Blog Posts by Sarah McColl, Shine staff

  • Tired? 8 things to eat, drink, and do to boost your energy levels

    If you're feeling whooped by the Daylight Savings switch, you're not the only one. And if you were feeling exhausted long before the time change, you're in good sleepy-eyed company. Getting enough sleep is the bottom line for increasing your energy levels, but if you're already doing your best on that front, here are 8 simple energy-boosting suggestions.

    Read more life-improving ideas on Real-Life Makeover:

    How to get over your perfectionism and start getting real

    "Miracle" diets that don't work

    6 ways to stay motivated so you can achieve your goals

    Photo credit: Getty Images

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  • Healthy ice cream made from...goat's milk?

    Ice cream lovers rejoice! Laloo's, made from the milk of goat's who graze freely in the hills of California's Sonoma County, is rife with good-for-your-digestive system probiotics. While a half cup of rich premium ice cream (yum) can have 270 and 15 grams of fat (ouch), goat's milk ice cream has 130 calories and 5 grams of fat. But all this is beside the point when it's a creamy treat you're after, and on this front, Laloo's doesn't disappoint. With flavors like black mission fig, chocolate made from 77% dark Scharffen Berger and the coffee-licious Capraccino ("capra" means goat in Italian), the adventurous ice cream lover's prayers have been answered.

  • A beginner's guide to meditation

    Recently in my favorite, final moments of a yoga class, I was stretched out under a blanket, enjoying the treasured minutes of meditation before I returned to the decidedly unrelaxing real world. And then, pouring through the window that had previously only ushered in sunshine, came the unmistakable sound of a jack hammer. My body tensed with irritation and incredulity --- doesn't the world know I'm meditating!? --- until I had a profound and necessary realization: the outside world doesn't stop for our inner moments of peace. We have to carve our own quiet mindfulness out of a loud, messy, stressful world that never lets up. And herein is the beauty of meditation: it can be a doorway that we step through anytime, anywhere, into a room of focus and relaxation.

    There are more reasons to meditate than you can shake a stick at, including lower blood pressure, increased concentration, reduced stress, and an improved immune system, but if you've ever tried to sit still for 20 minutes and

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  • 6 ways to stay motivated so you can achieve your goals

    The bad news is that motivation doesn't grow on trees. The good news, though, is that it is a renewable resource. There's no limit to the motivation we can access, we just have to learn the ways to dig through exhaustion and boredom to get to it. Here are six simple ways to keep yourself motivated so you can achieve your goals:

    Be specific.

    Pull out a piece of paper and write your goal at the very top in big, glittery letters. Instead of writing "Exercise more" as your goal, be specific as possible. Do you want to make it to the gym four times a week? Run a 10k come summer? Make your goal as quantifiable as possible so that you'll know as soon as you've achieved it.

    Remember why you're doing this in the first place.
    When the going gets tough, the tough remember why they wanted to achieve something in the first place. Underneath the goal you've written on that piece of paper, list all the reasons you want to accomplish this goal. List everything: you want to look good in skinny jeans,

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  • Do you take a "cheat day" on your diet?

    It's such a relief when you read articles about how celebrities get their otherworldly bodies and they admit to taking one "cheat day" a week when pizza, fried chicken, margaritas and any thing else their hearts desire is sanctioned. But does a cheat day mean you're feeling really deprived the rest of the week? And when it comes to healthy eating -- a way you hope to eat to live longer and stronger -- is this method sustainable?

    The weekend is right behind us (and dang -- isn't that "springing forward" a killer?), so how did you handle it? Was it a two-day cheat fest, business as usual, or something else?

  • 101 small pleasures you can enjoy every day

    Earlier in the week when we talked about the habits of happy people, many of you mentioned the small pleasures you enjoy that are worth more than anything money can buy, like walking on the beach and flying paper airplanes with your children. Since one of the key tenets of happiness is being able to savor small pleasures, here's a list of 101 delights that are worth enjoying today (not all in one day, though!). Let's try to come up with 101 more in the comments!

    1. coloring (yes, grown-ups can do it, too)
    2. crisp cotton sheets
    3. soft skin
    4. old family recipes
    5. the first daffodils of spring
    6. sleeping in
    7. an exercise endorphin high
    8. window boxes
    9. a perfect cup of coffee
    10. a genuine compliment (giving or receiving)
    11. the way babies smell
    12. a handwritten letter
    13. waking up in a good mood...for no real reason
    14. singing in the shower
    15. finding a couple forgotten dollars in your pocket
    16. doing something nice for your neighbor
    17. a home cooked
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  • The best workout DVDs to turn your living room into a temple of health

    Whether your gym membership was a casualty of the sluggish economy or you just don't like to leave the house to exercise when it's raining, workout DVDs can be the key to keeping your routine fresh. These favorites cover the spectrum from calming pre-bedtime yoga to oh-my-god-make-it-stop cardio.

  • What area of your life needs the most help?

    On Real-Life Makeover we want to help you achieve the healthiest, happiest life possible. This means eating right and exercising, as well as having fun and improving your outlook. But managing all aspects of your life at one time can feel like cooking on all four burners while a cake's in the oven, the toaster's on, and the blender is whirring itself into a frenzy. As soon as one pot reaches a simmer, another one demands you turn up the heat, and then the toast pops up. When you've got too much cooking (and who doesn't?), sometimes the best course of action is to focus most of your attention on the one area that needs the most help. In other words, if you could drop the frenzied balancing act, what would you focus on?

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  • How to get over your perfectionism and start getting real

    It can be hard to appreciate how great your life is when you're consumed with feelings of self-doubt. And really, in this day and age, who doesn't have some insecurities sometimes? Our culture loves perfection in all its forms. Whether the pressure to be perfect is explicit or implicit, and whether we've internalized the messages or not, there is plenty of chatter to lead us to believe our homes, bodies, emotional selves, families, and career should all be perfect. Here's how to tune out the perfectionist crazy talk and start getting real.

    You're not perfect. Thank goodness.

    Perfection is manufactured. It comes to us through Photoshopped pictures, edited movies, and images agreed on by committees, boards, and market research. Real life is messy, exciting, and vibrant. Perfection, on the other hand, is inert, predictable, and, well, boring. Let's embrace the idea that imperfection can be charming, like Lauren Hutton's gap-toothed smile and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

    Write yourself a

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  • 5 habits of happy people even the biggest grump can borrow

    Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ---Abraham Lincoln
    One of the most fundamental ways you can make over your life isn't to lose 10 pounds or conquer your closet clutter, it's to change your perspective into something more positive. While unhappy people, to paraphrase Tolstoy, might be dysfunctional in 10,000 different ways, upbeat folks have some habits in common. Crib from their notes to bring more joy into any day (yes, even a Monday).

    Reach out
    Studies show that relationships are vital to a positive outlook in life. And it makes sense --- engaging with others reminds you that no matter how crappy your day or foul your mood, you're not alone. A superficial interaction like chatting with the mail carrier can make you feel like you belong to a community, but intimate relationships are what keeps us going even when times get tough. Send a text to a college friend telling her you're thinking about her, or call your spouse just to say "I love you."


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