PERSONAL INTELLIGENCE ~ What does it mean?

John D. Mayer, PhD defines personal intelligence as “the capacity to reason about personality and to use personality and personal information to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience.”

Personal intelligence is simply the ability to understand ourselves and know who we are. People who possess personal intelligence have a better foundation to evaluate others as well as acknowledging their own flaws and limitations. If you possess personal intelligence, you’ll have a better understanding of other people’s behavior. You also have a pretty good idea how others perceive you.

Of course, our perception of people is different than who they actually are. Personal intelligence is the key to distinguish between them.

If you believe you already know the answer, you will not be able to judge the evidence objectively. Instead you will accept the evidence that supports the opinion you already hold. If you are an employer, you’ll most likely hire someone you are attracted to before even viewing the candidate’s resume and professional skills because you’ll perceive the candidate in a positive light. And if you don’t like the candidate at first sight, you’ll reject him or her because you’ve perceived them in a negative light. Both can have unpleasant consequences. Our perceptions determine our own reality. It all depends on how we choose to perceive.

Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t an easy thing to do.

John D. Mayer, PhD says: “Personal intelligence allows to see ourselves and others with greater fidelity – and this fidelity includes an understanding of our own fallibility. Seeing ourselves clearly isn’t always easy. Information about who we are is “hot” and emotionally charged – that heat can warm or scald us. We may focus on a personal flaw so much that we lose perspective on the broader contours of life. Its easy to turn away at times, and indeed, we all do. Yet if we work over time to learn a bit about ourselves we may become more accurate at self-understanding and this, in turn, can help us change for the better. Because although many aspects of our personalities persist over time, there is also opportunity for change.”

Human beings must try to acknowledge their errors (errors that may harm others) if they really want to improve themselves. This also applies to those who like to play the victim and lash out at others (including those who try to help them). They live in fear, bombarded by painful memories that they now regret. They should acknowledge that humans are fallible (including themselves) instead of targeting and harming innocent people.

“There is something to that old saying that hate injures the hater, not the hated.” ~Peace Pilgrim

The answer is honest self reflection. That person you see in the mirror is the only one responsible for your negative state of mind. Hate only breeds more hate. It’s a downward spiral of self destruction. It’s never too late to change, to become a better human being.

The way we treat others is a reflection of our souls.
Karma is real and it will visit you in the manner you deserve.

Spring is a time for renewal and new beginnings. Begin now!

                                         PHOTO CREDIT: SHI

“This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” ~Peace Pilgrim

Feed Your Soul

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Stephen King

Lately, I found myself reading more than writing. At times, my writing is painfully slow. I’m a fast reader and have always been. Now, I feel my brain suffers from web overload. Does this sound familiar? I also have a feeling that I’m reading at a superficial level when I am on the Internet. Sometimes, I miss the days when I used to read articles in print. There was something special about that. I remember I was one of the most prolific readers at my university. It’s fascinating how adaptable we humans are. How incredibly good we are in developing new habits through repetition. How did we go from reading in print to skimming headlines and clicking from one page to the next in a matter of seconds? No doubt that the new technology is altering our brains profoundly. We spend considerable time in front of computer screens. I’m not even mentioning the time many people spend in front of the television. Personally, I don’t watch much TV, which is perhaps a good thing. After all, there are only so many hours in the day.

The internet continues to be a major part of our lives yet finding a mental/emotional balance is certainly a challenge. Our brains are vulnerable to bad habits. We should schedule regular breaks.

Now, I visit the local library to read magazines. I notice the pleasant/natural feeling I have while turning the page the good old fashioned way. I feel more inspired to keep writing. I feel I think faster and focus better. I leave the library feeling joyful, refreshed and recharged.

Dean Ornish, a clinical professor at UCSF and founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, says: “Your genes are not your fate.”
He also says:“When you live healthier, eat better, exercise, and love more, your brain cells actually increase.”

I believe the key is to integrate our resources. Making healthy life style choices will boost our brain power and listening to our souls will feed our creativity.

The mind speaks. The soul listens.

Keep it positive

“Choose the positive. You have choice, you are master of your attitude, choose the positive, the constructive. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.” ~Bruce Lee

I’ve observed three main character traits that I believe are self-destructive in social networking and building relationships.

1. Cynicism
Cynics are known as suspicious, paranoid and mistrustful of others. Scientists categorize this character trait as hostility. Cynics are not necessarily bad people. They read into people’s behaviors, calling it a gut instinct and being suspicious of even a kind gesture.

Where does all this suspicion stem from? It stems from being paranoid and mistrustful of others and has deep roots in their past experiences. I’ve learned that those with low self-esteem (disguised as confident people) display this character trait.

2. Lack of self-control:

Some people react to every possible tweet, post and they over-analyze. Some others get angry if they don’t receive a response or if they receive a response that differs from their point of view. Then, they go into the attack mode. They say words that they will regret later, which is unfortunately too late. Most feel ashamed of it but their ego won’t allow them to apologize.

Restraint is very important for online relationships as well as in real life. However, unlike real life, what you say online is forever. Don’t think that those private messages, phone calls, Google hang outs or Skype chats are private.

3. Envy, Jealousy and Gossip

Unfortunately, some people, especially women seem to be driven by envy and jealousy. Some of them go as far as telling lies, gossiping and spreading rumors. Lack of purpose in their lives is perhaps the main reason for such viciousness. It’s self destructive and destroy others who are subjected to bullying. It hurts all parties yet mostly the person who is doing it. Yes, I do believe in Karma.

When you tweet: “Be Kind, Be Real”, extend it outside twitter and apply it in your life. Your words have little meaning if your actions contradict them.

Some friends ask me how I remain positive no matter what happens. I’ve learned that positivity depends vitally how I think. Just like life, positivity is fragile. Take a moment to notice your surroundings in social media and ask yourself: How does social media benefit me and others? What is going right for me here?

“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.”~Carl Sagan

Think of positivity like a beautiful color palette; love, joy, serenity, hope, inspiration, interest, gratitude and awe.

If your social media experience doesn’t seem to serve you well, maybe you weigh it down with self-doubt and cynicism. Be open. Be sincere. Be grateful. Be appreciative. Thinking in this manner can ignite positivity and puts a smile on your face. Be sure to take a few moments each day, to reply and interact with your friends. Positivity broadens our minds and outlook. Positivity enables us to attract people whom we mutually benefit from and helps us see unlimited possibilities around us. It makes us stronger to cope with adversity.

Positivity can change your life and it can change your communities. It can create a more compassionate and harmonic community.

More than once, I’ve been asked this question: How do I deal with rude and negative people? My mind doesn’t embrace combat and war like tactics. My mind simply thinks of peace. I don’t de-humanize people who wronged me as my enemies. I rather think of them as unfortunate small-minded people with big egos who are suffering and lashing out. In my thoughts I extend them love and compassion. Even though they tried to harm me, I still find qualities about them that I can appreciate. Their negativity belongs to them, not me. Last but not least, I see them as teachers in disguise. I’ve experienced this in the past year. I still came out ahead so can you. You can disarm the negativity.

“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.” ~Bruce Lee

Kindness and positivity nurture each other. In my experience, kind people are focused on how they can make a difference and how they can lend a hand. By boosting kindness, we also increase our positivity. We are more compassionate towards others even under adverse circumstances. By helping others you will help yourself. I haven’t met anyone who reached his or her potential by themselves. Connect with others. You’ll notice an increased positivity and in turn will attract positivity. So interact with others everyday no matter what. Open your heart and mind.



Mayor Cory Booker ~ Food stamp challenge

“Our task must be to free ourselves…by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

Mayor of Newark, NJ, Cory Booker is helping to create the spiritual revolution. Today, Mr. Booker started the food stamp Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) challenge, A Movement Toward Food Justice!

For one entire week, he’ll be living on $30 of groceries to raise awareness about how challenging it is to live on food stamps.

This afternoon, the Newark Mayor tweeted his #SNAPchallenge food for the week:

Note: NO Coffee

Mr.Booker who is a vegetarian, continues to inspire us all.

Watch this video to learn the #SNAPchallenge guidelines:

Follow Cory Booker on Twitter
Connect with Cory Booker on Facebook

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gratitude is the fairest blossom which springs from the soul. ~Henry Ward Beecher

The essence of a Thanksgiving celebration is our need to connect with loved ones, and to express gratitude for all our blessings.

The kitchen is the heart of a home. In cooking, we move beyond ourselves into loving and compassionate care of our loved ones and friends.

Cooking a Thanksgiving meal is a wonderful opportunity to share our love and practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a source of happiness. Let’s cook with our whole being. Let’s taste the abundance and blessings of the moment. Let’s be grateful.

You don’t have to sacrifice your healthy diet on Thanksgiving.
Here are my healthy Thanksgiving recipes that are both delicious and low in calories.

Happy Thanksgiving!



1 turkey rinsed well and patted dry. You should wash your hands, cutting boards, utensils, counter tops and surfaces with hot soapy water after handling turkey.
1 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, plus 3 sprigs
8 cloves garlic, minced
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 lemons, poked thoroughly with fork
Salt and ground pepper
1 quart apple cider


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Remove packet of giblets and neck from cavity. Rinse and refrigerate.
3. Turn turkey on it’s back.
4. In a small bowl, combine parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, garlic, 4 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Using your fingers, loosen skin of breast and around thighs, and rub herbal mixture under skin of both breast and thighs.
5. Fill cavity with lemons and rosemary sprigs.
6. Pour apple cider in bottom of roasting pan. Set roasting rack on top. Place turkey onto rack, breast side up. Rub turkey generously with remaining oil; season with salt and pepper.
7. Cover turkey loosely with foil. Roast about 1 hour. Uncover, basting frequently with pan juices and roast until the thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh reads 170°F. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let stand about 30 minutes before carving.



1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 sugar pumpkins (4 pounds each), peeled, seeded, and cut in 1 1/2-inch chunks
10 tablespoons grape seed oil
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper
5 tablespoons pure maple syrup
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 pounds arugula
12 ounces feta cheese


1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
2. Spread pepitas on a large baking sheet; toast in oven, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
3. On a large baking sheet, toss pumpkin with 5 tablespoons oil, red pepper, salt and black pepper. Roast, until pumpkin is tender, about 30 minutes.
3. Drizzle pumpkin with 2 tablespoons maple syrup; toss well. Return to oven and continue roasting, until pumpkin is glazed, 10 minutes more.
4. In a large bowl, add lime juice, minced garlic, mustard and remaining maple syrup. Add remaining oil while whisking constantly. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add arugula and pumpkin; toss well.
6. To serve, sprinkle salad with toasted pepitas and crumbled feta cheese.

Serves 8



6 tablespoons grape seed oil
4 medium leeks, white part only
1 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced 1/8-inch thick
2 pounds apples (preferably Gala or Fuji), peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch thick slices
Salt and ground pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add leeks and 3 tablespoons water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, until the leeks are brown, about 8-10 minutes. Add sherry and sage; cook about 3 more minutes. Set aside.
3. In a large baking dish, arrange squash in layers. Spread leeks evenly over the squash.
4. Arrange apples in layers over the leeks. Brush apples with remaining oil. Cover with foil. Bake about 45 minutes.
5. Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake about 10 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. To serve, garnish with sage leaves.

Serves 8



2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt and ground pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Arrange sweet potatoes in a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
3. Combine maple syrup, butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper in small bowl.
4. Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes; toss well.
5. Cover with foil. Bake the sweet potatoes for about 15 minutes. Uncover, stir and bake until tender, about 50 minutes more.

Serves 8



6 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
5 tablespoons grape seed oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper.
3. Spread squash chunks evenly on a large baking sheet. Roast, stirring occasionally, until all squash chunks are tender, about 30 minutes or more.
4. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook gently, about 1 minute.
5. Toss the roasted squash with the garlic and chopped parsley.

Serves 8



3 tablespoons grape seed oil
4 shallots, chopped
2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Salt and ground pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallots, Brussels sprouts; cook about 4 minutes. Stir in broth, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until the Brussels sprouts are tender, about 15 minutes.

Serves 8

Bon Appetite!

Simplicity and Happiness

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. ~Leonardo da Vinci

Have you noticed how many people are discontent and dissatisfied with their life situation? I’ve seen people throw away good relationships and jobs (in an unrealistic search for a perfect partner or job). I’ve witnessed friends buying things that they really don’t need in order to fill the emptiness they feel in their lives.

I have traveled extensively. I noticed how content those with less are. I remember the beautiful, smiling faces of people in the country side of Portugal, northern Spain and Turkey. They looked happy and healthy. They made their own bread, yogurt, butter, cheese and grew their own vegetables. I still remember the wonderful flavors of the seafood, vegetables and county bread. They didn’t have cell phones, nor computers. They were content with their lives. The women didn’t wear any make up. Their beauty was glowing from within. Happiness does that to people.

It is not easy to determine what brings joy. But, one thing is for sure: There is more to life than chasing after money and possessions.

I know this: When we are content, we are also happy. When we are happy, we have more energy. We are more productive. We are healthier. We have a stronger immune system. The best part is, happiness is contagious. You pass it on to others.

I don’t believe happiness is biologically-driven. I believe happiness is a choice. And I don’t see any correlation between money and happiness. I’ve met rich people who have it all but are not happy. During my travels, I’ve also met poor people who were the happiest people ever.

I’ve also found that people who volunteer and do good in their communities are happier. Reaching out and giving is always fulfilling.

12 ways to be happier:

Appreciation and Gratitude: Be thankful for what you have. Send out a message to the Universe that you’re grateful for your life. Appreciate the things you already have. If you have a TV and are still looking for a new one, sit back and think: Do you really need another TV? If you have a reliable car and your eyes are on your neighbor’s newly purchased car, think again: Do you really need another car?

Recharge and replenish your reserves: Whether you like spending time on a beach, hiking up a mountain or listening to music, give yourself some time everyday to boost your energy (and your spirit).

Cherish your memories: Remembering beautiful moments from your past will refresh you and put a smile on your face. I think of my beautiful travels and those wonderful people and places I’ve had the privilege to share my life experience with.

Don’t dwell on the negative: It’s counter-productive and leads to sadness and depression. Move forward not backward. Your (negative) past does not define you. The past is gone. The present is what ever you make it and the future is unknown.

Be a giver: In my experience generous people tend to be happier. It’s human nature. We enjoy sharing. We enjoy giving. I’ve been a giver all my life. I don’t publicly boast about it as it’s between me and the universe. Giving gives back. The universe rewards good deeds.

Indulge yourself with your favorite snack: I don’t know why but Serotonin levels drop considerably after noon. I found eating a snack that is rich in B vitamins, makes me feel upbeat. Dark chocolate or sesame seed toasted seaweed is an excellent choice!

Exercise: Walk, hike, bike, dance or lift weights. Yoga and Meditation seems to have a calming effect on the brain and nervous system.

Keep your home tidy, organized and clean: Your life will be more pleasant and efficient.

Declutter: Less is always more. When you clear your cluttered home, you’ll feel a sense of satisfaction. It’s also a great stress reliever. Keep things simple. Simplifying your life can have a lasting and meaningful impact on your well-being.

Start cooking. Start baking: These are simple pleasures in life. One of my happiest moments is when I create different dishes in the kitchen, while listening to music and sipping a glass of wine.

Start growing herbs, plants or start a vegetable garden I know people who do this, not only do they eat home-grown organic veggies and herbs, it brings them joy. Being in touch with nature will do that to you. Even if you live in an apartment just like me, you can still have some plants and herbs on your balcony.

Invite your friends for dinner or lunch: Nothing is as more enjoyable as sharing conversation with a delicious meal and wine with your friends.

Life is not perfect. We will never understand the secrets of our world. Life is a journey, not a destination. Why not enjoy the ride?

What makes you happy?

Multitasking vs Doing one thing at a time

Our Modern life has lots of advantages but is it really good for our health?

The other day, I was telling my husband that I am overwhelmed with the number of social media sites I am on and the overload of information.

I’ve always been good at multitasking. I find myself multitasking on my social media sites as well. On my iMac, I can have several tabs running simultaneously(sometimes I have 10-14 tabs open). I can tweet, chat, poke, pin, watch music videos, email and work with my own projects. I have a good memory. But why should I strain my memory?

Let’s face it: It takes a lot of energy to switch between tasks.

I’ve found out that multitasking strains the brain. Once, after several hours on the computer, I was in the kitchen preparing our dinner. My husband saw something on TV he thought would interest me, and asked me to look at it. When my attention was diverted to him and the image on TV, I burned my hand as I was removing our veggie lasagna from the oven. Apparently, I couldn’t concentrate on two visual tasks at the same time.

I believe the prolonged stress of multitasking: a.k.a doing too many things at once, can literally wear out our brain, memory, sleep patterns and overall health.

We need to find better ways to get things done. (“Work Smarter, not Harder”)

If we’re not tasking efficiently, than what are we accomplishing by multitasking? I think it’s very important to recognize our assets as well as our limitations.

Time is our most important asset. I work fast, even in the kitchen I can make fast dishes but why should I stress to make it fast instead of admitting that it actually takes time to create a delicious dish? It takes time to do things (right) whether it’s at work or in private. Being realistic about time, isn’t a bad idea. (“Real Art takes Real Time”)

Learning to say “No” is very important. I’ve received several offers to read new books and write reviews. While I am flattered, I don’t have the capacity to do that at the moment. It has always been hard for me to say “No” but I am learning.

Doing one thing at a time is more efficient and (mentally) healthier for me. At the end of the day, I feel better and more important I sleep better.

Your thoughts?

                                                     PHOTO CREDIT: SHI

Cookin’ with Chef André

I met Chef André Carthen on Twitter as well as Nicholas Walker and the beautiful Designer & Philanthropist Kathy Ireland.

Chef André, along with Landscape Designer Nicholas Walker, the outdoor living specialist of kathy ireland Worldwide® ( kiWW® ) are brand ambassadors who support Kathy Ireland in her mission of “…finding solutions for families especially busy moms.” ™

kiWW® is a $1.5 billion a year (Forbes) lifestyle design and marketing firm where Chef André develops for the ACafe Brand products that range from entertainment, home, fashion, candles and jewelry designs. Chef André’s designs have received one of kiWW®’s many Good Housekeeping Seals of Approval.

Chef André has appeared on several major Television and Radio shows as well as lending his talents to private Fund Raising Wine Pairing dinners for Kathy Ireland or attending the Food & Wine Festival Palm Desert™ and El Paseo Fashion Week.

One of Chef André’s newest endeavors is contributing to Janet Jackson’s new book with his delicious and healthy recipes. This year Janet Jackson published her first book, a New York Times Number One Bestseller titled True You: A Journey to Finding and Loving Yourself. Janet Jackson reveals her perspective on exercise and healthy eating with the help of the personal trainer Tony Martinez and Chef André.

Chef André is cooking up healthy recipes!

The percentage of Americans who are overweight and obese is on the rise. Almost a third of American children are obese. It’s a sad fact. Poor nutrition can result in less productivity at work & school, mood swings, depression, diabetes and hypertension. The cure for obesity is simple. We’re designed to actively use our bodies, not to sit in front of television sets and computers all day. If we eat a variety of healthy foods and exercise enough to burn more calories than we eat, we’ll lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.

I love Chef André’s nutritious, tasty and NO-FUSS recipes.

Generous with his time and talent, Chef André inspires us to take care of ourselves while giving back to others.

For more information on Chef André and the ACafe Society Brand, please visit