Monday, January 27, 2014

Wide Awake Woman: Kelly Ross

Helllllo my friends. Pleased to introduce you to a star, a gorgeous spirit with a radiant heart, my girl, Kelly Ross.

I have known Kelly for over 20 years. We went to high school together in VA and crossed paths again VIA Facebook (VIA Vibration!) while she resides in Oregon. She inspires me from afar and I know you will be inspired too!

Kelly launched her own line of organic skincare last year with booming success!! TASTYFACE Organics.

She desired to fill a GIANT void she noticed in skincare.

Kelly has had a passion for health and nutrition, and whole organic foods for many years so she started rigorously studying up on other environmental/household/cosmetic considerations.

What she found scared the crap outta her.

She saw that we are putting all kinds of toxic junk on our bodies and in our homes. The FDA does not regulate the cosmetics industry. Pretty much anything goes. Cosmetics companies use intense artificial preservatives, shelf stabilizers, and the like to maximize profit and sales potential. The FDA website has numerous posts about the potential carcinogenic connection from parabens, endocrine disruptors in phthalates... And the labels often lead us to believe we are buying something "natural". Or even "organic". Or at the least, NOT completely toxic! She took a stand to no longer accept this for her or her family.

She started doggedly searching for skincare that she really wanted: TRULY clean, organic, awesome skincare and cosmetics that still do the heavy lifting of cleansing, moisturizing, refining, beautifying. But without the unnecessary and potentially harmfully side effects of those “other” ingredients. A multitude of research, consulting with amazing experts - including aestheticians and hair stylists, and crazy long hours in the TASTYFACE kitchen!

I personally use and loooove the products. The products are rich with all natural ingredients, like organic coconut oil, organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter that make my skin soft and glow. No stripping my face of its natural oils with all that water and ingredients I cannot pronounce! It's exciting to have a product I use everyday that I believe in and know that's its healthy, clean and made with love. Kelly is a bubbly burst of energy with a radiant soul and a smile to match! She is super passionate about putting a safe, ethical product out there so we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we are doing right by our bodies.She exemplifies an Awakened Woman. A woman who takes a stand, makes a change, pushes through fear and pursues her passions.

Kelly, tell us about you: I am the mother of a very sweet little boy... the light of my life. I have a PASSION for health, yoga, hiking, art, the beach, and especially whole, organic, locally-sourced when possible foods. I am the founder of TASTYFACE Organics, a small-batch, handcrafted line of organic skincare.

We all share in the ups and downs of life. What has lead to the path of Awakening? It’s been an ongoing awakening. For the longest time I thought, “I get it now! I’m cured! Phew, so glad I don’t have to go through THAT feeling again” only to find myself back in the same patterns, the same negative thought processes, the same chain of depression/anxiety/stress. The truth is, yes, in my life there have been some traumas, divorce, the scariness and exhaustion of single, full time parenting. But for me, those events and circumstances can very easily become crutches. So I have to be careful to watch my intentions. I struggled before and I could struggle for a lifetime. It’s really about making the choice. Day in and day out. That it is more painful to stay the same than it is to change. The choice to every day wake up and commit to the best possible energy, the best possible attitude, daily exercise, eating well, laughing, connecting with loved ones. It’s the whole picture and all of the pieces do matter. And you know what? Some days just totally suck! Some feelings are terrible! I’m finally learning to create space for all of it, instead of shoving it down or blowing it off. I’m not awesome every day! No one is! But I can try. And then I can wake up tomorrow and try again.

How do you go from thinking from your heart rather from your head? Well, this is a tough one for me. I have a ton of heart AND I’m a classic over-thinker. This has led to sometimes debilitating bouts of self-doubt and self-deprecation. It’s an ongoing lesson. Hiking, trail running, walking on the beach, laughing with a friend, and yoga all really help give me that kick in the pants. Shake me out of my head and into my environment. Also, certain mantras help here. “I am not my thoughts” is a good one. I also remind myself that simply because I can think something doesn’t mean it has to have power. I wholeheartedly believe in putting out the best energy and when I can’t, I have to switch focus or walk away from certain situations or relationships. I’ve tried thinking my way into and out of problems and that is plain old crazy-making. Ultimately, the more space we create for listening to intuition and heart, the closer we get to our truth. It can be misleading, though – fear can totally sneak in and it can be easy to mistake that nagging/sinking feeling for gut! The key is to watch it closely, see where it goes. I’ve learned time and time again that if it’s coming from ego/monkey mind/crazy talk in my head, it’s time to slow it down and get my shit together.

What tools, spiritual and/or practical do you use daily to continue living a miraculous, authentic life? This is definitely a work in progress. Daily, I try to focus on the next right thing, over and over again. Drink the water. Eat the food. Nurture, nurture, nurture. Breathe. Slow the heck down. Part of my “to do” needs to include a physical outlet and my own quiet time, every single day. If I go without them, I feel it quickly. It could even be a 10 minute yoga practice or a quick walk with the dogs. I know the times I’ve suffered most with depression and anxiety, I can reflect back and see that I was forgetting to take care of my soul. I definitely learned to think and move as a child, but didn’t know how to take care of ME, the real true me. So it’s a process. It is helpful to take space and breathe.

How do you deal with stress? First, I had to decide to quit the drama hook. Stress is addictive. Here’s a little story. A few years, I was told I had adrenal fatigue. I was working full time, my son’s father moved out of state, I was full time single parenting, and busting my tail at Crossfit as an outlet. I was pushing hard most of the time. I thought if I kept moving, kept hitting everything hard, I’d feel better and maybe find peace. And you know, it really worked. Plus I made amazing friends at Crossfit who I wouldn’t trade for the world. (And in a lot of ways got to connect with a whole community of people committed to a whole/real food movement, aka paleo)

And then it didn’t work anymore. I was running myself into the ground, not resting, not nurturing myself, listening to my body, taking time to just be and sit and not push for fixes and solutions and answers. I was addicted to being in motion and stressing! And then I quit gaining strength, I was winded every time I ran, had splitting headaches, and felt generally awful. Everything in me was saying to stop. I ignored it. And then some blood work showed that my cortisol levels were a hot mess. So I woke up and I stopped. And slept. And started a yoga practice. And evaluated how to prioritize myself and ask for help. And how to stop depending on my stress as a part of my personality. And now I’m back to sprinting up hills and lifting heavy weights, and that feels awesome.

What is your favorite quote? I am a quote ADDICT but one of my favorites, and definitely my mantra right now is “Fortune favors the brave.” And: “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

What do you want to be remembered for? I want to be remembered for bringing light whenever I can. Whether that means lightness through my pretty childish attempts at humor or illumination on a topic I’m passionate about (by blabbering about the importance of organic, non-toxic skincare), or light in the sense of positivity. Suzy Sunshine! Of course it’s not rainbows and lollipops all of the time. But laugh. Be easy. Have fun. Life is fleeting. I’d want to be remembered as the girl with a giant smile who lived every inch of life, with everything she had, and with a ton of love and passion.

Don't ya just love her? AMAZING!

She's so amazing that she is ALSO giving away a body scrub and body butter set to one lucky Your Wide Awakening reader!

Entering is super easy: tell us why you are interested in winning an all natural, organic skincare combo to take care of your precious skin in the COMMENTS BELOW!

Extra Optional Entries: (leave a separate comment below for each entry please!)

Follow @tastyfaceog on Twitter
“Like” TASTYFACE Organics Facebook Page

AND IN ADDITION TO THAT!...Kelly and the TASTYFACE Team are offering all Your Wide Awakening Readers 20% OFF all orders until Thursday, January 30 at midnight EST by using the COUPON CODE: AWAKE20. I, for one, will be taking her up on that offer for this thirsty skin! :)

Giveaway and coupon code ends Thursday, January 30 at midnight EST. Winner will be notified on Friday so be sure to check your Your Wide Awakening Facebook page!

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada Residents only over the age of 18. Entry is determined by leaving comments at the blog. Retail value of prizes is approximately $35. Odds of winning vary and are determined by total number of entries. Contest ends 1/29/14 at midnight. Winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by Your Wide Awakening Facebook page. If winner does not claim prize within 72 hours, another winner will be chosen. Prize will be sent by TASTYFACE. Void where prohibited by law.

And if you are interested in being featured as a Wide Awake Woman, contact me at or Your Wide Awakening FB page. It would be a real treat for all of us!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Wide Awake Woman: Shannon Kaiser

Happy Monday to all of you, my friends! Today is a great day because we get to meet another inspiring Wide Awake Woman! Her name is Shannon Kaiser. Shannon Kaiser has been labeled a modern thought leader on the rise by CafeTruth. She is the author of Find Your Happy, an Inspirational Guide to Loving Life to Its Fullest, and a five-time contributing author to the International best-selling book series Chicken Soup for The Soul. She is an inspirational travel writer, motivational speaker, life coach, creative director, teacher and the founder of the popular website, rated top 100 self-help blogs on the internet, by the Institute of Psychology of Eating. Shannon lives in an inspirational life by breaking down walls of fear and I know you all are just gonna love her!

Kaiser tells us she was living a depressed life and desperately desired a change. Here's how she changed her life and embraced her Wide Awakening.

1. What finally changed for you to become awakened? I left my successful advertising career (having worked at Saatchi & Saatchi X & Saatchi & Saatchi on client accounts: Frito Lay, Proctor & Gamble, Pepsi, Cover Girl, Olay and Crest) to pursue my passion of writing. I was ready to step into my new life as a travel writer and author. I remember going into the bathroom in my office and having a "spiritual surrender" moment with myself, sobbing, asking, "What do I really want?" I was asking the Universe for help as I was in utter despair and desperation. There is such beauty in the breakdown. Clarity comes from that. I wasn't happy. I was depressed, fighting a drug addiction and eating disorders. I knew there was a better way. There had to be something more, something better.

2. How did you get the courage to leave your job and face recovery from food and drug addictions? Trust and Faith in the uncertainty. There was no other way. I just took it day by day and was patient with myself. I believe in Divine Timing. The time was right. I wanted to follow my joy route and that is doing what my soul needs. Being a travel writer was my soul's calling.

3. What does it feel like to go from thinking from your heart rather that your mind? I started to not blame anyone or anything for my life. I became accountable to me and took full responsibililty for the direction of my life. When I make decisions from my heart, it feels like a warm comforting sensation like a cup of hot cocoa or a hug from Grandma. It just feels safe.

4. Your website is called play with the can we live a more playful life? Spend more time in nature. Take mental moments and engage in "recess" like we did as children. Also, use your imagination to take future field trips in your mind of places where you wanna go and experience heaven on earth. It feels like heaven in the moment.

5. What are some spiritual tools you can pull out when dealing with stress or chaos? Ask for help! The more I ask for help, the more I am guided to a more fulfilled life.

6. What are some of your daily mantras? Stay present. Be okay with where you are. And be aware to the fact that everyone you meet is a teacher. I ask myself, "What can I learn from him or her? And lastly, know that I am supported and loved and being guided at all times.

To learn more about Shannon, visit her website here. Shannon offers life coaching, seminars, and is currently working on her second book. You can also find her blogging at, The Daily Love, and The Huffington Post to name a few. :)

Love and Light,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Language Does Your Heart Speak? Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages

In the last few weeks, this book has popped up in my conversations with clients and friends, so I feel called to share the info with all of you. Many years ago, I watched an Oprah Winfrey show with an author, Gary Chapman who wrote the best selling book, The Five Love Languages. I remember watching couples dish out their concerns with one another on the show and finding no resolution. Chapman told these couples they just didn't understand what language the other hears.

Often times, in our relationships, we bump into conflicts. We can't understand where the other person is coming from. Conflict is simply a call to love. A call to be loved. So when someone is lashing out or withdrawing or causing distress in our lives, you simply aren't speaking their love language. If you want to cultivate that relationship, then it's important to know what language their heart hears. It may seem totally off the wall to you that is how they feel loved but if we have compassion and understanding, relationships can flourish.

The Five Love Languages

1. Physical Touch - The need for cuddling, hugs, kisses, sex, holding hands. This person feels loved most when making direct physical contact with another.

2. Acts of Service - The need for helping with chores, errands, work, parenting, often times, without being told to do it. This person feels most loved when their partner/family member/friend has helped with a chore or ran an errand or made life a bit easier in some way. Their heart is warmed by the care and thoughtfulness.

3. Receiving Gifts - The need to receive physical gifts as tokens of your love expressed. This person feels most loved when receiving gifts. Their love bucket gets filled when others show thoughtfulness by giving gifts that matter to them.

4. Quality Time - The need to spend special time with out distractions and interruptions. This person feels most loved when their partner/family member/friend spends time with them doing things they love to do while giving them their undivided attention.

5. Words of Affirmation - The need to hear compliments, praise, encouragement often. This person feels most loved when their partner/friend/family member offers support through kind and encouraging words given authentically.

Chapman offers a quiz on his website, that is super helpful to understand your own love language, your relationships' languages, and even your children's love languages.

In my own life, I can see how some of my conflicts have played a role in not understanding the other's love language. I rank neck and neck in high scores with Words of Affirmation and Acts of Service. (side note: If your partner is speaking your love language often and you still aren't feeling loved, chances are you are not speaking this love language to your own heart, so be sure to be speaking your love language to YOURSELF. Self- love must be cultivated too. Its not your partner's job to do that for you.)

So when I go to give love to someone, many times, I have spoke my personal love language to them and it didn't work! WHAT?!??! They couldn't hear it as clearly as others! Its not the same for everybody. Nope! That's where the compassion and understanding piece comes in. Even though its not how you feel loved, you must see it from their side and work on speaking their heart's language.

Receiving Gifts is last on my list. For one of my daughters, that's hitting a Grand Slam in the Love Field. She beams and hugs and jumps up and down when you take the time to give a gift that she really loves. It was hard for me at first to really get it. You can be fluent in other languages too. She also hears the language of quality time very well. When she receives gifts and spends uninterrupted time with me, I know her love bucket is filled and runneth over.

Chapman's books have changed many, many lives, including mine! If you feel called to take the quiz, check out his website and let me know your thoughts.

What language does your heart hear? What language does your partner's hear?

Love and Light,

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wide Awake Woman: Katie DePaola

Welcome to the first installmant of The Wide Awake Woman! I can't wait to share with all of you the first gorgeous ray of light to the blog. Meet Katie DePaola:

I met Katie through a Divine intervention.(as all things are!) We both attended the Daily Love's Heart Therapy session hosted by Mastin Kipp in DC last November. I saw her posting on Instagram below some of the pictures from the event and knew I had to know her. Her positive energy and delightful spirit could be felt through cyberspace!

Katie is a Life and Business Coach. Most of her client's conversations center around the areas of business, relationships, creativity and self-love. Her office is in Washington, DC, where she calls home. Her focus is to help her clients clear blocks and create the lives they want by focusing on the core principles of beauty, self-care, gratitude, choice and desire.

In addition to coaching, Katie owns her own organic spray tan business, Whole Glow. Katie says, "inner and outer beauty are the core values of Whole Glow, and we’re working to build a holistic health and beauty haven for women. Whole Glow started as a spray tanning company in 2012. We are grateful to witness the instant joy this 7-minute treatment brings to women (and men!). It is the quintessential way to get your glow on."

Katie epitomizes a Wide Awake Woman. Katie has had some obstacles in her life and has overcome them. She is a goddess of inspiration. She is brave and bold and pours her heart and soul to her life's work. She lives an authentic life. As a child, she claims that she struggled with the pursuit of perfection and its resulting anxiety, starting at five years old. While her kindergarten classmates slept, she spent naptime obsessing over her crush, the morning’s Kumon test and her teacher’s next gold star.

In her early twenties, she found tools like yoga and acupuncture which helped immensely, but the game of compare and contrast continued on. Someone always had a smaller waist, better downward dog or less wrinkled forehead. She still did not feel good enough.

Deep inside, she knew the truth—that we are all perfect just as we are. But at the time, she didn’t have the inner power to see herself that way. She was still obsessed with fixing herself. The ironic part was that we are never broken. We are just afraid. So she unraveled her fears. And now she is helping others do the same!

What was Your Wide Awake moment?
January 7, 2012. I watched a Gabrielle Bernstein lecture on YouTube called, Eff It, Let's Go! This lecture gave me the courage to make a big change. I had hit rock bottom and knew I needed to make a big shift. I started running a spray tanning business out of my apartment and very soon after we opened our first location in Washington D.C.

When did life coaching become part of your business equation?
Spray tanning is a great step towards feeling beautiful, but we wanted to help our clients discover their inner glow too. We believe a real glow involves a much deeper conversation about who we are being in this life and what we are here to do. As an organic spray tan business, we are physically spraying our clients from head to toe, which means you have to take off most of your clothes as we apply the product. That can leave a lot of women in a very vulnerable situation. Some women cry and are deeply ashamed of their bodies. With our holistic approach, women come in for a spray tan, share their stories, and leave with advice. One of my rules in the spray tent is: no self deprecating talk is ever allowed.

What is the goal of each session with you?
My job is to help my clients find their inner and outer beauty. Once we uncover that and unravel the layers, we are able to create more of it in the world by letting their light shine. A woman's ideal life is absolutely possible! I play so that I can be part of the process. So that I can understand personal development on a microscopic level and partner with the people who want to bring more magic, beauty, innovation and love into the world.

What are some daily tools you apply in your own life to maintain balance?
On my cell phone, I have positive affirmations that pop up throughout the day. Also, I love to paint, dance and art journal.I dig green smoothies, meditate on a pillow, free write and juice as often as I can.

What is your favorite quote? "You are the one you have been looking for."

If you are interested in a coaching with Katie, contact her here. If you are local to the Washington DC Metro Area, be sure to check out Whole Glow for your spray tanning needs!

Love and Light,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Wide Awake Woman

Happy 2014 you guys! I have been on a bit of a creative vacation and boy have I missed it! December was a month of holidays parties, shopping sprees, adventures with family and friends, and good ol relaxin! On December 20th, Heather Waxman, Brianna Sky and I had a webinar on how to deal with food addictions around the holidays and beyond. If you missed it, check it out here. We laid out some helpful tools to get you flowing with any food hangups you may have.

Today, I am introducing a new feature on my blog and I can't wait to share it with all of you!

I remember like it was yesterday when I finally decided to step into my Light. I was living a life behind smoke and mirrors and not being my authentic self. I was emaciated, tired, hopeless and scared. I was suffering with anorexia for over a decade and just couldn't bear another day to struggle with the disease. An Awakening occurred. A discovery. I took a different Path. I decided with the help of the Universe, on my Awakening Day, that I was no longer going to let fear lead my life. I knew it would always be there but I was determined to learn tools, practical and spiritual, to live the life of my dreams.

Since that day, I have buried my head in books, blogs, magazines, lectures to learn awesome tools from some of my mentors like Louise Hay, Oprah Winfrey, Wayne Dyer, Doreen Virtue, Marianne Williamson, Gabrielle Bernstein, Brian Weiss, to name a few. They are all Lightworkers and I feel eternally grateful for their words that have left a mark on my heart and soul forever.

But more importantly when I made the decision to live an authentic life, I made a promise to myself that I would surround myself with like minded women. In the last few years I have met some amazing women near and far that inspire me, encourage me, and are doing amazing things in the world. I want to introduce them to all of you!

Every Monday, I will be featuring a woman who is living in the Light, following her heart in relationships and in her career, breaking through barriers of self doubt, living fearlessly as she pursues her dreams, and radiates with love as she navigates her way through this journey we call life. We shall call her the Wide Awake Woman.

The Wide Awake Woman has had her fair share of setbacks and obstacles and has overcome them. She is a goddess of inspiration. She makes waves wherever she goes and lights up rooms. She is brave and bold and pours her heart and soul to her life's work. She lives an authentic life.

Some of these woman have left steady careers to pursue their "dream" jobs. Some of these woman have overcome difficult childhoods, addictions, eating disorders, divorce, depression, etc. These women are inspiring and brave and have developed tools to live a better, happier life. I can't wait to introduce you to all these amazing women!

See ya next Monday!

Love & Light,


If you would like to be featured as a Wide Awake Woman, email me at and let's have a soul chat! Look forward to hearing from you soon!