Are you stuck eating the same old blondie or brownie and think maybe it's time to change?
Maybe you're due for an experiment to see how a taste of something a little different can be healthier and so delicious, you're happier as well?
Even the people sharing them with you had no idea how wonderful they could be and are now excited about them too.
Some people will click out of this right away or not even watch the video. They may decide later that this isn't so strange. They may come back.
Other people may already have started on this journey. They realize that the typical white flour may not be working for them anymore. They are ready to step it up and try something new with an alternative blondie or brownie.
Those of us who have been celebrating these treats for awhile are happy to have new people on board the fun train. They're just better all around.
Hey Marcey! If I had to narrow down ten things to purchase to improve my health, what would they be?
I'm glad you asked! Here are ten things I could live without, but don't want to.
Sleeping headphones*. Sleep is the #1 thing I work on with clients if they have issues. It doesn't matter how good your nutrition or exercise habits are, if you don't have a good sleep, you can't optimize the other two. The effects of poor quality or lack of sleep are so significant, entire books are written on it, so I'll stick to the products. I am a light sleeper. We have a white noise machine by our bed, but it doesn't drown out my husband's occasional snoring or sing or talk me to sleep. I used AcousticSheep SleepPhones* for several years (see my review of the Classic version) and recently tested out the Simple version (review here). I opted to return them for the Effortless. Key features – they lie flat against your head, work with any meditation or music app, and double bonus for being able to run with them!
Sleep mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state to sleep. Besides our black-out blinds and covering smoke alarm lights with electrical tape, I wear a sleep mask. This keeps me from waking up or disrupting my sleep (even unconsciously) when my husband comes to bed or gets up to go to the bathroom. My mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask (Get it on Amazon*). It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), It is adjustable and lightweight.
Blue-ray blocking glasses.* Okay, this is the last thing for sleep, but do you see how obsessed I am with getting good quality? The blue rays from our device screens disrupt our circadian rhythm and suppress our melatonin. This leads to poor quality sleep and longer sleep latency (amount of time to fall asleep). You can now get prescription glasses with blue-ray blocking lenses or buy video gaming glasses. Gamers use these glasses to help with eye fatigue (do you know we also blink less when looking at a screen?).
Meditation app. Calm.com has hundreds of meditations from 2-30 minutes, sleep stories, music tracks, and masterclasses. This is how I started with meditating – just two minutes at a time. Now I have a streak of almost 1000 days. I especially like the sleep meditations (I lied, another sleep reference!).
Coffee alternatives. I like to drink all day at my computer. If I have coffee after 2pm it seriously affects my sleep (good grief, again!). I cut down on the caffeine with Teeccino*, a coffee alternative that brews just like coffee and tastes delicious. I make a half and half version of coffee and Teeccino every morning. My two favorite teas are the Good Earth Sweet and Spicy* caffeine (for mornings and early afternoon) and decaf versions. I am a total diva with these and you will find them in every bag I carry plus my car, so I am never without.
Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel entirely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European populations are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and contribute to a healthy poo in the morning. I like Natural Calm* brand and mix a teaspoon in with my home-brewed Kombucha every evening (#KombuchaHippie).
Bike desk. I use a standing desk for most of the day. Still, when my legs get tired, I'm a watching participant in a meeting, am reading a book or article, or just need some movement, I use my FitBike. This affordable bike at less than $300 can help you be productive with work without needing to change your clothes, get special shoes, or even break into a sweat. Watch my fitbike review. To purchase, please visit FITDESK and use the code MARCEYFREEMAT to get a free mat on all bikes, under desk products, and desks! ( Get it on Amazon* ).
Tahini. Okay. This may seem a little strange, but I'm adding Tahini because I eat it almost every day. Tahini is a light, nutty paste made from toasted, ground sesame seeds. The consistency is like natural peanut butter and it's used in a lot of Mediterranean and Asian dishes. It is the main ingredient in hummus. It is not low calorie or low fat, but it is very nutritious. About 50% of the fat comes from healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. I use it on my vegetables for healthy fat and protein, as a spread on mini tortilla pizzas and to mix with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice for a salad dressing.
Pull-up bar. I did not have defined arms until I was in my 40s. Seriously, look at my pictures from doing Ironman Triathlons and hard-core 24-hour Adventure Races in my 30s, and you'll see some tone, but not definition. Diet has a large part to play in getting leaner, but I attribute the pull-up for my arms. Even when I'm giving an Email Extinguisher workshop, someone will raise their hand and say “great inbox stuff, but how do we get arms like yours?” I use my pull-up bar every day as a trigger when I go into my closet. For the full story, watch the video below.
Heart variability tracker. This is an advanced technique, but I track my heart rate variability (different than heart rate) to keep my autoimmune disease under control and recognize when I'm starting to overreach or get stressed before the symptoms become apparent. I use the Oura ring, which is also one of the best sleep trackers on the market. I've also used the Elite HRV and Sweetbeat Apps.
There you have it, my ten products I wouldn't want to live without for my health. Let me know if you try them out!
*denotes an affiliate link where I make a few extra coins at no extra cost to you.
Sleep Mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state. Since hotel curtains never shut entirely and there is light coming in from under the door, I wear a sleep mask. My mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask (buy on amazon*). It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), is adjustable, and lightweight. Click here for the review.
Meditation app. Calm.com has hundreds of meditations, sleep stories, music tracks, and masterclasses. I have an anxiety issue when I can't sit on the aisle. It's a little ridiculous, but also serious. I'm not just being a diva. They have several off-line meditations just for plane anxiety. I use this to keep me calm (no pun intended!).
Travel chopsticks. I eat with chopsticks as often as I can at home because it slows me down and makes me feel fancy. For travel, I use the Titaner Titanium Foldable Chopsticks*. I pull these out so I can avoid plastic ware or picking things up with my hands on the plane.
Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel completely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European populations are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and also contribute to a healthy poo in the morning. Admit it, you get hotel constipation too, right? I like Natural Calm* packets to travel without the mess.
Cleaning wipes. Any kind will do. Pre-COVID people would snicker at me when I would wipe down the plane seat and lap tray (did you know they only cleaned those things once daily, if at all?). Now it's not so funny. Don't forget yours!
Laptop backpack. As a professional speaker, the eBags Pro Slim Junior laptop backpack is THE. BEST. BAG. EVER. I can count eight other speakers who use this backpack. There are just enough pockets (too many and things get lost), padded areas for your laptop and tablet or e-reader, a holder for your drink, and outside pockets to stow your passport and global entry card for easy access.
e-Reader. I don't go anywhere without my Kindle Paperwhite. I like the paperwhite because it's easier on the eyes and terrible to go online with so I don't get tempted. If I had to get a new one, I would pick the Oasis* model because it's waterproof and has an amber lighting option to cut down on eye strain.
Travel charger. I like the Belkin 3-outlet USB travel charger. Even when my husband and I are traveling together, it's easy for us to both charge our devices. I also use it in airports when there isn't a USB port available.
There you have it. Ten things I can't live without when I travel. What can you not live without when you hit the road?
*Indicates an affiliate link where I make a few coins at no extra cost to you.
There are a lot of different things I could live without, but I don't want to. These are ten essential products I use for running my business, streamlining my day, and improving my health.
Scheduler. If you are wasting your time doing that back and forth dance to determine when someone can meet with you, stop now. Implement a scheduler, send your link and voila! They choose a time that works for them, and it pops up on your calendar without another thought. There are many good ones out there – Book Like a Boss, Calendly, and ScheduleOnce. I prefer Acuity* because it allows me to take payments and work with packages to show how many sessions a client has left and has class settings for groups like my masterclass and Focus90. It's pretty robust so it may be overkill for some. I have different appointments to choose from – Virtual Coffee, Speaker Inquiry, Coaching Sessions, Discovery Sessions, and all my masterclass training.
Password management system. If you're still using stickies, an Excel spreadsheet, or are reusing the same password over and over with slight variations, please don't invite the hackers to steal your data. Use a proper password management system to create hard-to-crack passwords for you. They are especially helpful when you need to share passwords because you can choose to share limited access, which means the recipient can't see billing information or have access to change the password. I have dozens shared with my assistant. If I needed to revoke them for any reason, I could do that with one click! My password manager is Dashlane*.
Focus Music. I like music without words to focus and do deep work. My current program of choice is Brain.fm*. Their music is backed by science, and you can choose deep work, creative, light work, and even sleep music and sounds. I also use Spotify and created my own playlist called Focus90 or listen to a video game music playlist. Did you know video game music is designed for focus? It's also beautiful and inspiring. We're not talking Donkey Kong!
Phone sanitizer*. I had one of these before COVID-19, and some people thought it was overkill. No more! Phone Soap is a UV sanitizer and has been clinically tested in a lab to remove all the poop and other germs on your phone (yes, most people have poo particles on their phone!).
Whiteboard. I am a big fan of a whiteboard. It's one thing to say what you're going to do or the goals that you have, but writing it down and staring at it can be a game-changer. I look at mine several times a day. A whiteboard is what started my journey to Marcey 2.0 and ended with me starting a business and writing my third book. If you don't want to nail something to the wall, use whiteboard decals*! These genius inventions take up half my wall and the top of my refrigerator, and I can cut to fit.
Coffee warmer. Oh, Mr. Coffee, your coffee warmer* keeps me from having to drink out of those unfancy travel mugs, and you make lovely gifts for less than $10.
Standing desk. I use a medical cart as a standing desk because I bought mine so long ago. Prices range from $10 for a portable desk to the equivalent of a small car! Besides my primary desk, I have a FitDesk Sit-to-Stand Desk (amazon)* on my screened-in-porch (watch my review). I use a StandStand portable desk when I travel.
Magnesium. I don't recommend a lot of supplements, but feel completely safe recommending magnesium. About half the US and European population are deficient, and we need it for over 600 reactions in the body. Taking it in the evening can help with sleep and also contribute to a healthy poo in the morning (poo again!). It can help with blood sugar control and high blood pressure. There is enough to fill a book, so I'll stop there. I like Natural Calm* and mix it in my home-brewed kombucha.
HRV Tracker. This is an advanced technique, but I track my heart rate variability (different than heart rate) to keep my autoimmune disease under control and recognize when I'm starting to overreach or get stressed before the symptoms become apparent. I use the Oura ring, which is also one of the best sleep trackers on the market. I've also used the Elite HRV and Sweetbeat Apps.
Sleep Mask. Any light can be disruptive to sleep. The photoreceptors on our skin can detect light in our room, and pure darkness puts us in the best state. Since I don't want to wake up when my husband comes to bed by the light of his iPhone or when I'm traveling and can't get the hotel curtains to shut, I wear a sleep mask. My sleep mask of choice is the super affordable Dream Essentials Contoured Eye Mask(amazon)*. It doesn't lay flat on your face (it's a bra for your eyes!), is adjustable, and lightweight.
There you have it. Ten things I can't live without and consider essential for my productivity and health.
Coffee on vacation in Mexico before COVID-19 took over our lives.
The world around me has changed in the last month, but not in a way that has impacted me significantly. I write this and have mixed feelings. Guilt, embarrassment, and the need to justify. I am living in the COVID-19 bubble.
I know I’m not the only one who feels this way because I’ve talked to other people about it. As I’m writing this, I’m not even sure if I will post it. I don’t want people on the frontlines, risking their lives, to read this and think I don’t appreciate them or that I am naive. I’m not a COVIDIOT and believe this is less devastation than it is. I do, however, have some fortunate circumstances that have allowed me to live in this bubble. Others like me whisper it like we are afraid others will hear “my life hasn’t changed that much” or “my life is good right now.”
I may look back on this post a month or year from now and want to delete it. Things change from day to day. I’ve cried exactly three times since this all happened, but for the most part, I’ve been a 7 out of 10 on the happiness scale.
When did I cry?
Listening to a story on The Daily from an Italian doctor who said he had to make choices on who would live and who would die.
When I talked to my best girl Michelle, who we have had monthly dinners with as couples for two years, and wondered if we would go back to that when it’s all over.
Seeing my Instacart driver spray down her trunk, outside door and inside her car after delivering my groceries. All while wearing a facemask and gloves. Bless you, Instacart driver.
I am in the COVID-19 bubble.
I have a business that has not been impacted; instead, I have actually gained business. As a professional speaker, I was already doing virtual presentations and webinars. I have been training companies to transition and work remotely for years. When it all hit the fan, I reached out to companies to remind them of my experience and immediately started getting booked to help. I got new clients out of it as well.
Other speakers are struggling. Either their message isn’t appropriate right now, or they targeted industries that are deeply hit. Also, since I focus on health behaviors, people reached out because habits started to go in the toilet. They could see where this mess was headed if it kept up (a 20-pound weight gain and a mental breakdown).
I’m very healthy and don’t take that for granted. I work for it and focus on nutrition, sleep, and exercise. I don’t have to leave my house (and have only two times in almost a month) and am not exposed. My autoimmune disease causes me to fight myself. Still, I rarely get sick otherwise, and even when my husband had terrible flu in February, I didn’t catch it. I practice healthy choices, and it’s the highest priority in my life, but COVID-19 doesn’t care about that. My bubble keeps me safe.
My husband was able to transition to virtual drum lessons. He lost his gigs for a few months, but he maintained all but two students. He lost about 1.5 weeks of income, but after figuring out how to set up his studio, he now in some ways prefers teaching remotely.
Speaking of my husband. I like him. Of course, I love him, but I also like him. We enjoy hanging out together. I have seen only him for the last three weeks except for about 10 minutes when I dropped off a package to a friend and stood in her yard and talked to her. We’re not sick of each other, and since he has no reason to go into the studio early anymore to rehearse, we eat lunch together every day. He has a different schedule than me and works afternoons and evenings, so we each have our own time since I work during the day. Since he’s not going out with his bandmates, gigging or rehearsing at night, he is home at a reasonable 8:30, and I see him before I go to bed.
I’ve been Zooming for years. I see all my coaching clients over video conference, so none of this was new to me. There was no learning curve (until they made security updates!). The people who need virtual happy hours or virtual meals together are feeling isolated or lonely. I do not. In fact, Zoom is the last thing I want to be on at the end of the day because I’m on it for several hours already. I’ve asked precisely one couple to Zoom with me. It’s because we will be missing our weekend trip to their house and I KNOW we would be talking about the new season of Ozark, so I gave that option.
As an introverted extrovert, I need a lot of privacy. I’m someone who is not often bored. I can always find something to do or like the time to think or read books. I like people, but I love my privacy. Since I’m Zooming all the time anyway, I’m good with my interaction. Ask me a month from now when it’s been sixty days, and I may feel differently, but for now, I’m okay.
My family lives far away. I’m not used to seeing them, so it’s our regular chatting on the phone while I’m walking around my neighborhood.
So there. This is my life right now. I definitely miss some things, like monthly dinners with Matt and Michelle, going to Full Bloom on Sundays for our family meetings, mountain biking at the park, and my Mom and Dad’s trip here in April. But for the most part, I’m good. Not great. Not fantastic. But good.
I do not take it for granted.
I am grateful every day.
I am sorry for the lives of the people who have been turned upside down with an illness, kids at home because they can’t go to school, job losses, and lack of cash flow. My heart goes out to you.
I’m in the bubble and will stay here as long as I can. I hope wherever you are, you can find a safe space as well.
Jeff literally walked backward during his epic journey because it was too painful to walk forward. I've also experienced the same thing after a marathon, where walking backward eased the pain I was in. Even though we couldn't see where we were going, we were still forging ahead whether the outcome was the end of an epic trail or the bottom of my stairs.
It might seem like lately you've been moving backward, but flip that switch. Is there a growth opportunity out of it that is actually propelling you forward? Maybe not now, but in the future?
Stay to the end, where you see my current book of choice, the fluff one sometimes has to read in the midst of a pandemic!
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