Image Map This photo shows some of my personal favorite handmade items!

Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

I am a lucky woman. Everyday (yes, everyday!) I drink out of a cup or eat from a bowl that was made by a dear friend. I wear earrings or rings or scarves and hats also made by people I love. Everyday I have these lovely people in my heart (or my ears..heehee).

Thank you! How sweet is that!

These amazing folks, aside from being my beloved friends, are fabulous professional artisans and crafts people and I am honored that they have shared their work with me. Their passion for their craft, for beauty, form and nature is present in the work and when I wear a piece or sip my tea, I feel that energy, that vibration.

Our home is filled with beautiful mementos that friends and loved ones have created for us; cards, ornaments, drawings, photos, clocks, pottery, magnets… I could go on but I think you get it! So special.

There is nothing like handmade/homemade. Whether you are talking cookies, a knit hat or an intricate wooden sculpture made by a pro, holding handmade in your hands is powerful!

To see more work from the artisans above check out their sites:
David Voll Pottery
Lisa Havelin Metals
Dana Zeck Weaving

If you’re located in Philly, check out Art Star! This excellent boutique and gallery is all about the artisan and hand crafted work. Local and national work is represented in this unique space, owned and operated by two amazing ladies – Erin Waxman and Megan Brewster – they are fabulous artists and my friends!

What are you making these days?



Celebrating Another Milestone, or Just Another Excuse for More Champagne

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Posted by Judy Moon

We recently celebrated our one year anniversary of the Wellness Seed blog. I am super excited about that and very proud of stepping our of the box and doing something that I didn’t think I could do. And I am even more excited that my Associates also wanted to contribute – go team!

I am also celebrating another one year anniversary – it has been a year since I started my Mindfulness Meditation practice. More champagne corks popping please!

I go to the beach the first week of September every year and last year I posted The Body Scan about packing my bags with Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat Zinn, the guided Mindfulness CDS for practice and acting as if I was enrolled in the eight week Mindfulness Based Meditation course. It’s all laid out in the book for you and I thought vacation would be the perfect time to kick off that 45 minute body scan daily. Daily mediation on the beach – easy peasey- NOT!

I have dabbled over the years in meditation, being very diligent for periods of time but never had a really strong dedicated practice. I clearly remember sitting in my beach chair last year hearing Jon’s soft voice in my ears saying -“let go of the tendency we all have of wanting things to be different from what they are right now and allow things to be exactly where you find them” and wanting to hunt him down and argue with him. Granted, I was stressed at the time, hence wanting to do the meditation. In my mind, the meditation was going to take me away from being stressed. However, it just ended the war. The stressful things were still there, but I could breath slower. They didn’t control me. I learned to be in JUST THIS MOMENT. I don’t have to worry about what if’s and what’s next and what I can’t control. I could choose to feel different. It’s just a breath away.

I recently went through the eight weeks again with my associate and partner in crime, Gwyn. It was good to have someone to share with, bounce things off of, and keep me accountable and laugh when we would say, “wait, which week are we in?” A client suggested we do something to celebrate together, like a full day of Mindfulness together, maybe some periods of silence, etc. We are planning it but it is also going to include a swanky lunch and a trip to the Dansko outlet – all good things should be celebrated with shoe shopping!

I am grateful for my practice and to Jon Kabat Zinn and all of his hard work and inspiration.

I have two wellness seeds to leave you with –

The first is a piece about Meditation and Children and some really amazing work that teachers are doing with their students – (have some tissues ready- I got teary!)

The second seed is just pure meditation fun- don’t forget to breathe


Here’s the Good News

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Posted by Gwyn MacDonald

Earlier in the summer I heard a great program on Radio Times, here in Philadelphia.

The topic was stress and the news and each of the guests had valuable information about how the media can affect our everyday lives and stress levels in both positive and negative ways.

As we all know, we are surrounded by media of some kind or another, and it takes a conscious effort to avoid becoming overwhelmed. The challenge is finding the balance between being informed about and engaged in our world, be it at the local or broader level, and taking control of the content that we allow in to our minds and bodies. Much of what goes on in the world is intense, violent and heartbreaking. And with an endless news cycle we are hearing and seeing these things repeatedly.

Research has shown that this inundation of stressful news events can cause as much or even MORE stress than if you were actually at the traumatic event. Let’s say that again:

Research has shown that this inundation of stressful news events can cause as much or even MORE stress than if you were actually at the traumatic event.
 Wow. That stopped me in my tracks, people.

So, what to we do with that information? 
Well first, please listen to that fantastic broadcast. Second, turn off the news today sooner than you did yesterday. Don’t read every tragic story in the newspaper. Check out the comics page first thing instead of last.

Join a group in your local community and volunteer at their next event. And check out The Good News Network.
Publisher and editor of this network, Geri Weis Corbly was one of the guests on that excellent radio show. She worked in the news industry for many years and at some point realized that while there were many wonderful things happening in the world, they weren’t grabbing the headlines like she thought they should. The Good News Network has been around for years and I’ve recently started to check it out on a regular basis. It’s very cool!
Don’t be fooled, it’s not fluff or blind to the realities of the world.
It’s just reminding us about balance. Reminding us that we have a choice in how we live our lives everyday. And of the goodness in the world and the power of the human spirit to love, support and be kind to one another, every day, over and over and over.

Now that is a cycle worth repeating!

For more on how to find balance in a stressful world, check out Voices in the Family with Dr. Dan Gottlieb. His archive is filled with some fantastic guests and conversations on this very topic.


How to Reboot Your Healthy Living Mindset

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By Judy Moon and Associates Guest Blogger: Ali M. Shapiro, MS, CHHC

“The week before my period. For. Get. It. Chips. Chocolate. Fries! Working out? Blah. I know what I should do. But I don’t do it. I have no clue why.”

This confession—delivered in a tone weighed down by shame, sadness, and frustration—comes in the early weeks of my Truce with Food program. This participant (let’s call her Andrea) has been conditioned to expect more confusing nutrition facts, a detox, or to be prescribed yet another strict diet.

But what Andrea needs is not more information, she needs more understanding.

For veteran dieters like Andrea, the fall season feels like a second New Year. Another chance to get it right. And yet, lasting results? Elusive. Willpower? Most burn through reserves in two weeks. Rinse and repeat. But why?

One culprit: The same mindset of restriction and vigilance around food (that feeds the dieting-shame cycle) persists.

A good first step in stopping this cycle is to reboot your healthy living mindset. To do this requires a multi-pronged approach.

Here is a snapshot of how I guided Andrea (and what lessons you can draw). To frame this, I’ll borrow inspiration from another client who described me as the Swiss Army knife of wellness, “You’re like a nutritionist, trainer, and psychologist in one package!”

Nutritionist: Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy.

Many women believe PMS just comes with the territory. Nope. You can drastically lessen or eliminate “symptoms” when you learn to eat and exercise with your body’s rhythms.

Andrea was diagnosed with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). What she thought she “should” eat was actually aggravating her condition.

One culprit: Luna bars. The soy protein isolate in these added excess estrogen, aggravating her PMDD. We swapped in KIND bars and homemade trail mix containing nuts. One root cause of PMDD is deregulated blood sugar; the real fat from nuts served to stabilize this.

Andrea didn’t need a complicated plan, she needed to get back to basics with real whole foods. Soon, Andrea’s symptoms and period week no longer caused her such distress and her cravings and moods improved. Because she felt these shifts internally—and wasn’t chastised by some plan or authority figure—her motivation to stick with these changes lasted.

For you: Add in more whole foods to crowd out processed ones (no packages). Eggs with the yolks. Full-fat yogurt. Vegetables. Fruits. You know, the perimeter of your grocery store. Cringed reading the words “full-fat”? You’re not alone. In my program, I dispel nutrition myths keeping you right where the food companies (and the diet industry) want you.

Trainer: Context Is Everything.

Most people hire trainers for accountability. Yet many trainers ignore context: Your body is a machine and they’re the mechanics.

Andrea traveled frequently for work. She was constantly “on.” Despite being exhausted—especially during the last two weeks of her menstrual cycle—she forced herself onto hotel gym treadmills. Physiologically, the excess cardio further aggravated her blood sugar. Psychologically, exercise became punishment for bad food choices. But then those same “bad” food choices became a (secret) reward for exercising.

For you: Are you bored? Need a new exercise routine or creative outlet? Do you need lighter workouts like yoga and walking to help your body heal? Contextualize what’s right for you at this moment.

Psychologist: I’m Not Where I Want to Be.

Diets fail for many reasons, but mainly because they don’t address the deeper beliefs guiding our behaviors.

One of the ways to delve into these beliefs is by exploring the concept of growth mindset. Coined by Dr. Carol Dweck, this strategy focuses on rewarding yourself for effort versus outcome to paradoxically exceed your goals.

With food, this means replacing judgment with curiosity. Instead of beating yourself up, you learn to ask the right questions to figure out why you did what you did. And when you succeed? You’ll know what worked.

Over time, Andrea discovered much of her secret eating during the last two weeks of her cycle came from resisting feeling “emotional.” She felt bad for feeling bad! She closed off this side of herself from the people she needed the most. The solution: She expressed her needs to her loved ones. When she needed the courage and support, she had me and the other strong women in our group on standby.

For you: Next time you self-sabotage, tell yourself you haven’t figured this out…YET! Adding “yet” shifts you onto a learning (not punishment) curve that will serve as the bridge to get you from where you are to where you want to be.

The strategies introduced in this short post are necessarily just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like a deeper dive, click here to receive the first lesson of my Truce with Food program for FREE! You have nothing to lose (other than another season of dieting) and stand to gain more than you ever thought possible.

Ali Shapiro, MS, CHHC, is a health coach, speaker, and author. She combines her background in functional medicine, holistic health counseling, and Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania in her Truce with Food® program. Ali is also a 22-year cancer survivor.

Ali has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Shopping, Huffington Post, Redbook Magazine, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine, and was a regular health contributor to the NBC 10! Show. She’s also appears on popular wellness sites such as KrisCarr.com, MindBodyGreen, and Tiny Buddha.