Leveraging the Collective Energy of LBB

There are two reasons to attend a Little Black Book event.  If you’re DOWN there is someone in the room that is there to build you up.  If you are UP, rest assured there is someone in the room who needs to be lifted by you.  

Let me share a story. 

My good friend Alysia Kerkove and I first met at the invitation of our mutual friend and colleague Shana Palans.  Shanna had the foresight to get us together to brainstorm ideas. How could we collectively help one another? The meeting happened in the studio at Pinot’s Palette located in the heart of The Meadows.  During the hour that we spent together, we shared our business needs, our ideas, and a glass of wine. I’ve since heard Alysia describe this meeting and the feeling of power and energy she had as she left.  I think her words were, “I felt like I was ready to fight!” Shanna and I felt the same feeling. That’s the power of “collective energy.” 

We all exude a personal energy from inside our bodies.   Our feelings determine our energy and then we share this energy around our space and into the collective energy grid.  The collective grid is everything we see, smell, touch, hear and feel. It’s the shared consciousness of creation from which all of us contribute to.

Collective energy can give off positive or negative vibes. A good example would be the feeling you get when you walk into a room where two people had just finished fighting with one another.  You’ve heard the phrase, “you could cut the tension with a knife.” The energy is real. You can feel it. On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can also feel the warm, fuzzy feeling you get if you enter a room filled with children playing with puppies.  It simply makes your heart smile. 

As a group, we are filled with positive collective energy.  That’s the reason we walk away from LBB events feeling like we can take on the world.  Because, we can! We can find a way through our personal weaknesses by connecting with people who are doing what we aspire to do. 

Here are 5 ways to accomplish anything by leveraging collective energy1

1. Intention is everything. Clearly define and know your goal. Be specific about the end result. Stay focused on the end result you have defined. Don’t be distracted by temporary anything. Remember the main intention.

2. Visualize the energy of your goal circling the globe.  What you want to accomplish is also desired by millions of other people around the world. The energy of your goal is alive and moving right now. To make the energy easier to “see,” visualize it as something beautiful and inspiring to you.

3. Move with the force of that global energy and see yourself as part of it. Now see yourself as part of that energy you just visualized. Consciously put yourself in the movement and flow of that greater global force. Be it and feel it on your skin.

4. Release expectations of how and simply do. Being connected to collective energy allows us to rise above the current minute and enjoy the full experience.

5. Don’t forget what your energy is doing for others. They need you, too. There are people looking to you for your strengths, too. Remember that you are a source of inspiration for others. Your determination to stick with your end goal benefits others even if you can’t see it. Value the energy you’re putting towards a goal as much as you value others’ energy to help you.

I’m confident you have your own story about how you have been lifted, or you have been the source of inspiration for another.  Collective Energy is REAL! And, together, we have it.


By Angel Magasano
Women of LBB

Mindful Eating

Over five years ago, after the birth of my second daughter, I hired a personal trainer to lose the rest of the pesky baby weight that was holding onto my body for dear life. Over the course of eight weeks, we worked out together and she pushed me harder than I had ever been pushed.  We developed a friendship and truly enjoyed being around her, however at then end of eight weeks, the weight was still there.  After the sessions were over, I decided to narrow my focus in a new direction.  I went to google and found a therapist that specialized in mindful eating.  Years prior to having children, I read many books on this very topic and adopted this way of eating as a lifestyle.  However, children had thrown my whole world into a crazy loop and there was NO way I could bring mindfulness back into my life without professional help.

For over a year I worked with this wonderful woman named Cheryl, who taught me more than I could ever hoped for.  I began working with her independently, and then eventually moved to her weekly coaching groups.  All the work we did was centered around the concept of eating mindfully.  Mindful eating is the idea that all food should be enjoyed without judgement.  There is nothing shameful or secretive about it.  If you want a piece of chocolate, have a piece of chocolate, but make sure you eat it slowly and pay attention to it.  Things that we love should be paid attention to, not ignored.

Throughout our work we also learned how to meditate.  We did walking meditations, full body meditations, we meditated on a raisin…eating each bite slowly and savoring each little bit.  And yes, you can actually eat bites of a raisin!  The meditation taught us how to slow down and how to eat with more awareness.  And when you eat with more awareness, you inevitably eat less!  There are many aspects of mindful eating that can be incorporated into daily life.  Some of my favorite tools that I have kept in my toolbox years later are:

-Eat sitting down, not standing at the kitchen counter or refrigerator.

-Always eat on a plate or dish, never out of the bag or box.

-Use a smaller plate and always plate your food at the stove, leaving it at the table causes more frequent fill ups.

-Get in the habit of putting your fork down between bites of food.  You can even take a drink of water and lean away from the table a bit.  Force yourself to slow down and enjoy the company you are sharing your meal with.

-Take a pause before you start eating.  Start your meal with a breath, a prayer, just a moment to center yourself before you eat.

-Eat without distractions.

All these concepts have made world of difference in my life.  After working with my mindful eating coach, I was able to shed that last bit of baby weight fairly easily.  I realized the answer had nothing to do with my body and how hard I was pushing myself in the gym, but more to do with my head.  Learning to slow down around food, help to instill a renewed sense of pride and love for myself.  I began to feel that I was once again the boss of my life and that food was to be enjoyed.  Over time, that careful attention I was paying to myself paid off in other ways.  I began to notice which foods were making me feel less than my best and which kept me satisfied for hours. These revelations about myself were helpful in shaping who I am today and how I work with my clients.

If you are interested in working together and adopting heathier habits that include mindfulness, I am always accepting new patients.  I love passing on what I have learned and what has helped to me to create a better and long-lasting healthy relationship with food. Remember being mindful is not about being perfect, it is about listening to your body and truly paying attention to what and how much it needs.  Our bodies are smart, and they will tell us how to live, if we stop tuning them out.

by Erin Darling
Wheeler Acupuncture and Functional Wellness

Terri’s Travel By Design

Finding a destination on a map is one of my earliest memories.  Although as a child, my family didn’t travel to distant places, we did make monthly trips to Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas to visit family.  And my parents always made it a priority to stretch the family budget a bit every few years and venture out further to places like Washington DC and Colorado to expose my sister and I to different places.  I’m not sure if it was an educational moment or something to keep me quiet, but my Dad always handed me an old worn-out Atlas and often a state map and told me to figure out how to get there.  That’s when I fell in love with adventure.  Everything about it.   Packing, planning, driving, tasting new food, listening to new accents and seeing amazing new things.  Maps always intrigued me  … which might account for one of my past lives as a Cartographer.  And the thought of a new adventure totally thrilled me and still does.  It is and always has been a part of my life.

But that’s not always the case with some.   The thought of just deciding where to go can be daunting.  So, every month I’ll be providing you with ideas for travel.  I guarantee one of them will grab your interest and you’ll want to start making plans to visit.

This month is Hawaii.

By far my favorite tropical destination.  Lots of positives for this destination…it does not require a passport or immunizations, they speak English (mostly), and it supports tourism for the USA.  Yet it has such unique cultures and traditions, it almost feels like you’re visiting a foreign city.

Hawaii is a group of islands each with their own distinct personalities and offerings.  Six of them have resorts that can host you but four of them are the main attractions.  This destination offers you everything from star gazing in a tundra climate on the volcanic peak of Mauna Kea to surfing on world famous Waikiki Beach. 

Hawaii –  “the Big Island” is the largest of the Islands.  It boasts 8 of the 13 different climates in the world.  From the dry grasslands to the subterranean lava tube systems to the tundra climates at peak of the two tallest volcanoes.  Volcanos National Park offers over 150 hiking trails, from coastal trails to Petroglyphic fields to walks through a rain forest.  The big Island doesn’t have the reputation for beautiful beaches, but that comes from lack of knowledge.  The Big Island is home to beautiful unique beaches…white sand, black sand, salt-and-pepper sand and even green sand beaches.  Worth checking out.  If you crave a little adventure, what about night snorkeling with Manta Rays?  One amazing road-trip provides you breathtaking views…Make your way to the observatory on Mauna Kea for some amazing star gazing and then drive to the summit where you’ll stand on top of the world’s tallest mountain – from the ocean floor Mauna Kea is over 33,000 feet tall. The Crater Rim drive brings you around the edge of the Kilauea Volcanic Crater and provides stunning views and a look into its center with the powerful sulfur scent of the volcano.    Don’t forget to stop and sample some of the coffee as your drive around this beautiful island.  This island also boasts the southern most point in the United States!  Surprised?

Maui – The Valley Isle.  Sometimes referred to as Maui Nui (chain of islands) and includes Moloka’i and Lana’i. You may have heard of “Hawaiian time”.  Maui is where I notice it the most.  You go to Hawaii for many reasons, but one of them is to enjoy the natural beauty and hopefully experience peace.  So, let it happen.  Don’t rush through your meals.  Make time to enjoy the sunset every night, listen to the ocean speak as you walk along the shore and embrace forest bathing as you hike beautiful trails and encounter stunning waterfalls.  In Winter months, the Au’au channel between Maui, Lana’i and Moloka’I is one of the best places in the world to whale watch.  Snorkel with sea turtles, manta rays and over 200 species of fish on one of only three volcanic calderas in the world at Molokini.  Spend the day driving the Road to Hana.  A 64.4 mile-long stretch of Highway on the east side of Maui.  It includes 620 curves, 59 bridges, of which 46 are only one lane wide, and breathtaking views!  But allow plenty of time to stop along the way to enjoy swims in waterfalls and sample the delicious banana bread offered at road-side stands.  And don’t forget to start with a full tank of gas!  If you don’t want to drive, there are tours that drive you one way and you take a helicopter ride back.  The Luau in Lahaina is one of my favorites!  Enjoy kalua pig, hula dancers and experience ohana (family).

Moloka’i – This island has preserved it’s natural culture of “old-style Hawai’i.  Heritage and tradition thrive on this island.  Take a tour of a macadamia nut farm, stop at a local plumeria farm and learn to make a lei, or visit Saint Damien’s parish where more than 8,000 victims of Hansen’s disease (leprosy) lived and died.  It is no longer a leper colony, but is a refuge for the now-cured remaining patients. 

Lana’i – You’ll discover a very serene feeling with its lack of traffic lights and crowds.  It’s a great day trip from Maui.  Enjoy your morning coffee and a cinnamon bun when you catch a morning catamaran sailing out of Lahaina.  Snuba, swim or snorkel in Hulopo’e Bay.  Hike out to Pu’u Pehe, Sweetheart Rock and watch the sea cascade from levels of rock or hike the lunar landscape of Keahiakawelo (Garden of the Gods).  Enjoy a delicious dinner at the Four Seasons Resort.   And at the end of the day watch the sunset on the ferry back to Lahaina.

Oahu– The Gathering Place” is the most populated.  And probably the island that comes to mind when you think about Hawaii.  Famous Waikiki Beach is a 2 mile stretch of white sand fringed with turquoise blue ocean and once known as a playground for royalty.  Take surf lessons. Visit iconic Pearl Harbor.  Hike up Le’ahi (Diamond Head).  Make plans to be at the top when the sun rises (pack a flashlight).  Drive up to Nuuanu Pali Lookout for amazing views of Oahu.  From this vantage point you can view the area of King Kamehameha’s final battle that allowed him to finish his quest and unite the islands.  And finally, don’t miss Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve.  This secluded bay is tucked away on the southeastern side of Oahu and is one of the best places to snorkel.  But get there early…it’s hard to find parking.  If you see an old truck in a parking lot selling shrimp….stop….Oahu is famous for it’s shrimp trucks!

Kauai – The Garden Island.  An adventurer’s dream.  See why Waimea Canyon is described as “The Grand Canyon of the Pacific”.  See the vast, dramatic cliffs of the Napali Coast framed with lush greenery and undisturbed white sand coves.  But you can’t get to it by car.  Hiking, air or boat are your options but pick one…. don’t miss this majestic site.   Nature provides ample opportunities to enjoy spectacular waterfalls.  The roar of rushing water is exhilarating.  Head out to Silver Falls Ranch and go horseback riding.  On your way back to the ranch enjoy a refreshing swim in the waterfalls.  Take a bike ride along the coast on the Ke Ala Hele Makalae trail in old Kapa’a town.  Take time to explore this mecca of retail therapy offering art, aloha wear, unique hand-made crafts and the famers markets is a great place to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables. 

These are just a few of the things you can enjoy on these beautiful islands.  One last thing…..sometime while you’re visiting the islands, stop by Dukes and order the world famous mai tai!  (I bet you can’t stop at one!)  “Duke Kahanamoku was a native Hawaiian, a six-time Olympic swimming and water polo medalist, the father of modern day surfing, and the Hawaiian ambassador to visitors and dignitaries.  There’s one on Kaua’i, Oahu, and Maui.

I hope I’ve fired your imagination on the beauty of Hawaii.  So much to do, see, taste and enjoy. 

Don’t just think dream about it.  Make it happen! 

by Terri Kunselman
Terri’s Travel By Design


Financial Resolutions for 2020

Amy Jacezko,
Financial Advisor, CFP®

Here we are, almost one month into the new year and a new decade.  Most of us started off on January 1 maybe a little tired from the festivities of the night before but determined that THIS year would be different!  We would get in shape, make time for our loved ones, tackle our never ending to do list, get our closets organized, and on and on, full of energy and motivation.  One of the greatest goals you can accomplish in life not only for yourself, but also your loved ones, is to get your finances in order.  Money is one of those things that crosses all barriers.  Here are a few things you can work on this year.

Get your balance sheet in order

What does that mean?? You should know what you own (home, auto, investment accounts, 401k, checking/savings, CDs, insurance) and what you owe (student loans, mortgage, credit cards, personal loans)  Hopefully, when you add the two columns up you are in the positive, but if not at least you know where things stand and where you want to go in the future.

Review your budget and spending

Yep, I used the “B” word.  A budget doesn’t have to be a big, complicated spreadsheet where you track every single penny.  Really, tracking your spending for a month or two is all about opening your eyes to where your hard-earned dollars are going so you can decide if that is really where you want to spend them.  Of course, we all have things that are fixed expenses like rent/house payments, utility bills, insurance, etc. but we also have those “miscellaneous” categories like Starbucks, shoe sales at Dillards, manicures or other treats.  I love a good flat white from Starbucks myself, but when I start “treating” myself several times a week I’ve suddenly gone through $20, which turns into $80 in a month, which is pushing $1000 in a year’s time!

Evaluate your emergency fund

Do you have 3-6 months of savings on hand that could cover you if you were out of work or had a large unexpected expense?  For many Americans, they don’t even have enough savings to cover an unexpected $1000 expense or the deductible on their homeowner’s insurance.  If this is where you are, set a goal to get that first $1000 set aside and keep it for a TRUE emergency.  Once you’ve done that, you can work on building up to the 3 to 6 month goal over time. Pay yourself FIRST!

Review your account titling

This one might take a little detective work on your part.  Remember in step 1 where we talked about knowing what you OWN?  As you are making that list, go back and look at how the OWNERS are listed.  Is it in your name alone? Jointly with your spouse?  Would you have access to the account in case of an emergency?  Are you listed as an authorized signer?

Designate/update your beneficiaries

When is the last time you looked at who you have listed as your beneficiary on your 401(k) or life insurance policies?  For most, not since we filled out our benefits package at the start of our employment.  Life changes.  People get married, divorced, have kids.  At least once a year, you should check to make sure you have the right people named on your policies.  This includes retirement accounts, life insurance policies, annuities, and even bank accounts or vehicle titles with Transfer on Death or Pay on Death listed. (While you’re checking out your beneficiaries, make sure you’ve included all of these on your list in Step 1!)

Check your employee benefits during open enrollment.

You should review your employee benefits on an annual basis or if you have a life event (birth, death, change in marital status).  You may be missing out on some low-cost options such as increased group life insurance coverage for you, your spouse and dependents as well as short and long-term disability coverage.  Some employers even offer access to basic estate planning.

Check your W-4.

With recent tax law changes over the last few years you may need to make an adjustment to your tax withholdings with your employer.  Again, you want to make sure you are maximizing every dollar you earn and not necessarily letting the US Government have use of your money until April of each year.  Check with your tax preparer if you have questions.

Get your legal documents in place

You should have at least the basic legal documents on file including a will, financial power of attorney, health care power of attorney and named legal guardians if you have minor children. A reputable estate attorney can also help you determine if you need a more extensive estate plan including a trust or special needs trust for your loved ones.

Protect your assets

When was the last time you had your home and auto insurance coverages reviewed?  Do you have a personal liability umbrella policy to protect your family from a lawsuit?  As your income and net worth increase over time you have more at stake and more at risk if you are sued.  Make sure you talk with your agent and fully understand what your coverages mean.

Protect your loved ones

Do you have enough life insurance coverage in place that your loved ones could maintain their current lifestyle?  What about disability insurance if you are unable to work for an extended period of time? For most people, the answer is NO.  If you look at your outstanding debts plus what your salary contributes to your household plus future goals like college that number can get pretty high very quickly.  A financial planner can help you find the most cost-effective way to cover this need using all of the different resources you have available.

Check your Credit Report

At least once a year you should request a copy of your credit report from each of the three major reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.  It is free of charge and important to make sure there are no errors or fraudulent activity.  If you aren’t planning to apply for any new lines of credit, considering putting a lock on your credit to help prevent identity theft.  You can always life the credit lock if you need to in the future.

Review your Social Security statement

Some of you might be thinking “I’m nowhere close to going on Social Security.  Why would I need to check on that??”  Here’s why…there are humans at the SSA that are inputting the data from your annual earnings into the system…and they make mistakes.  You should check once a year to make sure your earnings have been reported correctly and file a dispute to correct them if not.  This is important because your Social Security benefit is based on your earnings over your work life.  It’s easy to set up an online account at www.ssa.gov It’s also kind of interesting to look back at how much you’ve made from year to year.

Check to see if your plan is on track

Maybe you don’t even have a plan.  Now that you’ve gathered all of this information about your finances maybe it’s time to start.  Working with a financial advisor can help you dream about your future and design a plan to help you reach your goals over the next 5, 10, 20+ years.  Without a plan, you might find yourself in the same spot again next January 1st.  Make 2020 the year that changes for you!

Amy Jacezko, Financial Advisor, CFP®
One Financial Group
5700 Mexico Rd, Ste 2
St Peters, MO 63376
T: 636-244-0528/F: 636-487-0224.

One Financial Group is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc.

Sexy. Sassy. Fresh.

Ladies it is January. New Year, New You. Workout clothes are being pulled out of the back of the closet and being used on a regular basis. Even if that new you is not working out in the leggings, but wearing them because nothing is more comfortable than workout clothes and after the holidays nothing else will fit but spandex. Am I right? 

As you all know, I am a big fan of working out from weights to dance to spin. I love it all but there comes a time when your workout clothes can get a smell to them even after they are washed. Have you ever walked by that person in the gym and thought, “Whew, they need deodorant!”? Well, they probably are wearing it but not properly washing their workout clothes. I have the secret to washing your workout clothes and they will always smell fresh and clean.

I love the new style of workout attire. You can wear it anywhere and still look cute and put together and it is comfy. So much better than sweats or the thong unitard that you wore in the ‘80s with your leg warmers. The materials are breathable and dries quickly when you sweat but they are more fragile. How you wash them is so important. 

Here is the perfect way to wash your spandex and sweat-wicking tops. 

Step 1- Organize. Always separate the bright colors from the light. Bright colors are in now and they look amazing but they can bleed some color onto other clothes. Turn all of your clothes inside out. (After all, most of the grime is on the inside.) Do not wash any workout clothes with abrasive materials like denim or items with zippers or velcro. A big mistake is washing your workout clothes with cotton. The cotton causes piling so wash your cotton t-shirts separately. 

Step 2- Soak. Soak your separated clothes in vinegar water to cleanse the clothes of build-up, body oils, grime, and kill bacteria.  Mix one part white distilled vinegar to four parts cold water and soak for 15 to 30 minutes.

Step 3- Wash. When you wash your clothes use about half the amount of laundry detergent than you usually do even if they smell. The materials that most workout clothes are made of just get a build upon them. Set your machine to cold on a gentle cycle.

Step 4- Dry. The best method for drying is to lay flat to dry but if you are like me and wear workout clothes every day and sometimes go through two outfits a day and do not have the drying space then dry on low heat. It is very important to not use softeners or dryer sheets to keep your workout clothes looking nice. 

Follow these steps and you will smell good and look good for a long time.

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