Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sulilo 10k Views Celebration Giveaway!

Dear Readers,

I am so excited to share with you my joy in reaching 10,000 page views at  This blog is truly an extension of myself. I rarely hold anything back and wear my heart on my sleeve, all with the hope that one person, every now and then, gleams some hope, insight, motivation, or compassion from my writing. This makes it all worthwhile. 

From the comments I receive from time-to-time, I know that my intention is being honored by the Universe, and that for every person who chooses to comment, there are many others who have read and felt something but didn't necessarily feel like leaving a comment. I am thankful for all of you.

The journey continues...

To celebrate this milestone, I have reached out to several companies and individuals whose products, services, and talents I adore, and I've asked them to be a part of my 10K Giveaway.

I hold the following sponsors near and dear to my heart for reasons I will outline.  Please be sure to visit their websites and check out what they have to offer. I think you will be delighted and blessed by their offerings.

If you would like the opportunity to share in my joy by winning one of the items below, all you have to do is:

  • Subscribe to - In the upper right corner of this blog, you'll see a space for you to submit your email address. Just do so, and when the email comes to you confirming you subscription, please confirm.  Be sure to check your spam filters if you do not receive the confirmation with 24 hours.
  • If you have Facebook and/or Twitter, please kindly follow the sponsors whose prizes you hope to win. You can even let them know that sent you!
  • Lastly, please leave a brief comment under this post indicating which prizes you are interested in. You can also say why, if you'd like.

That's all there is to it. Good luck, and let's celebrate!

Prize # 1:  Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater, Ph.D., P.T.

Click HERE now to order a copy of
Living Your Yoga by Judith Hanson Lasater
from Rodmell Press

If you're curious about what it means to take your yoga practice to the next level and live a yogic life outside of class, this book is for you. My spirit began to feel compelled to take the lessons I learned on the yoga mat out into the world.  This book reveals powerful insights on how to go about this. It is life changing for the individual who makes this choice and all of the people she or he comes into contact with.  I am thankful to Judith Hanson Lasater and Rodmell Press for their generous donation of a copy of this book that will change your life.

For more information:

Order a copy of the book
Judith Hanson Lasater
Rodmell Press (website)  Facebook, Twitter

Prize #2: Subscription to Daily Word by Unity 

Click HERE to subscribe to
Unity's Daily Word
Daily Word offers inspiration and practical teachings to help people of all faiths live healthy, prosperous and meaningful lives. Daily Word magazine includes two months of daily affirmative messages, feature articles and spiritual poetry.

What I love about Daily Word from Unity is that the organization's intention is to love and celebrate life with all people, from all walks of life. There is no exclusion. Their metaphysical interpretation of biblical verses is also something that I find fascinating. When I read the Daily Word,  I feel inspired and encouraged - never judged or as if I must conform to a single belief system in order to gain wisdom, comfort, and insight from what they have to offer. One lucky Sulilo winner will win a YEAR's subscription to Daily Word!

Subscribe to Daily Word Magazine
Facebook, Twitter

Prize #3:  A Coupon for a free 6-pack of Zevia Soda

Get some Zevia
I was a soda addict. Even though it often tasted bitter to me, I couldn't get enough of the leading diet sodas.   At one point, I realized I was drinking several cans a day of a beverage that contained ingredients that I wasn't totally clear on. When I began to do some research on aspartame, I realized that I could no longer subject my body and mind to the chemical. I began a quest for an all natural, calorie-free soda.  I wasn't sure that one existed. I tweeted out my mission to find such a drink, and a friend wrote back, "Check out Zevia."  I'm glad she did. Zevia is sweetened with a natural plant extract called stevia and is all natural.  I feel so good about having made this switch and am a true cheerleader for the product anytime I see someone drinking a chemical laden soda!

Another fun fact...I came across this Zevia  blog post, which claimed that you could take any box of cake mix, add one can of soda and then mix together and bake as directed.  The results: absolutely delicious. Click here to read my blog that covers my test of this recipe.

Visit Zevia's Website
Facebook, Twitter

From Zevia: 

Zevia is very active with our social media, always doing contests, giveaways, and just chatting with our fans!

When sampling Zevia keep it cold! We always say cool is not cold enough!  We recommend that you drink it out of the can. It gets warm and flat in a cup!

Prize #4: A Custom Made Greeting Card by Cards By Haley

One of a kind greeting cards by
Cards By Haley
I met Haley on twitter (@CardsbyHaley). When I found out that she made custom, one-of-a-kind greeting cards, I was intrigued. Send her an email and let her know what kind of card you'd like to have made...who it's for...something special about them, and she will whip up a masterpiece that is a beautiful gift in and of itself.

Haley is generously donating her time and materials to create one custom greeting card for a lucky Sulilo winner. 

Here are some of the beautiful cards I recently ordered from her:

Cards By Haley

Cards By Haley

Prize #5: A Beautiful Print from Artist Jeremiah Ketner

From the moment I saw artist Jeremiah Ketner's work, I was mesmerized. His paintings transport me to a beautiful place where colorful, fairy-like creatures express their divinity in countless ways. You may have seen his mural work featured at Nordstroms, or you may have read my blog post about some of my favorite paintings by this very talented artist.  

One of my favorite paintings by Jeremiah Ketner: "Hiding Place"

Jeremiah is generously donating a small print of one of his beautiful paintings (his choice) to a lucky winner. You can view his online store by clicking HERE.

Facebook, Twitter

Prize #6: A Gorgeous Print from Miami Photographer AJ

Years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Southern Florida. I fell in love with Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Though I have not yet physically returned to that area, I have, on a number of occasions, revisited it in my dreams. Florida is written on my heart in a sacred way.  I'm sure this is why I was drawn to the photography of Miami-based freelance photographer, Anthony Jordon, Jr.

This is one of my favorite images of Miami, taken by
Anthony Jordon, Jr.
Antony Jordon (AJ) is generously donating one print (of his choice) to a lucky Sulilo reader. See more of his work here.

Facebook, Twitter

Prize #7: A Subscription to Your Beauty Industry Magazine (YBI)
Sponsor added this prize on 3/5/2012

I absolutely love celebrity makeup artist Debra Macki. She is beyond talented, passionate, and genuinely loves to get up in the morning to do her work. She inspires me. This magazine, Your Beauty Industry (YBI) features her work, along with that of other talented artists, stylists, photographers, and more. If you love makeup, want to be a makeup artist, or want to draw inspiration from tips and tutorials, go for this prize.

Facebook, Twitter

Debra MackiFacebook, Twitter

And there you have it.  Thank you for sharing in this joy with me.  Winners will be contacted via email (which I will have once you subscribe).  

There is much more to come at  Thank you so very much for sharing in this journey with me.


Debbie aka Sulilo

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Children Understand More Than You Think

Last night, I was watching my TiVo'd episode of "The Voice" on NBC. I was moved to tears when I saw the very young brother of a contestant rooting for his sister. He must have been about 9 or 10, and she around 30. When his sister was selected for the show, the boy became so excited and happy for her that he clung to his mother as his eyes welled up with tears of joy.  It was so moving to see.

"Tears of Joy" image courtesy of MoLifa

I flashed back to when I was about 5 years old. I was in kindergarten. Because the relationship between my parents was tumultuous, this was one of those years where I wasn't sure if my Dad would show up on Christmas...but he did.  I was so excited to see that, by the big, lit up Christmas tree, my father, who I loved dearly at that age, was sitting there holding a present for me. I opened it up, and it was the "It's a Small World" book and tape. I remember feeling so touched. I somehow knew that my parents didn't have much money for gifts, and they knew how desperately I loved this Disney song and story.

That is the first time that my eyes welled up and I cried tears of joy. My Dad asked if I was ok. I just said, "Thank you Daddy," and wrapped my arms around him. I carried that plastic resealable pouch with the book and tape EVERYWHERE with me. I even brought it to "show and tell."

One time, after class, the teacher told my mother how the morning kindergartners really enjoyed the story and tape. My mother offered it out to her to borrow for her afternoon class. She didn't ask me. I cried and remember going into hysterics. My teacher, Mrs. DiFiori, kept asking my mom, "Are you sure?" They had no idea why this gift held so much significance for me, and how I felt like a precious part of me was being taken away, and neither of them really seemed to care much. I never forgot it. 

Thirty years later, and I remember, clear as this monitor is before me, both the event where I was filled with joy at the thoughtful gift I received and the devastation I felt when I was ignored, invalidated, and not consulted when something so precious to me was involved.

Please be gentle, kind, careful, and loving with and around your and others' children. Do not assume that because a child is very young that he or she doesn't really "get" or understand what is happening -- that the child won't remember.  Some things get written on our hearts and souls and remembered for decades after.

When you have the enormous responsibility and honor of spending time with a child, behave as if everything you say and do matters...because it does.

I couldn't believe it, but I found something
very similar to what I had on ebay just now.


Friday, February 17, 2012

When we dim our Light for others...

I found myself awake yet another night...tossing and turning and staring at the clock. It was past midnight. I know that I should stop consuming so much television coverage on Whitney Houston - especially before bed.  I looked within to find a reason why I may be engrossing in the subject and in this tragic loss so much.

As noted in a previous post, I loved Whitney Houston as a music artist. I posted this about her on Twitter today after watching her 2009 interview with Oprah Winfrey last night:

" Holly, after I watched 's interview with #Whitney last night, I realized something. Her light shined SO brightly...she channeled her voice from the highest heavenly place. Any time God calls someone forward like that, darkness/the enemy/the devil/dark forces -- whatever you want to call them...will try any and everything to take that person down and destroy them. My heart broke when she talked about even when she was lacing her joints with cocaine, she was still reading her bible and praying hard...Even though she was succumbing to the temptation of the temporary relief of drugs and alcohol, she always, as she said, had that fight in her. I believe it was a spiritual battle up until the very end."

Whitney Houston Shining Her Light

Whitney Houston revealed in her interview with Oprah that she was a victim of domestic violence and emotional abuse in her own home. This powerful, amazing singer with a gift straight from God was trying to "dim her light," as Oprah put it, in order to please her husband and tend to his jealousy of her power and success.

I thought of someone in my life...someone I care about very much. She, too, is someone who could be a powerful force, yet she is choosing to be in relationship with someone who hurts her verbally, emotionally, physically, and dare I say, beyond that.

Other family members and I recently helped her to leave this abusive person. She was getting stronger. She found another place to live and sounded in good spirits, though she frequently mentioned being afraid of him finding her.  That's why we were all shocked when she agreed to meet up with him to "exchange some belongings." He wooed her right back into his web of deception, and the cycle of domestic violence begins again with the honeymoon stage. They are together again. I asked her if she is with him against her will. She denies this.

I have been feeling sad and helpless from the sidelines. I have lost sleep and peace. I had to decide that I must not let this situation and this person's choice continue to rob me of my joy and to affect my health. I must not believe that I can be her savior. I was thinking about all that she had been through in her life, from the time she was a child. I discussed it with my boyfriend, who responded,

"You can't go back in time and change all that..." and "she's not ready."  I will continue to love her, but I am implementing boundaries that protect my heart and my life as well.  I have taken a hiatus from speaking with her. She doesn't seem to mind. I guess she's too busy listening to his promises again.

Hearing Whitney's story reminded me of this person. She could also be such a light for good. She has the desire and the ability...God, please give her the strength.


Domestic Violence Resources:

National Domestic Violence Hotline:   1−800−799−SAFE(7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224.

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

National Coalition Against Dometsic Violence

Addiction and Substance Abuse Help:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 
"Confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing substance abuse and mental health issues:" 1-800-662-HELP (4357)

Suicide Prevention Help:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273- TALK (8255)         

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Will Always Love You, Whitney Houston

Last Saturday night, I was a passenger in my boyfriend's car. We were heading back home from a day of (mostly) window shopping.  We got some exercise, had some good food, and enjoyed the sun. As usual, while in the car, I checked my Twitter feed. 

When I saw a tweet that included "RIP Whitney Houston," I hoped that it was just some sicko's idea of a joke. But, as I scrolled through my timeline and saw trusted tweeters, both commoners like me and big celebs like Mariah Carey, all sending out distraught tweets about Whitney, my heart sunk. 

At only 48 years old, the beautiful soul with a heavenly voice, Whitney Houston, was silenced. Although we will forever have her amazing recordings, she will never sing again on this plane.

Millions of us, when we heard the news, flashed back to memories from the 80s and 90s when Whitney's voice was one of the soundtracks of our lives. Many of us then rushed to watch coverage on CNN. We tweeted our sorrows and disbelief and congregated at YouTube to watch her videos, still in shock and numbed by what had happened. Whitney Houston was dead. 

I started to think about how she was only 48 and felt surprised, as I thought she was a bit older. I guess the anguish and pain of the last decade of her life showed itself upon her physical body, causing her temple to look a little bit older than it really was. 

I then thought back to when I was a young girl. I am old enough to remember her very first hits, including "Didn't We Almost Have It All?" and then her upbeat releases like "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" and "How Will I Know?" 

I could see vividly in my mind's eye the cassette cover of a vibrant Whitney with long, curly extensions, a beautiful smile, and a playful pose. As the mind works, one thought leads to another in an amazing, interconnected way. 

Suddenly, I was channeling my 8 year old self, listening to Whitney for the first time. I thought about how life was back then. It was a very nostalgic experience.

I then remembered other Whitney milestones, like watching "The Bodyguard" with my sisters in the group home I lived at as a teen and how we would play the soundtrack over and over until we knew ever word, every nuance.

Perhaps you experienced something similar, recalling memories from your past that are tied in with Whitney's music or movie roles.

The album cover that came to mind...

Perhaps you also connect with and acknowledge the significance of a highly publicized passing.  Losing an icon from our childhood inevitably strikes a nerve: we are reminded that nothing lasts forever and that we are all mortal. We, too, shall die one day...and we don't know when or how.

I don't bring this up to create fear. I do it because I hope that we will all move through this experience noticing how precious and fleeting life is. I hope that we acknowledge those we love and that we begin pursuing our dreams, because as we've seen with so many others in our lives, and now Whitney, not one among us is promised another day. 

I sign off this post with one of my favorite Whitney songs. I posed it on my Facebook page the other day, and someone from the new generation was introduced to it for the first time and fell in love with it. It's called, "All The Man That I Need." Enjoy.

What was your reaction to Whitney's passing?  Has her sudden and untimely death spoken to you in your journey in any way? 


Article: Should New Jersey fly the flag at half-staff in honor or Whitney Houston?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Respecting What we Touch | Mindfulness Practice | 100th Sulilo Blog!

This week in yoga class, our teacher gave us a new assignment to add on to our "3 acts of kindness to the world and 3 acts of kindness to ourselves" daily practice.

We were invited to begin practicing respect, and we are doing it in an interesting and unexpected way.  The practice is to show respect (or bring respect) to EVERYTHING that we touch...another person, an object, the family pet...everything that we touch with any part of as we prepare and enjoy it...the rug or hardwood floors beneath our feet...

I just started the practice and have already begun to notice two immediate benefits: Respecting everything I touch keeps me in the present moment, and it makes me feel grateful.

Suddenly, twisting the cap off the milk at breakfast time was no longer a trivial, robotic act, but one of wonder, and a reminder of how fortunate I am to have milk in the fridge.

Walking down the stairs to my kitchen first thing in the morning to feed my cats wasn't done in a zombie-like, "Ughh, it's morning" fashion. I felt each step beneath my feet. I noticed the coolness of the wooden railing as my hand held it along the way. I felt more curious about "the ordinary," and everything felt alive and interesting.

My teacher suggested touching everything as if we were borrowing it from a dear friend. We tend to treat such things with much more care than our own belongings. We can bring that same care to everything in our lives.

We can bring it to showering...brushing our teeth...opening the car door and sitting on the car seat, holding our pets, significant others, and children. Moment to moment, we can stay more aware and grateful of every little thing. It's quite profound.

Last night, as I was counting some bills before putting them into my wallet, I respected the money. As I cleaned my house, I took my time, respecting every object and fully acknowledging how each is a blessing.

Even right now, my fingers feel like they are dancing on the keyboard. :-)

I challenge you to accept the invitation to practice respect in this way, starting right now. I truly look forward to your thoughts before you begin and as you begin to experience the benefits.


Image Courtesy of Women in Recovery

(As a fun side note, I'm excited to share that this is my 100th post on this Sulilo blog!)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Netflix Knows Me | Moving Movies

Over time, Neflix has determined that I especially enjoy "Midlife Crisis Comedies," and Dramas, Comedies, and Romantic Comedies "featuring a Strong Female Lead" and continues to suggest incredible films that fit these bills.

A while back, I watched a movie called "Under the Tuscan Sun." For any woman of any age, if you have ever had the urge or fantasy to just leave it all behind and start your life over somewhere else, this movie is a must-see. 

Trailer for "Under The Tuscan Sun":

This film evidently became a starting point for my intimate relationship with Netflix. I began to receive some interesting suggestions - movies that, according to my interest in "Under the Tuscan Sun," I might enjoy.  Since then, each choice to view a film and rate it has led to additional, very appropriate suggestions.

At times, I've stretched out of my comfort zone. For example, I no longer mind subtitles at all. Limiting my movie choices to English language films was limiting my world.

I now love movies about women in foreign countries (especially oppressed ones) who rise above and revel in their own personal victories. 

I love watching them take charge of their lives...finding their paths...finding true happiness. Isn't this, universally, what we all long for?

Here are some of my favorites:

"In Therapy" 


(give this one about 10 seconds to starts off all scrambled but then comes into focus...)


Netflix is now recommending this film to me:

"Bread and Tulips"

Based on the trailer, I am going to *love* this film. I'll keep you posted.

Have you seen any of these movies? What types of movies do you tend to gravitate toward? How do they make you feel?