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NEW YOU How to ensure 2014 is successful

Play Your Cards Right Gracefully navigate difficult dating topics

Avoid Cubicle Coma Three exercises to keep you energized at work


TRANSFORMATION Sheila Bauer leads people to whole health through meditation


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in this issue 01.14 in every issue 4 editor’s note 8 local finds

cover story 12 path to transformation Sheila Bauer helps Twin Cities women – and men, too – find peace in spite of the most difficult situations.


fashion 6 aptly accessorized Check out these accessories that will bedazzle your holiday outfits.

7 sneak preview Savvy’s Fashion Show kicks off in February. Will you be there?

relationships 10 play your cards right Stephanie Kotelnicki shows you how much baggage you should reveal when you’re first getting to know a new guy.

just u 16 new territory The Minnesota RollerGirls have a new line of lipsticks,


thanks to a partnership with The Elixery.

health 18 seeing the light Liv Lane found joy and beauty after the harrowing birth of her son and ensuing PTSD and depression.

20 brighter days How one Twin Cities woman found vitality again after encountering postpartum depression. 22 skin superfoods These five foods will help you nourish your skin and overall health.


love & life 24 avoid cubicle coma These three exercises will help you keep your energy levels up at work.

26 setup for success Local life coaches show you how to create a successful plan for 2014. 28 savvy sun signs Teri Parsley Starnes, a professional astrologer living in Minneapolis, tells readers what to expect from the stars this month. 30 explore your intuition Jodi Livon, author, intuitive reader and resident psychic at Twin Cities Live, answers reader questions about intuition.

savvy’s mission Savvy Magazine aims to educate and inspire a community of Twin Citiesarea women who share personal stories and real-world information on how to feel, live and look the best they can. Through original reporting, local events and journalistic integrity, Savvy is the source for how to be healthy, happy, fashionable and connected.


Connect with Magazine @Savvymn

Savvy Magazine strives to publish accurate information in every edition. When necessary, we will correct and acknowledge errors.

Did you spot an error? Contact Editor in Chief Britt Johnsen at or 952-345-6387.

feedback Do you have any story ideas? Did anything inspire or enrage you? Contact us at or 952-345-6387.

Subscribe to e-newsletters at Subscribe to the free print edition at | JANUARY 2014



To Your Evolution PUBLISHER Jennifer Sorenson EDITOR IN CHIEF Britt Johnsen GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Nicole Bullock | Lindsay Gergen CIRCULATION MANAGER Ruby Winings CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Emily Abbott | Scott Fagerstrom Stephanie Kotelnicki | Jodi Livon Liv Lane | Amanda McKnight Teri Parsley Starnes COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Steve Lucas Photography CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Carrie Rood WEB Adam Westland SAVVY EDITORIAL BOARD Britt Johnsen | Jennifer Sorenson Becky Poss | Kay Guidarelli Judy Holmquist | Wendy Kleiser Kelcie McKenney | Janelle Meier Lanae Paaverud | Becky Porspakka Karen Wolf Savvy Magazine is published monthly by Southwest Newspapers. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior consent of Southwest Newspapers, 952-445-3333, P.O. Box 8, Shakopee, Minn. 55379.

CONTACTS: CONTENT: Britt Johnsen, 952-345-6387 or ADVERTISING: 952-345-6477 or SUBSCRIPTION AND ADDRESS CHANGE: Ruby Winings, 952-345-6682 or



JANUARY 2014 |


hen I stepped into my first yoga class in 2009, I was stressed. I had worked as a daily newspaper reporter, which requires you to always be on call, waiting for the next big story to break. By the time I made it to the mat for the first time, I was covering business during the historic Great Recession. I frequently got calls to come in on off hours and chase down sources to get them to talk about mass layoffs and unexpected storefront closures. The lifestyle of a daily reporter is not very healthy. I didn’t sleep that much, and certainly not on a regular schedule. I ate out for probably half of my meals, which made it challenging to maintain a healthy diet. I never took a break from thinking because I wanted to continue to be successful. My nerves were shot from the way I treated my body, and the way I lived. I needed a reprieve. So when I entered the Intro to Yoga class with my roommate and dear friend, who recommended it for both of us (she is also a journalist), I was instantly hooked. A place to breathe and relax? One hour a week that I can have as a sanctuary, a place where no one can call me or ask me to do anything except be kind to my body and my mind? I wanted more after our six-week course ended, so I started going to more classes. Ever since then, nothing has been the same. Not one thing. My life has truly transformed, in every sense of the word. I now teach yoga to people so I can give them the gifts that the practice has given me. I feel happier and healthier than ever. This issue is all about transformation and the gifts it can bring. I am so grateful to the writers who courageously shared their stories with us. Amanda McKnight, Savvy’s new staff writer, tells us about her journey out of postpartum depression after giving birth to her beautiful baby, Fiona. Check out her story on page 20. Sheila Bauer, our January cover model, also shares her incredible transformation story, and how she helps others find health and happiness. As a child, Bauer was sexually, physically and emotionally abused by her father. By the time she reached her college years, she suffered from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome, and she was suicidal. With

the love from her mother and her husband, and the help of a therapist, she came out of that dark place. And what helped her heal and change even further was meditation, which she now teaches through her Chaska business, Circle Mind Body Medicine. Read her extraordinary story, and all about how she helps people make changes in their own lives, on page 12. For those of you who want to make changes in your life, big or small, we’ve got another treat for you this issue. On page 26, we talk about how you can set yourself up for success while working on New Year’s resolutions.These goals can feel impossible or totally doable, depending on how you set them. We talked to local life coaches who clarify how to take the right steps, ensuring 2014 is successful and fulfilling. Be sure to share your own story of success, struggles and more. We are aiming to publish more essays this year, so please let us know if you have a story to tell, or know of a woman we need to talk to. Contact me with your thoughts, or 952-345-6387, or comment online at To your evolution,

Britt Johnsen Editor in Chief

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fashion | trends

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accessorized These jewel-toned accessories will inspire your wardrobe this season. By Emily Abbott

1. Buxom Color Choreography eye shadow in Swing. $36, Sephora. Complement your jewel-toned skirt or top with this smoldering eyeshadow kit from Buxom. The chocolaty browns are perfectly on trend. 2. Sport Nines Over-Sized Wristlet. $35, Nine West. If all you are looking for is a pop of color, try a wristlet instead. This oversized one from Nine West is large enough to fit all your essentials. 3. Georgia Three Handed Leather Watch. $75, Vanmaur. Stay sporty chic with this genuine leather watch. For a bohemian look, layer it with a stack of colorful bangles. 4. Jessica Simpson Mugara. $47.99, Zappos. These sweet bow flats are sure to be a show stopper when paired with ankle pants or a playful skirt. 5. Urban Decay nail color in Vice. $15, Ulta. Use this Urban Decay nail color to rock the jewel tone trend in a subtle way. Pair with a faux leather jacket for an edgy feel. 6. Faux Fur Earmuffs. $10.99, Target. Stay warm this January with these ear muffs, which are both fashionable and functional. 7. Jewel Tone Circle Scarf. $24, David and Young. Pair this delicate infinity scarf with your favorite cardigan and easy-to-wear tee. 8. Spot-Coated Canvas Shopper. $25.78, Fatface. Go green and stay on trend with this reusable coated canvas bag. The deep navy color and whimsical polka dots make this a definite must-have.


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fashion | new show

Savvy to Host

FASHION SHOW IN FEBRUARY Get your seat for the hottest show in town this winter. BY SAVVY STAFF Savvy is hosting another inspirational night of fun with its latest event: FUEL U! Fashion Show. The event will take place on Thursday, Feb. 20, at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., with a special VIP event taking place at 5 p.m. FUEL U! Fashion Show is a dinner event emceed by Twin Cities Live’s Chris Egert and Emily Engberg. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Wildcat Sanctuary. Anyone who comes wearing animal print can have a chance to win a prize if they’re chosen as Best Dressed. Attendees will get a swag bag, a free scarf, a door prize as well as dinner. General admission tickets cost $55, and VIP tickets are $75. Through Jan. 31, early bird general admission tickets are on sale for $40, and VIP tickets are only $60. To buy tickets, go to and click on “Events.” For questions or to become a sponsor or vendor, contact Lisa Kalkes,  or 952-345-6683.

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relationships | dating



BY STEPHANIE KOTELNICKI “Oh, for heaven’s sake,” my grandmother griped as she drew another card from the deck. “I bet you’re holding the kings.” “I don’t know what you are talking about,” I smiled, staring at the three kings I had in my hand. It was our annual King’s Corner tournament, and I was leading 3-0. There were only a handful of cards left in the draw deck, which meant keeping royals could be a game changer. If only I had realized then how much this tactic applied to dating. Fast-forward five years. “You’re so lucky,” I said as we walked away from his car. “I wish I could afford a nice, new vehicle.” “What about that fancy big-girl job you have now?” he asked. “I have a thing called student loans. They are the black financial hole between me and a solid future.” Did I really just mention my personal f inances? Talk about dropping your king of diamonds… As we walked past a café patio there was a split second of silence that made me want to run away from the scene and from my foolish self-disclosure. Studies have shown that men become cognitively impaired when in the presence of attractive women. As it happens, there


JANUARY 2014 |

have been a handful of men I’ve come across in my lifetime that cause the same suffering. I don’t get butterflies and my heart doesn’t skip a beat. Instead, my first few conversations with these gentlemen

result in one of two paths: I become so painfully shy that I am unable to make eye contact, or I disintegrate into a nervous, blabbering idiot. In worst-case scenarios, it’s both.

relationships | dating This acquaintance (read: long-time crush) was a worst-case scenario. Where was a dating shock-collar when a girl needed one? “Yes, my family is relatively close. Except I no longer keep in contact with my mother. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a decision that feels right for me at this time.” ZAP! “What kind of difficult topics will I mention in my first column? My ex refused to acknowledge that he was not sexually satisfying me.” ZAP! To his credit, my crush handled my senselessness with kindness. Still, I knew there was a penalty flag being dropped somewhere on the football field of his mind. I had said too much too soon. My comments were game changers. As I drove home that night I uselessly replayed our conversation, inserting alternative answers accordingly. “Yes, my family is relatively close… I think it’s wonderful that you play cards with your grandmother regularly. I can relate. My grandmother and I were big on King’s Corner.”

Omit all commentary about your mother, relate through grandparents. “What topics will I mention in my first column? Communication difficulties when addressing intimate topics.” Omit details or he will mistake your sexual candidness as disregard for private relationship moments. “Nice car.” End commentary. Make no mention of f inancial distress. Even now, I wrestle with how to be “myself ” in the midst of these rare fatal attractions. How can I hold my cards when I’m having a cognitive meltdown? Should I hold them at all? “Well, look at that!” my grandmother exclaimed. I had put down my kings and made a sweeping win, 4-0. “You know my strategy, Grandma. Don’t lay your royals out too soon or you end up losing.” “Yes, but if you don’t lay them out you’re just stalling the outcome of the game,” she winked. And she was right, too. Sometimes you just have to accept the hand your dealt and

play the game, whether you can lay your cards out nicely or not.

Stephanie Kotelnicki is truly terrified that someday she will be “that old lady with cats.” Not because she is afraid of being old, or lonely, but simply because she does not really care for cats. She thought it made sense to write this column because she is one of many single women traversing the complicated terrain that is dating, love, sex and life. In the short amount of time she’s spent on this planet she’s learned the following: It isn’t fun to date boys who don’t like it when you win at card games. Friends are your best resource for support and fun but they can also drive you a little crazy. People will always ask, “Why?” after you ask them, “What is your astrological sign?” And finally, no matter how tenderhearted Stephanie may be, her foot almost always ends up in her mouth.

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Sheila Bauer helps Twin Cities women —and men, too—find peace in spite of the most difficult situations.

Don’t just do something. Sit there! If that reads more like a punch line to a joke than serious advice, you’re in good company. This is the United States, after all, where multitasking has been raised to an art form and burnout is practically a badge of honor. If productivity is the national religion, the idea of solving problems by not thinking about them for a few minutes each day must be something akin to heresy. And yet, that’s exactly the prescription for stress relief and good health espoused by Sheila Bauer, founder and executive director of Chaska’s Circle Mind Body Medicine, where an ever-growing number of women (and quite a few men) are learning to sit quietly, focus on their breath, pay attention to what’s happening in any given moment, and—graduates of the program say—gain an entirely new perspective on what’s really important in life. “Everything we experience in our minds—our thoughts, perceptions, attitudes, memories, emotions—affects our physical body in some way,” says Bauer, a 46-year-old Jordan resident. “Everything we experience in our physical body, even how we decorate our bodies and our posture, affects our mind. “In mind-body medicine, we try to tune into that, creating an awareness and really paying attention to what our bodies and

minds are telling us, in order to … improve our health and our overall well-being.” For several years now, Bauer has been teaching clients to tune in through various techniques that fall under the umbrella of “meditation”—training the mind to simply observe what’s happening, rather than analyzing, judging, planning, daydreaming, regretting, hoping, fantasizing or engaging in the myriad other forms of “busyness” that occupy our consciousness from dawn ‘til dusk. Often, it’s not as easy as it sounds. “In the first few weeks, people find it’s really tough,” Bauer says. Try to concentrate on, say, the sensation of breath flowing through one’s nostrils for more than a few seconds and the brain has a way of going into overdrive: “Oh, when this is done, I should check to make sure I paid the utility bill. Oh, that reminds me, did I turn off the lights before coming here? Will my husband be mad when he gets home and finds the lights on? I wonder why I didn’t hear from him before the class began? Is something else wrong?” The typical human being, Bauer says, “has 300 thoughts per minute running through our minds,” Bauer noted. “But, as other thoughts come to mind, we just try to notice them, let them come and let them go, gently bringing attention back to


the breath.” “By the end of an eight-week session, it comes so easily and naturally.” The health advantages of meditation are increasingly well known. Medical research is identifying a multitude of benefits—lower blood pressure, improved immune function, decreased anxiety—that seem to result from regular practice. Scientists believe there’s evidence that meditation can literally re-wire the human brain, creating neural pathways from the logical “executive center” to the gray matter that controls emotion, simultaneously making us more rational and compassionate. And yet, Bauer says, she still encounters people whose impression of meditation dates back to the era of the Beatles and the Maharishi, and who consider the practice somewhere on the scale between “exotic” and “weird.” “So many people I meet turn their heads in a quizzical manner when I tell them that I teach mind-body skills,” Bauer says. “People associate meditation with some kind of religious practice, as though I’ll ask them to sit on the floor and shave their heads.” Some meditation techniques are rooted in ancient Buddhist traditions, but Bauer is a walking advertisement that the practice | JANUARY 2014


needn’t be other-worldly. A lifelong Minnesotan with a penchant for country line dancing, an affinity for leather boots and a giggle reminiscent of Goldie Hawn’s, Bauer is no one’s idea of a mystically-inclined guru. ”Meditation or mindfulness is simply a state of relaxed awareness that counteracts the `fight or flight’ stress response in the nervous system,” she says. “No need to don a white robe or purchase a pair of Birkenstocks.” And the sessions Bauer conducts are about as exotic as a book club or a Pilates class. Her groups of six to 10 clients are taught various forms of meditation—some involve sitting silently, some include guided imagery, some require participants to move about the room in a kind of circular dance, workout-style. Importantly, each class also

involves group discussion; participants talk about what the meditation experience was like for them, and what sort of impact the practice is having on their lives. “It’s the group process that’s really extraordinary,” Bauer says. “We’re paying attention to how we’re feeling, emotionally, physically and spiritually. As a group, we share that.” When one participant notes how difficult it is to keep the mind from chattering away, “others learn that’s OK, that’s normal,” she says. “We learn from each other.” Participants in her Circle Mind Body program say they come away healthier and happier. And beyond the health benefits, they say, something even more profound and life-changing occurs. “The amount of healing and growth that take place in that eight-week course is amazing,” says Crista Van Driel, a personal trainer at Chanhassen Fitness Revolution. “The power of the circle is that your healing is exponentially increased because you learn from other people’s life experiences.” At the time she took Bauer’s class, Van Driel says, she’d been a stay-at-home mom for 15 years. “I was scared to re-enter the workforce,” she says. But she learned that other class members shared their own doubts about whether their skills were marketable, and gained the confidence she needed. “People do have these issues. People younger than me and older than me were experiencing these same issues of, ‘Do my gifts matter?’ … The more grounded you are, the more you can be present with people, the better able you’re able to use those gifts,” she explains. Van Driel has participated in two circles, and now goes back for “a monthly tune-up whenever I can. It’s the cheapest and best therapy around.”

Bauer sympathizes with people who think of meditation as an exotic practice. Several years ago, when a friend first suggested she take a course in mind-body medicine, she felt the same way. Indeed, given her background, it’s somewhat of a miracle that Bauer is even alive, let alone helping others achieve states of higher consciousness. Bauer was a victim of childhood abuse at the hands of her father—sexual and emotional, as well as physical. By the time she reached her college years, she was suffering from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. “Frankly, I should’ve been hospitalized. Everything started falling down around me. My mother (who was divorced from her father by then) was caring for me; she was calling every day.” Bauer credits the love of her mother and her husband—as well as the therapist who made her sign a contract agreeing not to commit suicide—with saving her life. “I believe so strongly in the power of love,” she says. “I didn’t kill myself because I loved my mother and husband, even though I desperately wanted to end my life. I’ve also witnessed other people make extraordinary leaps in their own life. That’s always the focus here in my classes.” Bauer parlayed what she’d learned through therapy into a career, working with parents of troubled children in local school districts. “In those groups, I found that so many people were just so incredibly stressed out … about their children’s behavior, job loss, a death in the family, just all the challenges of child rearing and the fears associated with that,” she says. “I wanted to do more to help.” A friend of Bauer’s, then working as a pediatric psychologist, invited her to a session for mind-body trainers. It rocked her

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world. “Although I’d done a ton of therapy by that point and thought ‘I’m over all that,’ there were still these remnants of my past. Once I learned to quiet my mind, it was emotionally very intense,” she says. Bauer says she came away from the training with a greater willingness to let go of her memories. “They no longer had the control over my life that they once did,” she says. “I can breathe and stay grounded in this moment, rather than reeling back to being 8 years old.” And as a result, Bauer says, she found the strength to tackle other problem areas: Eating better, working out more often, being a better wife and mom by paying attention. In 2009, she gathered a bunch of her girlfriends to start a meditation circle. “They were my guinea pigs. And they all came away saying, ‘Why aren’t you doing this for a living? This is extraordinary.’” Bauer took them up on the idea, setting up a meditation studio in her home, then opening the studio in Chaska. Today, Bauer finds herself working not only with small groups of clients, but with professionals across the Twin Cities region. For example, she recently conducted a meditation workshop with the Chaska Police Department. “The reaction was more reserved” than Bauer typically sees with clients in her studio, “but there was definitely an interest, and an understanding.” Police officers are a “hyper-vigilant group. To ask them to let their guard down for a moment is a challenge. But even if all you do is take three really deep belly breaths when you get into the squad car, you’ve going to have greater clarity and focus, and ultimately do better work.” Bauer recently learned that her work is even having an impact on the ultimate skeptic: Her high school-age daughter.

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MAKE MEDITATION A REGULAR PRACTICE Even people who find it easy to meditate often find it difficult to make it a regular practice—day after day, month after month, year after year. Like many of the resolutions people adopt on New Year’s Day—jogging, dieting, learning a new language—meditation is one of those personal commitments that often slips down the list of priorities, buried beneath many other to-dos. It’s a problem Sheila Bauer hears all too often, which is why she’s come up with a series of tips for anyone seeking to stick with their resolution to meditate: VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF MINDFULNESS Like exercise, there are many types of mindful meditation. If sitting on a cushion in the lotus position and focusing on the breath doesn’t work for you, find another form that you enjoy and do it. Do you prefer to move when you meditate? Try hatha yoga. Does focusing on a word or two help you to focus and calm your mind? Try using a concentrative form of meditation or a mantra. Breathe in saying the word “this” to yourself, and breathe out saying the word “moment,” repeating “this/moment” with each cycle. If you don’t like those words, choose two of your own, say “let/go,” or “breathe/peace.” GO EASY ON YOURSELF On average, we have approximately 300 thoughts per minute running through our minds, so it’s normal to experience interruptions during a meditation practice. Simply remind yourself to notice the thoughts, let them come and go, then gently return your attention to your breath. START SIMPLY If sitting for five to 20 minutes each day sounds too daunting, simply begin by taking three deep belly breaths throughout the day, whenever you notice that you’re feeling stressed. This will help calm the nervous system and bring your awareness back to the present moment. DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY Our egos have a way of getting in the way of contentment and happiness sometimes, so embrace joy and have a good giggle. Laughing is yet another way to be mindfully present in the moment while using your breath. JOIN A GROUP Peer pressure can actually be a good thing. By joining a circle or some other meditation group, you intentionally surround yourself with people who meditate and talk about the benefits they experience. That not only helps the participant learn from others, but creates a supportive environment, thereby lowering stress and building resilience. As author and meditation expert Michael Taft points out, that’s a way of slowly and subtly reprogramming yourself to become a long-term meditator. And the group’s schedule will help keep you on track.

Bauer’s children are 16 and 14, and “They do listen,” she says with a wide “because they’re teenagers, they think what grin. I do is a little koo-koo-ca-choo.” So Bauer was surprised to learn recently that her daughter had introduced meditation to her Scott Fagerstrom is a Twin Cites-based freelance writer. Send feedback to theater group at school.


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just u | lipstick





he Minnesota RollerGirls now own another part of Minneapolis: a bold new line of lipsticks, designed in partnership with The Elixery Cosmetic House. Four lipstick shades (hot pink, green, orange, and red) were created to match the bright team colors of the Dagger Dolls, Garda Belts, Atomic Bombshells and Rock-


JANUARY 2014 |

its. A fifth aqua color was made in honor of the All-Stars league. They were released this fall at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul. The Elixery Cosmetic House in Minneapolis is an artisan cosmetic house that specializes in handmade, hand-poured lipstick. Founder Karoline Wells launched the company in early 2012 as a PETA-certified, all-vegan lipstick. The Elixery collaborated with the makeup team of Voltage: Fashion Ampli-

fied 2011 to formulate custom colors for the show. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve also created a lipstick in local hip-hop star Dessaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s name. In addition to lipstick, The Elixery also has a sheer, facebrightening powder. You can find The Elixery lipstick at Ethique Nouveau, The Hive Salon, Honeycomb Salon, i like you, June and Eye of Horus in Mineapolis; North Memorial Gift Shop in Robbinsdale; and North Memorial Pharmacy in Maple Grove.


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health | overcoming trauma

BY LIV LANE Many women remember the birth of their first child as a new beginning; motherhood profoundly changed their lives in the best ways possible. Nearly eleven years ago, becoming a mom changed me, too—but in a difficult way. The birth of my first son was traumatic; a series of mistakes and miscommunication put us both in jeopardy. He was born badly bruised and barely breathing, with a collapsed lung that shifted his heart to the wrong side of his body. And in the process, my heart broke in pieces. Our baby made a miraculous recovery and I should have been elated. I had always been a positive, optimistic person, but when I left that hospital, I felt like a different woman: sad, scared, depleted and alone. For months, I barely ate or slept, and cried at the drop of a hat. I was in a constant state of panic, worried my child would die if I made one tiny mistake. When it was time to go back to work, I managed to put on a happy face at the office, but I was falling apart inside. The mere mention of birth or hospitals filled me with paralyzing fear. I pulled away from friends and abandoned my favorite pastimes. I fantasized about driving off bridges with my baby in tow, just to relieve us from the misery. After more than a year of struggling to keep my head above water, I finally saw a therapist upon my husband’s and parents’ urging. She immediately diagnosed me with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and postpartum depression. Like a tornado that rips through one house and leaves the home next door untouched, she explained, trauma impacts each person differently. My son’s harrowing birth had ripped through me like a tornado, but the therapist gave me hope I could rebuild my life and know joy again. It took two years of talk therapy, hypnotherapy, medication and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) treatments, but I slowly began to heal. As I was emerging from the darkness, I also made a conscious effort to find beauty in my midst every single day. That daily practice forced me to redefine what is beautiful to me,


JANUARY 2014 |

reawakened my intuition and truly changed the way I see the world. Though the journey was rough, I came out stronger and more deeply aware of what brings me joy and gives me a sense of purpose, including being a mom. It was a rebirth for me—a true transformation. I left my job in 2007 and created my own business, dedicated to helping other women find their light again. This year in Savvy, I look forward to sharing the stories of other brave hearts who have paved new paths to lead more purposeful, passionate lives in hopes it inspires you, too, to live happily ever after.

Liv Lane calls herself a Human Sparker, devoted to helping women define and ignite their inner sparks – the traits, talents and passions that light them up from the inside out. Through her soul-stirring classes and speeches, intuitive guidance sessions and uplifting blog, she has inspired thousands of women to embrace their own gifts and find gifts in each day. Find her online at LivLane. com.

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health | essays

Brighter Days

How one Twin Cities woman found vitality after postpartum depression. BY AMANDA MCKNIGHT


stood in my kitchen, pill bottle in hand. My chest felt tight—I was anxious to know if the light blue pill I was about to swallow would complete its assigned task. Could something this small and seemingly insignificant really help restore desperately-needed order to my mind? It was like sending a single traffic cop to clear all the congestion in uptown Minneapolis during rush hour. I was a little skeptical of how one pill could help such a big problem. I had been waging a mental war against my postpartum depression for five months when I finally asked my doctor for a prescription for Bupropion. I had taken the antidepressant, which doubles as a smoking cessation aid, in an attempt to quit smoking in 2008, and I was aware of its positive effects on my mood. But postpartum depression is different from having a few bad days. Living with postpartum depression is like being in the middle of a deep lake with a drowning man. I had been trying to save both of us, but in the end I knew that I needed to first save myself. Otherwise he would take me down with him. ••• Despite the fact that I wore my depression like a wet blanket from January to June, it wasn’t easy for me to detect at first. Perhaps

my fear of mental illness had gotten in the way of my ability to see the obvious. I had known for quite some time that something wasn’t right mentally, but I chalked it up to exhaustion. Every time I put Fiona down for a nap I knew I should be cleaning up around the house or attempting productivity in some way, but my legs would lead me to my bed, where I would collapse for as long as Fiona would let me. That slowly escalated. I took two to three naps a day and skipped showers and meals. My husband would practically beg me to eat some days, but food only made me want to gag. The longer this cycle continued, the deeper into my own head I ventured—and the deeper I ventured—the darker my thoughts became. I became incredibly anxious, and my anxiety always led to thoughts of death. Before Fiona was born, I didn’t think about death very often. But her entrance into the world made me hyperaware of my own mortality. What would happen if my husband or I were to die in a freak accident? Would Fiona even remember me? Would she someday think I abandoned her? Would she know how badly I wanted to watch her grow up and lead a fulfilling life? My anxious mental chatter became progressively worse as May faded into June. I

was constantly overwhelmed with paranoid thoughts: What would I do if Fiona got sick? Got hurt in a car crash? Was diagnosed with a major disability? Died of leukemia? Heck, died at all, ever? I’m willing to bet most first-time moms occasionally have similar thoughts, but my fixation on death and mortality was starting to affect my day-to-day life. I would be relaxing and watching a movie with my husband and suddenly end up crying in the bathroom at the thought of Fiona being injured in a school shooting years down the road. I don’t care what anybody says—it’s not normal to think that way, hormones raging through your body or not. Couple those thoughts with my constant guilt that I wasn’t enjoying motherhood or Fiona’s first months of life the way movies portrayed I should, and it’s no wonder I wore a permanent blank expression on my face. ••• The tipping point came one morning in mid June when I was crying to my husband before he left for work. Crying in the morning had become almost a daily occurrence. I couldn’t cope with having to trudge through another day, especially when that day would inevitably require three to four hours sitting in a rocking chair in a dark room, bouncing a

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health | essays screaming baby who refused to sleep. Inviting friends to visit during the day didn’t help. I was so exhausted I could barely hold a conversation, let alone actually listen to someone and care about what they were saying. Not to mention I resented my childless friends for their freedom and ability to sleep eight uninterrupted hours (and guess what? I felt guilty for thinking that, too). Before he left for work one morning, my husband finally said the words I needed to hear: “You’re not happy. I don’t remember the last time you smiled at me before I left for work.” I spent the rest of that day partially in denial of his words because I didn’t want them to be true. I didn’t want to be the mom with postpartum depression. I didn’t want to feel the incessant waves of guilt and regret and fear and sadness anymore. I wanted to be as happy as the families in diaper commercials look—happy that I had been blessed with the healthy, beautiful baby girl I had always wanted. The fact that I wasn’t happy only added to the mound of guilt that tightened in my chest each day. Dealing with guilt has never been my strong suit, but I was beginning to feel guilty for nearly every emotion and thought I had. Even when I had moments of clarity and my mental chatter paused, I felt guilty for not feeling that content with life all the time. These are the things very few people tell new or expecting moms. And until I started reading online about other mothers’ struggles with postpartum depression, I was convinced I was the only mother in the world who was feeling the way I felt. I loved Fiona the whole time, but my anxiety and fears and guilt were getting in the way of me loving her the way I so badly wanted. I felt like I was my own roadblock and I didn’t know how to remove myself from

Living with postpartum depression is like being in the middle of a deep lake with a drowning man. I had been trying to save both of us, but in the end I knew that I needed to first save myself.

changed drastically. I was so physically and mentally exhausted for the first five months of Fiona’s life that I have very few solid memories from that time, but I remind myself not to feel guilty. Postpartum depression is not something to feel guilty about or keep hidden. It is something to face head-on and conquer. If someone had told me in June that by October I would be working full-time again and feeling truly fulfilled by my life and my family, I would have responded with the same blank expression I wore on my face for five months. For many months, it was impossible to believe that I would ever feel better. But my hormones settled back down eventually. My mind stopped racing. My anxiety calmed itself. I learned to smile again—and how can I help it when Fiona comes bounding across the room to me, all the while babbling, “Mama! Mama!” It took me half a year to come into my own as a new mother. I basically spent those first six months in complete shock. And, of course, there are still shocking moments—like when I forgot to throw away a dirty diaper and found Fiona crawling through the living room with poop up her entire arm. Clearly my life is far from perfection, and I am far from being the perfect mother. But with a little awareness on my part, the insight of my husband and the support of my doctor, I was able to plod my way through the mental mud and come out on the other side, happier with motherhood than any diaper commercial could ever portray.

the road. After my husband told me how obviously unhappy I was, it was time to be proactive about confronting my struggle. ••• I had never been on antidepressants specifically for depression and wasn’t sure what to expect. But after just a couple weeks on Bupropion, my mind began compartmentalizing my thoughts the way it used to—neatly and not dripping with anxiety. The mind chatter that had plagued me for months turned to an occasional dull roar. My chest felt less tense and my heart felt full when my daughter giggled. I started smiling at my husband in the morning before he left for work. I was still physically exhausted, but the antidepressants cleared my head enough that I was able to choose housework or a hobby over a nap. I even made an effort to stop skipping meals and to be showered by the time my husband came home from work. There were (and still are) days when my mind would run away with itself into anxietyladen thoughts of tragic accidents, terminal illness and death, but those thoughts and the guilt that came with them became less Amanda McKnight writes for Savvy and Southwest Newspapers, which publishes Savvy. frequent as the summer continued. Since June, my outlook on life has Send feedback to





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health | skin



ave you ever heard the phrase, “You are what you eat”? You may have scoffed at your parents if they ever said that to you as a kid, but the phrase actually has some truth to it, specifically when it comes to your skin. Kathy Maxwell of Just Skin by KM holds the belief that “what is going on inside will always show on the outside.” Maxwell has worked as an esthetician since 1999 and has a degree in nutrition. She is passionate about treating the skin in a holistic manner and sees patients in two locations—The Wellness Center in Minneapolis and Fusion LifeSpa in Deephaven. Logic dictates that your skin will be



JANUARY 2014 |

for your skin


greasier if you eat greasy, fried foods. But did you know you can fight complexion problems with skin superfoods? You don’t necessarily need to wage war on your skin with salicylic acid and a loofah every morning or resort to cosmetic surgery to tighten up those emerging wrinkles. In a recent interview, Maxwell gave Savvy the low-down about which foods are naturally good for the skin and why. The best part? Most of them are delicious and easily incorporated into a healthy diet.

elasticity and cause wrinkling and sagging. “You can never go wrong with any of the berries,” Maxwell said. “Those are super antioxidants.”



2. BANANAS Not only do bananas help prevent cramping and nasty nighttime Charley horses, but they also help reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. Maxwell suggested incorporating an occasional banana into the diet if under-eye bags are becoming an issue.

According to Maxwell, berries are antiRaw almonds and Brazil nuts are great oxidants for the skin. They help draw out snacks that will reduce the signs of aging. free radicals, which break down collagen and Brazil nuts are high in silica, which strength-

ens the collagen in the skin and reduces wrinkles, according to Maxwell. Almonds are also high in Vitamin E, which helps create a healthy shine on the skin.

4. 80% CACAO DARK CHOCOLATE Although it is important to avoid processed sugars that create inflammation and cause wrinkles, certain kinds of dark chocolate can act as an antioxidant for the skin. According to Maxwell, dark chocolate with 80 or more percent cacao in it can be good for the body. Guilt-free indulgence! (In small portions, of course).

5. WATER Just like with internal organs, hydration is the key to keeping your skin healthy. “What you do is you take your weight, cut that in half, and that’s how many ounces of water I should drink a day to sustain my hydration level,” she said. So a 150-pound person should drink 75 ounces of water each day. “The reason you should drink a lot of water is because the last organ to receive water is your skin,” Maxwell said.

Amanda McKnight writes for Savvy and Southwest Newspapers, which publishes Savvy. Send feedback to amcknight@





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love & life | energy

Avoid Cubicle Coma

Around this time of year, everyone starts running a little low on time. It’s hard to fit in a workout when you have to think about work, house chores, your kids, relationships, shopping, holiday parties…the list can be never ending. If you’re one of the millions of people stuck sitting in a cubicle all day it can be especially difficult to get up and moving throughout the day. Bert Parker, head trainer at Forte Fitness in Minneapolis, said it’s possible to squeeze in mini-workouts throughout the day, though. Not only will these exercises have you feeling better about yourself, but they will also help you keep your head in the game when you need a boost of energy. “In the afternoon when you might want


JANUARY 2014 |

to go for a Red Bull, getting up and moving around is going to give you more energy than a jacked-up-with-sugar Red Bull will give you for five minutes,” Parker said. “It will help with joints and with bone density.” Parker recommends these exercises be done shortly after getting to work in the morning and later in the afternoon when you are at an energy low. Don’t exercise within an hour after lunch as your body needs to digest.

1. CHAIR SQUATS “We have a lot of people come in who are stuck at their desk and maybe only have a half hour for lunch,” Parker said. “But you can do simple chair squats. You’ll feel the burn in your hamstrings and your quads and glutes.”

Use these three exercises to keep up your energy levels. BY AMANDA MCKNIGHT

To do a chair squat, sit in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Keeping your back straight and not using anything for leverage, stand up and sit back down. Repeat that 15 to 20 times a couple times a day.

2. SHOULDER RAISES OR BICEP CURLS Start keeping a resistance band or small dumbbells in your cubicle and do a couple sets of shoulder raises or bicep curls throughout the day. Parker said a 32-ounce water bottle will also do the trick if you don’t have a band or dumbbells available. “Thirty-two ounces of water weighs about five pounds,” Parker said. “You can take that and do front or side raises.”

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Minnesota’s Greatest 3. LUNGES “We understand cubes aren’t the biggest spaces in the world, but we recommend lunges at your desk,” he said. “Take seven to ten minutes and do this. It’s obviously going to promote blood flow to different areas of the body.” Push-ups and crunches are also good options to keep your routine fresh. You could also do wall-sits in your cubicle starting with 30 seconds and build up the time as you go on. “Keep it pretty simple so it’s not too much to think about when you’re sitting at your desk,” Parker said.

Amanda McKnight writes for Savvy and Southwest Newspapers, which publishes Savvy. Send feedback to

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love & life | success in 2014

A Setup for



Follow through on your New Year’s resolutions with tips from local life coaches.


hen it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, it’s easy to feel pressured into the conventional, all-encompassing promises thousands of people make to themselves each year—like vowing to lose weight, eat healthier, be more productive or quit smoking. While living a healthier lifestyle and quitting smoking are good goals to have, they are also very big goals to have, which can make them difficult to achieve. Perhaps this year it’s time to take a different approach to making your resolutions. Life Coach and Yoga Educator Laura Erdman-Luntz tells her clients to start small and build up to larger goals over time. “Most people set resolutions from a place of disgust, like ‘I’m so sick of being overweight, broke or alone,’” she says. “They then shoot for the moon like everything is going to change on Jan. 1. You’re doomed to failure when you’re focused on what you don’t want, and then you try and make all these changes at once.” As with any annual event, the start of a new year presents an opportunity to reflect on the last year and make goals for the future based on the assessment of the past. Erdman-Luntz encourages her clients to slow down and reflect on their lives by asking: “If this is the end of your life looking


JANUARY 2014 |

back, what would help you say you left the heat relaxes muscles, and yoga is a recipe for relaxation and meditation, she says. mark you wanted?” “Especially when it comes to clearing the mind, hot yoga allows me to deal with FOCUSING INWARD all the uncontrolled situations that I deal Life Coach Beth Freschi believes relaxwith in life,” Bork says. “It lets me … look ation exercises give people the time and mental at them in a different way because my head clarity to reflect in a more personal way. is not as clouded.” “Left to our own devices, we get caught up Mental clarity is key if someone wants in tasks and it’s hard to do any contemplation to spend time reflecting on their life or on or reflection,” Freschi says. “Relaxation brings you inward. It centers you, and you can get to a certain situation, Freschi says. a point where you can really think.” “People do have those breakthroughs Purposeful relaxation can be tough for when they relax,” Freschi says. “You let some people, especially Type A personalities some of that mind chatter quiet. It creates that prefer to stay on the go. But Freschi an environment where you can be creative, says once her clients begin their breathing solve a problem, be more focused.” exercises and shed some stress from the day, relaxation becomes much easier. SLOW DOWN FOR SUCCESS Zsuzsi Bork, a registered yoga teacher Not only is it important to focus inward for Corepower Yoga, uses hot yoga as her when choosing a resolution or future goal, method of reflection and relaxation. Because but it’s important to focus on the positive the temperature is set to 105 degrees with aspects of that goal. about 40 percent humidity, Bork says she has “I would say what would be successful to focus solely on herself and her breathing isn’t, ‘I want to lose 10 pounds.’ It’s: ‘I am or the heat will exhaust her. excited to have an energetic body. I am “You have to focus on yourself,” Bork excited to feel good walking up the stairs,’” explains. “I’m able to calm my own head Erdman-Luntz explains. “It’s a whole differdown the more I focus on myself.” ent perspective. It’s not the disgust in your The focus on breathing, especially in body (that’s driving you); it’s the excitement styles of yoga where students are instructed about the vibrancy.” to breathe through their nose rather than She suggests breaking the resolution into their mouths, has a calming effect on people. smaller, more manageable pieces and tracking Couple that calming effect with the fact that progress throughout the year. Erdman-Luntz

HOW TO SET SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS “You figure out what you want a year from now, then you figure out the goals that will get you there, then you figure out the action steps that will get you to the goals,” Erdman-Luntz says. Here are some more of her tips for being successful in fulfilling goals and resolutions: Make an action plan. Write down your goals and the steps you will take to meet that goal and reflect on that list often. Track the progress. Document the progress you’re making on a resolution weekly or monthly in a journal. Don’t be discouraged by setbacks. Setbacks don’t equal failure; you can always keep trying. Stay motivated. Try making a vision board with quotes and photos that inspire you. Tell people what you’re up to. You’re far more likely to follow through on something when other people know about it. That way, they can hold you accountable.

notices that people have more success with their resolutions when they set a larger goal and ask themselves, “What part of this can I cultivate in one year?” “You don’t have to do it all on Jan. 1. You have 12 months. Make a small change (at first), and when that becomes easy, add on. Every month look back and reflect,” she suggests. Erdman-Luntz says her specialty as a life coach is helping people change. Because human habits are so deeply rooted in a person’s personality, it is imperative to stay inspired and not take on too much. “It’s not failure … to go too far too fast,” Erdman-Luntz reminds many of her clients. “It’s OK to slow down and to do things more methodically.”

Amanda McKnight writes for Savvy and Southwest Newspapers, which publishes Savvy. Send feedback to amcknight@

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love & life | astrology

savvy sun signs


ARIES MARCH 21 - APRIL 19 Your growing edge this month: Remembering that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Your patience is tried but you rely on important relationships to show you how to solve your problems in a more graceful way. Your ruling planet, Mars, transits through the sign of partnership until July, so don’t expect these lessons to end any time soon. The first half of the month may be the most stimulating for you; from conflict resolution to passionate creativity, you are asked to step up in a new way. How do you regain inner peace? Remember those tools on the 8th and 16th. Things are going your way on the 21st and 22nd. Good communication is yours on the 24th.

TAURUS APRIL 20 - MAY 20 Your growing edge this month: Appreciating how good you’ve got it. You excel at planning ahead for a rainy day. Now you get to enjoy your reserves while others may be nearing the end of theirs. Gratitude and pleasure help you to know where true value lies. With your ruling planet, Venus, moving retrograde through an earth sign you benefit from reflecting on what your goals are for the next few months to a year. Do you feel abundance or scarcity? Where is the balance point? Good days for you to explore this are Jan. 9 and 10. Open your senses to all that is good in life on the 11th. Venus reaches the heart of her journey and you have the opportunity to further your own goals in life.

GEMINI MAY 21 - JUNE 21 Your growing edge this month: Appreciating the value of serious commitment. You have the opportunity this month to apply yourself to manifesting an important goal. Your usual skill at adapting to changing demands needs to be tabled for a brief span of time so you get in touch with your bottom line. What do you need to happen for your happiness? Use your charm and inventiveness to achieve success. When things are stressful during the first week of January, remember you’ve got the skills to come out ahead. The 6th and 7th are inspiring days for you and it will be hard to hold you back on the 11th through the 13th; enjoy brainstorming creative projects.

CANCER JUNE 22 - JULY 22 Your growing edge this month: To integrate your caring heart with a recognition of your own ambitions. Circumstances outside your control have been making life difficult lately. The challenges may peak this month and taper off by the end. You need to realize that your real strength is showing others how to be vulnerable while standing up for yourself. You are learning these lessons big time. You will be making important decisions the first week of January. Don’t get distracted by what others want you to do. The Full Moon is in your sign on the 15th. This is a powerful time for self-understanding. Claim your strength to move past obstructions on the last day of the month; then congratulate yourself.

LEO JULY 23 - AUGUST 22 Your growing edge this month: Account for the power of ego. A healthy ego gives us the ability to put ourselves first when we need to and to step back from the spotlight when it isn’t our turn to shine. You may notice ego conflicts during the first week of January. Your gift in this situation is to ease these tensions through encouraging a lighthearted approach. Are you up for the challenge? You learn about the importance of commitment on the 11th. This could help you in your long-range goals. When the Sun enters Aquarius, the sign opposite yours, on the 19th, you begin a month of finding the right balance between your personal expression and collective expression.

VIRGO AUGUST 23 - SEPTEMBER 22 Your growing edge this month: Believing in yourself. The stars are lining up to affirm that your gifts are vital. You have the right blend of commitment and integrity to help others get through difficult times. From the New Moon on Jan. 1 to Jan. 3, notice how you make a difference. On the 6th and 7th, you may get the recognition you deserve. Start with appreciating yourself. The real gift isn’t what you do for others, but is your desire to be a force for healing and wholeness. When your ruling planet, Mercury, enters Aquarius on the 11th, your creativity turns technological. What improvements to the system can you make?

JANUARY 2014 |

love & life | astrology Teri Parsley Starnes is a professional astrologer living in Minneapolis. Her monthly horoscope is written exclusively for Savvy readers. Learn more about Starnes’ business, Starsdance Astrology, at

Read more in astrology online at

LIBRA SEPTEMBER 23 - OCTOBER 23 Your growing edge this month: To redefine how you want to be treated by others. The good news is that when you insist others play fair with you, you are also learning how to stick up for yourself. You feel positive about setting long-range goals this month. Don’t hold back just because there are others who may question you. You have the opportunity to blend self-interest with a desire to bring harmony to the world. Can you do it? Gather self-confidence the 7th through the 11th of the month, then apply those feelings to any problems that surface at the Full Moon on the 16th and the following day. Things start to go much smoother for you after that. Stay open to inspiration the last week of the month.

SCORPIO OCTOBER 24 - NOVEMBER 22 Your growing edge this month: Expressing the confidence of knowing what you know. At times, it can seem like the world just doesn’t get you. That’s OK because you have a secret track to knowing what is really going on, and that wisdom serves you well this month when others around you are losing their cool. It hasn’t been easy recently acquiring this knowledge, so celebrate it. The first two weeks of the month may be more tense than usual. You may be called on to listen to a friend’s deepest fears, or help another through a crisis. Remember that you don’t have to solve the problem; just be there to listen. Give yourself time to recharge on Jan. 23 through Jan. 25. Sparks may fly on the last day of the month. Be ready.

SAGITTARIUS NOVEMBER 22 - DECEMBER 21 Your growing edge this month: Avoiding jumping to conclusions. When you are a big-picture thinker like you are, it is hard not to form strong opinions. Notice when your beliefs are helpful to your relationships and goals and when they get in the way. Your ruling planet, Jupiter, is taking a lot of heat this month. If you are feeling threatened, what is your natural response? Try to think it through and make sure that it is what you want to do. Times where this dynamic may prove strong are the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 19th and 31st of the month. January ends on an upbeat note for you. The 26th and 27th are days you feel like your old self.

CAPRICORN DECEMBER 22 - JANUARY 19 Your growing edge this month: Fully committing to your goals. This is your month. Although you have a lot going on and may be challenged to achieve everything you want, don’t hold back trying. The New Moon on New Year’s Day is in your sign, giving you the extra energy to surprise even yourself. As Venus travels retrograde through Capricorn this month, you find a new way to appeal to others, making your dreams a win/win situation for you and them. There will be challenges, however, and you get great perspective at the Full Moon on the 15th. Don’t forget to add empathy to your plan for success. The 28th and 29th are great days to reflect on what you are learning.

AQUARIUS JANUARY 20 - FEBRUARY 18 Your growing edge this month: Developing empathy for those who are afraid of change. You’ve been at the vanguard of innovation for a while. Your vision for a better world keeps getting stronger but you may need to account for how others are feeling about the uncertainty that change brings. With Mars in Libra, you appreciate how compromise can move you farther along to manifesting your vision. Notice your reaction to conflict during the first part of the month. Your perspective could be valuable on Jan. 2 and Jan. 3. Open to inspiration and new ideas after Mercury enters your sign on the 11th. The last week of January is a great week for beginning new projects. You are on fire.

PISCES FEBRUARY 19 - MARCH 20 Your growing edge this month: Integrating what you feel with what others understand. You are more aware that different people have different ways to make sense of the world. Some rely on emotional intelligence and others use their intellect. The more you can understand both of these methods, the easier it is to get along. This simple truth is core to the lessons you are learning right now. Emotional wisdom is strong for you on the 4th, 5th and 31st of this month. You are challenged to switch to the other way on the 3rd, 5th, 8th, and 19th. Notice the shift between these ways to perceive. You are able to create new, meaningful connections with others when you adapt to them. | JANUARY 2014


love & life | intuition


YOUR INTUITION with Jodi Livon


odi Livon, author of The Happy Medium, intuitive coach and resident psychic at Twin Cities Live, says everyone is intuitive. Each month readers ask Livon about their questions around intuition and all things supernatural. In this month’s edition, readers ask about skepticism, access to intuition, and tragedy. Why are some people so skeptical of energy, intuition and spiritual matters? Most things metaphysical are yet to be considered mainstream. It’s not uncommon to fear the unknown, and it can be intimidating when a peer knows something, or appears to have access to valued knowledge, that we ourselves do not. When people are afraid, they shut down. And let’s face it, there are some pretty “out there” people in every walk of life. I am happy to say, those in the creative field, especially in my line of work, are some of the more colorful! When terms like ghosts and karmic debt, or any kind of debt are tossed into the mix, it’s easy to be spooked. But knowledge is power. Once we understand our own intuitive nature, that it has always been at our side and part of our reaction to our life circumstances, the fear naturally dissipates.


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Why can’t we get intuition all of the time? Why does it stop and start? Are there better ways to work with it to use it more consistently? Our intuition is available to us all of the time, but reaching the space to access it—to feel, see and hear—takes practice. We need to silence the blaring inner static of our mind and give our ego some time off to hear the voice of our soul. Our soul is the voice of intuition. When we are anxious or angry, our efforts go into trying to control the situation or we end up feeling like a victim to it. We launch ourselves into a space of fear and we shut down. Way down. In order to open back up, we need to literally lift our spirits. Uplifting thoughts and sentiments shared raise the spirit. So does spending time with those who love and accept us. Making this a daily practice will help our intuitive voice sing more consistently. My boyfriend and his brother lost four family members and two dear friends within four years. My question is, how could God let this happen to one family? What sadness your boyfriend and his family had to endure, my heart goes out to all of you. Your question isn’t one that can be wholly answered by anyone, with

the exception of God. Perhaps, however, I can offer some insight. As a medium, it’s my understanding that after we die, we’re offered a far more expansive picture of our life, and a clearer explanation of what happened. We’re able to ascertain how our reaction to each event either darkened or lightened our spirit. Clearly there are tragic happenings that come out of nowhere, and feel like an emotional tsunami. The best we can do is diligently work through the heartbreak and love even bigger than we had before. Send your questions for Jodi Livon to Savvy Editor in Chief Britt Johnsen and your question may appear in an upcoming edition of the magazine. Livon can’t answer every question but she’s grateful to receive all of them. Johnsen is at or (952) 345-6387.

Jodi Livon is an author, resident psychic at Twin Cities Live, and she’s an intuitive coach for the business sector. She also offers readings for individuals. Her website is

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January 2014  
January 2014