5 Empowering Questions to Ask Yourself Daily for a Groovier, More Impactful Life

Happy New Year, beauties! I hope you all had wonderful, soul-nourishing holidays. I had a blast visiting family, chilling out and looking back and forward—as we tend to do around New Year’s.

Before that, I had the pleasure of celebrating 100 episodes of Girl Boner® Radio with my gal pal and stylist extraordinaire, Rayne Parvis, of Style By Rayne—such fun! To hear Rayne interview me about Embraceable, all-things-Girl Boner® and more, click here.

To start the year here, I thought I’d share a handful of practices I’m committed to leading my life by. Rather than keep a to-do list, I check in with myself routinely, posing the below questions.

Sure, there are days I skimp on one and max out on another—but the goal isn’t “perfection.” By aiming to live well and fiercely, we can all be and do more without going bonkers. We’ll even have a blast doing it.


♥ Have you hustled?

I’m not talking about the swindling definition of hustle. I mean working with gusto toward your goals and dreams. To me, hustling means making the most of your time and energy while pushing yourself out of your comfort zone—if even for 20 minutes a day. Examples could include making challenging phone calls, asking for help, saying YES to a butterfly-sy opportunity or concocting one of your own. We’re never too old or inexperienced to dream huge, delicious dreams, so do it!

♥ Did you play?

It’s easy to let play fall to the wayside, but it’s important. “We don’t lose the need for novelty and pleasure as we grow up,” says Scott G. Eberle, Ph.D, editor of the American Journal of Play and vice president of play studies at The Strong. Psychiatrist Stuart Brown, MD, compares play to oxygen. Through decades of researching the power of play, he found that a lack is just as influential as other factors that contribute to criminal behavior, and that playing together rekindles couples’ intimacy—not to mention makes life sweeter. So, play! Paint. Dance. Color. Make love. Make music. Make both.

♥ Were you generous?

Giving is a superpower, especially when we give to give, versus for a particular reaction. Countless studies have linked generosity to physical and emotional health—revealing perks such as lower blood pressure, sharper memories skills and less anxiety and depression. Regardless, it’s the kind thing to do. Volunteer your time and energy to a good cause. Donate to your favorite charity. Kick up your kindness to loved ones or strangers.

♥ Did you practice self-care?

That generosity sure as heck better extend to yourself! The adage is true: We have to put our oxygen masks on before helping others don theirs. If you find yourself tending to everyone but you, stop and remind yourself how selfish that actually is. Provide a good role model for others by nourishing yourself first and foremost. We only have as much to give as we’ve already nurtured within ourselves.

♥ Were you mindful?

John Lennon was one wise dude. Life really can happen while we’re busy making other plans—but it doesn’t have to. Learning to cultivate mindfulness has been one of the most powerful steps (journeys, really) I’ve taken. Mindfulness boosts overall wellness while increasing connection with ourselves—all vital for living bold, fulfilling, empowered lives. Spend time in nature. Pay attention to food as you eat it. Listen more to others. If you’re looking for a simple meditation aid, I highly recommend Simply Being, which you can purchase for $1.99 on iTunes.

What do you think of these questions? Do you abide by any or all of them? If not, what would make your list? I love hearing from you!

Psst! I’m planning official release events for Embraceable, starting February 1st. Stay tuned for more info!

Sexy Benefits of Meditation

Meditation humor

I used to think so, too.

If someone had told me as a kid that one day I’d find tremendous value in stillness, I probably would’ve sat there awaiting the punchline for 1/8 of a millisecond before leaping into the air to sprint spasmodically around the neighborhood at the mere thought of sitting still-age. While I’ve learned to embrace mindfulness since then, I couldn’t read more than a few sentences sitting still until earlier this year. (Dear Elliptical Machine: Thanks for keeping me literate!)

Everything changed when I began to explore meditation. Like much growth in my adult life, I credit my introduction to my bulldog Zoe, with whom I shared incredibly slow walks during her final months of life. Focusing on my breath and her presence, I learned to savor each moment, letting my thoughts drift to near nothingness.

Then without really trying, I began seeking stillness throughout each day. More recently, I’ve begun to meditate sitting or lying still, focusing on my breath, imagery or mantras. And guess what: it’s not boring! On the contrary, it’s a practice I’ve grown to look forward to, and that attracts exciting growth and change. It doesn’t always go as smoothly or simply as I’d like—sometimes it’s flat-out tough—but it always helps. I’ve been sleeping better, working with greater clarity, finding more joy in daily life and even reading pretty well at home.


Meditation may not sound sexy, but it so is. Here are just some of the awesome benefits.

You can meditate your way to…

…improved body image and food attitudes. Poor body image and food or dieting fixation detract from health and happiness in myriad ways by increasing stress, disrupting relationships and, if you eat a restrictive diet, lead to nutrient deficiencies, mood swings, weight gain and more. Research shows that adding mindfulness practice into your daily life can help improve these issues, reducing instances of emotional eating, food cravings and negative body- and food- related thoughts.

…a healthier, happier sex life! Meditation is great way to de-clutter your brain, improve sleep and lower stress, which are PRIMO forms of foreplay. Or foreplay-foreplay—i.e., making foreplay more enticing, feasible and pleasurable. These attributes are important because stress and sleep loss are leading libido tankers for all genders. Meditation can also improve sex hormone levels and set the stage for more powerful orgasms. If you’re really into the sexy perks of meditation, you can pair the two by practicing orgasm meditation.

…improved physical and emotional health. Meditation may be the most studied and proven means of natural health care, both as preventative medicine and as treatment, of all time. And while it shouldn’t replace doctor-recommended care without his or her approval, research has shown benefits for managing anxiety disorders, insomnia, chronic pain, depression, cancer, high blood pressure, asthma and heart disease, reports the Mayo Clinic.

…increased awareness. Little allows us to move forward, live fully, cultivate our passions or appreciate life as powerfully as self-awareness, in my opinion. Life is too precious to not do all we can to honor it. Don’t you think? That was a huge motivator for me to dig deeper.

If you’d like to learn more about meditation, sign up for Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s 21-Day Meditation Challenge, starting November 3rd. It’s FREE and convenient; you simply sign up then listen to daily meditations online. I’ve signed up and would love it you’d join me!

**Special thanks to KM Huber, Rob Riley, Scott McAllister and others who’ve encouraged me to embrace meditation. You absolutely rock.**

Do you meditate? What do you love most about it? Or find most challenging? Will you be joining the 21-Day Challenge? I love hearing from you. ♥

Finding Joyful Calm in Happy Storms (or How NOT to End Up in a Wrist Brace)

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.”  ― Pema Chödrön

A few years ago, I ended up sleeping with a brace on my wrist after my doc diagnosed me with carpal tunnel. No! I thought in the exam room. Take my legs, my feet, my butt. But please don’t take my wrists! If I couldn’t write as much as I desired, I wasn’t sure how I would manage. Good thing I resisted fleeing and stayed to hear him out.

Stress and exhaustion, he said, usually cause carpal tunnel. Had I been experiencing any? Well sure, I told him, but it was GOOD stress. I was too excited to sleep well. “Stress is stress,” he replied. Obsessive typing hadn’t caused my write pain! It had merely exacerbated inflammation from hyper alertness and sleep loss. Talk about an a-ha! moment. When life gets happily hectic, I could probably stay awake 23/7—but at a cost. Lately I’ve had opportunities to make better choices.

Next week, after years of renting, my husband and I are moving into our own home. The following week, I’ll fly to New York City to host World Sexual Health Day, N. America’s 2nd annual celebration, and the day after, I’ll participate in an orgasm MRI. That’s right! My sex-geek dream of climaxing while my brain is hooked up to analytical machinery is, quite literally, coming true! A couple of weeks later I’ll dress up as a human cake with a dear friend in the name of a brilliant artist. Weeks after that, I’ll be in the same room as OPRAH. The following week I’ll be in Puerto Rico, presenting at the National Women’s Studies Association conference. (More on all of this later!) The list goes on…

Amid all of this happy hectic-ness, I’m doing all the work you writers and busy do-it-yourself-ers do. I can feel some of you nodding your heads; a creative’s life is seldom an automatically calm, well-balanced act. Many of you have kids, pets and additional jobs to allot time and energy to, or wear so many hats you often like Bartholomew Cubbins.

I’m a strong believer in prioritizing self-care and celebrating, so as life grows busier, I’m making asserted efforts to not explode maintain positivity, to eat well, rest well and play well, soaking in all the wonder without letting stress or sleep loss from holding me, or my beloved wrists, back. What good is excitement and hard work, after all, if we don’t enjoy it?

I’m also a fan of sharing our goals, which seems to cement them and invite takeaways from others. I hope you’ll join the conversation!

Some of my work-in-progress toward these ends:

– Breathing and meditating – on purpose

Rather than rely solely on my respiratory system’s cues, I’m taking time daily to breathe fully in and out with intention, particularly on intense days. And rather than simply daydream and listen to the occasion meditation podcast (okay, I’ve only listened to three), I signed up for a transcendental meditation class and plan to incorporate the practice into my daily life. Oprah does it, Ellen does it, Hugh Jackman does it, and so should I!

– Avoiding working and web-surfing at night

I’ve never been a night owl. My brain turns into sludge after a day of work, and nighttime efforts to work harder and longer end up working consistently against me—so no more. So I work hardest during my brain’s golden hours and try to chill out and tend to less rigorous tasks as it dims. I’m also limiting internet use at night. Like I need any help not sleeping well!


– Pondering life’s blessings

When an anxious thought crops up, such as, “What if self-stimulating in a tube whole others listening gives my G-spot stage fright and she runs up and hides behind my kidneys?” — you know, normal concerns — I remind myself what in incredible opportunity the experience is (and, in the MRI case, how important, and still lacking, female sexuality research is). I’m also keeping a list of the perks of investing in a house, which really helps nuke any moving-related stress, and doing my best to act on and express my gratitude. (Have I mentioned how awesome you all are, by the way???)

– Saying “no” and taking breaks

Overwork and overextending ourselves doesn’t help anyone. It certainly won’t help our work quality, sleep abilities or relationships. While it’s important to help others and hang out with our pals when we can, if shouldn’t say “yes” to obligations if it means saying “no” to our dreams or self-care. I’d also like my husband to come home to a happy, healthy human, not the exhausted, eyes-glued-open robot he’s seen more than once. If you’ve ever spent too much time writing, you know exactly what I mean. It looks something like this:

"What do you mean 'what's wrong?' I'm perfectly FINE!"

“What do you mean ‘what’s wrong?’ I’m perfectly FINE!”

– Focusing on fun

My mom is the BOMB at this. When she last visited LA, our place was essentially a doggy hospice—full of love, but also concern. And while I was making efforts to make Zoe’s life as lovely as possible, which truly benefited mine, without negating self-care, “fun” wasn’t exactly a priority. Mom turned everything we did into a party. We laughed while grocery shopping and cooking, dined on the patio as though it was the French Riviera, spent lots of time with super Z and even broke away to dance our butts off in Ellen’s audience. For a few days, I virtually stopped worrying. I’ve been set on keeping that going since.

– Making like a dog

Speaking of Zoe, she taught me so much about being mindful and present—to spend time in nature, simply absorbing my surroundings rather than stress over whatever work I’m not doing then. Dogs give love without condition, savor the heck out of every meal, belly rub, walk and car ride, and, in our new pup Via’s case, seem to think Christmas comes around every couple of hours. I see her giddy face each morning and can’t help but feel eager, too. Pets also make us who work from home take rejuvenating breaks and never, ever delay a meal.

Life's too precious not to smile.

Life’s too precious not to smile.

My thoughts keep trailing back to Ariana Huffington’s talk at BlogHer, ’14. For women to succeed, she said, we must sleep our way to the top! In other words, rest paves the way for success—not needless stress, excessive work or insomnia. Words to live and dream by, don’t you think? I also continually remind myself of the motto which I shared at BlogHer:


Butterflies are awesome, as long as they don’t overtake our entire bodies. 😉 With these steps in tow, my wrist brace won’t likely see the dark of night. Hey, that’s one less thing to pack! See that? Endless blessings.

I’ve shown you mine. Show me yours! 😉 How do you stay calm and present in happy or challenging storms? Do you agree that it’s important?