Apr 02

Where Did I Leave That Glass Slipper?

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

I am fascinated with makeovers. I think it stems from reading Cinderella and watching the Disney movie so many times. I loved watching her transform from a dirty scullery maid into a lovely princess. Obviously, I’m not the only one. Talk shows and even news programs are getting into transforming women from dull to fabulous. It now extends to men who also are wanting a change for the better. It’s amazing what a new haircut, clothes and makeup can do for us average Joes. We hear the same story from the person who is getting remade. “I spend my money and my time on my children, and on my job.” These people are not trying to be martyrs. For them it’s a simple reality that the luxury of a hair salon and buying new clothes is not in the budget. What I find so wonderful about this process, is the real emotion that is felt when a person sees him/herself for the first time. Most don’t even recognize themselves. It’s hard for them to believe that they really are beautiful. It also helps that making them feel and look good is a priority. Many of us rarely experience that kind of attention. The change in their attitude before the makeover and after is also fun to watch. When the fashion victims are first introduced, they can barely look at the camera or the people around them. When they return so we can see their new look, their whole body language has changed. Their posture is stronger, their heads are held up, they smile, and you can see their new found confidence. That’s the part I love. It also makes me wonder why most of us don’t go to more effort to present our best selves.

I don’t believe we have to dress up to go to the grocery store. I do believe people should look nice for a Broadway show on a Saturday night. I was surprised to see most of the audience wearing sweat pants and T-shirts. My friends tell me that people don’t dress up anymore. If that’s the case, then why as a culture are we obsessed with fashion? Is it only the rich and famous who should look their best? I know at one time our society took pride in its appearance. I know men aren’t going to wear a suit and tie to the ball game these days and women aren’t going to wear gloves and a hat to go to the market.

baseball-crowd                   images

I understand wanting to be comfortable but somehow dressing down has become the norm. What I don’t get is needing to be so comfortable that you show up to the airport wearing pajamas.  I believe what we wear out is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. I know that looking my best makes me feel good about myself. I like putting on makeup and fixing my hair. I do my own version of the transformer at home. I enjoy picking out an outfit that I will wear shoes with and not sneakers. I like the confidence I have in myself when I go out to meet friends at a restaurant or seeing a show with my husband. I think special occasions warrant the extra effort. I try to make most days a special occasion. My mother liked to tell me that I should wear all the cute outfits I can because at some point I won’t be able to. The image of having to wear a housecoat in my old age gave me nightmares. The fact is, beautiful, older celebrities have proven that you can dress up at any age. It’s more than just feeling pretty, it’s a sense of self worth. I may not have a fairy godmother or a team of professional stylists, but I do plan on looking and feeling like a princess to the very end. 

Mar 03

Quick And Easy Broiled Salmon

By Celeste DeCamps | Recipes

Preheat the broiler

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

Place salmon fillets on sheet

Rub olive oil on the salmon

Sprinkle salt, black pepper, dill, basil, fennel and a little turmeric onto the salmon

Broil salmon about 8-10 minutes depending on the thickness.

Salmon is done when the flesh flakes easily with a fork

For a quick side dish of steamed vegetables, I heated up a bag of Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers.

Dinner was paired with a glass of Paul Dolan Chardonnay from Mendocino County.

For lunch the next day, I made a wonderful salad with the leftover salmon.

I took the salmon out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.

In the meantime, I put together baby kale, 1/2 an avocado, tomatoes, sweet red and yellow peppers, chopped baby carrots, cucumbers, feta cheese, and dried cranberries. I cut the salmon into pieces and mixed it into the salad. Quick, easy, and delicious.

 

 

Feb 26

Why Your Past is Still Present

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

Do you remember playing “Connect the Dots” when you were younger? You would get a picture that was all dots with numbers. As soon as you connected the dots by drawing a line to the corresponding number then an image would appear. Suddenly, the picture made sense. That’s what it feels like when you can connect your past memories to present day anxieties or phobias. It’s finally understanding why certain situations can cause you to overreact emotionally. It explains our fear of abandonment,  not being worthy of love, constantly seeking approval from others, and a host of negative feelings. Connecting the dots is what it feels like when you do EMDR Therapy.

EMDR was discovered and developed by Dr.Francine Shapiro Ph.D.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Repeated studies show that by using EMDR people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  Using the detailed protocols and procedures learned in EMDR training sessions, clinicians help clients activate their natural healing processes.

In her book, “Getting Past Your Past,” Dr. Shapiro explains how unprocessed memories can cause unresolved issues in our present day life. She has worked with patients battling post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and those with unexplained phobias that keep them from leading happy and successful lives. Using a series of eye movements or taps on the knee, the therapist guides the patients to visualize the negative belief they are holding onto about themselves. The patients just takes notice of what pictures come up for them. Eventually, images appear, and little by little, they start to move to the front of the mind’s eye. Thoughts and memories begin to make sense. In one experiment, Dr. Shapiro asks the reader to remember a time in school that left a bad memory. Immediately, I remembered an incident when I was in the 3rd grade. The night before school, one of my dogs got hold of my textbook. By the time I realized it, he had chewed up half of the cover. I brought the book to class and showed my teacher, Mrs. Tobias. She took the book and began screaming at me. We were standing in the middle of the room and the whole class watched in disbelief. I still remember the humiliation. I also remember how crazy I thought she was, and how she should not have been a teacher. It was an event that made me realize how much I disliked the misuse of power by authority figures.

Personal stories that are recounted in “Getting Past Your Past,” show how strong the power of the mind is in keeping the past ever present. Each of these patients experiences are varied and the one common denominator is how understanding old memories affect our present perception. Once these unprocessed memories are brought up, and looked at, they can be processed accordingly. For example, a memory that happened at 5 years old, can now be looked at through adult eyes. Each patients’ story results in a clearer understanding of their present situation. The critical beliefs that they held about themselves melt away. A better understanding of the memory changes their attitude for the better. You may not have suffered a traumatic event, but if you are dealing with unexplained anxiety, fear or anger, it might help to try this type of therapy. Dr. Shapiro’s book gives a detailed guide on how to proceed to unlock your memories. She also suggests that if you feel you need the help of someone trained in EMDR, to check the last chapter for references. There are now thousands of clinicians worldwide that are available. The American Psychiatric Association and the US Department of Defense have recognized EMDR as an effective treatment for trauma.

The wonderful part about this kind of healing of the mind is that no medication is used. Past events in our lives are better understood and how they play a role in our perceptions today. We all have different experiences in our life, but how we react to them may very well be controlled by our younger, more vulnerable selves. The idea that our memories fade as we get older, is simply not true to our subconscious minds. I think we can all learn by revisiting the past and putting it into a more gentle perspective. In my case, not only do I feel I understand myself better, but I also feel a heightened sense of empathy for others.

 

Feb 05

Me and Dan

By Celeste DeCamps | General

Crystal Head 1

One of the perks of selling wine and spirits in New York is meeting celebrities. This is me and Dan Aykroyd at his new product launch for Crystal Head Vodka. He put together an exciting unveiling. He was funny and personable. It was also a great lesson in how important presentations are. Part of our job, in sales, is sitting through many new product seminars. This one was, by far, one of the best. Yes, it definitely helped to be a famous actor and comedian, but Mr. Aykroyd made it interesting because he took the time to do so. He was passionate about his new venture, and it showed. He explained his reasons for wanting to put out a quality vodka, and the work involved in making it happen. Even the most jaded sales person among us was impressed.

For me, it was more than hearing about a new vodka. I thought it was  wonderful, seeing a person continually strive for success in different venues. We should all learn to see opportunity in every aspect of our lives. Why rest on laurels of achievement when there is so much to learn and grow from? Trying out new ideas is daunting, even overwhelming. It’s also what makes life interesting and rewarding.

Jan 27

Is Back Pain, Or Other Pain Symptoms Controlling Your Life?

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

We all experience aches and pains from exercising, dancing all night or playing sports, especially after turning 50. That’s natural. What’s not easily explained is the sudden onset of pain in our backs, knees, hips, shoulders or migraines. We decide it’s because we overdid an activity or slept in a funny position. Our minds convince us that we did something to cause this discomfort. What happens when we can’t seem to find relief? For some, seeking medical attention is obvious. They want to know what the extent of structural damage has been done. What kind of medication will they need to take, or worse, is surgery involved? For others, they will seek the help of a more holistic approach: Acupuncture or a good chiropractor.

What would think if I told you that you may not need any of the above? What would you think if I told you to check your emotions first? Maybe your family life plus pressures from work are making you feel powerless. Do you feel the need to be perfect? Are you taking care of everyone before you ever consider making yourself a priority? Does the idea of being resentful for all that you have to do, make you feel guilty, even angry? Did you have to overcome a tough childhood? Are you in a bad relationship? What is going on in your life that is keeping you from being happy? Believe it or not, our brain tries to help us with these overpowering emotions. Our unconscious mind holds our memories, but it doesn’t relate to time. Events in our past, stay with us as if it just happened. If we have unresolved anger our bodies hold onto it. Repression helps us to function so we can get on with our lives.  If we don’t come to terms about past or present trauma, our brain makes the decision to keep us from thinking about it.

Dr. John E. Sarno has written a few books explaining how the connection between our minds and our bodies work together to keep us from feeling overwhelmed. He calls this condition TMS: Tension Myositis Syndrome  He explains that the aches we feel are very real. When we are repressing anger, our mind decides that a distraction is needed. The brain causes a mild oxygen deprivation to certain muscles and the result is pain. When we seek a cure, such as medication or an adjustment, the ache may subside for a little while. If the anger is still there, the pain will move to another body part. What started in the back, is now in the shoulder. Dr. Sarno calls this The Symptom Imperative. It means the mind will move the pain around to keep you distracted. Many people have found relief just by reading Dr. Sarno’s books or attending his lectures. They identify with the different personality traits that are presented and find a way to confront their repressed emotions. It sounds too good to be true, yet it has helped thousands of people, including me, to be free of pain.  For some patients, professional therapy may be the answer.

Many patients insist, that after being x-rayed, their doctor’s have told them that they have structural damage. For example a herniated disk, a torn rotator cuff, or cracks in their back. Dr. Sarno explains, that is all normal wear and tear on the body. Many people will have the same results on an X-ray or MRI and live pain-free. Dr. Sarno always gives a complete physical to rule out infection or disease.

“Many years ago I concluded that the structural abnormality was not the true cause of symptoms in most cases, because I found no correlation between the location of the pain and muscle weakness if such existed, and the structural aberration. It is remarkable that practitioners can undertake a serious treatment like surgery in light of such blatant clinical inconsistencies. One of the dirty little secrets of the medical community is that clinical medicine is clearly not always as scientific as many would like to think. Of the thousands of patients with disc pathology that we have seen over the last thirty-two years, not one has ever developed “permanent nerve damage” after refusing surgery and following treatment for TMS.” -Dr. John E. Sarno-The Divided Mind

The program 20/20 did a report on Dr. Sarno. Please watch the video below:

To find out more please read these books by Dr. John E. Sarno:

Mind Over Back Pain: A Radically New Approach to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Back Pain

The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection

 

Jan 14

Green Smoothie

By Celeste DeCamps | Recipes

Nutri Bullet has changed my life. I never thought I would enjoy drinking kale, but I do. This high speed blender makes the best smoothies.

Today I put in the blender:

A big handful of kale

1/2 an avocado ( it gives a creamy texture to the drink)

6 baby carrots

1/2 a banana

1/2 cup of mixed frozen fruit

A few slices of fresh ginger

Some mint leaves

1 tbs Flax seed oil

And water

The only thing I can taste is the banana, ginger and mint. It’s wonderful and filling.

Jan 14

Girlfriends

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

 

Picture yourself in a room full of your friends. This room should be full of love. If it’s not, you need new friends. This is the room you don’t feel judged. This is where you can truly be yourself, because the people in this room, get you, like no other. You share common ideas and interests. They can give you constructive criticism, without being insulting. They help guide you, support you and encourage you to have a great life. They will listen to you as you go over a sad disappointment. They will listen to it a million times if need be. As women, we need to run a subject into the ground until it’s out of our system. Men don’t understand that. That’s why it’s so important to have great girl friends. Yes, we can be friends with men, but it’s not the same. Women have wonderful empathy as well as compassion. That’s why we give so much of ourselves to each other. We understand the need to talk thru our anxiety and know we are being heard. The same goes for happy events. We want people in our corner cheering us on, when we achieve a goal. We don’t want to be around people who feel the need to take us down a notch because they feel threatened or jealous of our success.

There will be different people entering and exiting your life at different times. They will serve their purpose in helping us grow and learn. Some will stay forever, and some will need to leave. Life is a process and decisions on who we are with is very important. As we change, and yes we should be changing for the better, so do the people around us. Girlfriends are so important!! They are the best support group we have, as long as they are real friends. By that, I mean, they will listen to you and not pass judgment. We all need people we can confide in, that will hear our problems and have compassion for us. We all should have people in our lives that love us unconditionally. Everyone has work to do in their lifetime to be the best that we can be. It is our friends that become great guides to that betterment. They will point out our bad decisions or lack of action to fix a mistake. It’s okay, because we do the same for them. Our friends form our social graces, our attitudes and our moral compass. That is why, picking good friends is so important. We don’t need people around us that are constantly undermining our confidence so that we never succeed. Those are not friends.

That is the Crab Effect: Picture a bucket of crabs. One is trying to escape up the side, but the rest of the crabs keep pulling him back. They don’t see a way out, and they don’t want to be left behind, so no one is allowed to try and leave.

Be aware of the “friend” who wants you there for her, but is not available when you need advice or encouragement. That is someone taking advantage of your good nature, while sucking the very life from you. Look at yourself and make sure you are a good friend. Make sure you are there for others as they are there for you. There’s no reason to feel alone in your journey. We are all in this together. Let’s help each other be our very best.

 

Jan 10

Strength in Numbers

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

Belly dancers come in all shapes and sizes. I have been backstage with other dancers as they bemoan their body parts. Yet, when they go onstage, an amazing transformation will happen. They are suddenly beautiful and in control. They believe in their dance and their confidence shows thru. They come offstage, breathless, but empowered. That high of performing, being applauded, being appreciated, took away all the angst they had just moments before. Why can’t we hold onto that? It’s there for all of us. It’s a mindset we don’t allow ourselves to have. When we do, it’s for very short periods of time. For some of us, it never happens. We can’t move gracefully, we can’t be sexy, why? Is it because if we don’t look like a super model, we’re not allowed to feel and be beautiful?  Is that our reality? Who determines that? Society, our family, our friends, or is it us? We control our feelings and our attitudes. We control our thought process. If we give up that control and give it to someone else, who’s at fault? We have more power than we know. Just a shift in attitude can change a situation on a dime.

So many women I speak to have disconnected themselves from their body. We are employees, a mother, a wife, but not a woman anymore.When did we lose our femininity? We take care of our jobs, our family, our home, but not ourselves. When do we dance and play? When do we feel sexy, and comfortable with our bodies? When do we stop comparing ourselves to everyone else? Why are we in competition with each other? Where did the sisterhood go? Why is working with other women so miserable? I’ve heard women say that they would rather work with a man than a woman. How sad is that? We can’t make ourselves the enemy. We need to support and encourage each other. To be in competition with each other is counter productive.

I worked for a number of years in the wine and spirit industry as a distributor. I sold wine and spirits to restaurants in Manhattan. I was quite fortunate to work with a group of women that were in their own right, strong, smart, talented and successful. Our manager was a woman as well. We had one man on our team. He was amazing. We were constantly at the top of our division in terms of volume and distribution. Many times beating out the other all male teams. We worked well together and encouraged each other. We proved over and over again how combining our strengths made us a stronger team. We were not being men, we were being women. We had compassion for each other as we dealt with the stress and pressure of work and family. We were supportive instead of combative. It made a huge difference in the workplace and it showed with our success.

Women are a powerful force in this world. We have to recognize that in each other and see it in ourselves. Let’s bring the sisterhood back.

 

 

Jan 07

Fun with Veggies

By Celeste DeCamps | Recipes

I love making salads.  Today, I created a masterpiece.

A mix of baby spinach and arugula

Sliced cucumbers

Sliced baby carrots

Sliced orange, yellow and red peppers

Plum tomatos

1/2 of an avocado

Feta Cheese

Dried Cranberries

Topped with Flax Seed Oil

Delicious and Nutritious

Jan 05

Beauty Within

By Celeste DeCamps | Self Improvement

I struggled for years with low self-esteem. I had a horrible and annoying voice that lived inside my head. It constantly under minded my confidence. It was exhausting and I desperately wanted to change the opinion I had of myself. When I decided to get on the road to self-discovery, three things happened to help me finally kick that useless voice to the curb.

1: I realized the culture I live in contributed to my belittling.

2: It took a water experiment conducted by a Japanese scientist to see how my thought patterns were hurting me and

3: I began to learn about my true self worth.

My hope is that my experiences will help you hear a more encouraging and supportive voice in your head.

Why isn’t my hair longer, fuller and shinier? Why isn’t my complexion flawless?  Why can’t I lose 10 pounds?

That was a small sample of the inner dialogue I’ve had with myself since I was a teenager. Magazine articles and talk show hosts will tell us ad naseum that the biggest attribute a woman has is her confidence.  How do I imbue confidence when I just raked myself over the coals before having my first cup of coffee?

Do I want to look like a Victoria Secret model? Yes, yes I do. Do I really believe it will make my life perfect? No, but it doesn’t stop me for wanting to be beautiful. I’m not alone.

For centuries women have tried all kinds of beauty treatments to enhance what we have or to fake what we don’t. Media induced beauty, and all it entails. From pictures of 20yr old models, selling wrinkle cream, to talk shows that promote the latest in weight loss. It’s a feeding frenzy on my insecurities in hopes of selling me a cure. The question I have is: How can I stop this cycle of mental put-downs?

A few years ago, I read an interesting experiment that impacted my belief system. It forever changed my inner dialogue.

Dr. Masaru Emoto decided to study water molecules. The water samples were subjected to various degrees of emotion: One jar of water was subjected to messages of Love, one jar of water was given soft words of appreciation; One jar was yelled at with messages of anger and one jar was spoken to with messages of hate. After a month of this, he took pictures of the frozen water. He then produced several slides showing different crystal formations. Love and appreciation are beautiful pictures while the anger and hate are nasty. Think about this: We are made up of 60% water. I needed to change my thought patterns about myself.  I didn’t want to make myself ugly.

You can see a video about this experiment below:

How do you change a rock solid foundation of insecurity into an anchor of self-assurance? I decided to replace that abusive voice inside me with one that was full of love and self-respect. Like everything else, it took practice. When a negative thought would push it’s way in, I countered it with something positive. “Wrinkles are multiplying overnight”. “No, those are laugh lines, because my love is full of joy.” I decided to feel grateful that I was healthy, and strong. I meditated and visualized a light inside me that energized and reinforced my belief in my true beauty.

The best example I have of knowing true beauty is this:

Have you ever seen a good looking person and after a 5 minute conversation wonder why you found him/her to be pretty? I’m not talking about when the lights suddenly come on and it’s last call. Their thoughts were rude and obnoxious. The same goes for someone that may not be particularly nice looking, and yet after speaking with him or her, and connecting on the same wavelength, they suddenly become quite attractive. Our inner beauty will always shine through.

I think we are all naturally vain. I think it’s a part of the ego that will keep us evolving into something greater. I’m not opposed to that. I’m opposed to trying for an ideal that was media made.

Marilyn Monroe, the icon of beauty was not happy. Even though she was considered the most beautiful woman, in the world, she never felt loved. All of her wealth and fame never got her what she most wanted.

Don’t misunderstand me: There’s a part of me that wants to age gracefully and another part that wants to go kicking and screaming. I will always enjoy putting makeup on and looking and feeling my best. I just refuse to put myself under a microscope and pick myself apart.

Today, I can honestly say, that the crystal formations inside me are beautiful. They reflect how I perceive myself on the inside as well as the outside. My self-discovery taught me to be grateful for what I have and see other people’s inner beauty as well.

My inner voice now sounds like this: I am perfect, I am strong, I am healthy, I am beautiful inside and out and more important, I am loved.