Thursday, November 15, 2007

December 11th Holiday Shopping Party! Shop Local!

Shop Local for the Holidays on December 11th!

You're invited to calmly shop for the holidays with some super-fabulous local businesses while sipping champagne and nibbling on hand-made chocolates.

Easy parking, no lines, cheery environment, individualized attention and customized gifts for all the gals on your list. Even the guys!

Tuesday, December 11th at 6 pm
Sugar & Swank Studios
3418 77th Place SE
Mercer Island, WA 98040

RSVP by December 4th
or 206-351-3213
Please forward and invite friends to join you!


The Sugar & Swank Mineral Mixing Bar

Sugar & Swank wants you to come over and play . . . with make-up!

Sugar & Swank currently has over 40 different mineral make-up colors, with even more for the holidays on the way, from which you can mix and match to create your own unique blends that no one else has.

Mix up a blush or eye shadow for just you and your friends to enjoy. Choose a cute and clever name to label it with.
What a perfect holiday gift!

Blend with Friends! Have a blending party to celebrate the holidays or a birthday with your pals!

And don't forget to Sparkle, Speak, Sign-Up and Save!
For every successful referral you make to Sugar & Swank you'll receive an eye-shadow or lipstick in any shade of your choice!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Like Anita

I came up for a breath and looked around, confused. I was sure I'd just heard someone say, "I should be dead."

In the lane next to me Anita, an elderly woman I see at the pool everyday, was talking to the lifeguard. "Good for you," he replied.

"Yes, swimming saved me."

I probably swim 6 laps to Anita's 1, but bless her, she's there. She moves her body in the water as well as she can, works to get her blood pumping and does her best to loosen her joints. Truth be told, I may swim faster than Anita, but I can completely relate to her because swimming has saved me, as well.

I come from a family of active people. My mom walks every morning and loves it, can't live without it, and goes through withdrawal if she doesn't fit it in. My brother gets on a treadmill and runs until his clothes literally (and disgustingly) drip with sweat. My dad's exercise is usually limited to the golf course, but he loves an excerise bike. Until recently, however, I did whatever I could to avoid raising my heart rate.

That all changed one Hawaiian day in July when my son, boyfriend and I decided to go snorkeling. It felt so good and natural to swim through the water in fins and I thought, "I should do this when I go home." So as soon as I returned I bought a pair of fins, some goggles and signed up to swim at the local pool.

It isn't the fanciest pool, but it is about a 3-minute drive from my house, I can usually get my own lane and the people who swim and work there are lovely.

When I first started going I was a little shy about protocol, but I soon felt like a regular. There's a lot of comradery, support and encouragement amongst the swimmers I see. Jim always has a wink and a smile for me when he swims by on his kickboard. John Michael, the lifeguard, will walk back and forth alongside me so we can chit chat. Frank relentlessly bores us with his nutritional advice.

I'm just so happy thought to have found an excercise that I look forward to and crave. It feels so good to push through the water and I've figured out what strokes are relaxing and what strokes really get my heartrate up. I used to go to my back doctor once a week but haven't been since I started swimming. And best of all, since swimming I have corrected a bothersome elevated triglyceride issue I've been fighting for awhile. Now my triglycerides are way below normal, my good cholesterol is higher than normal and my bad cholesterol is lower than normal. What does all that mean? Simply put, as my doctor said when he delivered the good news, "Your cholesterol is something most would be jealous of."

So yes, like Anita,swimming has saved me. And given my family's history of heart disease, without swimming I might soon be dead.

I never thought I'd fall in love with any form of exercise, but I feel so lucky that I tried swimming and liked it. If you're like me and dread the idea of suiting up for the gym, keep trying different ways to break a sweat. You might just find one you actually like and working hard at it might just increase your chances of living a really long time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Great Books Email Bottle Project

I spend Wednesday mornings with a small group of kids from my son's class discussing books. One of the books we've read, More Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, sweetly relates a a story about some kids who put messages in bottles and send them off down a river hoping they will be found by someone, somewhere in this great big world.

We decided to try this for ourselves, so today each of the kids in the group wrote a message and put it in a bottle. The messages are pretty basic and don't include any personal information. In fact, I created an email address for the finder to use to let us know they found it. It is:

Now, throwing bottles into Lake Washington or the Puget Sound clearly isn't the Greenest idea, so I came up with a more modern approach: The Great Books Email Bottle Project. The kids are hoping I'll send out an email version of a "bottled message" asking people from all over the world to write us to let us know they received it.

So please, email us at And spread the word to family and friends - especially those who live really far away. It'll be fun to see how many emails we receive and from where they're sent.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Down There!

I called my boyfriend's mom to let her know I was accepted to The Euro Institute. (See blog below!) She was excited for me and asked just exactly what I'd be learning.

"Facials, body wraps, waxing."

"Waxing?" she inquired. "Do you know what I heard? I heard that some women get waxed down there. You aren't going to be doing that are you?"

"You know what, I hadn't even thought about it, but I suppose I will be."

It was my friend Greg's first question, as well. "Brazilians?" he asked with hope. I don't get quite as excited about the idea, but maybe that's because I was married to a Brazilian for 5 years and any fascination with the country is now gone.

In any case, the bottom line is that yes, I will learn to wax "down there" but Brazilian training is an advanced course that I can only take after graduating. I'll also learn to wax other areas of the body, as well, so keep Sugar & Swank in mind when you are looking for a waxer . . . and a facialist. . . and a make-up artist.

The Euro Institute!

They say to do what you're passionate about and thus far, that's what Sugar & Swank has been about. But the business has been missing one key component about which I'm extremely passionate: The Spa.

When I drive into the Bellevue Galleria parking lot and inhale a refreshing whiff of calming aromatherapy oils accidentally emanating from the Gene Juarez spa I instantly relax - even if I'm just going to grab a bite to eat at The Tap House or hitting a movie at the theater upstairs. I relax because the smell is comforting. I relax because the smell means peace. I relax because I just absolutely love the spa.

Ask my son and he'll tell you that when all else fails, get Mommy a spa gift certificate. But not just any spa. I want a spa with unique treatments that nourish the skin and body. Treatments I can't get anywhere else such as the banana leaf facial I got at Esperanza's spa in Cabo. I want a spa that prides itself on customer service and actually delivers. I want a spa with luxurious decor that I can enjoy while snuggled in my fluffy robe. The thing is, I haven't yet found that perfect spa so I plan to train hard until I can open one on my own.

The first step is to study at the Euro Institute, Seattle's premiere Esthetician academy and I'm excited to announce that I was accepted to their program. I'll officially start there on November 26th and will need to complete 700 hours of intense training before graduating sometime in May or June.

No worries, Sugar & Swank will operate after 4 pm on weekdays and on the weekends so keep booking those appointments.

Please email me with any great spa experiences and suggestions you have so I can open the most fabulous spa in town!

Finally, Be Sugar & Swank and find your passion and go after your dreams!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

An Epiphany!

I've been very commited these past few months to getting my body in order. I always want to weigh less, but as I've gotten older it has gone beyond that. I have begun to understand that thin or fat, the bottom line is being healthy. Not that I've given up the hope of being thin, but after fighting some days of not feeling so good, I appreciate the fact that feeling good is a lot better than looking good.

I currently have the most fantastic specialists fighting to support Team Jen's Body Watch.

Sally Reed - Hypnotherapist - 206/719-6660
Matthew Davies - Endocrinologist - 206/386/9522
Lisa Porad - Acupuncturist - 206/295/2166
Jennifer Adler - Nutritionist - 206/595/0376
Karen Coshow - Naturopath - 206/523/9000

I'm eating well, I'm on the right medications, I'm exercising. So when the weight doesn't come off and I appear to have more of a donut top rather than a muffin top when I wear jeans, it is hard not to get discouraged.

Lisa, the Acupuncturist, explained that some bodies just aren't meant to be thin and that no matter how many of the "right things" you do, your body might just balance out at a certain weight. I like that idea. It makes me feel less like I'm failing at this whole thing.

After swimming laps the other day I stopped by the grocery store to buy a steak to cook for lunch and the words of a stranger helped relieve me even more of my body burdens.

"That steak looks good," said the man in line in front of me.

"Yeah," I replied. "I'm hoping to borrow some of the cow's blood to boost my energy."

"Well, it looks as though you're taking good care of your body."

"I'm trying!" I told him.

"Good for you. You know, we are made in God's image so we have to appreciate, love and care for our body because it is divine."

While I am a spiritual and religious person, I do not generally share my religious thoughts and beliefs with strangers. What's more, I do not particularly like it when strangers share theirs with me. However, in this instance it was somehow soothing and made sense. I won't go into my version of God here in this blog, but suffice it to say that I do believe in a higher power that loves me, no matter how I look. And maybe my path in this life is to experience what it is like to live in a body like mine. What a nice perspective! Come on, things could be way worse!

By the way, I am excited to say that I received blood test results yesterday from Dr. Davies who reported the results "are something that others would be jealous of!" I was thrilled to see hard evidence that my efforts are paying off because big or small, I want to live a long, long time.

I never thought I'd say this but . . .

. . . as an adult, I take Halloween for granted.

I didn't it for granted as a child. In fact, I have so many memories of enjoying Halloween as a youngster. A big party at the Morgan's house with all of my close family friends. Cider, soup and lots and lots of treats. Trick-or-treating in the cold and rain with our dads while our moms stayed dry and warm at home. Heading up to Melissa's room upon our return to unload our loot and make trades for our favorites.

Now, however, Halloween is stressful. Yesterday, for example, as the Room Parent for my son's class, I was in charge of the classroom Halloween party. The other parents were amazingly helpful and we pulled off a party that certainly pleased the kids. After cleaning up I ran home to get ready for the annual Halloween party I hold at my house. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to host. The Morgans come, as a salute to the Halloweens we shared so long ago, as do so many other wonderful family friends. It is fantastic to see all the kids running around together in their costumes and how happy they are when they come back to the house with buckets full of candy. It is especially wonderful to see my son trading candy with the kids of the kids I used to trade with.

Yet Halloween means I wind up hosting a party, usually on a weeknight, after a long day of work. The set up, the clean up. It all takes energy.

But a repairman who came by to fix my oven today altered my views of Halloween, and so many other things, with just a few words and now my days of whining about the effort and taking Halloween for granted are officially over.

As this repairman walked into my house he commented on the basket of leftover candy by the front door. "Oh candy!" he said.

"Yep," I responded, eager for him to just get to work.

He continued, "I promised my kids that I'd take them out last night, but my company kept sending me calls. I didn't get home until 8:45 and it was too late. They were so sad. I felt terrible, but there was nothing I could do. I asked the dispatcher to let me go home and be with them, but there were too many calls. I won't get home until 8:45 again tonight."

How naive of me to think that everyone could celebrate Halloween. I know people struggle on Christmas, but Halloween's not about a slew of gifts sitting under a costly tree, right? It is just about collecting free candy from your neighbors. But free candy is hard to come by if you aren't old enough to trick-or-treat on your own and must rely on a hard-working parent to take you out. The thought of these kids not getting the chance to go house-to-house collecting candy as I did as a kid, as my son does now, as most of the other children in their classes did, broke my heart.

I immediately started to bag up any and all leftover candy in our house and sent it home with the repairman for his kids. And what a small gesture on my part considering how many opportunities are available for us to help others less fortunate. Meeting this ma was a good reminder about how blessed I am and how it is my duty to give back whenever I can.