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You can have it all…well, sorta

by Corinne on November 21, 2012

I’ve really been struggling lately to nurture one of my biggest commitments.

Family and health come first, but how do you prioritize the rest of the stuff? Writing is at the root of my passions. Luckily, my job is one of these passions. At work, I get to write all day long, interact with inspiring people who challenge me everyday, and focus on a mission that resonates in my heart–helping others achieve inner and outer health. I am truly grateful for that.

But there’s another part of me that loves writing fiction. And over the past year, through new motherhood, a new job and a lot of traveling, it hasn’t received the attention I used to be able to give it. And that didn’t feel right. I started to doubt myself. Can I do this? Am I being naive? Is this what I have to accept–that I have to let go of some dreams? Frankly, it was making me feel pretty blue.

Then, I saw Marie Forleo’s interview with Steven Pressfield about his book, Turning Pro. And it’s changed my life in a BIG way. Steven and Marie talk about the difference between pros and amateurs. A pro doesn’t hit the snooze button in the morning when they need to get up and write. A pro takes care of herself because she needs to be in tip-top shape to get her work done. A pro succeeds because she doesn’t give up. Amateurs give up. And I’m not an amateur.

The next morning, I got up at 5AM and wrote for two hours before Audrey woke up. And I’ve done the same ever since, including weekends (I get up at 6AM on Saturday/Sunday). Here’s what this small change has done for me:

I’m taking better care of myself: I start the day with lemon & warm water. I’m only drinking one cup of coffee per day. I’m going to bed earlier. I’m turning off my computer a couple hours before bed because I’ve already done my fiction and freelance writing in the morning. More sleep, more peace, more space for creativity.

I’m more in the moment with my family: I’m not distracted in the evenings because I know I have that sacred morning time to get my writing done. I’m not tuning out with the TV at night. Instead, I’m tuning in with my family at the dinner table, reading stories with Audrey or enjoying a glass of wine with my husband.

I feel passion for my fiction again: Now that I’m investing daily effort into my novel–the love, the drive, and the excitement are all coming back. And that feels really good in my core. Those feelings seep into every other part of my life. Making me a better wife, friend, mom, employee…you get the picture. When you feed your needs, especially the biggies, you have more energy and joy to give everything else you love.

I believe that you can have “it all,” depending on the things that fall into that category. For me, having it all means two simple things:

❤ Trying my best each day to love and care for my family, friends and myself.

❤ Working with people and on projects that are aligned with my beliefs and my passions.

I encourage you to watch Marie’s conversation with Steven and put a new habit into practice that will feed your dreams. Try to stick to it and watch how it transforms your life.



October in Photos

by Corinne on October 16, 2012

October is turning out to be a marathon…in a good way. I’m starting to figure out the work-at-home mom thing (such a gift, but comes with its own challenges). I’m discovering where my creative side can stretch and grow again (hello crack-o-dawn writing sessions). I’m cleaning up the “what-ifs?” and “should-haves” that have been gathering dust in the back of my mind (less obsessing and worrying, more speaking my mind and letting go). And in the midst of that, there’s a lot of cooking, mama-ing, writing, and traveling going on.

October has been a tiring month so far, but a rewarding one. I’m grateful for all the delicious meals that have been coming out of my kitchen courtesy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I’m pressing pause on my to-do list to take walks with my daughter and read her books and soak in the ups and downs of her toddler-hood. I’m celebrating unexpected thrills like being mentioned in the latest issue of VegNews Magazine and holding a hardcover copy of Crazy Sexy Kitchen for the first time. And I’m reveling in the happy exhaustion that comes after a day well spent–when I’ve worked hard, tried to be the best mom and wife I can be, and taken care of myself as much as possible.

That’s all we can do and the rest can wait til tomorrow.



Ten Little Things that Make My Days Brighter

by Corinne on September 11, 2012

While cleaning up after dinner tonight, I realized that I felt great–lots of energy, happiness, and calm. As I look back at my day, I realize that it’s the small efforts that culminate in a feeling of wholeness and satisfaction as the day comes to a close. Here’s a list of those things and many more. If I manage to make about half of these efforts, I sleep easier, I’m happier, and I just feel better.

1. Waking up early. I try to get out of bed at least an hour before Audrey. This is writing time–fiction, magazine articles, projects, blogging. I feel ahead of the game before the day has even really started. Starting off on the right foot makes a BIG difference for the rest of the day.

2. Making green juice. Green juice sets the tone for my diet (more plants) and my mindset (clear head!). If I’m drinking it, I’m more likely to make healthier choices throughout the day. Juicing may seem intimidating, but it’s not. Learn everything you need to know here.

3. Going outside. I’m a hermit. I could stay inside for days and not notice. Frankly, I don’t realize how much I love/need the outdoors until I’m actually out there. Fresh air and human contact (in addition to my family and Skype meetings!) make me a much sharper, upbeat gal. Added bonus: sharing the walk with my little family.

4. Doing yoga. I don’t do enough yoga and my body is crying out for it. Note to self: It only takes 5-10 minutes/day to reap the benefits of a yoga practice! 

5. Reading a novel. A good book completely alters my daily life. I’m on a continual quest for novels that pull me into their worlds completely. When I do, my days are brighter and my chores get finished quicker because I can’t wait to return to its pages.

6. Giving thanks. Lately, I’ve been giving thanks with Lori Portka’s Month of Gratitude Kit. Writing my daily postcard of love and thanks anchors my whole day. Make gratitude part of your daily life and watch it transform and fill with light.

7. Stopping work before 7PM. Luckily, I love my job and I work from home, so it rarely feels like a chore. On the other hand, since I enjoy working and I find it fulfilling, I have more trouble detaching from it…especially at night! Now that I’m a mama (and thirty years old), I value sleep and family time more and more. When I power down my computer by 7PM, I sleep much better and I spend more quality time with some of the people I love most.

8. Making dinner for my family (and making their lunches with the leftovers!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again, cooking is healing and enriching. Putting together a meal is my daily meditation, sharing it with my family fills me with joy and packing their lunches with the leftovers gives me an extra shot of happiness and accomplishment.

9. Reading to my daughter. I’m not sure who is getting more out of Audrey’s new obsession with books–her or me? There’s something so precious about her sitting in my lap, listening intently while I read the Little Critter books for the third, fourth, and fifth time in a row.

10. Writing. When I write, I feel balanced. When I don’t write..I’m off. See #1.




Weekend Getaway: Letchworth State Park

by Corinne on September 4, 2012

Food prep

The night before heading to Letchworth State Park for Labor Day weekend, I cooked a bunch of vegan meals for me and my kiddo. I always prepare way too much food for these trips, but better to have leftovers that to have stress! I made lentil soup, un-tuna salad, chickpea-broccoli salad, plus I packed some fresh fruit, soy milk, field roast, oatmeal, veggie burgers and some fruit/veggie packs. Needless to say, we were prepared and well fed.

VegNews Magazine

During the six hour car ride, I dug into the latest issue of VegNews Magazine and the novel, Before I Fall (love it!). Reading a great book enriches my entire life. Even with a young child and a career, there’s always time for a book. When I make reading novels a priority, I’m an all-around happier person.

Kiddos on the swingsOne of the best parts of the weekend was seeing Audrey interact with her cousins. She adores them. To-dos, stress, and negativity falls away when you have three smiling babes swinging and laughing in front of you. Kids force you to be present. They’re like little Buddhas.


 They teach me about love too…

ExplorationAnd wonder…

Audrey and SteveAnd family…

Me and AudreyAnd how the more I give, the more I get.

 I hope you had a lovely weekend too!



When I’m Lost, I Take an Inventory

by Corinne on August 28, 2012

Taking an inventory always helps.

Pantry Items

When I’m tired, stressed, confused, or lost, I make a list. It grounds me in any situation, whether I’m out of dinner ideas, stressed about work or just plain blue. Last night, after a couple weeks of traveling, I felt like a stranger in my own kitchen. But instead of opting for takeout, I pulled some staples out of the pantry and started flipping through cookbooks based on those ingredients. Soon, I had new recipes to try, a grocery list, and I was on my way to the store. That evening, the house was filled with delicious, sweet and spicy smells as we ate together as a family–all because I stopped to make a list.

In more fearful or emotional times, I usually count my blessings–people, work, daily joys. I might pull out a journal, talk through my list with my husband or just start listing things in my mind. It even works when I’m facing my greatest fears and my nerves are running out of control. I can do it anytime, anywhere and it always makes me feel better and stronger.

Audrey at the door

My lists often lead to my daughter. She snaps me out of my moods and my obsessions more than anything because she needs me to be her mom. She’s also my inspiration for taking care of myself. She needs a healthy, happy mother. A mom who cooks nourishing food for our family, gets a good night sleep, goes out on dates with her dada, makes green veggie juice (and shares!), reads novels, works on her own novel, and nurtures a career that she loves, but also slows down to read Little Critter books with her and go to the playground to push her on the swings.

When I take care of me, I can take better care of my family.

And just like that, I’ve made another list. And it feels good.


Growing into My Yoga Practice

by Corinne on July 17, 2012

 Five years ago, I spent a month at the Sivananda Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, NY. I was newly married, newly unemployed and completely lost in most ways. I wanted an escape. I wanted a new path. I needed to heal from some heartbreak and follow my gut somewhere new.

I still remember, months before arriving at the ashram, stopping there on my way home from a weekend trip to Vermont. It was a sunny day in May and the ashram was quiet. As I drove up the long gravel driveway, I hoped to receive a sign from above–something that would tell me that coming here and becoming a yoga teacher was the right path for me. I stopped at the front desk and asked for a map of the property. Then, alone, I walked to a shrine at the top of a hill, waiting for something to click inside me.

It didn’t. A bright light didn’t glow suddenly inside my mind. A deep resonance didn’t sound off inside my heart. The decision to take a leap of faith was never going to be easy. I left the ashram that day just as confused as I was when I arrived. Sometimes you just have to keep moving forward without a strong sense of purpose. At least that’s what I ended up doing; because choosing nothing and feeling the same emptiness, wasn’t an option either.

So, I did it. I spent four weeks meditating twice a day, living in a small room with three other students, waking up at 5AM each morning, doing my karma yoga in the kitchen each night, and learning about the history and practice of Sivananda yoga. And although I was practicing yoga four hours a day at the ashram during teacher training, my yoga practice today is far more powerful, even though I only do it for 15 minutes a day, if that.

I need yoga today in ways that I didn’t when I was twenty-five. Before, I wanted to own my practice. I wanted to achieve poses, not heal through them or exist within them. That’s not to say that my yoga practice used to be less valuable, it just took me a while to be present while doing yoga, accept myself in each pose, and to welcome its gifts.

Today, I do yoga as someone who has carried a child, given birth, and is now a mother. Some nights, everything from my toes to my neck aches, especially after a long day at the keyboard. That’s when I retreat into my practice, whether I’m just putting my legs up on the wall and reading a book at the end of the day or discovering that I can still do a headstand–something that made me realize, months into motherhood, that I’m still me, I’m still strong, and anything is still possible.

Today, that’s what yoga means to me.


Photo Credit: Jennifer May for The New York Times