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Dave Brubeck died today. He would have turned 92 tomorrow. I don't know anything about jazz, but “Take Five” from his his 1959 album “Time Out” is one of my favorite pieces of music, regardless of genre. Sometimes I put that CD on and work to it.

Though he apparently could not read music, he will be remembered for his incredible talent and his insistence on pushing boundaries. He changed music and influenced our culture. What more could one ask for?

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In honor of his life and his accomplishments, I will be taking a moment to wonder, “What legend will I leave behind? What difference can I make?” I invite you to do the same (and feel free to share!)

Dave Brubeck Band “Take Five”

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Ever wondered what the actual editing process consists of? Have a demented desire to know how the writing sausage is made, so to speak? Yeah, me too. But nobody ever talks about that. It's all veiled and secrecy and “Who me? Pshaw. I barely needed an editor.”

Well, I am not afraid to pull back the curtain and share my editing process! Come on in, pull up a seat, and let's get to the nitty-gritty of what it looks like to work with a professional editor.

Quick catch up: I paced. I chomped at the bit. I resisted–barely–rending my garments and gnashing my teeth. But I did wait nervously for the edits to come back. Then they arrived–all 426 pages of copy edits and a 13-page developmental editing letter…and then I wondered why I was in such an all-fired rush. I wanted to pound my head against the desk until the blissful oblivion of unconsciousness overtook me.

It's hard to know before you get your first-time edits back exactly how much a blank page (e.g. a page without a single, blessed change) or a little smiley face can mean. Seriously. Years ago, I might not have noticed or I might have taken these boons for granted; now, they practically bring me to tears.

The only thing that's worse is when, after combing through 400 pages of edits, I have to circle back to my questions about the edits. Sweet Jesus. What was I thinking? Why did I ever want to write a book? You pause and question…and then dive back in.

Since I transitioned from the waiting phase to the they're-on-my-plate phase, it's taken me the better part of a month just to get through the copy edits. I pretty much made all of the suggested changes, unless I could tell that the tedium of editing had gotten to my editor and she had made a change that was in clear violation of logic and basic grammar rules. (I think that only happened once.) Then I re-wrote all the things that she said she didn't understand or felt needed to be clearer. There were probably about five of these but it took me a bit because my original way seemed so obvious and clear…you know, inside my own head.

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Next step: tackling the developmental editing letter. Which, apparently, addresses the larger issues. Oh goody. I'll be sure to dive right in…right after I finish this bottle of wine to numb the impending pain.

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Is Thanksgiving a week early this year or is it just me?

Regardless of its early arrival, I’m checking back in on my Gratitude Challenge from July. I had stumbled across the amazing Shawn Achor’s TedX talk on gratitude and how it relates to happiness, productivity, and a bunch of other good stuff and took on his 21-day rewire-your-brain challenge. OK, maybe it wasn’t actually a challenge, more of a suggested practice, but I challenged myself to do it and whaddya know? It really does work.

It was such a noticeable shift and it felt so good that I continued on past 21 days. Here it is, the middle of November and I’m still going strong. Anyone else try? Any results to report?

And speaking of gratitude, man do I love Thanksgiving! Why? Why? Because I love food! I love cooking! Oh yeah, and I love my fam. My annual contribution to the feast is a veggie side and a pumpkin pie. This year, I’m getting a little crazy and trying this ginger version from Faith at the Kitchn.

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What about you guys? Whatcha cooking up?

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving full of all the things you love the most!

This week, I'm thrilled to be featured in this piece that Sarah W. Caron wrote on sheknows.com about the importance of self-compassion and how we can get some. It seems that studies show that if we can be compassionate to ourselves, we're apt to achieve more and accomplish more.
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Accomplish more? Achieve more? Annnnnd, I'm in.

The question Caron proposed was, how?

If you're anything like me, and I dare to think a lot of women people are, most of the time you're too busy relentlessly driving yourself to be all self-compassionate. So I stopped and really considered: why? Why do we do this? And here's what I came up with: we relentlessly drive ourselves because we are raised to always focus outward and compare ourselves to some external hallmark of beauty/success/partnership/happiness.

Hmmm. And what's a certain thing I teach that's all about looking inward and not being competitive? Starts with a “y,” ends with an “a” and is one middle letter off from that adorable little green jedi from Star Wars.

And that's when I also realized (yes, brilliance was high that day) that practicing yoga had actually correlated with caring a whole lot less about what everyone else was doing/thinking/being and being brave enough to leave my corporate life/career/identity and go after what I really wanted: teaching yoga and writing a book.

If you don't have time or access to yoga, you can also try the breathing, stress-relieving exercise in the article.

Chasing the Dream: Self-compassion helps you do more

Studies say those with self-compassion achieve more and accomplish more goals. Harness your own compassion for yourself in parenting, life and all your aspirations.

Have compassion…for yourself

Jennifer Gaddis, creator of the site HeelsandJeans.com, was recently in a conference with her 9-year-old's teacher. Her son wasn't doing well in class. After the conference, she mentally beat herself up for not doing enough to help him — which just made everything worse.

She was lacking compassion for herself. “Finally I sat down and I thought, how can we make it better? To harness compassion for one's self, you must — and always — stop blaming yourself. Ask yourself how can you make it better? Tomorrow will be a new day,” says Gaddis.
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Experts say that self-compassion, a challenging goal, is important to achieving your goals since it allows you to roll with the punches and move ahead.

“My theory is this: Women are raised to constantly compare ourselves to something other than what we are — everything from how we look to our jobs, our parenting, our marriage, our 'success.' It's always about looking out, around us, and then never living up to that perceived better standard,” says Sara DiVello, a registered yoga teacher who is certified with the Yoga Alliance. “The result is a combination of constant comparison which creates co-morbid anxiety — women are stressed about how they don't measure up and are also in a state of constant mental activity (anxiety) from all this comparing.”

Gaining perspective

So, how do you de-stress and allow yourself that necessary self-compassion? DiVello suggests taking a step back. “Take a moment to sit down. Often, we're stressed but we don't take the time to sit down and deal with it — instead, we continue rushing around, absentmindedly stressing about how stressed we are… which only escalates our stress,” says DiVello.

Then, give yourself a chance to focus. Think of what's stressing you out and take a deep breath. Exhale (extending it longer than your inhale) and flick your hands as though you're trying to get something off of them (you are — the stress!). Also known as the 'there's no paper towels in the restroom flick.' Repeat three to five times. Now, settle into extended exhale breathing (as described above) with the eyes closed for three to five minutes,” says DiVello.

And guess what? I tried this… it really does help.

Achieving your goals

Having self-compassion makes embracing failure — the necessary things that we can all learn from — useful tools in our quests to reach our dreams. And as daunting as it may seem to skip the self-berating and learn from our mistakes, it is key to achieving your goals. “Self-compassion is kindness toward yourself and your mistakes. It helps you get up from failure, survive a divorce and be more joyful in the present. Yes, it can also help you be a better parent because you will have compassion for your kids when they make mistakes,” says Maryann Reid, lifestyle expert at www.alphanista.com.

Start with small changes that begin to free yourself from the negative talk that holds you back, says Kathryn Vercillo, author of Crochet Saved My Life. “It can be daunting to try to change that negative self-talk in those large areas of life since they are so ingrained into the way that we think. By starting small, in just one area like crafting, we can begin to learn to nip that negativity in the bud,” says Vercillo.

For Vercillo, that's meant crocheting with abandon — and not taking a negative tone with the results. What will it mean for you?

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As soon as I decided to go the indie route, I knew that hiring a professional editor was a must. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right.
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I researched independent editors, culling a list of 10. I narrowed it down to five that I interviewed by phone. I took notes on each conversation. I made lists of their previous clients and researched each book they had worked on. Then I researched the reviews that each one got. I asked for references; I checked references. I reached out to past clients who they hadn't given as references (because OF COURSE they're going to give me the clients who loved them–duh!) Then, after a lot of mental and physical pacing, I made a decision.

Then I stressed about my decision. Was this the right choice? Was she the best fit for me? What if her references and past clients had lied? What if this was all a farce? What if I'd just sent a big, fat check to a hustler?

I waited six weeks for my turn in the editorial queue. Then I waited four weeks for my manuscript to be sent back to me.

During this time, I thought of very little else. How could I when my professional editor was editing my book? (My book! Holy crap!)

My editor let me know that it's her policy not to comment while she works. Which kind of made sense except the fact that I'm totally freaking out and dying to know what she thinks!
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One of my reasons for going the indie route was because it was the expedited route. But that patience–lots of it–is required, even on the expedited route!

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Whoa! I’m so thrilled to be part of this awesome article, “How to maintain your yoga routine while traveling” featured in USA Today’s Travel Section! It was written by journalist Nancy Trejos, as part of her Thriving on the Road series, which is all about staying healthy while traveling.

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How to maintain your yoga routine while traveling

Nancy Trejos, USA TODAY

October 24. 2012 – Roseann Day can’t go without yoga, especially when she’s traveling. That’s when she says she needs it most, what with cramped seats on airplanes and luggage to haul.

“Yoga’s a wonderful exercise that doesn’t require any special equipment yet helps with strength and flexibility,” she says.

If she can’t find the time to take a class, the Massachusetts-based information technology consultant will do yoga in her hotel room in the morning.

Now, more than ever, yoga enthusiasts have plenty of options for maintaining their routines on the road, yoga instructors and hospitality industry experts say. A number of hotels offer classes or in-room equipment. And if they don’t, yoga instructors say, there are many ways to practice the craft even on a plane, in a hotel room or outdoors at a park or beach.

“Yoga is one of the most feasible ways to exercise while on the road — limited amount of equipment: You lay down a towel if you don’t have a mat. (It) can be practiced indoors or outdoors,” says Marshall Sanders, a registered yoga teacher at VIDA Fitness and EPIC Yoga in Washington, D.C. “And you don’t have to worry about bringing multiple pairs of shoes because you practice barefoot.”

Interest in yoga has grown over the years. A 2012 study by Yoga Journal, a national yoga publication, indicated that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, up from 15.8 million in 2008. And they spend $2 billion a year on yoga retreats, up from $630,000 in 2008.

In an Omni Hotels and Resorts survey last year, 26% of respondents said they wished their hotel would help them find nearby yoga or spinning studios.

Equipment to go

Many hotels are doing better than that by offering classes or equipment.

Kimpton Hotel guests can request a yoga bag at the front desk that contains mats, straps and exercise bands.

In Washington, the Mandarin Oriental offers yoga mats and videos upon request. The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown, a Marriott property, has Saturday-morning yoga classes in its Urban Garden when weather permits. In Boston, the Liberty Hotel offers “Yoga in the Yard” with instructors from the Equinox gym.

Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Northeast Florida has a yoga treehouse, where guests can practice yoga while overlooking the water.

Hilton Worldwide is testing a dedicated “Yoga Room.” The guestroom, available at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner in Virginia and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, has a designated space to practice yoga, a full-length mirror to check poses and yoga accessories.

“It’s yet another way to empower our guests and motivate them to maintain their healthy lifestyle on the road,” says Jodi Sullivan, senior director of global fitness for Hilton Worldwide. “We’re seeing more and more travelers, individuals, guests, consumers realizing the importance of yoga as far as breathing, meditation, stretching.”

Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of NYU’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, says hotels are trying to appeal to both younger and older guests.

“Yoga cuts across all age groups and many demographics, so it’s kind of universal,” he says. “Yoga and other types of exercise and fitness and health are all good messages for hotels because people feel stressed traveling.”

Start your trip off right

Yoga instructors recommend practicing some moves as soon as you arrive at the airport.

San Francisco International Airport recently opened a dedicated yoga room. Other airports have fitness centers on-site that offer day passes.

But there’s much you can do even while sitting in your seat at the gate or on the plane. Try an Eagle Arm pose while sitting, says Gabrielle Benoit, a yoga and pilates instructor and founder of Core Club LA in Los Angeles. All that is required is positioning your right arm under your left arm, then vice versa.

“If you are stuck on an airplane or in the airport, there are many different yoga poses you can practice in a chair to keep the blood flowing and get a little workout in as well,” Benoit says.

If you arrive at your destination and discover that your hotel doesn’t offer yoga amenities, there are other ways to get in your workout.

Many travel mats are now lighter than the ones you typically get at a studio.

If you can’t remember all your poses, online classes are available at such websites as YogaGlo.com. Pay an $18 monthly fee, and you can get instruction anywhere you go. Some websites allow you to download classes onto your iPod. Many instructors offer free instruction in YouTube videos.

If you prefer the physical company of an instructor and classmates, there are plenty of studios that let people drop in for about $15 to $20.

Sanders recommends calling the studio ahead. “Confirm the style, time and request feedback on the instructor and find out if a reservation is necessary,” he says.

Fresh air is refreshing

For a cheaper alternative, take your mat to a local park or a towel to the beach and practice while getting some fresh air, he says.

Sara DiVello, a registered teacher with classes in Boston, recommends travelers develop a routine for the road. Ask your favorite instructor for a private lesson, and have him or her customize a travel routine, she says.

DiVello says traveling yogis shouldn’t push themselves too hard when on the road.

“You don’t have to do a full 90 or even 60 minutes,” she says. “If you’re crunched on time, you can do an abbreviated practice.”

The best strategy, Sanders says, is to practice your routine first thing in the morning.

“Travel schedules tend to throw us off our routines, so doing your practice first thing in the morning will ground you (and) help reinvigorate normal body functions,” he says.

We're transitioning to fall weather (on the east coast at least), which means an end to summer fruit and veggies and fruit who masquerade as veggies (you know who you are, tomatoes!). Out with the old and in with autumnal root veggies and colder-weather greens like kale and swiss chard and even lettuces. So…what to do with these?

I just got my CSA box and here's what's on my menu tonight:

Main Course: Cheesy Kale
Sides: Roasted sweet potatos, leeks, and fennel and a crisp salad with cold weather greens and olive oil vinegarette.

HOW TO: Cheesy Kale
Start the rice (I use brown) in a pot by bringing the water to a boil, adding the rice, reducing to a simmer and letting it cook. The rule is twice the water to rice ratio.

Meanwhile, rinse the kale and strip the leave from the stalk. Some people cut them with knives or kitchen shears; I hold and rip because it's faster. Then roll the kale leaves up in a big cigar shape and slice into thin slices. Put aside.

Dice a large onion and saute it in a large frying pan in olive oil or a little bit of broth until the onions start to turn see-through. Add salt, pepper, and kale and continue cooking until the kale turns bright green and wilts. Remove from heat promptly.
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Add the rice to the kale-onions mix and stir it all together, adding more salt and pepper to taste. You can also substitute soy sauce for salt–I love the flavor it adds.

Optional: Add diced kalamata olives (can you tell I'm a salt-lover) and/or grated cheddar cheese. YUM!

HOW TO: Roasted sweet potatos, leeks, and fennel.

Rinse all the veggies. Dice all–making sure that the sweet potato pieces are significantly smaller (about half the size). They are more dense and therefore the pieces have to be smaller or you will end of with over-cooked leeks and fennel (aka “mush”) and raw sweet potatoes.

Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with kosher salt. Roast in the oven at 425-degrees for 20-25 minutes, stirring with a spatula at the 10-minute mark.

Serve it all with a fresh salad and alone everyone to dress their own salad by drizzling olive oil and vinegar (I like apple cider this time of year and it's supposed to be really good for you), salt and pepper.

Bon apetit!

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