life’s journey

Paying for Perfect Grades with Pills by Joy Stephenson-Laws @_pHLabs

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by & filed under A Year in Bloom, Books, Everything Miz Meliz, Guest Post, Inspiring Adventures

Campus stimulant abuse: Paying for perfect grades with pills

Guest Post By Joy Stephenson-Laws, founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH) and her medical team

Parents are expressing growing shock over the frequency of drug use on American college campuses. And we are not talking about illegal drugs, but legal, prescription ones. Stimulants, commonly prescribed for attention-deficit disorder, are finding their way into the hands of students with perfect mental health. A recent study titled Under Pressure: College Students and the Abuse of Rx Stimulants found that 1 in 5 college students (20 percent) report abusing prescription stimulants at least once.

Why would students take medicine they don’t need?

Many are doing it because they believe it will help them study or outperform their classmates. Stimulants work by getting into the brain and forcing the release of neurotransmitters: dopamine, which increases motivation; serotonin, which improves mood and has a calming effect; and norepinephrine, which creates an activated “fight or flight” brain and cardiovascular response, increasing alertness. Students with prescriptions often sell or give pills to their classmates.

The names of these drugs include:

  •          Adderall (amphetamine)
  •          Vyvanse (Lisdexamfetamine, turns into amphetamine in the body)
  •          Ritalin, Concerta, Metadate, Quillivant (methylphenidate)
  •          Provigil, Nuvigil (modafinil)
  •          Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)

Stimulant drugs are less potent than the stimulant cocaine, but much more potent than caffeine. All share similar side effects such as:

  •          Insomnia
  •          Poor appetite
  •          Digestive problems
  •          High blood pressure
  •          Racing heart
  •          “Crashing” afterward (releasing all those neurotransmitters early has its consequences)
  •          Addiction potential

Certain risk factors for stimulant abuse have been identified in young people. Risk factors include:

  •          Membership in the Greek system (fraternities and sororities)
  •          Having some (but not necessarily all) of the symptoms of ADHD
  •          Alcohol or marijuana use
  •          Academic difficulties

While many students who abuse stimulants are indeed healthy, some of them may actually be suffering from undiagnosed ADHD and “self-medicating” with stimulants as well as alcohol and marijuana.

Parents and students can work to prevent unnecessary use of stimulants. Colleges do not want to create an environment where “everyone” needs to use stimulants to keep up. It may be important to identify nutritional deficiencies that may lead to ADHD. Such deficiencies can be uncovered by appropriate testing. Optimizing exercise, nutrition and sleep always enhances cognitive performance, while getting prompt professional evaluation for any persistent difficulties studying can catch ADHD, depression or other mental difficulties early so that students can get help rather than rely on the dorm “drug dealer.”

Enjoy Your Healthy Life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.

Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH), a revolutionary health care company that provides tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her new book, Minerals – The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy [Proactive Health Labs, Inc., 2016] is available through Amazon or wherever books are sold. All proceeds from the book will be donated to The Bili Project Foundation, an organization devoted to reducing the incident and improve the outcome of Hepatobilary cancers, which are cancers of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.  Connect with Proactive Health Labs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and at www.phlabs.org.

 

Note from Miz Meliz:

I have the pleasure of interviewing Joy Stephenson-Laws on Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz on May 23, 2017! Please join us to learn more about her book, her life, and what inspires her on her journey! See it on BubblrMedia on Facebook.com/MizMelizLA

This article was provided by and posted with permission from Smith Publicity for the purpose of promotion and review of the book by Joy Stephenson-Laws. I received a copy of the book for review purposes. I am not being paid for the review or interview. All opinions are my own. Please see my disclosure statement for details on why I post articles like these on my blog. Thanks!

Inspiring Adventures with Miz Meliz featuring Charles G. Hanna @hanna_higher

Posted on January 9th, 2017 by & filed under A Year in Bloom, Everything Miz Meliz, Inspiring Adventures

Get yesterday's news tonight! Or mabe tomorrow...Find out more!
I'm always a day late and a dollar short! @LastNightShow with Miz Meliz
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chales-hanna

Steps to Happiness with the Inspiring Charles G. Hanna

Featuring Charles G. Hanna, author of “Higher: Awaken to a More Fulfilling Life”

 

Charles G. Hanna is a highly successful CEO, philanthropist and author of the new book, Higher: Awaken to a More Fulfilling Life. Through his firsthand experience and his understanding of human nature, neuroscience, and life management, Charles, for the first time, is revealing his practical and achievable techniques, tips and tools so that everyone can find a cheerful outlook this year.
 
Eye-opening and insightful, Charles and I will discuss:
  • Simple exercises anyone can do to help center themselves and get into the groove of a new year
  • Perception Disorder: What it is and signs you may be suffering from it 
  • Reaching a Higher State: What this means, and his top techniques that anyone can apply to get there
  • Why he believes happiness is a way of thinking and not the result of great achievement
  • And much more!
 chales-hanna
Charles G. Hanna is the Chairman, CEO, and founder of a third-party technology provider that he began in a basement in 1979 and built into a leading service consolidation company with offices across Canada. A devoted father of three children, Hanna is involved with a range of charities, including organizations that help with cancer treatment, Canadian artists, and displaced and handicapped people. He has a particular soft spot for children and animals, and contributes his personal time in various ways to youth shelter homes and animal shelter groups. He divides his time between Toronto and Los Angeles.
 
Connect with Charles on www.charleshanna.com and on Twitter, @hanna_higher.
 
Higher: Awaken to a More Fulfilling Life is available from Amazon and most major booksellers.higher-book-by-author-charles-hanna-book-cover

Step Up to Happiness with Charles G. Hanna @hanna_higher https://smiletime.com/channel/mizmeliz #onSmiletime

Interview with Raychel Kubby Adler author of Life in Asymmetry @tweet4wellness

Posted on December 13th, 2016 by & filed under

Raychel Kubby Adler

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 6:00 PM Pacific Time

Join me for an interview with the inspiring Raychel Kubby Adler, as she shares her story with me on Tinsel Town Live.

Raychel loves to swim, see live music, exercise, play with her kids and family, enjoy time with friends, read, dance, laugh and live a hopeful life.

lia-cover-picI am looking forward to talking with her a bit about her recently published memoir, Life in Asymmetry, which is about her experience living with genetic breast cancer.

Raychel has a masters degree in Public Health and has been a health educator since 2000.  She is a certified Wellness Coach and fitness instructor and loves to talk about how to live life to the fullest. (My kind of gal!)

Let me know if you have aby questions for Raychel about:

  • health/wellness
  • genetic cancer
  • living a hopeful life
  • parenting
  • breast cancer “previving”

stanford-tool-image

Connect with Raychel Here:

Web          www.raychelkubbyadler.com

Tweet        @tweet4wellness

Instgrama          @choicepointwellness

Facebook   RaychelKubbyAdler.Writer

In “Life in Asymmetry,” author Raychel Kubby Adler educates women on the steps they can take to prevent or overcome breast cancer, especially if they have rare genetic mutations. Kubby Adler uses personal experiences, scientific research and genetic science to show what happens when your genes make you highly susceptible to breast cancer and other diseases.
Kubby Adler is the holder of the BRCA2 gene mutation, “previvor” of cancer and spends much of her professional and personal life researching health risks and educating the population about them.

Tinsel Town Live featuring Lou Redmond @louspeakstruth

Posted on December 1st, 2016 by & filed under

Lou Redmond   Find Your Truthlou

louredmond.com

Thursday, December 1, 2016 6:00 AM Pacific Time

I am looking forward to meeting this fascinating and inspiring man! Our values are aligned and I always find it remarkable when someone has an awakening at a young age. Any age younger than me is young, okay! We all have the propensity to learn these lessons if we pay attention. I believe that Lou is an inspiration because he listened. He reacted. He acted. Look at him now!

“I do yoga, read, and travel. This past 18 months I’ve been to 3 countries on travel retreats that focus on volunteering and adventure.

I’m currently working on finishing up my book project. It tells the story of my personal transformation and how I quit my 9-5 to pursue my passion. I’m also very passionate about meditation and working on creating ways to help people in their practice and promote it’s benefits.”

lou-med

Connect with Lou here:

louredmond.com

Instagram: @louspeakstruth

Youtube: Lou Redmond

Email: Lou@louredmondcom

Anne Parris on #10M

Posted on June 23rd, 2015 by & filed under

Anne Parris likes to read and drink coffee. She enjoys raising her kids, and chasing her Pomeranian around. She publishes a website for midlife women, manages a community just for women bloggers over 40, and is one of the partners who hosts the only conference for midlife women bloggers.

We will discuss…Midlife! What to expect when you’re expecting menopause.

Connect with Anne at http://midlifeboulevard.com

anne@midlifeboulevard.com

@notasupermom and @midlifeblvd

 

Join in and watch the LIVE BROADCAST on Meerkat and on Nurph.com

http://nurph.com/TENMINITT/chats

Do You Love Your Life?

Posted on October 2nd, 2014 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz, I Love My LIfe, Quotes & Notes

I started writing this on April 25, 2014. Sometimes the important observations get put aside in order to make room for important obligations. When I came across this draft, I was reminded how important taking time for gratitude truly is i my life.

I may say it a lot, but it is never enough…

I love my life right now!

I am grateful that I am going to be moving to a new home.

Soon there will be a new baby in the family (my great niece.)

My kids are growing into fine young men.

My husband and I are beginning to reap in the health, wealth, and happiness that we have sown.

 

“As soon as you recover or discover something that nourishes you and brings you joy, resolve to care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” ~Jean Shinoda Bolen

Did you catch that part about caring enough? “Care enough about yourself.”  Man – if nothing else, care enough about yourself. This makes all the difference in the world.

2013-02-04 12.23.40

We moved to a fine new home in June.

My family is all settled in and we adore it. Every single day I thank God for blessing me with the ability to afford to live in our beautiful home, to be able to enjoy our lovely neighborhood, and I ask for it to work out and last for a long time.  I am feeling pleased with myself for following through on the idea, for executing the plan, and for making our dreams a reality.

It took a long time to get here. Years.

Planning and preparing to move was exciting and I am still enjoying the ride.

It’s work, but the payoff is huge! I was in a state of disbelief at first. It took a few months to adjust. We are acclimated now. I am mostly unpacked. I say mostly, because we still have boxes in the garage and a storage unit to empty.  We accumulated so much in the past 18 years! I was bogged down with all that stuff. I feel much lighter now.

I feel free.

2013-01-15 12.09.09

 “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming.” ~Alice Walker

I am carefully constructing my present existence.

I am taking the time to decorate my home and organize my closets. I am creating gorgeous and functional space for the activities, hobbies, and passions that my husband, kids, and I hold dear. I want those things to take priority. I want my family to love living in their space and feel like they are effortlessly moving towards the future they are dreaming about.

2014-08-24 05.58.24We all have dreams and aspirations.

It doesn’t change as you get older. I realize that now. What gives us hope for the future and a reason for living is having a dream. It may be a goal, or a task that you want to complete. You may have a bucket list of things to do, see, or accomplish. You might want to try a different profession or practice. There are so many things to do. There are endless possibilities.

We must keep dreaming!

“Your own positive future begins in this moment. Every goal is possible from here.” – Lai Tzu

We can draw on the experience of our past.

Everything that we have once been, done, seen, is a part of our fiber now. Our life’s journey is woven into our being. Whether we like it or not, it is. Yet our future is ours to create. We decide on each step to take. I have a choice about everything I do. I decide on everything I am. I am who and what I want to be. I choose happiness. I choose joy and love. When I think about the future, I do all I can to replace the worrisome thoughts that creep into my mind with thoughts of hope. (See my post on “Peace of Mind” 3-7-13)

created by Melissa Reyes via canva.com copyright Melissa Reyes October 2014 http://mizmeliz.com

“The future depends on what you do today.” – Mahatma Gandhi

For my dreams to come true, I need to follow through.

I must care enough about myself to complete the plans that I make.  In order to make the best decisions for myself and my family, I honor the practices of self-care. I believe that taking care of my needs, knowing and feeding my own desires, striving to be my best self, is what enables me to be a leader. Nurturing my whole self makes me a better mom, wife, sister, aunt. These are the most important roles. I am also aware of the influence I provide for my clients, readers, friends, and groups that I am a part of. We are all a part of something. I try not to be a broken part. I want to care enough to be at my very best. I do this by honoring my core values.

To honor means to treat with high respect; it is a special privilege, it brings credit, it means to adhere to what is right or a correct standard of conduct, it is a matter of integrity, honesty, ethics, morals, principles, taking great pleasure, pride, joy, it is with distinction, an accolade, an award, a reward, a prize, a decoration, to applaud, to recognize, to celebrate, to commemorate, pay homage to, pay tribute to, sing the praises of, to fulfill an obligation or keep an agreement,
to fulfill, observe, keep, obey, heed, follow, carry out, implement, execute, effect. There are many ways of defining honor. Every definition can be applied here because my core values are worthy of the special honor they hold in my heart.

“When your values are the source of your actions, even the lows become a positive experience.” ~Sandi Amorin

Because a part of me must die for me to move on in life, I can celebrate the sad or hard times I have experienced.

You know what I mean, don’t you? I definitely don’t think that personal tragedies are a cause for celebration. I am not all happy, happy, joy, joy about devastation or hardship. I am sensitive to serious loss and the trials and tribulations that face each and every one of us at some point in our lives. But, being able to rise up from the ashes of those happenings and start anew is necessary. When, not if, but when we are able to reflect on our lowest moments in life we should be able to see what we learned and how we have grown.

2014-08-21 05.35.37

A rose bush has it’s thorns. Through the thorns, beautiful rosebuds emerge. Blooms burst out of the buds and the petals open up and exercise their full nature. After the roses are spent, the petals fall away and the flower dies. We cut off those dead parts so new flowers can bloom. The bush becomes stronger and healthier with each cutting. It’s roots grow deeper.

I am a rose bush.

Every thorn is a reminder of the hardships of life and my ability to protect what I love. Every rose is a celebration of all that is good and beautiful in my world.

Nothing lasts forever in it’s original form.

The memory of the bursts of vibrant color I have experienced will remain with me forever. The fact that I know what it felt like to touch and embrace the soft velvety petals has become a part of who I am. If I close my eyes and take a breath, I will always be able to recall how the rich perfume enveloped me. I will always have an awareness of the blooms that blessed my heart.

I will forget about the thorns. I will forget about the fallen petals. I will forget about trimming away the excess, the removal of the dead parts, the loss, the mourning. (See my “Hummingbird” post on Ordinary to Extraordinary.) Those memories will fade in time. I will never let the good thoughts and memories fade. I keep them alive. I will replant. I will grow. I will move on.

I will thrive!

I am living my dream. I am who and what I want to be.

I love my life.

Read more of my thoughts on life in my book, This is the Sound of My Soul.

Read more of my thoughts on life in my book, This is the Sound of My Soul.

 

Melissa Reyes, host of Ten Minutes in Tinsel Town Video Podcast copyright October 2014 http://mizmeliz.com

Join me on my talk show, “Ten Minutes in Tinsel Town” on YouTube

What Happens When a Determined Mom is in a Road Trip State of Mind

Posted on April 9th, 2013 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

What happens when a determined mom, like me, gets in a “Road Trip State of Mind?”

photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2013

Let’s go on a road trip!

First, don’t mess with me! I am determined to make sure everyone has a good time and is comfortable. And I mean it! Hopefully, everyone ends up having a reasonably good time and no one gets hurt. Second, like most things in life, going on a vacation is a journey. Obviously! But it is a process. There is a beginning, middle and end. I have some experience at this, so I planned it all out and it went pretty well. Lastly, even though our lives were never truly at risk, any trip is about survival. Especially when a perfectly normal family unit is going to be cooped up for hours on end in close quarters. Here is how we all survived. . .

THREE TIPS that helped me to enjoy a road trip through SIX STATES in SEVEN DAYS with FOUR BOYS:

#1 Do everything you can to drive a big, comfortable, and reliable vehicle.

#2 Pack lots of water bottles, snacks, medicine and chocolate.

#3 Have a plan to make it fun, for yourself.

“Our life is composed of events and states of mind. How we appraise our life from our deathbed will be predicated not only on what came to us in life but how we lived with it. It will not be simply illness or health, riches or poverty, good luck or bad, which ultimately define whether we believe we have had a good life or not, but the quality of our relationship to these situations: the attitudes of our states of mind.”
― Stephen Levine, A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last

Yeah, we drove over 2500 miles in seven days. It was pretty hard at times and we had a blast at times. It was worth it, but it took a lot of planning and forethought to survive it. I would like to share with you why we actually needed to do it, how we actually ended up doing it, and why it was so worthwhile that I would highly recommend that you do it – at least once in your life! I believe in living life fully and making each moment count. I like to celebrate the milestones and create memorable events for my family. I became determined to take the task of visiting colleges and turn it into a vacation.

In the Beginning, I Found Myself in a State of Dilemma

We live in California and we wanted to take our oldest son to see three universities that he has been accepted to for the Fall. Two of the Universities are in Colorado and one is in New Mexico. We had a week off for Spring Break and a little savings to use for a trip. The money we had saved was not enough for all of us to travel by air and stay in hotels at all three locations, so we had to make some choices. I looked at it from many angles. I could afford to send my son to visit the schools if either my husband or I went with him, flew to Colorado and then drove to New Mexico and flew back from there. That was not only a hassle, but how would we decide who would go with him? Our first dilemma.

I soon realized that all five of us could go on the trip if we drove and stayed with relatives for most of the time. Since we have four drivers and lots of relatives in these areas, I thought – “Great, problem solved!” The best part being that we would get to see some of our beloved relatives and we were overdue for a trip to one of our favorite places to visit! I thought it would be a good experience for the younger boys to visit these colleges and see what they have in store for them down the road. Then I realized we don’t have a reliable vehicle that all of us would be comfortable in for many hours at a time. That’s the second dilemma.

I did a web search of hotels, rental cars, and driving distances and figured out a way we could manage this trip. I reached out to my relatives and confirmed that all five of us could stay with my cousin in New Mexico for three nights, the longest part of the vacation. My son and I coordinated the visits with the three schools and I worked out a schedule from there. I priced out the rental cars online and found a pretty good deal with one and my husband chose the type of vehicle he wanted to drive for the trip. I found some amazing hotels with great reviews in the vicinity of the two schools we were visiting in Colorado, and got awesome deals since I was booking far in advance and online.

I put together an itinerary, got someone to feed the cats and watch the house, and I set to work on creating a memorable experience for our family. It wasn’t until the day we left on the trip that I realized this wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

Photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2013

This says it all!

On the First Day, I was in a State of Despair

I know that sounds dramatic, but it certainly was an urgent and desperate situation! The whole trip I planned depended on the perfect vehicle. It had to be spacious and it had to be reliable. I have three teen-aged boys and my husband and I aren’t exactly “compact” so it needed to be comfortable. Since we are on a tight budget it needed to be affordable. We were going to be driving over the Rocky Mountains and snow was predicted on the days we were going to be there, so it needed to be an all wheel drive vehicle. Mostly, I wanted it to be perfect. I wanted my family to be comfortable. I wanted to make my husband and kids happy. They weren’t as excited as I was about taking this road trip!

I thought I found the solution when I went through Hertz. I did, but it was a very difficult and disappointing ordeal. The main reason it became so harrowing is the poor customer service we received when we went to pick up the vehicle. The car I reserved was not available and the substitute was not at all acceptable. I called twice in advance to see if the vehicle I reserved would be there and both times was told that it or a comparable vehicle would be there when I arrived at my appointed time. It turned out that the staff did nothing to honor that commitment. They accepted what they believed to be the closest thing and never bothered to notify me. When we arrived, my husband and I waited forty-five minutes before anyone could even help us and then we found out about the mini-van. My stress is beginning to elevate now just thinking about it. If it had not been that important to my husband, we would have driven that mini-van through the blizzard we hit in Vail, Colorado. But instead, I stuck my heels in the ground, we made some calls, we delayed our departure and we exchanged it at a different Hertz location within the vicinity. It took some work, actual work, on the part of the employees at Hertz, but they were in fact able to provide the vehicle that I reserved. I think it was a surprise even to them! We ended up in a brand new, just off the lot, the window sticker still attached, Chevy Traverse LT AWD. Exactly what I had reserved.

Photo by Melissa Reyes Copyright 2013

Crazy Car Rental Experience

I won’t go into details about the employees at Hertz and I would never name names, but they could stand to learn a lot about customer service, respect, common sense, courtesy and compassion, none of which was observed at either of the locations I had to interact with.

I must say that it all turned out okay in the end. The District Manager at Hertz did a lot to make it work out for us, but it is important to note that I had to really work hard to get what I wanted and I was not satisfied with my overall customer experience. Since Hertz claims their goal is “to provide the best customer experience possible”, they seriously failed to meet it. Eventually they discounted the rental, but I had to go through the corporate office by getting their attention on Twitter ( https://twitter.com/Hertz) and publicly proclaiming my dissatisfaction. If you know me, you know how extremely difficult it was for me to do that. I am probably the most positive person you will ever meet and it saddened me to complain. I was of course happy to get a discount, but what I am still waiting for is an apology and I would like to see the management take responsibility and show me how they plan to improve the service at my local office before I will ever consider returning to or recommending Hertz again. Service and reliability are extremely important to me. It was particularly challenging to remain calm and upbeat during this experience and it was vital that I didn’t get upset at the beginning of the trip. I had to use restraint to show my kids how I could take care of things without totally freaking out! I put myself under a lot of pressure to make this trip great and this was the very first step.

When we finally drove away and I was on the road for the first leg of the trip, I saw a black crow perched on a post at the freeway on ramp. I wondered if that was an omen. At that moment, all I could do was pray. I prayed that it would only get better from there. Thank God that was the worst of it!

If you like to read about travel disasters and conquests, visit this blog: http://elliott.org/ I will keep you posted on what I now call the “Hertz State of Despair.” I will recommend them if I ever get a note of apology and some clear perspective on how they plan to meet their goal of providing a positive experience for their customers.

That First Night, I Slept Soundly in a State of Relief

It was late. We were about four hours behind schedule. I had originally hoped to have time to have dinner with my mother-in-law in Henderson, Nevada on our first night. The boys were looking forward to hanging out with their cousin. My husband planned to meet up with his brother. None of that happened, but we were welcomed by my husband’s mother close to midnight when we finally arrived on her doorstep. Even though we said not to go to any trouble, she had of course cooked for us! She warmed up the food and laid it out on the table and we sat down to eat as if it were the normal dinner time. I knew if we weren’t there, she would be sound asleep! We felt at home and I relaxed for the first time in over 24 hours! We were safe and warm and comfortable.

The boys were aggravated when I told them that I wanted to leave at 5 AM. My husband was annoyed when he realized that we still had a 14-16 hour drive ahead of us the next day. No one understood that the first night was a mere “lay-over” and “rest stop” for what was to be the longest and most difficult, yet most beautiful and exciting part of our drive.

I planned that first night to be easy and carefree. I could depend on my mother-in-law and she came through with flying colors! This is a beautiful person who knows how to make the people she cares about feel special. If we needed it, wanted it, dreamed of it, she had it for us. I am not kidding! Sneezing? Is it allergies? She had a package of medicine for us to take. Forgot your tooth-brush? Here is a brand new one. Need snacks and drinks for the road? I bought extra. I made cookies. Take them. We hardly had room, but she filled the rental car with the essentials (most things I had thought of and packed already, but we graciously accepted anyway.) A roll of paper towels, a box of Kleenex. Even a pretty outfit for me to wear on Easter! She loves to give me clothes! I will probably be like that someday with my daughters-in-law! She got up early and made breakfast for us. She was at the door to see us off and wish us well.

At the moment we were about to take off, I really wanted to bring her with me! I needed another woman to balance out the hormones in the car. I could feel it already. It was going to be a bumpy ride! Me against the boys. They are easy going and good kids, but I am sensitive to their little remarks. I am a people pleaser and they never seem satisfied. If I plan ham, they want turkey. If I plan turkey, they want ham. You get it. They are gracious and sweet, but given a 50/50 chance to get things right, I always make the wrong guess. And there are three of them! The odds are stacked against me! Is that all in my head? If you ask any one of them or my husband, they will tell you, “Yes.” But think about it. Even logically, I knew that I needed to be at my most calm, best and easy going self to survive this trip. I think this is the first time ever I wished my mother-in-law was with me! I certainly wouldn’t have wished this experience on anyone else. No girlfriend could have taken it. I know I am in a “special mom place” when I am in the mother hen role. Since I no longer have my sister or my mom around to back me up, the only one who could have pulled it off was my MIL. Yet, would I come out alive after a trip with her and her grandchildren and son? Thankfully, I will never know for sure! But packed to the gills with chocolate, drinks, and allergy medicine, I knew I had everything I needed to make it through. Only five more states to go!

The Second Day I discovered myself in a State of Awe and Wonderment

We quickly drove through the dry barren desert area of Nevada and into Arizona in the first few hours of the drive. We spent most of the day driving through Utah. None of us had ever been through this part of Utah before. In fact, only my second son and myself had ever been to Utah. I went on a business trip to Salt Lake City once and my son had been to Park City with another family last Summer. So, this was very new and exciting. Driving through this part of the country is amazing and difficult to describe, but I will do my best.

We were truly in awe. The trek through Arizona was like being in the movie Cars. There is no doubt that the movie and the ride at California Adventure is based on someone’s travels on the very roads we were on. The rugged terrain, the mountains, cliffs and gulleys were crazy gorgeous, colorful, jagged, rocky and out of this world. It was a curvy, dangerous, and fun road to drive!

Everything seemed to smooth out when we entered Utah. The terrain was calm and the mountains were smooth and the lightly dusted mountain tops in the distance were soft and serene. It looked like someone had gone through moments before with powdered sugar and sifted it on the tops of the mountains that looked like giant mounds of lemon cookies. Then I began to notice that the shrubs and trees were getting bigger and the mountains were getting closer. We drove through them and it was no big deal. I thought, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. If this is the snow I had heard about, then we are doing great!” Little did I know!

The terrain changed drastically through this part of Utah. We saw every different kind of mountain that I could have ever imagined on this leg of the trip. They were all different sizes, shapes and colors. It felt like we went back in time. I imagined the dinosaurs walking over those giant rocks. I felt like we were on a different planet. The bright reds and coppers of the soil and the layers of rock jutting out of the ground at disturbing angles made me think of earthquakes and volcanoes. I had nothing but my imagination to keep me occupied during the long hours of driving in the middle of nowhere. For hours we saw nothing but mountains and sky. It was breathtaking. They are majestic. They are mystifying. They are high! The elevation grew with every mile. We are used to being at sea level! Before we knew it we were at the mile high mark. Over 5000 feet. And with each mile it got colder. I told the boys to bring jackets, none of us brought anything heavier than a sweatshirt! I think we had one coat between the five of us!

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We stopped for lunch at the halfway point at Green River, Utah. There was not much green and I didn’t see a river. It was dry and barren and barely anything in sight for miles. There was a stretch of road that was slightly inhabited. We stopped at a burger joint that would be worthy of a spot on the show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We had green chile burgers and tater tots. It was delicious! I had a soft serve chocolate ice cream. We rested and the boys played ball in the parking lot. (Dirt road on the side of the building.) The boys play lacrosse and the locals were in awe having never seen such a thing. They were a hit!

As we made our way through Utah, we continued to see the most amazing views of mountains and scenery! Everything got bigger and bigger and I felt small as we zipped by in our “little” car. As we started to drive up through the mountains, around each turn I would notice we were driving higher and higher and there were more and more mountains. It seemed we would never get to the “top”. Around each bend there were more and bigger mountains to climb. Until we got to a point that seemed to be at the base of another set of mountains. Welcome to Colorado, the sign said! We were almost at our destination for the day! The time had changed and we realized we gained an hour. Were we an hour closer? No. In fact with the long stop for lunch and the time change, the time estimated for arrival to Fort Collins, Colorado was 9:00 PM.

When we finally did arrive in Fort Collins, with the time change accounted for, we had been travelling for 17 hours. technically that was just the first day! The boys weren’t too happy with me that first night! I haven’t even gotten to the part about the snow storm!

Read more about the trip in the next installment at Our Wild Rocky Mountain Drive.  Follow this blog to be notified when new posts are published or subscribe to the newsletter. If you are new here, please leave a comment and let me know. Heck, leave a comment anyway! I love to hear from you!

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Celebrating Love and Lasting Relationships

Posted on September 25th, 2012 by & filed under Everything Miz Meliz

I am blessed to be in a lasting relationship with my best friend of 28 years (I have been married to him for 20 years!)  I know what it takes to be in a devoted relationship that withstands the tests of time while traversing the hills and valleys of life’s journey.  I was recently asked to write a featurette on such a couple.  I am feeling both proud and lucky to have been given this opportunity!

Married for 37 years, living in the public eye in the entertainment business and having faced numerous hardships throughout their lives, I found the story of Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr. to be both fascinating and quite inspiring.  Having loved their music for decades, I never really considered myself a big fan. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to learn about their many accomplishments and the gifts that this wonderful pair are sharing with the world through their love, their music, and their philanthropy. . .

The Queen of Latin Pop and Latin King Midas

An inspiring story of Miami’s ‘Royal Couple,’ Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Jr.
By Melissa Reyes

Read the featurette:  http://salseek.com/news/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=51&Itemid=199

Photo by Richard Sandoval of http://www.hispaniclifestyle.com/ used with permission.

Disclaimer:  I received no compensation for this article or the featurette, photo credit or links.  I am not a paid contributor or sub contractor and my opinions are my own.  Information regarding the subject of the article was obtained through my own research findings, are not based on first-hand knowledge and sources have been listed accordingly.

An Enchanted Evening

Posted on September 3rd, 2012 by & filed under Be Inspired, Everything Miz Meliz

I’ve been meeting a lot of angels lately!  Kindred spirits who come and sit next to me, we get to talking and before I know it we have an instant bond, we are in to the same thing, we have a similar purpose. And in a crowded room there is no reason we would ever talk or meet or even be introduced, but as fate would have it, I find myself seated next to an accomplished author, an aspiring poet, a fellow adventuress. It never happened to me as frequently or as obviously in the past as it has been happening lately.

Have you ever asked for a sign from God that you are doing the right thing?  Please Lord, show me the way!  This is how He answers me. It’s as though I am walking my path and the light posts along the way are turning on and everything is brightly lit ahead of me. I can walk on without worry because I know it is a safe route. I know I am being supported. I will not walk alone. Even though my friends and family may not understand what I am doing and even though I didn’t know anyone else personally who has done what I want to do, I do not walk alone.

It is not that I am lacking the confidence to do it. I am not afraid to turn the corner on a dimly lit path, but for some reason the lights are being turned on. It is as if I am being pulled in that direction, lead actually. It feels so right and I want it so much. I have never felt this level of confidence and self assuredness before. I can do this. I am doing it. My vision is coming true. I am making it happen.

This weekend I attended a Masquerade Ball.  I planned to write about it.  It was a 50th birthday celebration of a friend who I recently met through my son.  It was quite magical.  I enjoy a dress up party and having been an event designer, I looked forward to this for the mere joy of attending a well executed party and I hoped it would be.  It far exceeded my expectations!  It was completely enjoyable and lots of fun.  There was amazing food and drink.  The venue and service was exquisite.  The guests were lively and genuinely nice.  The entertainment was perfectly planned, in sync, modest, and served the purpose of highlighting the life of the guest of honor without going over the top.  It truly was magical.  

At the Masquerade Ball

It was magical for me in a very special way.  I had been working on writing my book this weekend.  I am turning the outline of my Life Balance Workshop into an ebook.  Even though I have multiple writing projects currently in the works, I thought I would give the Kindle ebook upload a try with this idea first.  That way, I can have it in time for the Spa Retreat that I am speaking at in October.  (That I am typing these words in reference to my own life is HUGE and very magical!  I can hardly believe it!) 

I am loving the experience of piecing my book together and cannot wait to get it finished so I can get it online, and I relished having a three day weekend to work on it.  Yet, I found myself spending the day at an auto dealership  and taking care of important family business and did not have a chance to get back to it before needing to get ready for the party.  I was trying not to have any really groundbreaking thoughts about the book so I could enjoy the party, hopefully you get what I mean by that!  I really wanted to enjoy myself and be mindful of the moment at hand.  I took lots of pictures and I spoke to everyone at the table.  I was trying hard not to talk about the writing.  I was just being a great mom and wife and enjoying the fantastic cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, when  I began talking to the lady seated next to me.  Guess what!  She is an author, who has around forty books published on Amazon for Kindle!  She was nice enough to tell me to contact her if I had any questions.  We really connected and it was over the top coincidence that we met because she is in my genre and we have similar interests!  When she began to tell me the topics that she has written about, it was as though she was reading the list of topics that I write about!  Spirituality, self development, life, love.

Author, Elizabeth Skoglund with her grand daughter and namesake.

I used to be the person at a table of strangers who did not speak unless spoken to.  How many amazing people did I miss connecting with all those years that I was so self absorbed, so worried about making the right impression, concerned about exposing myself as imperfect, less than, not accomplished, under-educated, and so on?  What was my problem?  I was insecure.  Immature.  Inadequate.  No more.  No way!

I love to hear people’s stories and I love that I can Google most people and find out more about them!!  Every outing is an adventure when I know that if I open the door and ask to enter, people will invite me in.  I have learned so many wonderful things when given that opportunity.  I am so grateful for

that gift.  I am so amazed that the angels will talk to me!

Here is a challenge for you, next time you are at a party and sit next to someone you have never met – really talk to them.  They could be there to guide you!  They could be the sign you asked for.

Miz Meliz on the way to the ball

On the way to the ball, I should have known it would be an enchanted evening!

Movie Review: Magic Mike

Posted on June 22nd, 2012 by & filed under Blog Venture, Everything Miz Meliz, Movie Reviews

Cinéphile Miz Meliz Goes to Hollywood

I’m a movie buff (cinephile in French, cinefilo in Spanish) and I love going to the movies all the time, but in the summer, it’s almost required. Maybe it’s the cool dark theaters, the gigantic icy soft drinks, the block busters that open in the Summer months, I don’t know for sure. But I have been enjoying taking in a few flicks recently.

Warner Bros. and Rolling Stone L.A. hyping up Magic Mike

Last night I got to see a pre-screening of the film, Magic Mike. This is a much-anticipated film about male strippers set in Tampa, Florida. I’ve heard that it is loosely based on the background of the star of the film, actor Channing Tatum‘s life.

Magic Mike was written by Reid Carolin, actor, producer, director and screenwriter. He is also the co-founder of Constellation, a service (Facebook Ap) presenting live interactive events built around online streaming movies, where viewers can chat with each other and with special guests.
Check it out:
http://www.constellation.tv/event/magicmike

Reid Carolin, who also wrote the documentary, “Earth Made of Glass,”about Rwandan President Paul Kagame and France’s hidden role in the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, is President of Iron Horse Entertainment, the production company he started with Channing Tatum.

Oscar Award winner Steven Soderbergh, who is known for Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven and its sequels, directed Magic Mike. Although the movie was great as a fun summer flick to be enjoyed with a few girlfriends after happy hour or before going out bar hopping, it was not what I would expect from Soderbergh. If this film makes money, it will be solely because of the mass marketing taking place and the possibility of it becoming a ‘must have’ DVD for all the ladies who love Matthew McConaughey and/or Channing Tatum. In fact, I will be stocking up on said DVD to have on hand to be given as a bridal shower/bachelorette party gift for sure!

Cheers to Magic Mike and Dallas! There’s always room for one more dance!

There were some heavy topics and themes which emerged in the story-line of the film. Choosing one’s life direction and doing whatever it takes to make your dream come true is one of the major themes. Few people strive to be a stripper and to make their living with the dollar bills stuffed in their g-strings. But most everyone has a dream that they hope to achieve in life. We can all relate to the hope of living comfortably and doing meaningful work that we are passionate about. Magic Mike mentors “The Kid,” played by Alex Pettyfer.  Unfortunately for “The Kid,” whenever he gets close to success it eats him up. Drug addiction, extreme living, and the “lifestyle” of stripping, sex, and partying gets in the way of his dreams.

The Kid’s sister, Brooke, played by Cody Horn, copes with her struggles to make ends meet on her own, being supportive of her brother and standing by as he learns his life’s lessons while he repeats some mistakes along the way. It was an interesting twist on the story being that it is her little brother who turns to dancing and gets caught up in the dangerous night life. Of course, Magic Mike, who is talented and sexy beyond belief, is the one who travels the most on his journey and has the most to lose. Brooke is forced to practice some tough love on her brother while resisting her attraction to Mike as he works out his own issues.

Chef Holly and I as we get ready for the Ladies Night Happy Hour at Rolling Stone L.A.’s promo for Magic Mike.

Thanks to Warner Bros. for releasing this movie and for all the fun promotions that I enjoyed on my own vacation from reality this past week! What I want to know is, do all the movies at the AMC Theater in Century City open with live male strippers entertaining the audience? Because if so, it will be worth it to me to drive there for the rest of the summer!

Matthew McConaughey is known for showing off his hot bod in movies like Fool’s Gold and Surfer, Dude.

I would say that the best part of this movie by far was Matthew McConaughey’s performance as Dallas, the owner of Club Xquisite, the Tampa, Florida male strip club. It wasn’t his best acting performance and he played it pretty straight. He might have stolen the show just a bit! I love his acting in films like We are Marshall and The Lincoln Lawyer, but in this particular film all I want is to see him on the screen with his clothes off. It wouldn’t matter to me what he says! Now, if a man said that about a female actress I would most likely protest! I want to be clear that I appreciate Matthew McConaughey’s versatility and ability to share his many gifts. He has an amazing physique. He is a god!

My friend said this about McConaughey in Magic Mike, “It was so wrong, but it was so right. He has the perfect body and I love that it has some meat on it!”

I couldn’t agree more! I enjoyed all the eye candy and fun excerpts of dancing and showing off skin and muscles both on screen and at the pre-screening events. Ladies, it’s going to be one hot summer!

Miz Meliz goes to Hollywood for Magic Mike #mizmeliz http://mizmeliz.com

Miz Meliz goes to Hollywood for Magic Mike!

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Cinéphile Miz Meliz Rating

Category: Chick Flick

Cinematography: C-

Acting: C

Music/Score: C

Directing: C

Oscar Nod? Not likely!

Date Worthy? Please, no!

DVD or Netflix Worthy? Definitely!

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