Thank you so much to Steve Khachaturian for having me on his ESPN radio show last week!
I met Steve backstage, moments after his daughter Grace was crowned Miss Illinois. As a fellow broadcaster, we started talking right away - and I joined him on his radio show Stevie Jay on ESPN 93.5 to talk about Miss America, lightning safety and the broadcasting business.
I'm also so thankful to him because his first sentence to me backstage was about my new "Minute Motivation" videos. Thank you for your kind words and support, Steve!
Here's the clip from his show Stevie Jay.
My mom has always been one of my heroes. But the older I get, the more I realize just what an incredible role model and friend she is in my life.
I feel extremely grateful for how much one-on-one time I got with my mom growing up. Being the youngest, I was the last one at home when Andrea and Christina started school.
Mom and I had our own routine those days: watching The Today Show while she French braided my hair; eating grilled PB&J for lunch; playing a game of Mastermind; running errands in the minivan; listening to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s greatest hits…
But what I admire most about my mom (and my dad too) is how she reacted when life didn’t go as she hoped or planned. I’m talking about when my oldest sister Christina was struck by lightning when she was 17-years-old - sustaining injuries that would need full-time caregiving for the rest of her life.
For nearly 20 years now, my parents have taken care of my sister without complaint or anger about what happened. As my dad said once, "You just do it and you would too if this happened to your own daughter."
My mom is the most pure, true example of a mother’s love. Her life is a testament to that every single day.
Happy Mother’s Day to the best there is… Love you, Mom.
“I wish I was naturally skinny too.”
I read that comment someone posted under a Facebook photo of me the other day and immediately thought, “Me too!”
That person must believe this is how I’ve always looked – and it takes me no work to stay this way. Ha! Hahahaha… Oh, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Fitness and health has been a looooong journey for me. After three decades, I’m just now feeling comfortable enough with myself to even begin to open up about the body image struggles I’ve been through.
You see, ironically, there was a time when I too believed some people had all the luck and were just naturally skinny.
For the majority of my teens into my mid 20’s, I convinced myself I wasn’t blessed with a fast metabolism – and that’s why I struggled with weight and not seeing results from the gym.
I ignored the truth about my eating habits (like thinking a pint of ice cream for dinner and then a pint of sorbet for a midnight snack was portion control). I constantly felt trapped by food - obsessing over eating healthy and beating myself up when I fell off the plan. It was a cycle of eating clean for a few days and then falling off the wagon and stuffing my face for a few weeks.
Working out – in every single form: on my own, with a trainer, group fitness classes – was a form of punishment. There was no joy in it, no stress relief from sweat.
For more than a decade, I was a prisoner to my horrible eating and fitness habits.
I couldn’t see a way out.
There would be moments of hope. I joined Weight Watchers four times (yes, even went to the meetings in college), drank my fair share of that disgusting mix of lemon juice and cayenne pepper, and even once tried these drops before meals in an attempt to trick my brain to thinking I was full.
You can guess what happened during this period. My weight was the rockiest rollercoaster. Up and down, up and down. The scale fluctuated as much as 50 pounds for a decade.
There was one consistent in this turmoil, my body image was the lowest of low.
Here was my biggest problem: I kept turning to the quick fix.
Diets, P90x, Insanity, personal trainers, throwing away all the junk food in my house… But these health “solutions” were just band aids on a much bigger problem.
In health and fitness, there is no quick fix. It’s not a sprint, it’s a lifelong marathon.
In health and fitness, there is no quick fix. It’s not a sprint, it’s a lifelong marathon.
So. How did I transform from a classic yo-yo dieter to staying a consistent weight for years now and actually enjoying running and yoga?
Time. Gradual changes over time.
Remember my two pints of ice cream at night habit? I quit trying to cut out ice cream completely. Instead, I cut back. One spoonful at a time for the last FIVE YEARS.
Today, I can eat just a few bites of ice cream and put the pint back in the freezer. And it’s not that I don’t keep ice cream around – there are two pints in my freezer right now – it’s just that I don’t obsess over it anymore.
Getting to that point just took time.
For fitness, I started walking before I ran. Literally. I got a puppy and of course he needed to be walked. We started out with just walking to the end of the block and back. As he grew, his need to get more energy out grew too. So gradually we walked farther; then we walked/ran; and eventually ran. FOUR YEARS later I ran a half marathon.
Getting to that point just took time.
Time and also forgiveness.
I know that sounds strange, but learning to forgive myself for my eating or fitness habits was key. Example: I ate the entire row of Oreo cookies – it’s okay. It doesn’t mean I have no self-control, am a horrible person and should just go ahead and finish the other rows too.
Don't expect perfection - it's not possible and will only discourage you.
Recently, I’ve been doing fitness challenges with people on social media – and I LOVE them. Because they are small, gradual health challenges.
I don’t expect to have the best arms for life after 21 days… or perfectly toned legs and abs during this May challenge. It’s just a small part of the fitness journey.
People have reached out about the challenges to say, “Oh shoot! I missed the first day!” And I’ve replied that that’s perfectly ok. Honestly! Just join in on day two or three or 18. Something is better than nothing.
Don’t expect perfection with your workout and eating habits. Perfection isn’t obtainable and you’ll only keep beating yourself up about it. Do what you can and forgive yourself for the rest.
Also – if you noticed above, I just replaced “eating habits” in the place of “diet” for a reason. I haven’t “dieted” in years. It’s the worst. Diets only made me miserable. Now I just try to make smart food choices and eat until I’m full. I listen to my body. It knows.
Which almost brings us full circle now to that original Facebook comment: “I wish I was naturally skinny too.”
Boy. Don’t we all?
I suppose in some way though once you get to a place where you're listening to your body, it does kind of become part of you... natural. But it doesn't mean I can stop working out and eat all the junk food I want without expecting poor results.
Finding your fitness balance is work. Constant work.
But if you take it gradually, you will find a place where food and workouts aren’t an obsession anymore. It’s just you maintaining a healthy balance in life – and keeping your body in optimal condition because you are worth it.
When I walk into work at 3 a.m., I'm what people would call a hot mess. With just lotion on my face and my damp hair in a clip at the top of my head, I'm so far from being TV ready. As a lifelong acne fighter (I'm almost 30, isn't this supposed to stop by now?!), I'm sometimes impressed that I actually show my face in the newsroom with red angry dots on it. But then I figure this shows I'm human. Yes, I get acne, bags under my eyes and dry skin. Here's why you don't see it all that often on TV... the magic of makeup.
While I'm not an expert, I do put on my own makeup for air every morning. So, I'll show you what I know and my routine. And if you have any suggestions to make this process better - or a fun addition as I'm looking to change it up, please tell me in the comments section!
Blush: Bobbi Brown's Blush / Shade: Nectar
Highlighter: HourGlass' Incandescent Strobe Lighting Powder / Shade: Ambient
Eyebrows: Tarte's Busy Gal Brows / Shade: Medium Brown
Eyelashes: Ardell's Wispies & Duo's Eyelash Adhesive / Shade: Dark Tone
Lips: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil / Shade: Cruella or Dragon Girl
And have fun! It's like working on an art project every morning. But never forget you don't need any makeup to be beautiful, that comes from within. AND, if you put this much makeup on regularly, give your face a break when you can. I like to use one of my weekend days to go makeup free.
Today seems like the perfect day to refresh a neglected blog. For today is my sister Christina's birthday - and most days, it seems like all of my writing inspiration comes from her.
Well, that's not true. Christina doesn't just inspire my writing, but every area of my life.
"When I need someone to remind me who I am, Christina can."
Christina will always be the best reminder of who I am, where I came from, and what is most important in life.
Happy Birthday, Christina! Thank you for the never-ending lessons on patience, gratitude, positivity, acceptance and faith.
During my freshman year of college, a retired journalist agreed to sit down with me to talk about the news business. I️ was a stranger to him, we didn’t have any family connections, and it wasn’t benefitting his career to meet with me
Sometimes an hour of your time is all it takes completely change someone else’s life.
Pay it forward.
I'm not sure this post even needs an introduction. It seems Jackie Price's life left the same impact on all of you as it did on me.
I met Jackie while fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis this summer, when she was incredibly open and honest about telling me her struggle with CF and an emergency double lung transplant.
Jackie text me a few weeks ago to see if we could meet up to discuss how she could continue to share her story - but this time in her own words.
Hey everyone! I’m Jackie. I was lucky enough to meet Ellen through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She interviewed me for a segment on Wake Up Washington. If you watched the video you know a little bit about Cystic Fibrosis. If you didn’t, Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes extra sticky mucus to build up in the body. This causes frequent lung infections that scar the lungs and cause a decline in lung function. It also affects your digestive system and makes it hard to gain weight so most of us with CF are pretty skinny.
Last year I got really, really sick. Like the sickest patient in the Cardiovascular ICU in all of 2016, sick. I had an emergency double lung transplant, spent a month in a medically induced coma, and a total of 4 1/2 months in the ICU. I actually woke up to my mom telling me I had the transplant, not even knowing I was ever listed. I worked really hard to teach my muscles how to hold a fork, sit up and walk again. But hey, here I am today enjoying life and appreciating every. single. breath.
Maybe some people never actual realize what their purpose was, but they had one. And they probably changed at least one life during their time here on earth. I hope to change a lot of lives and help a lot of people realize that they can make it through anything life might throw at them.
I started my blog, Priceless Breaths, because I’d like to become a motivational speaker. Maybe start a non-profit one day (still pondering ideas). There’s still a lot left of my story, like how I’ll spend the rest of my life protecting my lungs or that I need a hip replacement. So, come, follow my blog & follow my Instagram, @pricelessbreaths. Join my journey. We’ll make it through anything, together.
Reinvention. It sounds like a word we use when there’s a problem and you need to fix it. But when it comes to your personal brand and lifestyle, I believe reinvention is crucial.
I am a BIG fan of this reinvention process. It’s been crucial to advancing my career and life.
When I say reinvention, I don’t mean creating an entire new version of yourself. It’s not disregarding the person you’ve always been. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. It’s reconnecting with the person you truly are – and the dreams, goals and values you hold deep in your heart.
So how do you do this? It starts with a little bit of silent brainstorming. Find some quiet time to yourself to think about who you want to be. Visualize it. Picture yourself in your dream life. Now notice the details. What do you look like? What’s your attitude? Who are your friends and how do you spend your free time?
Once your closet is free of the “old you,” then you can start to replace those items with quality pieces that match your vision.
Here are more actionable items for self-reinvention:
One last key to reinvention: get out of your comfort zone. To become the person you visualize, you have to put yourself in new circumstances. You’re going to be awkward and uncomfortable – but that’s how you will grow the most.
Push yourself like that for several months. Then stop. Go to that quiet place again and take inventory. Who are you now? What does the visualization of your “ideal life” look like now? And then start the reinvention process again and again.
For a rare genetic disease, Cystic Fibrosis can certainly hit home. Since I started posting CF events on my social media pages, I've been overwhelmed by the stories about how CF impacts your own life.
As I've been sharing stories of Washington D.C. families fighting for a cure for CF, I've been looking for a way to connect back to my hometown crowd too. To have Nicole be willing to share her story with you all means a lot.
Last week, she sent me a message to give you a small insight into her family's day-to-day life.
At 7:00 every evening, we start their vest and breathing treatments again which take approximately 1 hour.
In 2016, our local walk raised over $24K and had over 200 walkers. This year’s walk is Sunday, September 17 at 2:00pm at Mercelina Park (hot water hole area).
If you thought this post was about how my teeth got to be straight for 25 cents... I have bad news. My parents will be the first to tell you my Invisalign in high school cost more than 25 cents.
In Texas, I changed. I became a baker from scratch. No more pre-made cookie dough rolls for me. I got a Kitchen Aid Mixer and the title "Betty Crocker" from my co-workers.
The real reward now is giving whatever I bake away - especially to my co-workers - and seeing their reactions. Like this message from my assignment editor when I brought in dirt pudding Tuesday:
Did you make that Pyrex dish full of evil sorcery by the break room?"
My executive producer in Texas asked me once why I baked for them so much. I told him it's a way to make someone smile... for less than 25 cents.
From my TV high heels, to the baseball cap I wear nearly everywhere else... I'm finding my voice in this blogging world.