Extraordinary women are everywhere. They’re in your yoga class. In your circle of friends. In your family. They’re lovers, fighters, survivors, entrepreneurs, believers… They’re everything they want to be and fought to become. You just don’t know their stories -- yet.
I am the 3rd daughter of New Englanders who moved to Arizona in 1955. I was born in 1958 in Buckeye, AZ. We moved to Phoenix when I was 2 and other than a few years in Indiana and Boulder, CO; I have lived here my entire life. I love the desert and can’t imagine living anywhere else. My father was a school teacher and my mother was a stay at home mom until I was in 8th grade. It was an idyllic suburban life. I graduated high school in 1976 and Northern Arizona University in 1979 with a degree in Arts Management.
I married my high school sweetheart, Richard, in 1980 and we moved to West Lafayette, IN for 18 months then settled in Boulder, CO for 5 years. I worked Customer Support for a small computer company. My son was born in 1985 in Boulder. We moved home to Phoenix in 1987 and my daughter was born here in 1989. I worked part-time for the school district the kids attended as an Office Clerk which provided me the same hours and summer/breaks off. When they got older, I went to work full time at the district office as an IT Help Desk Tech. I then went to work for the State doing IT Support Desk and retired in 2015. I teach yoga sporadically after getting my teacher certification in 2014. I have two beautiful granddaughters and a sweet basset hound named Hooch.
BELLABEAT: What motivates you?
I feel better when my body works it’s best. That’s probably one of the biggest motivators.
I had always been fairly active through dancing, chasing kids and aerobics. I gained weight with both my pregnancies but worked to take it off. As my lifestyle began to change and my job more sedentary, I could feel the toll on my body. I was then diagnosed with osteoporosis. Upon advice, I started taking yoga at a local studio and absolutely loved it. I felt fantastic and it gave me a serenity I hadn’t felt in years. In my 60 years, I have learned to heed the subtle messages my body sends me. Knowing how my mind and body feel and operate their best when taken care of is the greatest gift and motivation.
BELLABEAT: Who influenced you the most?
My two older sisters were always a huge influence on me. They are 5 and 7 years older than me so of course, everything they did seemed wildly exciting and mature. In some ways it still does! My little Yankee mother – still going strong at 91 – is a big influence as well. I have a best friend since birth who was an only child and I lived vicariously through her. I am still friends with her. My beautiful daughter has also been a big influence. She is remarkable – intelligent, strong and beautiful. All of these – and many more – strong, independent and loving women influenced me to be the woman I am today. My father, my husband of 38 years and my happy son influenced me to be the human being I am today. I also love Ernest Hemingway and would love to be able to as he said “write one true sentence”.
BELLABEAT: What advice would you give to yourself 10 years ago?
Ten years ago was an especially difficult time. I was experiencing anxiety, depression and serious personal problems. I started on a journey of healing that included meditation, journaling and that was also when I turned to yoga. It saved my life and I am eternally grateful that I had the resources to heal. So many don’t have the privilege to find the space or help as I did or there is the stigma of mental health. I would tell myself 10 years ago to be patient. Continue to find the stillness and peace between breaths. Know that everything will be alright. Like any metamorphosis, you will come out of this on the other side changed for the better.
BELLABEAT: Describe your day.
My typical day begins with my waking up and having a cup of coffee with my husband who is not retired. I will check my email and give Hooch, my basset hound, a breakfast biscuit. As soon as the hubby leaves Hooch goes into full pester mode because he’s ready for the daily walk. We go on a leisurely walk of a mile which takes about 50 minutes. It’s a slow pace because he’s a short-legged dog who loves to sniff everything. When we come home I will wash and moisturize my face, shower or steam my hair then sit down for at least 20 minutes of meditation. After meditating I fill out my daily planner/journal then start my home yoga practice of at least 30 minutes. Depending on the day I then do my chores of cleaning, laundry, gardening or visiting my mother in assisted living down the street. I am sorry to admit that I am a terrible cable news junkie so I make sure I don’t turn on the television for news until after everything is done. That’s my reward. I then watch the news until it’s time to make dinner. I have been doing a meal delivery service and it’s worked out great for our empty nest. Also, the hubby has gotten interested in cooking because of it. That’s a plus! We have dinner shortly after the husband comes homes and then we’ll putter about, read or watch some television until bedtime. On Thursday we go to a local Mexican food restaurant for taco night! I am trying to remember my dreams so I have some herbal tea before bed and make sure my journal is handy.
BELLABEAT: What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness is so much more than just being physically fit. Besides eating right, getting plenty of fluids and rest it’s crucial to make sure you are also mentally fit. You need to find joy in life to truly be well. That can involve working out to make sure you feel good about your body and the way it looks or it can mean working in so you can feel peace and gratitude. It’s about not only looking and feeling your best but also knowing you are able to move fluidly; both physically and mentally. Wellness is about balancing all the aspects of your life in a way that works for you and brings you the most happiness and fulfillment. That’s why yoga, which yokes the physical and spiritual, is such a crucial part of my wellness. It’s like my full body mantra.
BELLABEAT: Have any Bellabeat products helped with your wellness?
After I retired in 2015 I realized that there was a good chance that I could slip into sedentary habits. I began to look for something that would give me an alarm to move every so often and saw the Bellabeat ad on my social media feed. I loved the way it looked and it had the whole sustainable aspect which I really liked. I researched it and really liked how it was jewelry, not just a fitness monitor. I ordered up a Leaf Nature and fell instantly in love with it. The step tracker with the alarms for inactivity was exactly what I needed. The meditations were really good and worked into my practice seamlessly. I love the sleep monitor aspect as well. The only module I wouldn’t be using would be the reproductive module and that was easily turned off. I began to make bracelets for it and joined a group of wonderful women on social media who would talk about our Leafs, our lives and work out any bugs we experienced with our Bellabeat trackers. I made some fine friends. The product was new and it was exciting working with the company for tips and tricks. I got the Leaf Urban as soon as it came out and enjoyed having both models. I would add the new trackers or clips almost as soon they came out along with the Spring and oil diffuser. I just love the products. Thanks to my Leaf(s) I take 10k steps a day average, drink 82 oz of water, sleep for at least 8 hours. I added the Bellabeat Time in December so I have the Nature, 2 Urbans, a Chakra and the Time. To those who say I am obsessed I say there is no shame in a woman having jewelry and at least this jewelry helps me look and feel my best every day. I have to say that my rose gold Leaf Nature is probably my favorite one and the one I get the most questions about and compliments on. However, my new rose gold Time is coming in a close second! The reactions when I tell them it’s a fitness tracker are always fun.
BELLABEAT: How did your life change in the last 10 years?
Ten years ago I turned 50, my kids had left home and I was experiencing a bit of a midlife crisis. Add some marital strife and I was in the throes of a terrible bout of depression. My physician got me on the medications I needed and my sisters got me the counselor I needed. I took a short leave from work as I embarked on a personal journey to find the peace I needed. Through counseling and journaling, I was able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I began to slowly heal and discovered meditation. I got progressively better, back to work and back on the road to wellness. During these last ten years, I have seen my children get married, have children of their own and embark on their lives. I have retired, adopted Hooch and become very excited about the next chapter in my life.
BELLABEAT: What do you still want to improve?
I am at a point in my life where I realize I need to declutter and dispose of a lot of things I have collected over the years. There is a lot you accumulate in 60 years! I would love to downsize to a smaller home so there is a lot to take place for that to be done. Fortunately, I have the time. I will always want to improve on my yoga practice. That’s why they call it practice – it’s never perfect. I am sure that is the key to aging gracefully. I also want to continue to walk Hooch as far as he can go for as long as he can. He’s our 6th and (probably last) basset hound. I know how precious our time together is. The walking is good exercise both for him and for my osteoporosis. We sure do love our walkies. Of course, I am always looking for improvement in my meditation. I am far from enlightenment but willing to improve.
BELLABEAT: How can we help make the world a better place?
There is so much to be done to make the Earth a better place and the more each and every one of us works towards that, the better. I remember the first Earth Day in 1970 and still feel the call to do whatever we can to preserve our planet for future generations. We need to make sure that we do as much as we can to stop climate change before it’s too late. There needs to be a civil and rational discussion on this issue because it’s the greatest global threat we face. We need to put the needs of people above profits. My children and grandchildren depend on it.
BELLABEAT: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
At 70 I see myself continuing my yoga and meditation practice but I also hope to be traveling with my husband who will have retired by then. I would love to see Paris and drink at a café Ernest Hemingway drank at. I would love to go to Cuba and see Hemingway’s house. I hope to travel to see our granddaughters as often as possible and make some girl’s trips with my sisters. I hope we will be in a smaller house but still happy and healthy. The future is very exciting and I am really looking forward to whatever life brings my way.
BELLABEAT: Can you share an inspirational quote that you love?
"Do not confuse movement with action." – Ernest Hemingway