Sheila’s Passion For Health

Last Christmas after Meg and I told friends about our new blog at a holiday party, Sheila promised to become our first “follower”.  We didn’t know anything about followers, but we figured it out, her blog on healthy living became the first blog I followed.  I have read her blog faithfully ever since.

Sheila is truly passionate about healthy living, not just for herself, but for those around her.  She talks about obesity as an epidemic and wants to help others live healthier lives as she documents “my journey to better health”.  Her blog describes her commitment exercise, eat well, savor life.  Consistent with her theme, she recently changed the name of her blog to “Livliga Live Vibrant Blog”.  Livliga, translated from Swedish, means to live vibrantly, in an energetic, dynamic or lively fashion.

Sheila has now created a line of Livliga dinnerware products designed to help us “right size” our food portions.  Believe me that when she talks about her commitment to healthy living, portion control, and her dinnerware, her enthusiasm fills the room.  She describes her dinnerware as providing “a great reminder of what the right amount of food really looks like”.
Until recently the Executive Director of the Denver Affiliate of the American Heart Association, she takes health seriously.  She is an evangelist, of sorts, in her advocacy for eating healthy foods with appropriate portions for weight control. In addition, and this is where her passion for health has taken an unusual twist, she believes, and causes us to believe, that how food looks on a dinner plate is critical to our sense of satisfaction.  Food that is appealing and visually “fills a plate” gives us the ability to decrease the amount of food we need to feel full.

Important as her message is about portion control, Sheila wants us to be happy as we diet.  Her blog regularly features great recipes for foods that are appealing to our senses of taste, smell and sight. If we are eating less, she wants to be sure we are eating well.
Trust me when I tell you that after reading Sheila’s recipes for mustard sage grilled chicken, grilled salmon and flank steak, I really wanted to try them.  Her photos of prepared from her recipes look wonderful.  A right sized portion of her chicken, according to her post, is only 286 calories.  With a tasty Mediterranean lentil salad, the dinner counts is still only 492 calories.  Healthy, tasty and diet friendly, what more can we ask.
If  Sheila has anything to say about it, we will live healthier, feel better and enhance the overall quality of our lives.  Her mantra may well be described as “Eat thin, live vibrantly, Livliga!

Sailboats in Morro Bay

Continuing our journey south along Hwy 1, we stopped in Morro Bay for a wine tasting overlooking the water. We were so excited when we discovered the magnificent formations between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo called the “Nine Sisters.” This chain of volcanic peaks/hills ranges from 576 ft. (Morro Rock) to 1,559 ft. (Bishop Peak) in height. Morro Rock, the smallest of the nine, is the rock you see in the picture below. It sits out in the bay, overlooking the ocean, and is a beautiful place to sit and watch the sunset. Since you all know I love a good sunset, I thought I would share this beautiful scene with you. The sailboats are for Pud:)

Happy sunsetting.

The snowy side of California

Most people think of sunshine and warm weather when they think of California. There are many different faces to the weather here, and though sunshine and warmth comprise one of those faces, there are others. We have rain in the winter, fog just about all year round, heat, cold, and if you’re in the right place, snow.

Earlier this month I traveled through Donner Pass on my way to Nevada. You go through the pass while driving along I-80, on the east side of California, before you cross into Nevada and then get to Reno. It’s a beautiful area, with amazing views of the Sierras and surrounding lakes. The pass got its name from a tragic event in the winter of 1846, when the Donner Party traveled through the lowest notch they could find to cross the Sierras and make their way to California. The pass was the “lucky” traveling point, however, it was blocked by snow at the top, and the group had to spend the winter on the east side of the pass. Only half of the travelers survived the winter. Some resorted to cannibalism to survive.

A tragic story indeed, but Donner Pass is a beautiful part of the country nonetheless. I have yet to see any snow here in Sonoma County, so spending part of my day driving through a snowy pass was actually quite exciting. Who knows, a ski trip or two may be in my future.

Tapestry Or Sculpture: It is Clearly Fine Art

If I thought I had any understanding of African art, this sculpture by Ghanian artist, El Anatsui, caused me to reexamine by perceptions.  Shimmering like silk, the 350 pound work of art is currently being installed on a wall in the Bloch Lobby at the Nelson-Atkins. It is entitled Dusasa I.

Described by the museum as a tapestry-like sculpture, it is 39 ft by 26 ft and weighs 350 pounds.  Constructed from recycled aluminum bottle tops and the strips that encircle the bottle necks, the artist and his assistants flattened the thin metal before beginning their artistic work, fastening the metal strips to create this complex quilt-like pattern.

The Dusasa I donated to the Nelson by the William T. Kemper Foundation.  It is one of many works the Foundation has donated to the museum.  The donation reflects the impeccable standards of both the William T. Kemper Foundation and the Nelson.

For Kansas City residents it is another reason to visit a home-town treasure.  For anyone living outside the Mid-West, it is one more reason to visit the heartland.



Paper As Art

On a recent visit to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, I saw these creative paper ornaments in the Museum Store. Reminiscent of the crafts we learned in second grade (or third, or fourth, I don’t really remember) these cutouts bring cut paper to a whole new level of artistry.

With light shining through them they also appear to be distant relatives of the luminaries we passed as we drove up to the gallery.

You can try to make these with your little ones or, perhaps, you can visit the museum and bring them home to display in your windows through the holiday season.

California Coastline — Driving Hwy 1

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving getaway down to the beach near San Luis Obispo. On our way down, we decided to take Hwy 1, which is quite possibly the most beautiful drive on the planet. I had the chance to take in a lot of beautiful views and a good number of photos! You know me and my pictures of the ocean. Here are a few of my favorites. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Just south of Carmel, this was a lookout point that offered a framed view of the ocean.

And a few miles further, this was a beautiful view looking South.

More to come….it was a beautiful couple of days!

More Wall Art from Kansas City’s East Side

Meg and I agree we have a lot to celebrate.  Today I want to celebrate and share more of Kansas City’s graffiti.  My weekly adventures often provide we opportunities to find new murals throughout our urban community.  These paintings were found just barely Southeast of downtown.  The artist or artists plying their trade on this freshly painted wall obviously love color.  There were at least half a dozen individual paintings extending from one building well into the alley just East of Grand within a 7 minute walk to our center city.

“Feminines” is almost certainly the artist’s signature on this wonderful rendition of a mythical bird.

While renditions of death are very unusual on wall art, this skull seems to smile from the wall.

The shocking pink on this final mural adds to the festive nature of this block in Kansas City.

Live in a city?  Hope you enjoy the wall art where ever your route takes you.  It is, in the best sense, the people’s art.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It has been a wonderful year and here at Shifting the Balance we have a lot to be thankful for. I’ve had an exciting year working on the campaign. Our kiddos (the dogs) are all in good health. Mum and Terry are happy and healthy. Two of my cousins welcomed healthy baby girls. All of my friends are enjoying their lives…..the list goes on.

A Thanksgiving [1] memory to share: Keeping with Mum’s recent photo of Greece, I thought I’d share my Thanksgiving memory from 2004. I was studying abroad in Leicester, England, and I didn’t really have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with. So who came to my rescue? Freida, of course. Freida and George are two of our friends from Kansas City growing up. They were both from Greece, moved to the States when they were first married, and then decided to retire back to a beautiful little village about a year or two before I was studying abroad. Well, Freida invited me to stay with them for Thanksgiving, and it was the most wonderful trip. Seeing Freida and George was such a delight, and even more heartwarming was the fact that Freida sought out the makings of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. For me! In Greece! [2] We had turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans. She even found pecans. It was a perfect Thanksgiving, and for that experience, I will always be grateful.

Wherever you’re spending your Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful day, and remember to be thankful for those around you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg and Ann

[1]  Photograph thanks to “”

[2]  Terry’s painting by Mike Savage, reminds us of times in Greece, overlooking the Mediterranean

Life Lived Simply: Greek Islands

I know nothing about this boat’s past or its future (if any).  I took this photograph on the second of two visits to Greece. We sailed in the area of the islands near Samos.  We sailed by day, spent the afternoon touring a variety of small, sparsely populated islands, and spent our nights on board our slightly larger sailboat–before continuing our adventure through the islands.  My memories of Greece are all about the islands, the sea, and the simplicity of the lives of the Greeks we met.  The boats of the islanders are simple wood boats, constructed, to every outward appearance, in the same form as Greek fishing boats for hundreds of years.  Practical if not elegant, they are nothing like the power boats and sail boats that arrive at every Greek harbor of any size throughout the tourist season.

Terry and I happened on this boat when we stopped at a taverna inches from the sea.  Definitely the worst for wear, it symbolizes for me both the beauty and the simplicity of the Greek islands.