If you are into coconut oil, you’ll love these carry-out coconut oil pouches. Snap and squeeze Jax Coco Snaps ($7.50 for 24 sachets, jaxcoco.com) to release a single serving of organic, extra virgin coconut oil.  Stash in your bag and dab it on frizzy hair, dry skin, or ragged cuticles.  In a pinch, it removes makeup.

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Roald Dahl


Image: Roalddahl.com

  1. This is how many words Roald Dahl invented for his 17 children’s books. Of these, 320 words-such as delumptious (delicious) and snozzcumber (a revolting black and white vegetable)-are pure Gobblefunk, the language that Dahl created for the giants in his beloved story The BFG. If catching Disney’s movie adaptation this summer wasn’t phizz-whizzing enough, bone up on your Dahl vocabulary with the Oxford Roald Dahl Dictionary (out this month) and today, September 13th on what would have been the British author’s 100th birthday.  Visit roalddahl.com/usa to download a party pack of puzzles, games, and decorations to check out what activities are happening in your area. As an educator, I absolutely love this site and can’t get enough of it!

Source: Liz Loerke

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Image: Aliveagainandpositiveliving.com


“Happiness is not having what you want. It is appreciating what you have.” ~ Unknown

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Image: Marthastewart.com

I had the most delicious chicken salad the other day at a friend’s house after a late morning hike. She is addicted to everything Martha Stewart and got the recipe from the maven’s site, Marthastewart.com. It was a hit with her kids who “licked their plates” after eating this salad. Seriously. If you love avocado, paprika, honey and corn, you will do an absolute face-plant into this salad. It’s so easy to make and very healthy, too.


1 teaspoon lime zest, plus 3 tablespoons juice (from 2 limes)

½ teaspoon minced garlic

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons honey

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1/3 cup safflower oil, plus more for brushing

4 chicken cutlets (1 pound)

3 ears corn, husks and silk removed

1 head (10 ounces) red-leaf lettuce, torn into large pieces

1 avocado, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Tortilla chips, for serving


  1. Heat grill to high. Stir together lime zest and juice, garlic, 1 teaspoon paprika, and honey; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in oil.  Season chicken with remaining teaspoon paprika and salt and pepper.  Pour half of dressing over top.  Brush grates with oil.
  2. Grill corn, turning occasionally, until charred in places, 10 minutes; transfer to a plate. Grill chicken, flipping once, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes total. Cut corn kernels from cobs into a large bowl; toss with lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, and remaining dressing.  Season with salt and pepper. Slice chicken; drizzle with juices and serve, with salad and topped with chips.
  3. Do a major face-plant!





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Image: Huffingtonpost.com

For the past 24 hours, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to spend time with a dear girlfriend. My heart is full of gratitude and appreciation for our time together. While I always wish for just a little more time, I am so thankful for the time that we did have!

One of the Shining Moments of breast cancer is my appreciation for friendship. I am truly blessed with the most amazing friends, all of whom inspire, motivate, calm and encourage me. Friendship is truly one of the greatest gifts in my life.



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Kick it Up


Image: cluttermagazine.com


Classic Chucks have entered the DIY age with Converse’s easy customization tool.  Just pick your color and patterns for sneakers that are as original as you are. $75; converse.com

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Image: Christian-article-bank.com

The key to being fully present in the here and now is to do only one thing at a time-that is, unitask-and be aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it. I have a few tricks that I wanted to share with you to help you stay present and be in the moment.

  1. Breathe easy. Merely observing your inhalations and exhalations is one of the most basic ways to bring your brain back to this instant. And you can do it anywhere and at any time. You don’t need to recite a mantra-just focus on the sensation of breathing. Feel how your chest rises and falls; hear what it sounds like when air enters and exits your nostrils.  Are you breathing with your mouth? Does your abdomen move, too? Does your chest fill up all the way? It’s all good-you’re just observing. When I pay attention to my breath, it does tend to regulate to a nice, steady pace, which quiets my whole nervous system.  Start by doing it for a minute or so and work up to longer sessions if you wish.
  2. Eat with intention. I used to look down and wonder who hoovered up all those chips while watching TV. I try not to eat mindlessly. I sometimes go for intentional eating with an easy-to-peel fruit such as a mandarin orange: I hold it in my palm and study the vibrant color and the skin’s texture. I also listen to the sound when the peel is broken. Sound strange? Well, I have news for you – it helps me to eat mindfully. I’ve learned to take a deep whiff of the citrusy scent and putting each segment on my tongue, feeling the bumpy surface and tasting the sweet tang. I’ve learned to turn away from disasters in my mind and turn my attention back to the orange. Try it. It works.
  3. Be present with your pet. I have two furry mindfulness teachers that curl up at my feet (and sometimes on my belly). I love to spend time with my pets, completely focused on them (and boy, do they love the attention). I run my fingers through their fur, stroke their velvety ears and listen to their breathing. Yes, you read that correctly.
  4. Switch hands. I like to load the dishwasher or open a door using my non-dominant hand. It gets me out of autopilot so I am automatically more mindful. Besides, it lets me experience a ho-hum activity in a new way.
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Happy Labor Day!

Can you believe that it is actually Labor Day? Heaven knows that I can’t!  I have to admit (this seems to be the week of admissions – but what the hay!), that I didn’t know the what’s or why’s of Labor Day. So, I went to History.com for some answers to find some super answers and – actually – some super inspiring information. The Shining Moment is that in addition to learning about it myself, I now have the opportunity to teach my students about this holiday.

Wishing you a very Happy, Restful and Rejuvenating Labor Day!


Labor Day, an annual celebration of workers and their achievements, originated during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. In the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to eke out a basic living. Despite restrictions in some states, children as young as 5 or 6 toiled in mills, factories and mines across the country, earning a fraction of their adult counterparts’ wages. People of all ages, particularly the very poor and recent immigrants, often faced extremely unsafe working conditions, with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks.

As manufacturing increasingly supplanted agriculture as the wellspring of American employment, labor unions, which had first appeared in the late 18th century, grew more prominent and vocal. They began organizing strikes and rallies to protest poor conditions and compel employers to renegotiate hours and pay. Many of these events turned violent during this period, including the infamous Haymarket Riot of 1886, in which several Chicago policemen and workers were killed. Others gave rise to longstanding traditions: On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it.

Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later, when a watershed moment in American labor history brought workers’ rights squarely into the public’s view. On May 11, 1894, employees of the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago went on strike to protest wage cuts and the firing of union representatives. On June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a boycott of all Pullman railway cars, crippling railroad traffic nationwide. To break the strike, the federal government dispatched troops to Chicago, unleashing a wave of riots that resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In the wake of this massive unrest and in an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

More than a century later, the true founder of Labor Day has yet to be identified. Many credit Peter J. McGuire, cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, while others have suggested that Matthew Maguire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union, first proposed the holiday.

Labor Day is still celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays and other public gatherings. For many Americans, particularly children and young adults, it represents the end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.


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Image: womansdaymagazine.com

While perusing Pinterest, I came across a recipe that is out of this world. I L.O.V.E. caprese salad, but never had a peach caprese salad until I tried this recipe. Whoa! This is the most amazing caprese salad, EVER! It’s simple, healthy and delicious.

When it comes to peaches, even though there are hundreds of varieties, you’ll mostly find yellow and white in the supermarket.  Choose peaches that have a cream or yellow color with a rosy blush and soft, fuzzy skin) avoid green spots, which means the fruit won’t ripen). Don’t be afraid to pick one up-the best peaches will smell sweet and be slightly soft.


2 ripe peaches or nectarines, cut into ½ in.-thick wedges

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

½ cup fresh corn kernels

¼ small sweet onion, thinly sliced

8 oz. fresh mozzarella, torn into pieces

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper

2 cups baby arugula

½ cup fresh basil, torn into pieces


  1. In a large bowl, toss the peaches, tomatoes, corn, onion and mozzarella with the olive oil and ½ tsp. each salt and pepper. Let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Fold in the arugula and basil, then transfer to a platter.
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I have experienced a lot of death this year.  Some loved ones have died suddenly and others have died after a prolonged illness.  Ugh. Sorrow, confusion, apprehension, desolation…just a few of the many feelings that come with heartache and mourning.

It occurred to me that – just as when illness strikes like cancer – many people don’t know what to say or do when someone dies.  So, after having experiencing the death of friends and family, I’ve researched a few recommendations from therapists who specialize in grief for what to do for and say to someone who has experienced death. I hope that this helps, if even just a wee bit.

What To Do And Say

  1. Reassure the person that you will be there. “I’m here now and will be here for you.”
  2. “How are you doing today?”
  3. Say nothing. Just be with the person.
  4. Don’t try to fix things. “You don’t have to be strong now.”
  5. Be specific about what you will do and say. “I will bring your favorite latte by at 10:00 a.m.
  6. Remember the person who has died. My favorite memory of __________ is ____________.
  7. Be supportive. “Tell me what I can do for you.”

What Not To Say

  1. It was God’s will.
  2. It was for the best.
  3. Look on the bright side.
  4. He’s in a better place.
  5. Call me if you need anything.
  6. I’ve had it worse.
  7. She’s in a better place.



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