Sunday, December 21, 2014

10 ways to get HOT for Summer (and I don’t mean sweaty-hot)!

June 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Health, Latest, Self

Yeah, it’s clearly time to get with it and kill it in a bikini this summer. Sick of that back fat behind your jeans? Want to get rid of that jiggle on those arms? Hate the way your ass used to sit high, and now gravity is winning?? Then fight back! It’s time to make some changes and GET HOT for Summer 2012 kids.

#1 – Get off your ass. If you’re not working out 5x a week for a minimum of 45 minutes a day, than you have nobody else to blame. Get moving, run, swim, bike, surf, jog, practice: yoga, meditation, tennis, join a recreational sport team, sign up for a class, get off your ass and do something to make it hot. A few of my favorites? A nice run across the Brooklyn bridge to “get away”, a stroll in Central Park, a city escape and beach run back on the Cali Coast, a 2 hour surf session at D Street in San Diego, or a hot bikram yoga session.

#2 – Swap to Stevia: Want to save hundreds of calories a day? Naturally?? Well get with it! Get to using Stevia in the Raw instead of your chemical sweeteners or tons of high-fructose corn syrup, you will fee that fat disappear. Swap to stevia in the raw for a few months and see if you notice a difference? I call it my 30 day stevia challenge. See if you can get with it! Naturally sweet, satisfying and ZERO calories. You’ll be saving calories and inches this summer. Make the swap!

#3 Be HAPPY! – The sexiest people are the happiest people, so change your perspective, change your outlook, change the way you feel. It’s not up to them, it’s going to be up to you. As my sister says you will attract more bees with honey. “I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”— Audrey Hepburn

#4 Learn how to COOK again!- Taking charge of all of your cooking will save calories, cash and keep that waist hot! So learn to cook yourself hot by using less butter and oils, limit your caloric intake by 500 calories a day. Cook for yourself, cook brekkie, pack your lunch and make your dinner! Get better control of your caloric intake, fat content and cook yourself satisfied!

#5 Skip- it!- Im not talking about that 80′s half-jump rope thangy that we grew up with, although it was pretty fun and prob does burn calories? I mean skip- the dessert, that last drink, the side of fries, the large milkshake, the butter on your popcorn or those mashed potatoes drenched in bacon bits, or the worst—side of fat-ass ranch dressing. Skip-it and save hundreds of calories and get a slim, hot waist!

#6 EAT PROTEIN – Get more protein into you diet! Research shows that people that consume more lean protein will burn more fat, and calories and will thus keep you leaner and meaner. Some of my favorite foods for lean protein? – Salmon, canned tuna, garbanzo beans, tofu, soba noodles, eggs, almonds.

#7 Swap it! Instead of butter go for extra-virgin olive oil, instead of soda go for sparking water, instead of gobs of cheese sauce or ranch dressing go for salsa. Make smarter choices, swap it everyday and swap out that fat-ass for a hot one.

#8 Eat your Greens!- Greens will keep you more vibrant, healthy, fresh, they contain antioxidants that will keep you fighting those free-radicals that will cause cancer! Greens should be juiced, salad (ed) (new word), sauteed, grilled, roasted, braised, boiled, steamed into your diet everyday! Become a greener person and become hotter overnight!

#9 Get Smarter!- Consume more omega 3 laden foods and get smarter. Cause, like I always say, being smart is hella hot. Being dumb?? Well that’s just plain ol’ moronic… Watch this segment with the lovely Dr Oz and I. We explain different types of omega 3 foods that will boost your metabolism and keep you hot as hell.

#10 Commit- Commit to being healthy, happy and sexy. If you want rock-hard abs and a sweet-ass, then work for it. Nothing says sexy more than a commitment! Tell yourself that you will make better choices, you will put down the low-carb- full of sugar bars, full of sugar shakes and sugar laden sodas and you will get back on the health wagon. Cause if you want to roll with hot, you’ve got to be hot!

Word up, keep it hot + sexy people xx ck

Intuition: Are You Tuned In?

June 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Self

I recently met a woman named Rosa Kittrell Barksdale who wrote the book, “The Intuitive Entrepreneur” and reminded me that the best decisions we make come from our gut.

As a child, I loved making decisions by flipping a coin. Heads or tales, “Which guy should I sit next to at lunch?” I would ask myself. Coin flipping backfired after a while when I found myself sitting next to my French teacher, who didn’t appreciate my overtly “friendly” nature.

Later in college, I used my analytic skills to handle my forks in the road — making lists and calculating risks. My decisions were created from equations, which didn’t work well either. During sophomore year, my calculations led me to break the heart of my long-time boy friend and move out of the country for a year. Needless to say, neither my boyfriend or mother were thrilled with me.

Today, I still struggle with indecision now and then, and what path to take, personally and professionally. It doesn’t help that we live in a time with infinite choices, information and potential directions — which can perplex the most focused people.

Barksdale is a sweet, soulful and wise African American woman who defied all odds in her working class community to become a successful businesswoman and founder of a top home care services corporation.

She writes, “One of the most important elements of success–both in life in general and in business in particular–is making use of your intuition. Trusting your instincts, listening what your gut tells you to do, may not always be entirely accurate, but my experience suggests that even when it’s not right–and it usually is–it can intimately
lead you in the most useful direction.”

Barksdale trusted her instincts and it lead her to take out loans to start her own business — even when she needed to support her family and pay for her kids’ college educations. But, her instincts were dead on and eventually her to create a profitable and extremely successful business. Many business women and men are more interested in their spreadsheets to help guide and grow their businesses, which can be big mistake in the end. Our instincts are our inner compass and the best guide we have.

How do know when you’re listening to your instincts or that crazy voice in your head that should be sent away for treatment? Your instincts come from your heart and your gut area. They are subtle and feel like a gentle pull. The way to feel your instincts is to sit still, not force an answer and just relax. When we are nervous or filled with anxiety — the right answers won’t be clear.

These days, I’m sitting still often and listening to my intuition before making any rash decisions about boyfriends or my career. I feel less anxious when questions present themselves. I know that if I stay calm, patient and listen to that heart of mine, I’ll be headed exactly where I need to go. Hopefully this time, it won’t tell me to flee the country.

Meditation: Relax Your Mind In The East Village

Meditation is like an acceptable version of napping—it recharges you, clears your head, and helps you escape your daily stresses. The practice is the perfect way to unwind, silence a frantic mind, and cope with the downtown pace of life. How can you pass that up?

You feel the essence of who you really are when you are in stillness, says yogi Alan Finger of Ishta Yoga in the East Village. The static in your mind settles; and you can can see your life more clearly. Meditation removes your fears and anxieties while keeping you happy throughout your day for no reason at all. Sounds like the cornerstone of true bliss and cheaper than therapy.

After your silence ends, you’ll be surprised at how easily these new-found senses of stillness and calm stay with you during your bustling day. “While the effects of other stress-reducing techniques wear off,” says Ethan Nichtern, director of the NYC-based nonprofit Interdependence Project, “meditation teaches you how to remain peaceful in the midst of living in the city—not just escape it.”

If you have have trouble getting to a quiet personal space on your own like most New Yorkers, sign up to meditate with a group or guide. The goal is to get in at least 20 minutes of meditation daily.

Here are some popular meditation spots in the East Village:

Allan Finger Sessions at Ishta Yoga
56 East 11th Street

Interdependence Project
302 Bowery NY, NY

Classes Ana Fox @ Dance Forum NY
20 East 17th Street

Yoga High
19 Clinton Street, Suite 205

Ilana Donna Arazie is a blogger and vlogger based in NYC who chronicles stories about living your best life in a big city. Her stories have been featured on the Associated Press, Chicago-Sun Times, Yahoo, The Travel Channel and other media outlets. She is the founder of Downtown , a site that is a bit of Cosmo meets Deepak Chopra, offering deep yet fun insights into finding peace and meaning.

Stuck In A Rut? 3 Quick Tips to Escape Mediocreland

March 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Self

hum drum life

Wake-up alarm sounds. Hit snooze button. Steal ten minutes more sleep. Groan. Take shower. Get dressed. Get coffee. Shuffle off to the subway. Head into work. Slump into chair. Check email. Check Facebook. Meet deadlines. Waste time chatting. Watch clock. Check Facebook again. Check clock. Sneak out early. Try to get a cab. Pack back into the subway. Go to gym. Get groceries. Make dinner. Watch TV. Check Facebook. Go to bed. Repeat.

Are you stuck in a rut and ready to change up the same ol’ routine?  Motivational guru Shawn Anderson shares three quick rut-escaping tips for those who need emergency advice and are living the same day over…and over…and over:

TIP #1: Quit living in Mediocreland.

Stuck on mediocrity? Well, look in the mirror at the person responsible. It’s you. You created your average-ness…and you can un-create it, too. Want out of the rut? Quit making excuses, quit pointing fingers, and quit waiting for a miracle to fly you out of Mediocreland. If you’re ever going to leave the world of average, you need to start creating the changes you seek. Cast a vision. Create a plan. Take massive action. Passive residents are not allowed to fly.

TIP #2: Don’t expect an overnight miracle.

It’s impossible to go from “ice cold” (in the rut) to “red hot” (out of the rut) overnight. Massive change just doesn’t happen that way.  Don’t expect it. Do expect, though, that you can grow to “red hot” if you hold yourself accountable to take one step a day towards the changes you want in your life. Single steps daily add up to big changes eventually.

TIP #3: Don’t wait for perfect. 

Waiting for the perfect scenario to unfold before making changes? Your reasons to wait before taking action might sound good in your head now. The problem is that five years down the road those same reasons will probably still exist…and you’ll probably still be in a rut. Life is too short to wait for the stars to fall into perfect alignment before we take life action. Live and live now. Otherwise, waiting too long for the right risk-taking moment eventually leads to paralyzing fear…which leads to complacency…which leads to “I don’t care” acceptance.

“My feeling is ‘we get one life’ so why ever choose to live it with anything less than our deepest passion and most ardent dedication? We create the life we live…one way or another,” Anderson says.


shawn andersonShawn Anderson is a six-time author, keynote speaker and motivational success coach. His “go the extra mile” philosophy and ability to produce results have been praised by political leaders, world record holders and media outlets across the world. His book titles include A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose. For more information, visit



Top photo: Flickr

What Pharrell, The UN and Social Media Have To Do With Getting Happy

March 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Self

pharrell happy day

Did you know that tomorrow is International Happiness Day? Yes, the United Nations declared March 20 International Happiness Day, recognizing that happiness and  well-being are essential parts in “progress” for nations around the world. Launched in 2012, the day aims to “(create) a happier society” which “requires action at all levels – not just from political leaders and institutions but also from us as individual citizens.

Even singer Pharrell Williams, still basking in the glow of his chart-topping and GRAMMY-nominated single, “Happy,” is even doing his part to spread the happiness movement. Starting on Monday March 10, fans are encouraged to post YouTube videos of themselves dancing to Pharrell’s catchy track Happy with the hashtag #HAPPYDAY, which they will then submit to Pharrell’s new website 24 Hours of Happiness. The musician will then pick the best submissions at noon from each time zone of the world, on March 20.

So, what else can we as haggard New Yorkers do to reclaim our happiness?

Project Happiness, which teaches the skills for greater well-being to students around the world, is working with Action for Happiness to bring together a network of like-minded organizations and people to expand happiness everywhere. One of the quickest ways to get involved is to celebrate acts of generosity, kindness, enthusiasm and connection — focused on bringing happiness to others. It’s easier than one may think to ACT:

A: Affirm the pledge – make a personal pledge to create more happiness in the world
C: Cheer Happy Heroes – celebrate the people who bring happiness to you and others
T: Take part – do something to mark the day and spread some happiness

Wherever you are in the world you can take part on the International Day of Happiness by:
Cheering your Happy Heroes or using the #happyheroes hashtag on Twitter
• Sharing what you’re doing on the day using Cheers or the #happyday hashtag on Twitter.

C’mon, let’s get happy!


International day of happiness


5 Places to Get Centered in the City.

March 11, 2014 by  
Filed under City, Featured, Health, Latest, Self


5 places to get centerdSinatra said it all when he sang the words, “I want to wake up in a city that doesn’t sleep.” Waking up is the key here, for if you are spending your days in a trance from lack of sleep or you feel like a hamster on a wheel at work, then how are you ever going to be the king – or the queen – of the hill and top of the heap?

It’s easy to feel off-balance, especially if you live in New York City.  External demands and the fast pace often result in internal pressure, which is inevitably affecting your day, your relationships, your mind and your body.   So how can you get centered in the city?

Here are 5 places to get centered in the city:

  1. New York Open Center– Committed to holistic learning and world culture, NY Open Center offers a variety of programs including lectures, classes, certification programs, yoga, and volunteer opportunities.  They attract amazing speakers/teachers like Dr. Michael Beckwith and Marianne Williamson and attract like-minded participants.  They recently moved to a new location: 22 East 30th Street.
  2. Sacred Center New York – If you’re seeking a spiritual community that will support you in going deeper in your personal growth by giving you tools to live a prosperous life, then look no further.  Sacred Center New York, led by the dynamic Rev. August Gold, holds a service each Sunday where Western teachings are blended with Eastern philosophies, music fills the room, and all are welcome.  Classes and guest speakers like “The Secret’s” Lisa Nichols, are also offered each month.
  3. Meta Center New York – Dedicated to raising consciousness, healing, personal growth, transformation and creativity, the Meta Center offers workshops and lectures on all of these topics.  This educational center has been Feng Shui aligned and you feel it the second you walk in.  Founded by Jodi Serota, META stands for Multi-dimensional Education and Transformational Arts Center.
  4. Kabbalah Centre – If you want to get on the same, spiritual page as Demi, Ashton and Madonna, this is your place.  Through classes, books, webinars and one-on-one instruction, you will learn how to apply the ancient wisdom of the Kabbalah – the study of how to receive fulfillment – to everyday life.
  5. Chopra Center & Spa Deepak Chopra has created a space in the Dream Hotel to help “calm the chaotic lives of busy New Yorkers”.  How much do we love this guy?  This center offers workshops, yoga, meditation, and Ayurvedic spa treatments designed to bring balance to the mind and body.Here’s to you getting centered in the city!

SZ headshot - Small Cropped3 Stefanie Ziev is a Certified Life Coach who helps people discover what makes them happy by developing a healthy relationship with themselves the way they would a friend or a partner. Stefanie coaches individual and corporate clients, leads seminars and speaks to groups about a variety of topics related to consciously developing a healthy and committed relationship with one’s self and one’s life. Her approach is creative, fun, and direct as she holds clients accountable to themselves throughout this powerful and transformational process. For more infomation on Stefanie or her services go to

Disconnect To Reconnect: National Day Of Unplugging March 7-8

March 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Health, Latest, Self

disconnect to reconnect unplug

So, we could probably all stand to put down our smart phones or close our laptops a little more. Let’s face it, we are in a digital age where Google meet ups often replace face to face meetings and people walk (dangerously) down NYC sidewalks with faces buried in their phones.

While computers and apps and smartphones are essentially there to make our lives easier and more efficient, ever feel like they’re running your lives? Are you laying in bed at night unable to sleep thinking…”maybe I’ll just check my Facebook feed” (guilty!), or perhaps you just can’t resist tweeting when you’re really enjoying really fab meal or particularly funny TV show.

Ever think of just enjoying the moment? Of really being present and not worrying about updating our status or checking our email. Imagine a lunch with friends where no one was tweeting or texting during the meal. Non existent these days!

There is something to say for the “good ol days” when technology was not a part of our every move, and more focus was put on the people and the essence of the moments we are experiencing. Now, I am probably more guilty that most (even my 2 year old can use my iPhone and much to my chagrin requests it first thing), but I think experiencing a day unplugged might just do us all some good.

Tomorrow is National Day of Unplugging. Thousands have pledged to unplug and recognize the importance of disconnecting  (even if they can’t keep it up the whole day!). See more details HERE and maybe try it out with me?


Top Photo: Flickr

Abundance: Bringing It Forth

February 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Health, Latest, Self


So, although it seems like the only thing that is overly abundant as of late is snow, I know that abundance exists beyond what we can see. This morning I took a yoga class at Living Yoga, and the theme (my how I love my yoga lessons) was abundance, which had me thinking well beyond the 75 minute class.

Abundance is something that’s been circling around my head lately. I recently watched on of Marie Forleo’s videos with guest Kate Northrop, both of whom I know and respect greatly. Their focus was abundance in finances and beyond, while this morning at yoga it was about a release of holding back or hoarding (whether energy or ideas or material possessions), and in turn allowing abundance to come forth.

In all, abundance really comes back to our energy, intention and faith in the renewal process. It’s this idea that when we give or empty out, abundance is right there behind us ready to fill in that space. The idea that there is plenty for all, and the Universe just needs us to release in order to give it right back to us, and our holding on to anything too tightly not only hinders that process, but in fact cuts us off from abundance in our lives.

All great teachings from the Buddha to the Bible re-iterate this, and my experience in life has shown me it’s true. Yet, whether ego, “sense”, or fear of being without, there are still there are days I hold on too tightly and hamper the little voice within that knows better. So, today I appreciated being reminded of the abundance that exists when we let go and choose it. Abundance is ours…we just have to bring it forth.


Self Love: Have It? 3 Steps To Get It.

February 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Self

Someone recently asked me, “When do you know you love yourself?”

I replied, “You just know.”

The moment I realized I loved myself was at a party with some of my girlfriends. The ladies at the party were part of my addiction-support group. We’d seen each other through all kinds of addictions like drugs, alcohol, relationships, food, you name it. For years, we’d been on a serious journey seeking self-love. Towards the end of the party, the hostess brought out a platter covered with fluffy pink cupcakes. I grabbed one, took a bite, and offered the rest to my friend. My girlfriends stopped and stared in shock.

How the hell can you possibly take only one bite and not want more!,” one said.

Without hesitation, I replied, “I love myself too much to eat the whole thing.” There, I realized my self-love.

I didn’t love myself overnight. I’d spent years avoiding my true feelings and the issues I’d acquired throughout my life. Through a serious dedication to change, I resurrected my relationship with myself.

How did I get here? The answer is simple. I showed up! One day at a time I showed up for my inner journey. Each day, I added new tools, meditated longer, prayed more and changed my mind. And, I continue showing up everyday. I continuously add new layers of love to the miraculous relationship with the woman that is me.

If you’re ready to put down that cupcake and love yourself, you can start showing up today. The first step is to be willing. With the slightest willingness, you will receive guidance to move forward. Begin now, by saying out loud, I am willing to love myself, today. For the next thirty days, recite this affirmation. Post it on your wall, your mirror and by your desk. Put it everywhere. Make the daily commitment to be willing to love yourself. By simply setting this intention, you are one step closer to self-love.

Second, get clear about how you’ve been un-loving towards yourself. Are you possibly overeating, drinking too much, staying in a bad relationship, reciting negative mantras in your head? Make a list of all the ways you’ve mistreated yourself. Carefully, look at the list and ask, Would I treat someone I love that way? Each time you act in a self-loathing way ask yourself that question. By calling yourself out, you witness your negative behavior and stop identifying with it. In the instant that you choose love over negativity, you create a shift and get one step closer to self-love.

Lastly, simply just hang with yourself. Once a day, spend ten minutes quiet and alone. Turn off your phone, stop tweeting and start chilling. Listen to your thoughts and check in with your body. Simply be aware of what your inner guide (~ing) is saying to you. When I practice this exercise, I hear awesome stuff. For instance, today I heard my ~ing say, “Go lie down for an hour and rest. You need it!” Had I not stopped to take the time to check in with my ~ing, I’d have never heard what I truly needed. Slow down and listen to the voice of your inner guide. This will get you one more step closer to self-love.

These three steps are a great start to any self-love journey. Be willing to affirm your desire and slow down enough to listen to the loving voice of your inner guide. One day at a time, you’ll get closer to the most rockin’ relationship with yourself.

Anyone who knows me has seen the ring I wear on my left hand. It is the ILoveMe ring which acts as a gentle reminder to love myself and others. My dear friend Arielle Feirman designed this ring and named it with me during a meditation. Check it out:

 Gabrielle is the New York Times best-selling author of May Cause Miracles. She appears regularly as an expert on NBC’s Today Show, has been featured on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday as a next-generation thought leader, and was named “a new role model” by the New York Times. She is also the author of the books Add More ~ing to Your LifeSpirit Junkie and the forthcoming book Miracles Now (published in April 2014). Gabrielle is also the founder, a social networking site for women to inspire, empower and connect.

Instant Mood Boosters for the Winter Blues

February 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Latest, Self


winter blues

So, it’s cold and wintery here in the big city. And, I know this time of year can be tough- the holidays are over, bills coming in, shorter days…I get it. But, I actually love this time of year because it means wearing comfy slippers and cuddling to keep warm! Here are 3 more instant mood boosters to kick the winter blues to the curb…

Tip #1 : Get Moving & Have Some Fun

When we take ourselves too seriously, we can end up in a rut. In the winter, it’s easier to drift into depression, because it’s colder and days are shorter. But, there’s so many fun things that come with cold, ice, and snow, so take advantage of them! Build a fire, and read firside stories, or look at family photos. Go ice skating, even if you’ve never done it! Wear padding and fall with the best of ‘em.  Use the snow for a snowball packing party, making snow angels.

Often when I find myself moving toward a funk, I do something super-silly to get myself out of it. So, jump up and down, sing loud in the shower, do a tumble salt! Just make it a point to do something fun and take advantage of the season, instead of drowning in darkness!

Exercise also is a great remedy. It releases endorphins, lifting our mood and instantly making us feel better. Not to mention that done regularly, exercise increases our  strength, self confidence and physical and mental health.

Tip #2: Make Your Home a Little Brighter

If the darkness is bringing you down, simply add more light to your space by changing your lightbulbs! Go green by switching them out with energy-efficient ones, and you’ll feel better just by turning on a brighter light. Make sure that your blinds are letting natural light in, and, if the walls are covered in old wallpaper or paint that just isn’t your style, this is a great time to tear it down and put on a fresh coat of a nice light-reflecting color! You can also simply brighten up your space by adding accessories that sparkle. Winter is the perfect time of year for using “crystal” accessories because they add an “ice” effect. You can even replace a light fixture, add pillows that pop, picture frames that glitter.

Tip #3: Warm Water with Lemon Works Wonders

If you’re feeling like you’ve added some pounds over the holidays, you are not alone!! The average American gains 7-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years alone. So, flush out the toxins with a cleansing drink!! I love this, because it’s not about deprivation it’s about adding something in! Just by adding warm water with lemon to your daily intake (8-8oz. glasses) you can easily lose 5 pounds of trapped bloat and flush out fat and toxins in just couple of weeks!

 Photo: Flickr



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