August 28, 2015

The Warning Signs All Young Women Should Know...

While we have come a long way empowering and challenging our young women to pursue and conquer anything and everything, we still fall behind when it comes to teaching them about potential abusers. The following article succinctly spells out the commonalities that are consistent in an abusive relationship.

Please share this with your young network.

August 13, 2015

And Poof! The Baby Girl Is A Senior...

As my daughter prepares to enter her senior year in high school, I hope I have imparted upon her the wisdom and guidance that will give her the confidence to forge her own path in life. If I had to sum it up in one quote, this would be it...

July 22, 2015

The Oprah We Know And Love...

For the better part of three years I have written often about the massive failure on the part of women's mags to bring the reader images that, at the very least, appear to be realistic. You may recall the blog I wrote about the day my subscriptions of GQ and Vogue arrived in the mailbox. The covers were so grossly different, shedding a glaring light on the exaggerated use of photoshop to create the "ideal" image of the already stunning Gwen Stefani, who happened to be on the cover of Vogue. Yet GQ opted to go with a charmingly lined and expressive Bill Murray on its cover. Side by side, it was impossible not to see the absurdity when comparing the two.

As a woman who has spent her adult life empowering women and girls to find their authentic selves, Oprah has, in my opinion, been part of the mag cover problem. She shows up every month all gussied up on the cover of O, looking like a version of the women we have all come to love and emulate. In fact, a few months ago I made the decision not to renew my subscription of O. That is until I received my August edition. For the first time I stood in my kitchen thrilled by what I was seeing. It was Oprah! I am talking about Oprah grilling, serving drinks on the patio, and a third shot popping her sunglasses on top of her head to show off a plate of fresh asparagus. The photos are clearly meant to convey a relaxed, fun, real life view of Oprah at home. Finally! A cover that matches the high quality articles, recommendations, and photographs on the inside of the monthly publication.

My hope is that Oprah will continue to lead the way with creative and natural covers that might just inspire others to follow in her footsteps. Incidentally, I cancelled my subscription to Vogue soon after that issue and I haven't missed it a bit!

July 7, 2015

A Nice Reminder For Young Women...

This is a good reminder to all women, but especially young women and girls. I have learned that if  you focus on hard work, generosity, and kindness, all the rest will naturally fall into place. I also believe that visualizing a goal creates personal success. I plan on referring to the following thought on the days when I need a little inspiration.

June 29, 2015

Can't Sleep? Here's Your Quick Tip Of The Day...

We all have phases when we just can't sleep. Stress, physical challenges, environmental factors. They are all culprits that can be the cause of insomnia.

I recently discovered something kind of amazing.  For ten bucks go to your local health food store and buy a small bottle of pure lavender essential oil. Right before bed put three drops on the bottom of each foot.

 I have been doing it for the better part of a month and it is working like a charm. Happy snoozing!

June 23, 2015

Carob vs Cocoa...

Who doesn't love chocolate? Warmed in milk, added to sweet treats, or just a square on its own. You know what I'm talking about~that afternoon craving that creeps up on us just when we think we can't make it through the rest of the day.

Even though cocoa has terrific health benefits, it is not always the easiest to digest. For those of us who are unfortunately sensitive to all the good stuff, it seems totally unfair that cocoa finds its way to the laundry list of  no~no foods.

Now enter the carob bean. Let's face it folks, carob has the unfortunate reputation of being the chocolate of tree huggers. The weird healthy alternative that people from Oregon add to their crunchy granola as they embark on their rigorous hike to the summit of Mount Hood. Right?

What is carob anyway? It actually comes from the pod of the Ceratonia sillqua (aka: carob tree), which is readily found along the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Carob pulp is found in the pod, which is scraped and then dried, roasted, and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder. With a slightly more earthy caramel flavor, carob can easily be substituted for cocoa in any recipe. Plus it has tons of health benefits making it a nice addition to your recipes. Chucked full of minerals and antioxidants, carob also aids in digestion and has been proven to lower cholesterol. So what's not to love?

I personally recommend Chatfield's, which can easily be found on Amazon.

June 15, 2015

A Man And His Dog...

There is nothing more lovely than masterful storytelling and the attached video is no exception. I have no doubt that you will glean inspiration from this majestically photographed and narrated story about a man and his dog. A piece crafted by a Portland photographer that captures true friendship.

May 26, 2015

I Hope You'll Join Me In June...

I am thrilled to introduce Larkspur Bungalow to the Pacific Northwest in June. The book signing venues are intentionally unconventional, as this writer prides herself on marching to the beat of her own drum! You might notice that there is not one bookstore in the bunch. Nope! The locations were hand~picked by me and the owners have been lovely to share their space for a series of unique events.

I also choose to believe that Meredith would regularly scour the stellar collection of treasures in each and every one of these beautiful boutiques. Who's Meredith? You'll know once you read Larkspur Bungalow!


Wednesday June 3rd 4~8 pm
Salem's First Wednesday
Where the Sidewalk Begins
223 Commercial Street NE
Salem, Oregon
20% of the sales from the June 3rd event will be donated to the Salem~Keizer Educational Foundation

Saturday June 6th 12~4 pm
BillyGoat Vintage
200 Broadway 
Portland, Oregon

Tuesday June 9th 3~7 pm
Bridgeport Village Art Walk
Mapel Boutique
Bridgeport Village
Tualatin, Oregon

Friday June 12th 3~6 pm
Mod Pod
115 NW 2nd Street
Corvallis, Oregon

Saturday June 13th 11~3 pm
Wishbone Home and Design
41 B Street 
Lake Oswego, Oregon

May 18, 2015

The People Have Spoken...

If you read last week's blog you know that America recently voted on a very important issue! Check out the attached video because there is a winner and her name has been respectfully submitted to President Obama for consideration. Stay tuned...

May 9, 2015

I Want A Twenty For Mother's Day...

You may have heard rumblings of a national campaign to excuse Andrew Jackson from his longstanding post on the twenty dollar bill and replace his mug with a female leader. This is a very real effort and it is coming to an end on Mother's Day.

The long list of extraordinary women has been whittled down to four and the decision has been placed in our hands. Attached you will find a link. Click on it and peruse the site. You can cast one vote for the woman you believe should emerge as the face of the twenty dollar bill.

Will it be Eleanor Roosevelt? Maybe Harriet Tubman. Perhaps you will cast your vote for Wilma Mankiller or Rosa Parks. One of these fine female leaders will soon be presented to the White House as the final candidate selected to hopefully make her way to our U.S currency.

Who did you vote for?

April 6, 2015

Larkspur Bungalow Is Warmly Embraced In Larkspur...

I am incredibly grateful as I return from the Bay Area. With a sense of nervous energy and exhilaration, I introduced Larkspur Bungalow to the cities which inspired many of its pages.

The book begins in Portland, Oregon and eventually finds its way to the magical Marin County. Two West Coast communities I have lived and loved! Packed with a layered story of love, loss, and a mystery that follows our main character, readers are positively responding. Some intrigued and others shocked, but mostly entertained and inspired by the overwhelming strength and conviction of our beloved main character.

Portland and Seattle will hopefully be on the docket for some book events, as well as a return visit to the Bay Area. If you have a local bookstore that features author events, let me know. I may just be in a town near you!  And for those who live in Central Illinois, check out my Larkspur Bungalow Facebook page for upcoming events. First on the list is a book signing at Garlic Press in Uptown Normal on April 25th from 1~4.

The following are some photos from my recent visit to the Bay Area. If you happen to find yourself in Marin, Larkspur Bungalow can be found at Book Passage in Corte Madera. For those outside Marin, you can easily order or download your very own copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Lulu, or iBooks.  If you like what you read, a review is always appreciated on the site where it was purchased, as well as Goodreads.

It is both humbling and terrifying to release any creative venture into the world. Your notes of congratulation and support mean a great deal to me as I navigate my way through uncharted waters.



March 8, 2015

Larkspur Bungalow...

I am beyond thrilled to announce the release of my fictional novel, Larkspur Bungalow. It is a story that begins in quirky Portland, Oregon and finds its way to the magical Bay Area. Peppered among the pages are many local references that the reader will thoroughly enjoy. Whether you are a resident of either community or are simply looking to visit, Larkspur Bungalow will layer an entertaining read with a myriad of ideas for a West Coast adventure. Simply click on the link below and you will be whisked away to two of my most favorite places in the world!



March 2, 2015

Three Impressive Young Women Deliver A Timely Message...

So often our teens are all lumped together as a generation of entitled, self~involved, selfie experts, who can't seem to pull their heads up from their phones long enough to have a meaningful conversation. Good news! If you haven't seen this recent video, it might just restore your hope for the future of Generation Z.

Teaching literacy through poetry, these young women deliver a powerful message. I hope you will take few minutes to watch.

February 23, 2015


So...the Oscars have officially closed the book on another year. Lots of celebs seemingly partaking in the mutual admiration society while a handful of speeches and performances delivered a healthy dose of inspiration. But did you see something new? You may have noticed it last month as the 2015 award season got underway. A few of our Hollywood elite are saying,"No." Specifically to the repetitious two questions from the red carpet entertainment reporters. You know what I'm talking about. "Who are you wearing and what jewels are you sporting for the event?" Seriously, for as long as I can remember, that's all they ask!

Well, things they are a changin'. Thanks to the grassroots Bay Area organization called The Representation Project. An organization that is responsible for highlighting issues that have been overshadowed by an uber critical, highly judgmental society.

Our leading female actors like Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette, and Julianne Moore are blatantly rejecting the mundane red carpet conversation and, as a result, are forcing entertainment reporters to #askhermore. A hashtag that has gone viral and has award show viewers asking for more than a couple of superficial questions that don't have anything to do with the average American.

It has been a bit of a game change for reporters from networks like E! When requests to have the female actors walk their fingers into the Mani Cam were rejected early in the award season, they scraped it altogether for the Oscars. And it was clear that they were making more of an effort to engage the group of A-listers with more thought-provoking questions.

The efforts of The Representation Project has been mighty impressive and is showing no signs of slowing down. I highly recommend following them on Facebook or Twitter if this blog resonates with you.

February 15, 2015

You're Welcome...


If you are anything like me you can become increasingly frustrated with the cost and effort of blind trial and error. Blind because you can be easily wooed by an advertisement, and then subsequently dejected when the result is anything but successful.

You will be glad to know that I do not serve up a recommendation on a whim. I like to give new products a proper test period before I give a thumbs~up. Today I am officially prepared to give my faithful readers three super duper recommendations.

The first will carry you through between meals or sustain you after a rigorous yoga session. It is, in my opinion, the best energy bar on the market. Made in Salem, Oregon Liv Bar has the most impressive list of ingredients and tastes amazing! You might not find these yummy treats in your local health store, but you can order directly from the company. Not only are they nourishing, but the packaging is lovely. Check out and like them on Facebook if you want to follow their path on social media.

My second suggestion was discovered after I found myself suffering from dry winter skin. You will be happy to know that this hydrating gem can be picked up at your local Target. The Laneige Water Sleeping Mask is worn once or twice a week after you wash you face at night. You literally slather it on and go to bed. The next morning wash your face and, if you are anything like me, you will feel incredibly replenished.

Last but not least, the feet. Cracked, dry, callused. Sound familiar? Okay, so this one was not initially encouraging because it takes at least five to seven days to fully work. It is called Baby Foot because the end result will actually give you smooth, soft, beautiful feet that will remind you of those delicious little tootsies that we associate with the unblemished feet of a baby. I bought it through Amazon and suggest you peruse the comments from other customers to achieve the best results.

If you decide to try my recommendations, be sure to leave a comment. I would love to know if you agree with my trifecta of happiness!



February 9, 2015

Closer Than Ever To Change Life For Millions of Women And Girls...

As you know, I typically write for the women and girls who follow my blog. Why? Well, this writer happens to believe that when you give women and girls an opportunity, you are potentially changing the footprint of their communities, their friends, their children, and so on and so on.

Seven years ago writer and social activist, Isabel Allende stood before the TED Talk audience and gave a hilarious and massively compelling speech. As a masterful writer, who has successfully weaved fictional literature many times over, she delivered an optimistic and frankly simplistic approach that would improve the lives of women and girls who are navigating life in underdeveloped countries.

Now fast forward to 2015. Brilliant philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates recently released their annual letter. After 15 years of tireless work to improve lives and educational opportunities worldwide, they look forward to the next 15 years with an optimistic vision. A vision that incorporates simple changes that would quickly translate to significant results. The kind of results that change lives, communities, families, as well as the way third world civilizations become self~sustaining and able to compete internationally.

I encourage you to watch Allende's Ted Talk. It is both entertaining and inspirational. I also hope you will peruse the annual letter by the Gates Foundation. It is not long and boring. Rather, it is simple and short, with eye~catching graphs that will give the reader a snapshot of today's international climate.

February 2, 2015

Proud To Call Him A Friend...

I often write about the fact that we move a lot. By a lot I mean we have lived in five different states in the past eight years. While challenging at times, I wouldn't change a thing. It has afforded our family the privilege of living in places we may have only visited on vacation. But more importantly, we have cultivated lifelong friendships every step of the way.

In state #3 we met Jay Alexander and his terrific family. So get this...Jay is a magician. And by magician I am talking about one of the most entertaining, mind-blowing illusionists I have ever witnessed. His shows are epic, causing audiences to walk away wanting more! Over the years Jay has not only attracted the attention of those seeking mystical fun, but also a whole host of international celebrities and corporations.

Last year Jay took the TED talk stage. The attached video is naturally entertaining, but also tells a sweet story about a boy who could have quietly stepped into the shadows. But he didn't...!ted/cs4g

January 25, 2015

The Mask You Live In Premieres At Sundance...

For the past few years I have written several blogs about an up-and-coming grassroots organization that has continually hit it out of the park when it comes to tackling increasingly complex societal issues. Issues that relate to all of us in some way, but sadly are discussions that are flying under the radar.

In 2011, Jennifer Siebel Newsom and her team at The Representation Project released the documentary, Miss Representation. It was a bold and visually explosive film about the massive influence our media is having on our young women and girls. The flick found its way to the elusive Sundance Film Festival where Oprah saw it and ultimately nabbed it for her collection of films on OWN. 

On the heels of its release, Newsom and a slew of highly influential filmmakers were the executive producers of the award winning documentary,The Invisible War.  A film that gained countrywide attention for the egregious failure on the part of the United States military to protect its soldiers from the rampant incidents of sexual assault by fellow soldiers. Much has been reported and written about this ongoing issue, which continues to this day to plague every sector of our armed forces. An issue that remains a talking point among our legislators. Although, thanks to the handful of congressional leaders who continue to tirelessly fight for the rights of our military personnel, I have no doubt the tides will eventually turn. Will it take a female commander-in-chief? This writers thinks so.

You may recall a blog I wrote a little over a year ago about a Kickstarter project in the works for a follow-up film by The Representation Project. Similar to their first message geared toward our young women and girls, the soon to be released The Mask You Live In is directing its attention to our young men and boys. The documentary promises to delve into the issue of masculinity and the pervasive expectations that our society has placed on young men to "man up" at any cost.

On Friday evening The Mask You Live In premiered at Sundance, sparking much conversation and debate about the ubiquitous roles and behaviors that our young men are being encouraged to play as they develop and interact with others. The film will soon make its way to the masses and hopefully discussions will ensue just as they did with MissRepresentation. It will no doubt be a provocative film that hopefully will give our young men a voice at a time when our media and societal expectations intentionally inundate our children with unrealistic norms.

I have attached a short trailer of The Mask You Live In. If you should be interested in sharing this message with your local schools or youth organizations, please contact

January 19, 2015

Best Article Yet On Why We Should All Take Up Yoga...

They call it practicing yoga. Why? Because there is always more to achieve, more to perfect, and the ultimate goal of melding of the mind~body connection. Something that has been known to be the ultimate pathway to health and wellness as we make our way through a culture that is peppered with stimulation, distraction, not to mention technology sources that are flooding our minds round the clock.

For well over a year I have been practicing yoga regularly. It has been one of the best choices I have ever made. Even when traveling with family, I do my best to seek out a local yoga class that will give me an hour to reset the noise in my head and push me physically.

When people find out that I practice yoga, they invariably say, "I'm not flexible. I could never do yoga." Well, I'm not either, which is why it took me a few months to really appreciate what yoga had to offer. It is now such an integral part of my routine that I can't imagine not carving out five hours a week to continue the practice.

The attached article is, in my opinion, one of the best arguments to at least consider a yoga class. Just something to consider if you are feeling restless and in search of a physical activity that will feed your body as well as the soul.


January 12, 2015


We are well into 2015 so naturally the goal of improved health is on the minds of many. The following video is not rocket science, but it is a good reminder to eat and drink water to ensure that our cells are happy and well~nourished. Also a good recommendation to put down the technology noise that distracts us from achieving restorative balance in our lives.

My final thought goes without saying. Take your makeup off every night and moisturize moisturize moisturize!

Happy 2015 to all!

January 6, 2015

Two Years Later It's No Better. It's Worse...

Nearly two years ago I wrote a piece on an issue that has sadly found its way back into the media. It detailed the grim discovery of an ugly little secret within the US military. A glaring spotlight illuminating the rampant problem of sexual assault going unchecked and unpunished.

If you missed the original blog, let me bring you up to speed. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had just lifted a long standing ban on women serving in combat. A controversial issue that had naysayers claiming a small framed woman couldn't possibly handle the physical demands or endure the psychological and emotional pain found on the front lines or behind enemy walls. While the privilege of serving in the military is not one that personally appeals to this writer, thousands of women see it as their destiny. A selfless, courageous, not to mention mentally and physically challenging career representing America in a most profound way. I will forever be humbled by those who enter any branch of the military, especially in our current climate of international discourse.

With rich opportunities being made available to female soldiers, it was also revealed that increasingly high cases of assault within each branch of the military were becoming both commonplace and grossly underreported. 

So, who brought this issue to the public forum? In 2012 the award winning independent film The Invisible War was given to Defense Secretary Panetta and within two days there was a game change in the way that sexual abuse was reported and investigated in the military. The film chronicled the lives of several women and one man, representing thousands more in our military, who have endured sexual assault within their branch. Secretary Panetta vowed to remove the control of each investigation out of the chain of command and into the hands of independent investigators.

In 2012, the statistics were staggering. Some 20% of female veterans were sexually assaulted. Estimates put the numbers at 500,000 women who had been raped while simply trying to serve their country, which correlated to 50 sexual assaults per day. The numbers also put men at a one percent risk of being assaulted, which topped the numbers at 20,000.

Until 2012 each branch historically depended on their own procedures for reporting crimes. Yet upon further investigation it was discovered that intimidation and retaliation from those investigating the allegations made it virtually impossible to receive a fair outcome. Primarily because the investigations were conducted by the military personnel, who were in the direct chain of command of the victim, and often friends or colleagues of the alleged perpetrators. As a result it was estimated that approximately 80% of sexual violations ultimately went unreported. It was not uncommon for victims to be advised of professional admonishments that likely would be attached to their service records if it was later discovered that their statements could not be adequately corroborated. An implication by the powers that be that if you came forward, you would probably end up losing in the end. Essentially, our country's military was systematically perpetuating an environment of fear and intimidation, and in doing so, allowing the unspoken acceptance of criminal behavior from the sexual predators living and working alongside their victims.

Following Secretary Panetta's decision to remove the investigative power out of the direct line of command and instead to an independent facilitator, our country started seeing the embarrassing secrets that had been swept under the proverbial rug. There was no branch of the military immune to the widespread occurrences of sexual assault. It was as prevalent from the lower levels of basic training to the most prestigious post at the Marine Barracks in Washington DC. The same soldiers who protect the White House and its dignitaries. The same soldiers who we proudly see at ceremonial performances.

According to the weak accountability within the military, the Defense Department estimated that until 2012 only eight percent were ultimately prosecuted for their crimes and a mere two percent of those prosecuted received punishment. It was also common practice for the perpetrators or the victims to simply be moved to a new location in an effort to avoid the issue altogether.

So, here is what initially happened. The Defense Department stepped in and started cleaning house. Independent investigations commenced from each branch of the military. Rules were established making public the expectations of soldiers and the new procedures that were put in place to investigate and protect victims of a sexual assault.

We now sit two years later and the verdict is in. Last month the Defense Department released a disappointing statistic, which tops the cases of assault eight percent higher than last year. Still after two years, seven out of ten military victims do not feel that they can report their crimes for fear of retaliation.

Like many I have numerous friends who have served in all branches of the military, and they are among the most honorable and heroic people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. My hope is that this ongoing crisis will not cast a dark cloud on the thousands of men and women who have literally given their lives for our freedom.

If you want to learn more about this issue I highly recommend watching the documentary The Invisible War. If you want to voice your opinion you can always write or call your legislators. Ask what their position is on this issue and what they plan to do to ensure the safety of our military men and women.