are just so negative and draining. To them everything is a crisis. Everyone and everything is out to get them. Nothing works and everything that is not going right in their world is someone else’s fault – never theirs. They never smile and they always seem to find the negative in everything and everybody, never the positive. Anytime there is a small setback, it is like the world is coming to an end. They treat life like it is a WIN/LOSE game and trust me, there is no such thing. Whenever someone wins and someone loses, both lose. Does this type of person sound familiar? Do you know people like this?

I sure do.

Then there are those people you love being around because for whatever reason they just have this positive energy about them which makes you feel good. They are always fired up and have a smile on their face. When there are small setbacks, they seem to find the positive side or don’t even acknowledge it. They just keep moving forward as if it is an expected part of the process. They are the ones who keep their emotions under control. They don’t yell, they don’t scream, they don’t attack, they don’t fight and they don’t blame. Now don’t get me wrong, they are passionate and fired up. They just don’t fight it. They seem to always find a way to use the flow to their advantage. They aren’t pushing. They seem to be getting pulled through life. They are WIN/WIN people – always looking for ways that they can WIN, along with everyone else.

The interesting thing about these two different types of people is that the positive ones almost always seem to win in all aspects of their life – personal, professional, business, health, you name it. They actually say people who smile and laugh a lot (the positive ones) live longer and are much healthier and happier. The negative ones always seem to look unhealthy and anxious. They seem to struggle in business and in their relationships, and they look run down.

So, my question to you is which one are you? Be honest. Is your energy good energy or bad energy? Fired up energy or draining energy? If you asked those around you to describe your energy, what would they say? Fired up and infectious or exhausting and draining. Are you positive or negative? Do you fight life or do you use those people and things around you to propel you to success.

It is a choice. Another one of those small choices I write about every Monday morning. It is the cumulative effect of all those small choices that will get you are looking for in life.

Make it a GREAT week!!!!


Weekend Wellness: Indecision

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I don’t know. I haven’t decided. Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you. Maybe. I’m unsure. Later. Someday I will.

Do these sound familiar? I know I’ve heard them…and I’ve said them. We comment this way when we are not quite convinced one way or the other if we want to do something, so we “marinate.”

In life’s decisions, it’s often necessary (and wise) to take a moment to consider our options and wait to make a move one way or the other. However, at some point, the indecision becomes our decision. We are on hold, waiting and although it feels like we are trying to do the right thing by waiting, we’ve already decided to be undecided.

It’s in this time period of nothingness that is actually the painful part. Deciding to go forward or deciding with a clear mind to do absolutely nothing gets the load of something undecided off our shoulders. It might feel like that once we make the choice the hard work begins, but I see it all the time…the pain is in the wavering. The pain is when we can’t move, in any direction.

Like the person who wants to lose 20 pounds but can’t quite commit to doing the work. They consider the work the hard part. The work is hard…but what’s harder is wanting to get the results, but not quite committing to it and reliving the “desire” to be healthier, day after day, year after year, but never quite jumping fully in. Wishing at the end of every day that they could complete (or rather start) the journey.

How about the person who keeps saying “someday I’d like to take a trip to Europe” yet, someday never happens. Years go by and it’s always a thought, but actions are not taken to achieve the dream.

How about the person who wants to complete a triathlon. They clearly want to, but the training never starts, only the desire to think about it. Then they get frustrated with themselves because year after year it’s on the goal list, but the goal never really gets off the ground.

I’m saying, stop the pain! Decide to go for it, or to move on and let it go. It’s torture when we can’t make up our minds, but it’s liberating when we can pull the plug and move on something. Even if it’s not perfect at least you’ve begun!