M Magazine 2021 Dec Palo Alto

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Holiday Mindset Tips for Surviving the Season with Family By S H A R I L E I D


ITH THE ARRIVAL OF THE H O L I D AY S E A S O N , C O M E S T H E A R R I VA L O F H O L I D AY A N X I E T Y . H o l i d ay c a r d s b e g a n l i n i n g s to r e s h e l ve s i m m e d i a te l y f o l l ow i n g H a l l owe e n , i f t h ey we r e n’ t t h e r e a l r e a d y. I v i e we d s eve r a l h o l i d ay c a r d s , w h i c h a l l c a r r i e d s t a n d a r d s e n t i m e n t s s u c h a s , H o l i d a y C h e e r, W i s h i n g Yo u P e a c e Lo ve a n d H a p p i n e s s , a n d T h e M o s t Wo n d e r f u l T i m e o f T h e Ye a r. W h e r e a r e t h e b oxe s o f h o l i d ay c a r d s t h a t r e a d , I H o p e Yo u S u r v i ve T h e S e a s o n? While your dream may be of family gatherings that resemble Norman Rockwell paintings, your reality may be family gatherings that are more like scenes from Ben Stiller’s Meet The Fockers or Chevy Chase’s holiday classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, absent the humor. Any dysfunction that exists in a family is amplified under the stress and pressure of the holidays. 8


If you experience holiday anxiety, you are not alone. One survey by the American Psychological Association found that 38 percent of people surveyed reported that their stress level increased during the holidays. The survey found the top stressors stemmed from lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings. During this time of year, my work as a life coach focuses on navigating those stress inducing difficult family relationships and gatherings over the holiday season. In fact, directly following Halloween is my busiest time of the year. The good news is that there are surprisingly simple tools that you can use which will allow you to not only survive the upcoming family gatherings, but the entire holiday season. A well thought-out plan and mental preparation can go a long way. A successful military general goes into a hostile battlefield with a plan, why wouldn’t you? For most of us, we have that one family member, if not more, who consistently gets under



our skin during family gatherings. Each year, despite saying you won’t let it happen again, you end up leaving the holiday gathering feeling bitter, angry, and fatigued. So, how do you stop this toxic cycle and take control of the holidays? It can be easier than you think. As you process through this mindset reinvention, remember that the work is worth it. The holiday season lasts a good two full months, which is a large chunk of the year. Carrying an unhealthy level of anxiety and stress each year is very taxing on mental and physical health. This stress can present itself in the form of insomnia, fatigue, and irritability – not to mention GI problems and high blood pressure, to name just a couple of common undesirable and serious physical reactions to stress. The stress of the holidays isn’t just felt internally, children and partners are also affected. For those who are parents to young children, the annual holiday anxiety can take away your ability to be present for your children, which leaves you unable to contribute and create the happy holidays that childhood dreams are made of. For parents, this often leads to feelings of guilt and despair on top of the anxiety that is evergrowing. While I made an analogy to going into a dysfunctional family gathering to a general going into a hostile battlefield and the benefits of having a plan, I realize that you’re at a disadvantage because unlike a military general who can control the behavior of his or her troops, you don’t have the luxury of controlling the behavior of your family members. What you do have, however, is the ability to control your own mindset and behavior. When you recognize that you have a choice of how you wish to experience the holiday season, that recognition is the game changer. In addition to recognizing that you have choice and control, here are three easy and fun tools to implement that are guaranteed to also be a holiday season game changer:


Change your mindset. Make it a game.

Instead of waiting for your mother-in-law’s cutting remarks, decide before you arrive at the gathering that your goal for the day is to spot three things that she says which are funny. They may fall into categories of “I can’t believe she said that!” or “Who says that?!” Suddenly, you’ll find that instead of feeling anxiety rising as you wait to hear the inevitable insult, you’ll be on the lookout for those cutting comments as part of a game. Just try not to laugh as you put a virtual tally mark on your mental scoresheet. Doing this mind shift exercise not only brings levity and fun, but it also takes the sting and power out of the remarks.


Change your focus. Challenge yourself to learn one thing new about everyone at the gathering. Just one thing, even if that one thing is as


simple as what they had for dinner the night before. Again, make it a game. When you focus on learning one thing about everyone at the gathering, it shifts your mind from feeling that you need to be on the defense and protect yourself to being genuinely curious about the other guests at the gathering. Your energy will shift, and you’ll surprise others by your questions and seeming interest in their lives. People like when others find them interesting, it makes them feel validated. This tool can also be a great conversation starter, something that can move you from the same old stagnant conversations of years past. You can even plan your inquiry ahead of time if you know who is going to be at the gathering. Decide to find out the name of grandpa’s grade school, your mom’s favorite high school memory, and your cousin’s dream vacation destination.


Change your expectation. Let go of the title.

Take away the title of, “mom,” “dad,” “brother,” and “sister.” When we remove titles, we can remove the expectations that come with the title. Instead of judging someone based on their title, we can see them in a more gracious and objective light. One of the women in my book, Make Your Mess Your Message, shared that when she removed the title of “dad,” she was able to view her father with compassion without the expectation of who she believed her dad should be based on his title. She saw the damaged human being that he was due to his addictions and the difficult life he was born into. It allowed her to see him as a human being and helped her establish a relationship with him when she took him off the pedestal that the title “dad” carries. Finally, if these suggestions don’t work, it may be time for you to change your holiday experience. It could be time to put yourself first and bow out of family gatherings or family traditions that no longer serve you. Even in long standing family traditions, you always have a choice. While there are consequences to every choice with many of them being initially painful to make, you always have the power of choice, you are never stuck. Your life, your design – even during the holidays. ᯽

Former litigator, Shari Leid currently operates An Imperfectly Perfect Life, LLC, a professional mindset coaching business primarily serving clients who are in those tricky middle age years, helping them create the life of their dreams. She is a national speaker and author of The 50/50 Friendship Flow: Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends and Make Your Mess Your Message: More Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends. Her third and final book in The Friendship series is scheduled for Fall 2022. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. M


HOLIDAY BAKING I stumbled upon the Eat the Love food blog (eatthelove.com) while hunting for cookie recipes to bake up this holiday season. I spent more than an hour perusing all of the baked goodies that San Francisco blogger, photographer, and graphic designer, Irvin Lin, developed before I jumped on Amazon.com and added his cookbook, MARBLED, SWIRLED AND LAYERED to my Christmas List. Luckily, Irvin was kind enough to share these cookie recipes with us – they’re perfect for the Christmas cookie exchange and gift giving!





I can’t believe my world was ever bereft of a chocolate, peanut butter, and butterscotch cookie. It may sound fussy to make two different cookie doughs, but the chocolate– peanut butter dough is crazy easy to make, and the combination of flavors is life-changing. Butterscotch Dough 3 cups (420 g) all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon kosher salt ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ¾ cup (170 g or 1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, divided 2 cups (440 g) packed dark brown sugar 2 large eggs 1 tablespoon vanilla extract Chocolate-Peanut Butter Dough ¾ cup (105 g) all-purpose flour 7 tablespoons (50 g) natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) ¾ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon kosher salt 6 tablespoons (85 g or ¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 6 tablespoons (75 g) granulated sugar 6 tablespoons (85 g) packed dark brown sugar ¾ cup (205 g) smooth peanut butter, at room temperature 1 large egg yolk To Assemble ½ cup (100 g) turbinado sugar or granulated sugar Make the Butterscotch Dough Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a large mixing bowl. Stir vigorously together with a balloon whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Set aside. Place 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) of the butter in a large pan and cook over medium-high heat until the butter has melted and starts to foam. Lower the heat to medium-low and

continue to cook until the fat solids start to brown. Turn off the heat and continue to swirl the butter in the pan until the residual heat of the pan turns the fat solids golden brown and the butter starts to smell nutty. Pour the browned butter into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the remaining 2 tablespoons cold butter, and beat until the melted butter has cooled and the solid butter has melted, about 2 minutes. Add the brown sugar and beat for about 30 seconds to blend. Add one egg and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds, then beat in the second egg and the vanilla until incorporated. Add half of the dry ingredients, beating to incorporate before adding the second half of the dry ingredients. The dough should be stiff. Transfer the butterscotch dough to a different mixing bowl. Make the Chocolate–Peanut Butter Dough Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a clean mixing bowl. Stir vigorously together with a balloon whisk until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. Place the butter and both sugars in the stand mixer bowl (no need to clean it). Beat on medium speed until

light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the peanut butter and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the egg yolk and beat until incorporated, about 15 seconds. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute. Assemble the Cookies Pinch off a rounded tablespoon of the butterscotch dough and roll it in the palm of your hand to form a ball. Press your palms together with the ball in the middle to form a butterscotch cookie disk about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Dip one side of the disk into the turbinado sugar, lightly pressing down so the sugar sticks to the bottom of the cookie. Place the disk on the lined baking sheet with the sugar side down. Repeat, filling the baking sheets with the butterscotch disks, spacing them 2 inches apart. Pinch off a rounded teaspoon-size chunk of the chocolate–peanut butter dough and roll it in your palm to form a ball. Brush the top of the butterscotch dough with a little bit of water, place the chocolate ball in the center of a butterscotch disk, and press down on the ball to flatten it onto the butterscotch disk. Use a fork to lightly press a crisscross pattern on the peanut butter–chocolate dough only. Repeat for all the cookies. Bake until the edges of the cookies just start to look slightly dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Do M


not overbake them, as you want the butterscotch cookies to be chewy. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.


These cookies epitomize the perfect chewy texture that cookie fanatics crave. The use of cream cheese gives a soft, toothsome bite to the cookies, while raspberry and chocolate extracts give both sides of the cookies extra flavor punch. Because this recipe requires you to make two different doughs to marble together, it also makes quite a lot of cookies, which is perfect for parties or gatherings. You can also freeze the doughs for up to 1 month if you don’t want to make as many cookies right away. Just tightly wrap the doughs in plastic wrap and seal the dough in a zip-top freezer bag. Thaw the dough in the fridge overnight before marbling and baking as directed.

Raspberry Cookie Dough 1 ¼ cups (6 ounces or 170 g) fresh or frozen raspberries 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (325 g) granulated sugar, divided 6 tablespoons (85 g or ¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 2 ounces (57 g or ¼ brick) cream cheese, at room temperature 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon kosher salt 2 teaspoons raspberry extract 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk 2 ¾ cups (375 g) all-purpose flour Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough ¾ cup (170 g or 1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 4 ounces (115 g or ½ brick) cream cheese, at room temperature 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar 1 cup (220 g) packed dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons chocolate extract (see note, below) 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar 1 large egg 1 large egg yolk 1 cup (110 g) natural cocoa powder (not Dutch-process) 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour To Assemble 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar Make the Raspberry Cookie Dough Preheat the oven to 350°F and line baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats. Place the raspberries and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, crushing the berries with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon and stirring constantly, until the berries have broken apart. Continue cooking until the mixture darkens a bit and thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Combine the butter, cream cheese, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 ½ cups (300 g) sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium

baking sheets for 4 to 5 minutes and then move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the raspberry extract, vinegar, and egg and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Add the egg yolk, beating until incorporated, and then the cooled raspberry jam, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.

Add the cocoa powder and mix on low speed until the dough starts to absorb some of the cocoa. Raise the speed to medium and mix until the cocoa is completely incorporated. Add the flour and beat, starting on low speed and then increasing to medium until incorporated.

Add the flour and mix on low speed until the dough starts to absorb some of the flour. Raise the speed to medium and mix until the flour is completely incorporated. Transfer the dough to a separate bowl and move to the refrigerator to cool and firm up slightly while you make the chocolate cookie dough.

Assemble the Cookies Pour the granulated sugar into a small bowl. Pinch off about 1 teaspoon of the chocolate dough and roll it into a ball. Repeat with another teaspoon of chocolate dough. Then do the same with the raspberry dough, so that you have 4 balls of dough. Line them up in a row, alternating chocolate, raspberry, chocolate, raspberry. Now squish them together and roll the whole thing into a ball. The ball should look like marbled dough. Roll the ball in the sugar and place on the baking sheet.

Make the Dark Chocolate Cookie Dough Combine the butter, cream cheese, both sugars, baking soda, and salt in the mixer bowl (no need to clean it). Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chocolate extract, vinegar, and egg and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add the egg yolk and beat until incorporated.

Repeat with the rest of the dough, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges of the raspberry part of the cookies start to look golden, 13 to 15 minutes. Don’t overbake. Let cool on the

* This dough is fairly soft. If you have problems scooping or forming the marbled dough, refrigerate it for 30 minutes to firm it up first. Then proceed as directed. * You can find chocolate extract at specialty cooking stores, some upscale grocery stores, and online. But if you can’t find chocolate extract, just substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in its place. ᯽ Recipes from MARBLED, SWIRLED AND LAYERED by Irvin Lin. Copyright © 2016 by Irvin Lin. Interior Photography © 2016 by Linda Xiao. Reprinted by permission of Mariner Books, an imprint of HarperCollins LLC. All rights reserved.


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declutter your

holidays! By K A T E E V E N S


he holidays are meant to be a time of peace on earth and goodwill toward all.

Instead, we have turned them into obligation-filled days of family gatherings and holiday parties that lead to frustration, guilt, anxiety, and exhaustion. Decluttering your holidays is all about simplifying, to bring back holidays filled with the joy and gratitude of the season. When you think of the classic images of the holidays they’re cozy and intimate, right? Curling up by a fire with a loved one. Children opening gifts. Sharing a cup of hot cocoa. A bountiful dinner table shared by a small, smiling group of people. The images of crowds jostling for position on Black Friday, empty grocery store shelves, and chaotic extended family gatherings do not bring forth the peace that all of the holiday songs promise us. Take control of your holidays with these tips to rediscover the joy of the season.

Create Quality Time

Carve out time for your family unit. With the hubbub of the holidays, families find themselves running here, there, and everywhere together without ever actually spending time with each other. As soon as you enter most traditional of holiday parties, the kids run down to the basement to play with their cousins, the guys gather around the TV to watch football, and the ladies are torn between helping prepare the meal, making sure the kids in the basement aren’t getting into trouble or sitting down to join the guys. 16


To regain quality time, intentionally plan for time alone with your spouse and your children to share holiday traditions with meaning. This might look like playing board games instead of hiding in technology, baking holiday treats together, or having those cups of hot cocoa on a chilly night by the fire.

Get Minimal

Create one of those intimate holiday images of couples sharing a candle-lit dinner, or small groups of family and friends laughing together, by planning a special night out to eat. My husband and I spend every Christmas Eve together, just the two of us, at a special holiday dinner a local Scottish restaurant every year. Choosing which people you want to spend your holidays with, instead of spending them with the people you’re afraid to disappoint, can give you a sense of control over your experience. Purposefully giving yourself that quiet time can make it much easier to face the noise and chaos of a traditional holiday gathering. Is there a restaurant your family loves to go to? Or a new place you’ve been waiting to try? Many restaurants offer special holiday meals, just be sure to make reservations ahead of time as you won’t be the only ones with this idea!

Say No

Go ahead and say “no” to any family (or other kinds of) parties you aren’t excited about. There are many events to attend over the course of November and December and you don’t have to go to every single one of them.

The sense of obligation to attend every family gathering can fray the nerves of the most serene people. I have endless stories from my clients over the years of running from one party to the next, often on the same day, and feeling so exhausted they can’t possibly enjoy themselves.

ride, and those who have flown to sunny southern states to enjoy their holidays with sand and surf.

Sit down and think about which events sound fun or enjoyable, and which ones sound like they’ll drain what little energy you have left. Simply let the hosts of the events you won’t be attending know you aren’t available that day – you don’t even have to give an explanation!

Whether a cozy cabin in the woods, a quaint bed and breakfast, a bright city holiday, or a beach vacation you can create a unique holiday experience all your own.

Saying “no” is setting a boundary. You might be surprised at how accepting people are of your “no.” If there are some who try to change your mind by playing on your guilt, that’s what tells you that you definitely made the right choice.

Skip It!

Try traveling somewhere for the holidays. This is a trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years. I’ve even done it! Thanksgiving 2018 I was with my husband in Cusco, Peru. We got Kentucky Fried Chicken (close enough to turkey), took it back to our hotel room, and ate sitting on the bed together. That is the most memorable, and cherished Thanksgiving I have ever had. You don’t have to go that far, of course! I know many families, with and without children, who have traveled to a destination within a few hours’ car

These are memories that will last. “Remember that year we went to…?” will become a common phrase in your home.

How Will You Declutter Your Holidays?

Regardless of whether you’re on your own, celebrating with a partner, or with children, you get to choose what your holidays look like. New traditions can start today. So, if you’re ready to be done with the aggravation of obligatory holiday gatherings, it’s time to declutter your holidays!᯽ Kate Evans is the owner of Soulful Space, a virtual life coaching and decluttering company. Kate helps overwhelmed women declutter their lives and homes. She has worked in the field of psychology since 2004, is an RYT-200 certified yoga teacher, and a writer currently working on a book bringing self-help and decluttering together for lasting change. To learn more about Kate, go to soulfulspacecoaching.com, Instagram, and Facebook @soulfulspace.coaching.




gift guide

With just a couple of weeks left, we chose some of our favorite holiday gifts that you can still grab online. Happy shopping, happy giving, and most of all happy holidays.

Sweet Chaos Drizzles Ring in some holiday cheer with some festive and yummy popcorn! The most exciting seasonal offerings include Black & White Sugar Cookie, Maple Brown Sugar, Iced Gingerbread, Vanilla Chai and Peppermint Crunch. sweetchaos.com, amazon.com, $6.29

Dabble & Dollop

Dabble & Dollop’s founder is a Bay Area Native, and their adorable and yummy smelling bath products for kids are delightful. Little ones can mix up their own “flavor” concoctions and the gift sets for Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are a sure win. dabbleanddollop.com, $45


An exceptional line of useful, beautiful, and wellmade educational games and gifts. Women-owned, mother-run, sustainable, and developed with educators, psychologists, writers and artists, the endless selection of puzzles, games and books is a no-brainer, year-round. eeboo.com, target.com or barnesandnoble.com, $19.99

LilGadgets Wireless Bluetooth Earphones My favorite feature of the “Untangled Pro” set is the shareport, so that not only one, but two kids can enjoy them at the same time. Bluetooth for no hassle cords, volume-limiting, plus child safety, passive noise reduction and holds a charge well. Can’t go wrong! amazon.com, $44.95

Doodle Hog Gel Crayons and Dab & Dots

We can’t get enough of arts & crafts activities, but brightly colored anything are also a hit! Put them together and you get a 36-piece gel crayon set and 8-piece dab and dot set, plus crafts and activities for all ages. Shop by age on the website. doodlehog.com, $7.99 and up

Nuby + Dove Splish Splash Bath Time Gift Set

A perfect mix of quality and affordability. Luscious, hypoallergenic, and tear-free plus the Nuby stacking cups are an absolute bath time favorite. A great shower gift, too. amazon.com, $45

CMY Cubes

These colorful and enchanting cubes reduce stress and anxiety, increase focus, and they make a great stocking stuffer. Twist and turn the cube and the colors magically transform. This would be the perfect gift for a co-worker or artist! $29.95, cmycubes.com

RiotPWR Gamer Mobile Controller

For your favorite gamers, this game controller connects to mobile phones for on-the-go gaming without tapping the screen. Fully functional with a phone stand, this is a great upgrade for the mobile gaming experience! amazon.com, $49.99

Quarto Kids Jumbo Stickers for Little Hands Winter Wonderland

Angie’s Table

The perfect gift for the perfect hostess! Choose from a variety of themes, and expect a beautiful box filled with tablescape kits to create a jaw-dropping scene: individually wrapped chargers, plates, table runners, napkins, and candles to name a few. angiestable.com, from $99.99

A crowd favorite, Jumbo Stickers for Little Hands Winter Wonderland edition is here! Each book in the collection (which includes Human Body, Mermaids, Things That Go and more) contains 75 large (2+ inch) stickers. amazon.com, $7.95

Ethel’s Dessert Bars

These delicious individually wrapped dessert bars make tasty stocking stuffers, but only if Santa doesn’t end up eating them himself. The original Pecan Pie bar is a favorite, but we also love the buttery chocolate chip laden Blondie. The Cinnamon and the Raspberry Crumble bars are yummy too! From $40, ethels.com/shop/dessert-bars/

National Parks Bucket Journal

The perfect gift for the outdoorsy traveler in your life. This book is part diary, part bucket list, and part trip planner. The journal covers 63 national parks with pertinent information about each one, including experiences and attractions to explore. $39 mybucketjournals.com

Chocolate Apple Pie Bark

Chocolate combined with apple pieces and finely crushed graham crackers make for a yummy winter treat. Sugar Plum’s Apple Pie Bark makes a tasty gift for your favorite sweet tooth. Serves 2-4 people and includes 1 lb. of Apple Pie Bark. $55, GoldBelly.com M





Two Days in El Paso



and I needed to get away. Somewhere under the radar – no tourist traps. I called my youngest sister in Austin and the plan for a Sister Weekend in Texas came together. El Paso, here we come.

DAY 1 I met my sister at The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park. This boutique hotel has quite a history; it was once the property of the Hilton family, and Elizabeth Taylor and husband numero uno – Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton – once lived in the top floor penthouse which is now La Perla, a lovely rooftop bar where guests can sip cocktails and feast on seafood-inspired snacks while watching the spectacular sunset. And that’s just what we did – sipped Rooftop Lemonades – as the sun disappeared behind the hills beyond. The perfect way to start a Sister Weekend. After drinks, we headed downstairs for dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Ambar where we feasted on duck in rich, dark mole sauce and succulent braised short ribs. Sated from our hearty meal, we returned to our room where two big comfy queen 22


beds dressed in the finest linens awaited our sleepy heads. We had plans to hike at Franklin Mountain State Park early the next day, so a good night’s sleep was in order.

DAY 2 El Paso is a paradise for outdoor activity. Today, we would be hiking through Franklin State Park which has over 100 miles of hiking trails. We took an easy hike, admiring varieties of cacti and yucca along the way, and ending atop a grassy knoll where dozens and dozens of butterflies flickered and flitted from flower to flower. Witnessing this glorious affair on a beautiful sunny morning was everything. The 6AM wake-up time was well worth it. Besides Franklin State Park, Hueco Tanks State Park is another mustsee if you have the time. The park is a sacred site where Native American ceremonies are still held. Hueco Tanks is best known for bouldering (rock climbing stripped down to the bare essentials – shoes and chalk), and each year the Hueco Rock Rodeo is held at the park. We spent the rest of the afternoon driving along the border, catching glimpses of adjacent Juarez behind

The Plaza Hotel Pioneer Park Photographed by James Baigrie

the newly constructed border walls, hunting for a crystal shop (it was closed), and stopping at the pawn shop where it was rumored that we might get a glimpse of Pancho Villa’s trigger finger. Along the way, we met and talked to the people of El Paso and discovered how passionate they were about their town – everyone we talked to was warm and open. We heard the good (El Paso is one of the safest cities in the U.S. thanks to border patrol and high military occupation at Fort Bliss) and the bad (the infamous Walmart shooting) about El Paso. They also told us about Marfa, a small artist’s colony a few hours away, Juarez, Mexico where you can cross the border for the tastiest Mexican meal, and New Mexico which is just a few hours away. El Paso is the hub for all of these places. We ended the day with dinner at Anson 11, a cozy bistro where we dined on tasty mussels and fries and savory meatloaf. After dinner we set off to watch the Sun City Crit, an exciting high speed bike race that El Paso was hosting that evening. Two days went by quickly and we truly enjoyed our stay. And from what we’ve learned from the lovely people we’d met, it just might be a place to come back to.᯽

Dr. Panagotacos has over 45 years experience in treating men and women medically and surgically – using state of the art strip harvesting as well as the latest ARTAS iX robot.

20% discount on ARTAS procedures





overcome burnout By DR. HALEY PERLUS



life and well-being in various ways. The consequences of burnout include but are not limited to depression, anxiety, anger, irritability, fatigue, excessive stress, increased likelihood for high blood pressure, withdrawing from family and friends, inability to do a job well, loss of motivation, increasingly negative and cynical outlook, among others. The good news is that treatment for burnout will also work to prevent burnout in the first place.

How to overcome burnout at your job

To overcome/prevent burnout at your job, first, identify what you can change. For example, learning how to say no at work when you are working on multiple tasks simultaneously can help lessen stress and frustration. Evaluating your commitments, setting boundaries, and learning when to turn down requests will help you get the rest you need to give yourself and others your best. Setting personal and professional boundaries is essential to 24


bounce back from burnout because if you feel taken advantage of or disempowered by your relationships, your self-esteem is impacted. Low self-esteem impacts stress levels, health, and personal relationships. Clear communication is key in setting boundaries that empower yourself, give you more control, reduce stress, and put you on the road to better well-being.

How to overcome burnout as a parent

Recovery can take two forms. One form is practicing stillness. Stillness techniques include, but are not limited to, meditation, deep breathing, sleep (including naps), and simple quiet time. Even just one minute of quality deep breathing can renew the emotional energy needed to take care of the kids. Variety is the second form of recovery that can treat and prevent burnout. Variety is essentially offering yourself an opportunity to recover from one task while engaging in another task that requires a different type of energy. For example, physical activity provides positive stress for your body while creating wonderful recovery for your emotions and mind. Take the kids for a walk and

enjoy being in nature while you spend time together. Being in nature, enjoying the warm sun or breathing in the cool, crisp air is good for your state of mind, and the kids will enjoy it too! For a quiet activity, try folding laundry while listening to calming, peaceful, and happy music. Let your mind escape as you listen to the music while, at the same time, completing a chore which would normally come with the pressure of having to cross it off your never-ending list. No matter what recovery you choose for yourself today, take everything one step at a time and make small changes along the way. Tiny changes can have a ripple effect that can eventually lead to big results in your overall health.

How to overcome burnout as a caregiver

When a person is taking care of a family member, friend or loved one, most of the sympathy tends to go to the person who is ill or infirmed. Many forget the emotional and physical toll that being a caregiver can present. More than 40 million adults in North America are taking care of elderly, chronically ill or disabled loved ones, according to Pew Research Center. Signs of burnout can include, but are not limited to, depression, fatigue, anxiety about the future, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, hopelessness and other symptoms.


Although being a caregiver is never easy, there are some things you can do to make it more manageable. Ask for help whenever possible, whether that means paying a professional or calling upon a friend or family member. Don’t skip your own medical appointments. If you are not well, you are not in a position to care for someone else. Check policies for family leave benefits at work. Don’t feel like you have to keep a constant vigil by their bedside, especially if you know there at times of the day they tend to nap or sleep. Use those times for some self-care and pampering. Speak to other caregivers you know to get tips on how to manage or speak with the attending physician or hospital social worker.

How to overcome burnout as a student

To overcome burnout as a student, set reasonable goals. Write a to-do-list each day of assignments that need to get done and note their due dates.

Use daily reminders and calendars to stay motivated to achieve deadlines. Set aside time and pencil in time to practice mindfulness. Time away from your obligations is just as important as time spent fulfilling your obligations. Practice self-care to reduce stress and let your mind relax. Celebrate small wins along the way and keep the end goal in mind.

How to overcome burnout from working out

If you overtrain and don’t allow your body to fully recover, you are likely to experience workout burnout. Also, if you stay with the same routine over a long period of time, boredom will kick in. If you overtrain, you are more susceptible to injuries that can take you out of your routine and make it harder to “jump back in.” Setting fitness goals that are realistic for your age, level of condition and work/personal schedule is critical. Many athletes or “weekend warriors” feel guilty if that take a break from

training. It is wise to take off two days a week. There is a reason for the term “stress fracture.” While weight training is great for improving bone density and high impact workouts are excellent for cardio, your bones get stressed, and in turn that can lead to fractures. Don’t obsess over numbers, reps, inches etc. Focus more on how you feel after the workout mentally and physically. Switch up your workouts so that you don’t reach an exercise plateau. If you need to, get a fitness buddy, change your workout environment, the music you listen to, or treat yourself to some new workout gear.᯽

Dr. Haley Perlus knows what it takes to overcome barriers and achieve peak performance. As an elite alpine ski racer, she competed and trained with the best in the world, pushing herself to the limits time and time again. Now, with a PhD in sport psychology, Haley continues to push boundaries and drive peak performance, helping athletes and Fortune 100 executives reach their goals. www.drhaleyperlus.com

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5 Tips on teaching kids about money By TAYLOR BURTON




wants to become a skateboarder? Great! Have her think through the pros and cons and share her findings with you in a short presentation. Have her figure out how much money the skateboard would cost, along with any associated gear. Then, give her ideas on how to make enough money to buy it. You can even “match” a some of her savings to help her get to the goal faster. From an allowance or chores around the house, to entrepreneurial initiatives, to a “typical” job, kids of all ages can easily be earning money to spend on things they are interested in.



E ALL KNOW HELICOPTER PARENTS—IN FACT, MOST OF US ARE PROBABLY GUILTY OF HOVERING OVER OUR OWN KIDS, AT LEAST OCCASIONALLY. Though it’s done with the best of intentions, micromanaging can actually make it harder for children to grow into self-sufficient adults. If they’re never encouraged, or even allowed, to make their own choices and mistakes you can’t expect them to develop good decision-making skills and build capabilities and confidence. So how can you take a step back and encourage your kids to become more independent? And specifically, how can you enable your kid to be a smarter spender when he or she is an adult?

Here’s are five tips to raising smart spenders:


ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR AGENCY. In most families, kids are actually part of big family decisions. They have opinions about everything from what you eat for dinner to what car you’ll buy to where you go on vacation. And, in many cases, parents are listening. Sometimes, just recognizing this fact is a great first step. It’s important to acknowledge their agency so you can also understand why it is never too



soon to develop smart spending and saving habits. Kids are already helping to drive your family’s choices, so helping them to understand the bigger picture is only logical.


MAKE THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE. We used to see our parents paying the bills with checkbook ledgers and envelopes. We used to go to deposit our checks. Bill paying was visible, and as a result, kids would come to understand there is a cycle to paying expenses and a responsibility associated with that. The move to digital has changed this; these things are no longer visible. But we still need to ensure our kids develop an understanding of that expense cycle. Demonstrating responsible financial choices - from what you buy to what you spend - to your children and modeling that you have good habits is important. There are many apps/tools that can give kids some visibility into a microcosm of family finances. The goal is to empower young people to be smarter spenders and prepare them for a lifetime of financial responsibility through hands-on experience.


HAVE A GOAL? SHOW ME HOW TO REACH IT. At some point, you have to let kids explore their limits and try things out—within reason. Your kid

BIG CHOICES? BIG RESPONSIBILITIES. By loosening the purse strings and giving kids discretion over their savings and spending, you help them to make strong financial decisions in a lowerstakes environment. Here’s another example of how this can play out in real life. Your son wants a phone? Remember the presentation idea? Revisit it here. Have him detail why he should have a phone, outline how he will manage his responsibilities, how much it will cost on a monthly basis, and so forth. And, then have him pay a part of the monthly phone bill. It can be part allowance, part earning, part parent match. Any structure that works for your family works. The important thing is to expose him to the accountability of paying bills over time.


BE HONEST AND OPEN. Most parents are doing their best, but that doesn’t mean any of us do it perfectly. We try to keep our challenges to ourselves, especially those thorny personal finance choices. Take a cue from my grandfather, who advised: Rather than posing as the ultimate authority on all topics, own up to being fallible, just like everyone else. Don’t pretend to have all the answers. Acknowledge that you might not make the right decision every time on everything and admit when you’re uncertain or have made a mistake. Show them how you rectify the mistake, because learning how to do it better next time is part of the human condition.᯽

Taylor Burton is co-founder of Till Financial, an app and debit card combo that lets kids and parents collaborate on smarter spending decisions. Prior to starting Till Financial, Taylor developed extensive experience within the fintech, AdTech and D2C eComm spaces. Over the years, Taylor has proven to be a true innovator, operating at the forefront of consumer and merchant technology.

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Help for Our

Four-Legged Friends By S T E P H A N I E L A D E I R A


HEN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HIT IN MARCH 2020, WE IMMEDIATELY FELT THE IMPACT ON OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY. Many of our community members had already been struggling to make ends meet, and the pandemic caused many to lose jobs and homes. We began hearing from pet owners who were struggling to feed their four-legged family members, including some who were considering making the extremely difficult decision to surrender their pets because of economic challenges and issues like homelessness.

At Humane Society Silicon Valley we strongly believe that the human-animal bond is an important one, and that the relationships we have with our pets bring so much value to our lives. We also believe that economic challenges or other hardships shouldn’t cause a bonded family to be broken apart. Because of these strong beliefs, meeting the needs of our community became our top priority, and we were determined to do everything within our power to provide more support for those who were struggling. Our Pet Pantry Program, which supports pet families by providing pet food and other supplies to pet owners who cannot afford to feed their pets, was expanded to meet the needs of our community. The program, which had served a couple hundred families in the previous year, grew to provide more than 700 hundred families with the pet food they needed in order to care for and keep their pets the following year. To ensure we could reach families that aren’t able to visit our facility to pick up their food and supplies, we also created a delivery program intended to bring pet food directly to our homebound clients. Our staff and volunteers make weekly rounds to visit those clients who are unable to come directly to us. As we increased the number of families we were able to support through the Pet Pantry program, we saw that our community needed other types of services as well. Many of our Pet Pantry clients were having trouble keeping up with basic medical care for their pets, including vaccinations, 30


spay/neuter services, and treatments for minor medical issues. Some pet owners needed their pets to be vaccinated or spayed/neutered in order to qualify for housing, and the lack of access to this type of care was perpetuating problems of homelessness. In response to the need we were seeing, we expanded the Pet Pantry Program to include medical care for pets enrolled in our Pet Pantry Program. These services are critical to keeping pets with the families who love and care for them.


e are committed to continuing to provide access to care for the pets and pet owners in our community. In October, we announced that we received a $10 million multi-year investment from Michelle Oates Detkin and Peter Detkin to expand access to veterinary care, especially for those families facing economic challenges. With this lead gift, we will launch the Wellness Waggin’ – a mobile veterinary clinic that will allow us to provide low-cost and no-cost veterinary care to communities with the least financial resources. “We want to make and keep more families whole across this region,” says Peter Detkin. “We also want HSSV to ensure that families or individuals with pets, regardless of economic means can keep their pets healthy and receive the veterinary care they need to thrive so they can stay in the home with people who already love them.” Our Community Development programs rely on support from generous donors and supporters. We are so grateful to the generosity of those who donate food, supplies, or financial resources to ensure we can create a safety net for those in our community who need it most. Together, we are making and keeping families whole.᯽

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