What are you?

2014-04-10 07.25.00Hello Darlings,

LaDiva here.

At a dinner for a civic group, of which I am on the board, I met someone new.  Instead of introducing myself, a colleague introduced me as a dietitian and plant-based.

Now the fun begins.

The new friend begins to tell me that they don’t eat that much meat.  I am now trying not to look bored and interested in their meal choices.

Here’s the scoop:

I am a vegan2013-07-30 13.43.39
I am a woman
I am a mother
I am a gardener
I am a business owner2013-02-02 14.18.55
I am a cook
I am a skier
I am a film professional
I am a car driver
I have traveled around the world
I am a liberal with a libertarian streak
I am an actress
I am a home owner


I am a wife
I am a guitarist
I am a teacher
I am a sister
I am low maintenance
I am an author
I am a backpacker
I am a companion pet to my cats

All of these things are a part of me.  They all define a part of myself.  None of is all of me.  When we meet, let’s not start with one that makes you feel uncomfortable.  When we meet, give me your list and I promise to discuss whichever one you want.



Two ears and one mouth

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 6.24.46 PMDarlings, LaDiva here.

Just got back from the North American Vegetarian Society’s Summerfest.  This is a 5 day veg affair in Johnstown, Pennsylvania for everything vegan or raw.  It is where everyone in the plant-based food land launches their books, hangs out and gives presentations on nutrition, environment and activism.  I think even mosquitos are safe here.

I gave 3 presentations – You’re Not Dead, Yet; Why do I have Stubborn Belly fat when I do a Million Crunches a day?; Pregnant? Vegan? FAB! – and was part of a panel on raising vegan kids.

At this conference dietitians [RD-registered dietitian] are royalty.  Which is a good/bad thing.  Great that people respect you enough to ask questions, bad if you want to eat hot food or meet friends.  But I am with the creme of the dietetics world – Brenda Davis, RD; Jill Nussinow, MS, RD; Mark Rifkin, MS, RD; Juliana Hever, MS, RD; Dina Aronson, MS, RD and Myriam Parham, MS, RD and I know I am leaving other folks out.   Then there are the MDs.  Well, who really cares about MDs?  Their wives, and don’t get me started on male MDs telling us all how to eat and cook for families!

Anyway, there I was listening to everyone talk about their book deals and festivals.  And I had nothing to say.  Mainly because there was so much great information about publishers, book deals and other folderol that I have never dealt with.  One RD looked at me and said, “Are you okay?  You’re not saying anything.  You are so calm.”

Well, I was calm and also overwhelmed by the fact that all these people were doing thingsLaDiva outside cooking demo Sanctuary I want to do.  And I was fairly clueless as to how to get into their league.  I felt like a teenager allowed to sit at the adult table. They have “people” like publishers, book designers, literary agents.  I do goofy dancing on videos and LUV immersion blenders. So, I decided to be a sponge.  Also, to use my 2 ears and 1 mouth in that proportion.

Later that day, I ran into one of my esteemed colleagues.  I told them about my email to the publisher for my book because it had been months with no communication.  The publisher did respond to my “maybe we don’t have a fit” email.  They said that they are still interested, but they aren’t picking up anyone’s book at the moment.  My colleague said that they knew this publisher had a reputation of dragging their feet.  My colleague gave me some good advice – Publish it yourself.  I nodded, not totally in agreement.  I mean who wants to do ALL the work?

They said, “The publisher is going to take a large cut.  They are dragging their feet.  You could put together the book as a PDF, sell it, put up the cooking videos yourself and keep all the profit.  Why are you going to wait to make money and then give so much of it to someone else?”

It did make sense, but what about getting me out on a publicity tour?

They said, “Book yourself.  Sell some books.  Get some good response.  Then, go to someone, a publisher, when you have sales to show your worth and have them together the print version.”

For a split second I felt stupid, like I should have known that.  But, then I thought, how cool that these folks think of me as a peer.  There was no “please, god, don’t let that LaDiva person sit at our table.”  There was an expectance that my book would be worth reading and that my presentations would be interesting and well-researched.  One of them even said, “I want to be you!”  And I thought, no, you don’t.  That made me think, maybe I don’t want to be them, either.  But I don’t think I’ll mention it.

One mouth and two ears.  That’s what Abraham Lincoln was thinking when he said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”


Why don’t journeys have escalators?


ImageOpened my season of cooking demonstrations June 7th with the next June 14th.  My mustard sauces were a big hit and the vendors told me they saw an increase in sales.  FAB!  I use ingredients from as many vendors as possible for my cooking demos.  The point is to have customers LUV a recipe and then be able to take all the yummy fixin’s home with them.  The bok choy gal sold out.

So, I’m feeling pretty good.  Then, I read a note from myself, posted in March, in my calendar.  Today is the day I have to write to a possible publisher for my book, You’re Not Dead, Yet and find out if they are going to #%& or get off the pot.  Now, this is not some schlump publisher.  We had many emails about my book and they were very positive.  They had lots of good questions about where I was going with the material.  I knew they had actually read the chapters and other recipe materials I had sent.

In speaking to a well-known book author, I was told that the publisher has had enough time to make a decision.  They need to make a deal or let me move to the next step.  I thought about it and agreed.  Time to jump without a parachute, again.

Most of my life and successes have been things I did by myself or I was the reluctant leader.  I was so hoping that some professional person would edit my material, hold my feet to the fire and show me how to get this done.  Doesn’t look promising.  Also, I need to have something to sell at cooking demos, conferences and other events.  The real cash is in product, not speaking fees.

I have a big conference coming up, The North American Vegetarian Society Summerfest.  This is where you go to learn all things plant-based.  I learned more there in 5 days than my whole year in grad school about biochemistry and nutrition.  The audience is WAY smart and will ask the most detailed questions.  They also buy product.  Thus, I thought my book would have a release date by now and I could get a pre-sales going.  Not going to happen.  I am putting together a one-day Summer Cooking Intensive at the LaDiva studio kitchen.  That is one thing to sell, but these people buy books.

It is true that I have not heard back from my email of “Maybe we don’t have a fit” to the publishers.   On the other hand, if history repeats itself, I will be self-publishing, creating an E-book, figuring out how to link videos, designing covers and whatever else it takes.  I’m almost finished with the first draft of the entire thing.

I do want to roll my eyes, exhale and say, Who really cares whether I do this or not?

What I was running to during the last 1/2 mile

What I was running to during the last 1/2 mile

Then that annoying voice says, You wrote it.  Publish it.  Who cares if no one buys it.  You can say, just like when you finished the marathon, I did it and I don’t ever have to do it again.  You are going to get older, anyway.  You are going to write other stuff, anyway.  Get it done anyway.

Gee, I can’t wait to get on another untraveled road to possibly nowhere.  But I won’t know if I don’t put on my walking shoes.

Here’s a sigh and a nod to Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.


Fix the foundation first


I have to fill you in on what I have been doing – Remodeling my bedroom and work space.  Actually, Marty has been.  

Writing was so unfocused that I thought, What are you doing?  Why aren’t you writing?  You are at the last full chapter of your book?”  Then, it hit me.  I HATE my space.  

Visions of patching the plaster, getting rid of my awful closet, painting the walls are REAL color kept filling my head and nothing was filling my pages.  So, I thought, okay honor this.  

I have a lot of writing, video editing and presentation work to do this month.  I need to feel that I am in my element and not in a before photo from the TV show, This Old House.  Plus, a VERY good friend said, “LaDiva, you have been working almost daily on that book since November.  Give your brain a break and allow your ideas to simmer for a couple of weeks.  You are just writing to write and can’t see the project.”  She is a very good friend to be able to call it as it is. 

Marty came in with her FAV sledge hammer and started whacking away.  Today is plaster and sewing the curtains for my new closet.  Plastering takes a few days, for those of you uninitiated.

I have an end date to when I have to get back to the full grind, so I don’t go completely off the tracks.  And even though the room is a bunch of plastic sheets and plaster dust, it feels better.

Can’t wait to show you the photos when we are done.  


Wish for it, anyway

White board ready for ideas

White board ready for ideas

The business plan is in the works and feels like I’m playing Monopoly.  Community Chest says, “You won the lottery.  You can now spend $10 grand on every LaDiva Video Recipe shoot and have an assistant.  Your wardrobe will be enhanced and here’s Iris Internet to re-do your website.”  A business plan is a calculated wish list.

My mission statement is to Party the Planet to the Next Level of Compassion.  My narrow view of what a cash infusion could do is not worthy of pixels on a screen.  I need to remind myself, if you want a global presence, open your head and allow energies you haven’t ever met to carry the project further than you imagine.  I need to have a global vision as well as presence.

Anne Hathaway refers to her Golden Globe award as a “lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt.”  I have a piece of paper on my wall stating my projected income by January 2013.  I think I need something 3-D.  This prompts the question: Where does self-doubt come from?

When you do something right, it is a completed task.  When you screw it up,

Unlock your attachments

Unlock your attachments

it’s experience.  The accumulation of “experiences” overriding completed tasks leads to self-doubt.  I have done so many stupid things, stayed with toxic people, denied reality, turned away from opportunity because of the perception of hard work, impossible goals and fear of succeeding that I feel my life is nothing but experience.  Fear of succeeding?  Really?  Yes.  I have caught myself talking myself out of success.  I think it will change what I like about my life too much.  But, if I open up my vision and allow possibilities beyond my narrow scope who knows what could be.  It’s like refusing to open the window in the late summer because sometimes the breeze gets icy cold.  Well, if you can open the window and let in the fresh air, you can control the window and shut out the cold.  What if you work twelve hours a day to make your dream happen and you actually like working on it?  What if you got to the next goal?  What if you could retire and support causes that have always been in your heart?  Surround yourself with like-minded successful people?

Too often I think, well if I do THAT, I won’t get to do THIS.  And “this” is such an easy thing to attain.  For example, an actor friend said to me that they didn’t want to take an opportunity to be a real estate agent, althoug they are great at sales, because they wouldn’t able to do “extra” work in film.  Extras are the folks you see in the background of movies and TV shows.  This person is an extra “to get my insurance” through the actors union.  But it is not what they really want to do.  They really want good roles in film and theater.  What if they became a successful real estate agent, could pay for their own insurance and could produce a film starring them?  What if they were so successful they met people who produce films?  Don’t those people need places to live?

Sh-h-h. Listen to other voices.

Sh-h-h. Listen to other voices.

But “experience” says we will work a million hours and make $40K and NEVER do any of the things we want.  We take our past and make it our future.  Well, as much as I would like to be as hot and sexy as I was when I was 25, it will not be my future.  And am I really as naive as I was at 18?  Do I care as much of what people think of me as when I was 30?  Is my body ever going to be a scarless as I was at 12?  Not bloody likely.  And that is okay.

I have experience, but I also have history.  My history says when you put on blinders you reach the next level.  My history says that I know how to succeed in many things and I just have to apply it to my current goals.  My history says I rarely get it right the first time, so I can try over and over.

My history says the bills will get paid somehow, anyway.  I will get old, anyway.  I will learn something, anyway.  I will have self-doubt, anyway, but my history says it is worth doing, anyway.

Number 2 is always harder

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo.  I am not making scatological humor.  I’m talking about keeping the energy going.

My last post was about being focused in the new year.  It is easy the first week to stay on track.  Then, you let life get in the way.

I’m now on week 2 and still staying focused.  I got another first draft done on a chapter of my book.  I sent it off to my 2 first editors for response.  If I hear nothing from them, nudging will be in order.

My physical activity is on track, as is my daily learning time.  I’m getting up at 5:30 am, before anyone else starts their day in my house, including the cat, and doing yoga.  The gal on the Wii can’t figure out if I am strong or not, but she really likes my posture.  Glad she can’t see my clothes.  Of course, hers never change so why am I worried.

Do you have a stack DVDs from some seminar or conference still in the plastic wrap?  I make lunch at noon and watch an hour of nutrition videos.  I’m learning and reviewing so much data.  Here’s the weirdest part – everyday someone will ask me some random question and I have just seen something about it.  I feel like a walking encyclopedia.

I know some of you are thinking, WHO has an hour at lunch?  Well, most of my work is at home.  My day is 6:30 – 12:30, 2:00-5:30, Monday-Friday.  When needed, 7:30pm.  That’s usually one day a week.  Weekends I try to only work 7 hours.

Then, I either do a short, fast walk or run.  I always get great ideas during this time.  I call people and leave messages.  There is a notebook next to my bed, and a pad in the kitchen.  And I read them every morning.

Everyone likes to start something.  The real work comes after the initial energy rush.  All

Can I stay focused?

Can I stay focused?

kinds of things have popped up on my radar screen, but I look at my schedule I set on January 1 and realize that everything else has to take second place.   Asking myself the right question gets the right answer. “Do I want to do this?” is not the right question.   “Will this get me where I want to be December 31?” works a lot better.

Here’s the most important thing I have learned this week, [although it is so obvious its silly], if you want someone to invest in your idea you need to know exactly how you are going to use their investment.  This is true for money, time and energy.  That has led me off my schedule a little, but sharped my focus.

This second week as called for more discipline, but I realize that I feel relaxed because I am getting things accomplished.  It’s like trying to explain to someone who constantly has colds what real health is.  When you feel healthy it compels you to stay that way.  When you keep ticking things off your list, you draw energy to you that compels you toward your LaDiva Blingultimate goal.  It rekindles the fire.  The goal becomes a foregone result waiting to happen.

There no longer are tasks, but opportunities to reach the result sooner.