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Striving for Self-Improvement

I like to start off my week with a quote and a motivational “to do list”. When I start with mindful preparation, it guides me through a fulfilling, productive week. My goal is to perform acts of kindness and to partake in motivational, self-improvement exercises.

You Cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is delicate

I recently caught a cold which was more inconvenient than anything. Being sick made me realize how a simple illness can slow me down and derail my success on many levels. I hate it when I get sick. I feel like I am wasting precious time trying to recover. Yes, my body needs the rest to overcome the disgusting bug in my body, but I am a doer and feel totally worthless when I cannot accomplish something.

About the same time that I was sick, one of my grandsons came down with a virus that was pretty scary. He ran a fever, broke out in a rash when the fever spiked and complained of his legs hurting. The pain in his legs worsened and he stopped walking, for 4-full days. On the 5th day, I told his mom and dad that they must be freaking out inside. The doctors were telling them to let it run its course. After 5-days of not walking, I realized again, how delicate life is. One day, this 3 1/2-year-old is walking, running, and doing normal things that a young child does, and was unable to them the next day. The virus did run its course and he finally started walking little by little on the 5th day.

After reading that story, I encourage you to go back to the kindness quote at the top of the page and look for opportunities to be kind to your family, friends, and total strangers.

Self Improvement Exercise

This weeks exercise was to create a list of things that motivate me. Once I come up with that list, I practice putting it into action. I take one item and implement it into every day for that week. Once I make that push to implement I start to see my accomplishments build up right in front of me.

The 1st week of January, I sat down and developed my list of goals and dreams for 2019. After I accomplished that, I wrote down a list of things that would have to happen to turn each goal into a reality. At week 19, I revisited that list to see how much I have accomplished. I am pleased to say that 29% of those goals have become a reality as a result, and I have many things in play to see more of those goals through. One of my biggest, career goals, will come to fruition by September! I have completed the steps to acquire 62% of that goal. Because I am taking this mindful approach, all of the goals I set for 2019 will become reality.

The “to-do” lists weekly help me revisit the long term goals, and push me towards completing the short term goals that are in play to accomplish them. If I wander away from this daily project and take my eyes off my long term goals, the progress slows down as a result. It has been at least a month since I last visited my goals and weekly self-improvement exercise. As I reviewed completions, it motivated me to pick up where I left off.

Make your 2019, goals and dreams list today

Don’t wait for the new year to arrive before you make a commitment to work towards your goals and dreams. Get a journal out, ask yourself what do I want to accomplish before the end of the year, and write it down. The next step is to pick one of those goals and write an action plan on steps that need to happen to make that goal a reality. I recommend working through each goal the same way.

There are many online tools to help you develop a goal system. I prefer good, old fashioned, books and notebooks. I get my daily kindness quotes from “everyday kindness-365 ways to a peaceful life”. It was a gift that brings me joy daily.

Learn how to stop and smell the roses. Don’t get me wrong, I sink into dark moods as a result of life sometimes. But, I have learned to Take time for myself. Self-healing comes in many different forms. Find yours and implement it. If something doesn’t work, find another, healthy avenue.

Want help on Self Improvement Exercise ideas? Click here to read an article on 12 self-awareness exercises. Leave comments and share your self-healing and motivational ideas.

Catherine Bares

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The Cutest Wishes Ever

Thanksgiving Day

Part of my family duties at Thanksgiving is carving the turkey. It’s usually an uneventful part of my day. My encounter with 2 curious girls would change that uneventful part into an experience that I felt compelled to share.


I was wearing my blue crab apron and armed with an electric knife. Curiosity took over and a little girl stops and asks me what I was doing. It appeared she lost interest quickly when she turned and ran off. To my surprise, she returned quickly with her cousin who was just as cute and curious.

They watched me as I cut the turkey and asked questions, one of which was “can I have a piece?” With a smile, I said sure and handed them a piece. Sharing in this moment, my beautiful niece, who was helping me and adding to the cuteness of the moment. My adult niece shared the same first name with one of the little girls, which piqued her interest.

Making a wish

I am a master at deboning a bird and reached the wishbone quickly.  I held up the bone and asked the girls if they wanted to make a wish on the wishbone. The look on their faces when I was holding the bone out to them, clearly expressed they have never heard of the wishbone before. The look said something like “I am not touching that thing”. By this point, their parents have gathered around us to see what the girls were up to.  I began to tell them about the wishbone tradition and watched their expressions change to delighted with an “I’m in” look.  So they each grabbed a side of the bone, went silent working on their wishes as their parents are enjoying and capturing the moment with snapshots.  

Well, turkey bones aren’t quite as giving as chicken bones so we had a little disappointing outcome.  I assured them that it was okay and that meant both wishes would come true. A few moments later when it was just the four of us again, I asked them what they wished for.  One immediately said she wished for butterflies, which I thought was one of the sweetest wishes I had ever heard.  Then I asked the 2nd little girl what she wished for and she said, “I wished that I will have a friend forever”.  At that point me and my niece looked at each and simultaneously let out an “AWWWW” and then we both laughed.


Adult wishes put into perspective

That sweet moment made us put our adult wishes into perspective. I forget how simplicity can be so joyful. Yes, I walked around and shared that story all day. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience and that you had some great experiences at Thanksgiving as well.

Please, feel free to share your stories with me in the comments. I would love to hear about them.

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When should we eat, when should we stop eating

Recently, I had a conversation with a client, of my PiYo class, about the #Circadian rhythm and how she lost 8 lbs. following the 12-hour eating rule.  It prompted me to reflect on when I am at my best in eating habits and at my best weight.  The science behind it makes sense to me and rings true with what I find in my habits.  If I eat late at night, I tend to gain weight and my sleep suffers.  When I cut off my eating, I drop body fat and sleep longer.  I crawl into bed earlier, fall asleep faster and wake up early feeling energetic.  I don’t hit the snooze button on those mornings.

I came across this article that helps explain the #Circadian Rhythm and how it affects our health.  If you give a try, please leave comments here,  on Instagram or Facebook.  Did it help you sleep? Did it help you drop some body fat/weight? Are you more energetic?

Catherine Bares

Please follow me on Instagram and Facebook through the links at the bottom.

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Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

New adventures

Trying new adventures is exciting for me.  I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new adventures, new food, and meeting new people. My experience was amazing and I hope you enjoy reading about my stay at Travaasa Spa and Resort, Austin, TX (now Miraval, Austin).

Stand-up paddle boarding

I remember relaxing at the edge of the infinity pool, looking out over Lake Travis. The water was beautiful and inviting sitting at the bottom of the valley the pool overlooked. After closing my eyes I visualized a memory that I had while relaxing (click to read that story). Upon opening my eyes, I decided to figure out what the rest of my day was going to include.

Stand up Paddle Boarding was my choice for the day.  The water in Lake Travis was beautiful.  The view from the top of the hill at the resort’s infinity pool enticed and called me to participate in the excursion that I noticed on the event board for the day. It would be an adventure that I could write about.

Launch time

We launched our boards and I started in a kneeling position to paddle into a nearby cove.  I followed my coach’s instructions on proper feet and body placement on the board, to make the transition from kneeling to standing.  What happened next was a huge surprise to me.

Fear stepping out of my comfort zone

“Fear” set in; I stepped out of my comfort zone.  Balance in my PiYo class is completely different than balancing on a board in the water.  I was always comfortable on the water boating, skiing, fishing, trawling, and swimming. The fear surprised me.

Running all of my Coach’s instructions through my thoughts, I worked towards connecting on a physical and cognitive level. Going back to my boating days, I kept Imitating the body shifts that I would make to keep my balance. I struggled with the technique as my Coach kept walking me through it and encouraging me.  He inspired me to let go of the fear and relax through the motions.  Enjoy the scenery” he said, and “if you feel like you are going to fall, just fall into the water, don’t try to catch yourself.” -I am happy to report that I did not fall.

Soaking in the scenery-creating new memories

Upon exiting the cove and heading to our destination spot, I was able to work through the challenges and really connect my body to the movements of bending my knees, leaning forward and pulling the paddle board across the water. I found the most challenging part was the steering. As my balance improved, the steering kicked in.

Along the way, I soaked in the scenery.  The aquamarine colored water was clear as day. In amazement, I watched Garfish swim up to the surface only to dart back down after seeing me.   I watched water plants as my board glided over them.  The hillside that we were heading towards grew larger with each stroke moving me towards it.  Curious bystanders were everywhere.  I paddled my way past some anchored boats. Their passengers were enjoying the cool water with their friends and family, on big floating islands.  I saw Jet skis zipping around the middle of the lake, causing wakes that we had to maneuver our boards across. Pulling out of the marina, there were tour boats filled with adventurers wanting to share and enjoy the environment. I could hear screams from a nearby Zipline excursion that were exploding, and echoing off the hills which traveled across the water.

Precious resource returned to its glory

It occurred to me that on my first trip to Travaasa, this very lake that we were all enjoying, was completely dried up due to a 5-year drought.  The thought of this beautiful, precious resource completely dried up and gone saddened me.  It reminded me, once again, how delicate life and nature truly are.  So, that day, I lived in the moment, appreciated the experience, felt empowered by my success, enjoyed the company of my fellow adventurers and thanked God for every moment and for restoring this precious resource. 

Catherine Bares

Add another to my Been There Done That List!

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Indoor Air Quality Sources

Reduce sources to reduce triggered allergies

Who in your home has allergies?  It is quite common these days for someone within a family to suffer from allergies.  Rather than treat the symptoms of the ailment, why not investigate what triggers allergies and be proactive in reducing the exposure?

What Causes Indoor Air Pollution?

Information from www.airadvice.com

“There are many factors that can cause indoor air pollution:”

  • The typical home generates approximately 40 pounds of dust a year per every 1500 square feet.
  • There are over 4,000 compounds in tobacco smoke, many of which are strong irritants.
  • Just one ounce of dust contains about 40,000 dust mites, which aggravate allergies.
  • Carpets, furniture, bathrooms, damp basements, and other seemingly benign household items can contribute to indoor air pollution.
  • Tobacco smoke and wood smoke are a common cause of indoor air pollution.
  • Flowers and trees are both sources of pollen, but surprisingly trees affect allergy sufferers more. Trees like alder, pine and birch do not rely on insects to distribute pollen. They rely on wind, and this means their pollen can regularly enter your home.
  • Common activities such as cooking, cleaning, and remodeling cause the spread of indoor contaminants.
  • Perfume, paint, air fresheners and hairspray cause indoor air pollution.

“What is causing indoor air pollution in your home? Get an indoor air pollution test to find out. The results could be surprising. Significantly lowering indoor air pollution is normally not that difficult, but you have to know what you are dealing with.”

Indoor Air Pollutants and Health

Poor indoor air quality can cause or contribute to the development of infections, lung cancer and chronic lung diseases such as asthma. People who already have lung disease are at greater risk. Find out what makes indoor air unhealthy and how pollution can hurt your body.
Bacteria and viruses
Building and paint products
Carbon monoxide
Cleaning supplies and household chemicals
Dust mites and dust
Floods and water damage
Mold and dampness
Nitrogen dioxide
Pet dander
Residential wood burning
Secondhand smoke
Volatile Organic Compounds


Who do I call to perform the test?

I am heavily ingrained in the Air Conditioning and Heating Industry.  There are many companies out there that can provide you with an indoor air quality test.  The results can give you a course of action to improve the indoor air quality within your home.

Catherine Bares

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Did you Know? Avocados

According to Mark Ettinger, M.D., of BioTrust Nutrition:

 “Avocados are one of the best flab-fighting fats, but it’s unlikely that you’ll eat an entire avocado in one sitting.  So how do you keep that leftover avocado from turning brown?”

“Well, first let’s talk about why avocados turn brown.  Like apples or potatoes, they oxidize when exposed to air.  Once you cut into an avocado, you’ll never be able to completely stop the oxidation process, but you can dramatically slow it with a few quick tips and tricks:”

1. “Cut the avocado with a ceramic or plastic knife.  Metal actually accelerates the oxidation process.”

2. “Try lemon or lime juice. Citric acid is a powerful antioxidant; rub a little juice around the exposed flesh and you’ll significantly delay the browning effect.”

3. “No lemon or lime? Use oil. Oil is another great buffer to oxygen. Use in place of lemon or lime juice when you don’t have any handy.”

4. “Store as air-tight as possible. Again, avocados turn brown due to oxidation and exposure to air, so storing in an air-tight container only makes sense.”

5. “Water. Huh? That’s right! This one works exceptionally well for guacamole. Place your leftover guac in a plastic container and press down to remove any air pockets. Add a half inch of water on top and seal with an air-tight lid. The water creates a barrier between the avocado and the air, keeping your guacamole fresh and 100% green for 24 hours or more!  When ready to eat some more, just drain the excess water and enjoy.  Works like a charm!”

Catherine Bares

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Everyone has a Story!

Does your story drive your behavior?

Everyone behaves the way they do for a reason.  Everyone has a story. Just because someone is joyful and happy doesn’t mean they haven’t experienced any adversity.  It has been my experience that a person that can be resilient in the face of adversity doesn’t let those moments define them.  Instead, it’s the resilience that shapes us.

“Everyone is handed adversity in life. No one’s journey is easy. It’s how they handle it that makes people unique”.

-Kevin Conroy

Be curious, talk to people, learn their stories

I am amazed by some of the conversations that I have with strangers. For some reason, I can learn a lot about a person, quickly, in a random conversation. I think it is easier to open up to a stranger than it is to open up to a family member or friend sometimes. Check out this link I found on why that is.

What’s your story?

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