Taking the Middle Seat next to Maggie McGuinness

On Episode 37, I’m talking to Maggie McGuinness with Maggie Ann Soap Co. (Facebook, Instagram). Our conversation is like the very best memoir you’ve ever read complete with a gorgeous storytelling, perseverance and resilience. Maggie talks about her history of substance use disorder and mental health issues. She also talks lovingly about her family and their struggles and triumphs with the same diseases. Maggie has an incredible family of her own and a very cool soap business. Everything she does is an expression of love for herself, her family, her community and the world.

Maggie is on the board at Cherry Health. I’d love for you to follow the link and learn more about Cherry Health’s comprehensive services. She also mentions ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences), a study of how childhood trauma can affect a person throughout their lifetime.

I mention one of my favorite podcasts called Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Check. It. Out. If you have ever gone through a hard time, if you’re going through a hard time, if you have a friend/family member/neighbor/adjacent human going through a hard time, you’re going to want to listen.

Now first, go buy some soap!!! Maggie Ann Soap is the absolute best thing to have in your bathroom to impress the socks off your grubby guests or the very best thing to send to a friend or the very cutest thing to give to a new neighbor or the coolest party favor. She makes every product with care and intention. And it’s not just bar soap. She has lotions and hair care and beard care and bath bombs. Its the best. And second, go take the middle seat! Ask people questions and listen and ask again. I promise you’ll feel the magic in the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Jennifer DiGennaro

On Episode 28, I’m talking to Jennifer DiGennaro with Nourished Energy (Facebook and Instagram). As there is so much diet culture swirling around us especially this time of year, Jen feels like the perfect oasis. She speaks to how connection, relationships and healing are so needed; not necessarily the next diet or new way of eating. One of my favorite things she said was, “Let’s get out of the edges.”

She is a holistic licensed psychotherapist and couples counselor. She works with people, “Strengthening relationships to self, body & each other.” Her areas of focus include chronic dieting, chronic stress and binge eating disorder. She is a certified intuitive eating counselor and certified body trust provider and works in modalities such as EMDR and Reiki. Jen works from a Health at Every Size perspective. Her website has so much great information on all of her work so head there to learn all the things. You can find even more information about Body Trust at BeNourished.org. I love how she talks about Body Trust as l i b e r a t i o n. Jennifer mentions THE BOOK on intuitive eating. Here it is.

Jennifer talks about her Holistic Nourishment Assessment and it’s FREE. Grab it at her website!

Jennifer talks about lots of favorites: Renfrew Center eating disorder conference, this TED talk, yoga at Lotus Jo’s, Tara Brach’s talks and her books, and epsom salt baths and Cascade Peace Park.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Nichole Beiner

On Episode 26 I’m talking to Nichole Beiner, an attorney, diversity consultant and community builder. She has a gorgeous presence online at Nichole Gabrielle (Instagram, Facebook) and at Melanin and Moxie (Web, Instagram, Facebook ) which is a space specifically for women of color.

Nichole is navigating living with a chronic neurological disorder and we talk a lot about how having an “invisible” illness can be so challenging. I know many listeners will resonate with her story of strength and struggle. She talks honestly about how privilege, community, vulnerability, and connection impact her journey.

I mention another woman I follow that has informed the way I see my own privilege, Rachel Cargle. Other women I love learning from in the online space are Vilissa Thompson, Leesa Renee Hall, and Layla Saad.

Nichole’s favorite things include Reina Pomeroy (lots of guests have raved to me about Reina’s programs!), movies, baking, The Great British Baking Show, tea, cozy blankets, books (memoirs!) and her husband.

She has a great gift guide up right now so check that out! Remember to check out our Taking the Middle Seat Gift Guide too.

I am 100% certain Nichole is going to change the world. She speaks truth to power. She shines light where it is needed. She is incredible and I want you all to follow her right this minute.

I’ll be back soon with another episode but until then, take the middle seat! I promise you’ll find some holiday magic there.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to The Nourish to Flourish Society

On Episode 18 of Taking the Middle Seat, I'm talking to Angelle Batten and Jill Tanis, co-founders of The Nourish to Flourish Society which is "a place where women fall in love with nourishing mind, body and spirit with simple soulful self care practices, delicious food and a supportive community" (from The Nourish to Flourish Society website).  

Jill and Angelle describe themselves as life coaches for women with an expertise in health.  I am not kidding when I say that I LOVE the space they have created for women to thrive.  Check out the 14 Day Fall Reset!!  I promise you will love it.

Jill and Angelle are hosting an upcoming event called Soiree on September 26.  I know it will be nourishing and beautiful and worth every cent.  Grab you buddies and go!

I talked about how I found The Nourish to Flourish Society through my friend Shari Meyering who is an ambassador for Noonday Collection.  You'll find some of my favorite big earrings from Noonday here.

Angelle and Jill   s h o w e d  u p   with some incredible favorites!

Jill's Faves: Practicing sabbath (here's a book on sabbath by Wayne Muller), Slow Down Diet, jasmine green tea, Lake Michigan, Grocer's Daughter Chocolates, OXO good grips Y peeler, Vitamix, Cutco chef knife, microplane, Young Living, Barbara Brown Taylor, Rob Bell's Robcast.

Angelle's Faves: Bark Thins, Autumn's Gold grain free granola, water pillow, Car Talk episodes, Grace & Frankie on Netflix, The Book of She.

I was not prepared when they asked me about MY favorite things but now that I think about it...  I have a favorite vegetable peeler that I won in a white elephant gift exchange and I just ordered these earrings from Noonday.  Favorite things for the win! 

I'll be back soon!  Until then, take the middle seat.  You'll love what happens.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Strawesome and Nutcase Vegan Meats

On episode 14 of Taking the Middle Seat, I have a double feature for you! 

In the first half, I'm talking to Daedra Surowiec, founder and artist behind Strawesome, a glass drinking straw company.  She trained as an architect and also worked as a natural childbirth educator but her path wound around to glass straws!  You will hear her passion for creativity and sustainability.  Strawesome straws make the coolest gifts.  You get a straw and you get a straw and you get a straw! 

Daedra let us know that 500 million plastic draws are used in the United Stated everyday!!  Educate yourself regarding single use plastic.  Here's a graphic I found really helpful to wrap my mind around this issue.  I know I'm getting better at toting my reusable bags into the grocery store and using my glass straw.  Every little bit helps.  If you're working on this too, check out the book Daedra mentioned, Zero Waste Home.

Here's my favorite Strawesome straw for a cause.  Proceeds go to Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  I also mention that I first heard about Strawesome from The Nourish to Flourish Society.  They'll be on a future episode so keep listening to hear their story too.

Daedra learned her glass blowing technique called torch work at the Glass Academy in Dearborn, MI.

Daedra said she loves the best parts of social media!  You can follow Strawesome on Facebook and Instagram

She also loves her RTIC tumbler and tower garden.  I love the idea of a wildlife-proof garden that flourishes in the basement!!!  So cool.

On the second half, I sit down with Monica Randles from Nutcase Vegan Meats.  She and her husband, Andrew Maternowski, are physicians who decided to pursue a vegetarian lifestyle in 2010.  You'll hear Monica talk about their path to creating the most yummy product that is fun to cook with and tastes amazing.  I am not vegetarian or vegan and I seriously LOVE their product.  

Monica mentions the movie Food Inc. and she talks about a book I am absolutely going to read called How Not to Die.  Both of those were influential in the genesis of Nutcase Vegan Meats.

Monica's favorite things include a book called Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch, transcendental meditation, and another book called Sky Above Great Wind about the life and poetry of Zen master Ryokan.

Follow Nutcase Vegan Meats on Facebook and Instagram.  Also, make sure to attend Nutty Burger Bash on August 12!

Thank you for listening and I hope you'll spend time this week, Taking the Middle Seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Bri Luginbill

On episode 11 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Bri Luginbill.  She is a photographer and body positivity activist.  She struggled with body image issues for many years but has turned her struggle into beauty and social change.  She is passionate about helping others do the same.  I especially loved all of Bri's resources she talked about and I can't wait for you to connect with her too!   

Bri's organization, Better Body Image Conference, is doing incredible work.  Check it out!

Her next awesome event is an encore screening of The Illusionists on June 13, 2018.  Event details and tickets are here.  Even the movie trailer is powerful!

She's also an INCREDIBLE photographer at The People Picture Company.

Bri mentions Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.  You can read more about it on the BWS Children’s Foundation International website

You can see Bri in action here talking about her Go Boldly, Love Your Body campaign that she did in 2014.

Connie Flachs is Bri's partner in this activism.  You can connect with her here or on Instagram.

Bri talked about the Straight Curve Film.  It looks so cool!  You can see a preview here

Bri truly is a fount of resources!  She mentioned so many cool organizations.  Here are the links:

Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance 

A Beautiful Me - a body positive program for girls.

YWCA summer programs, Activism Academy and Becoming a Girl Boss

Jenna Kutcher - business owner and online influencer.  Follow the link to read about how she walks confidently in her skin next to her very typically-gorgeous husband.

Jessica Honegger (She founded Noonday Collection and talks openly about the myth of thigh gap.  She's clearly awesome.)

In favorite things time, we talk about The Turquoise Table.  I'd paint my table this color.

Bri also roasts her own coffee beans in a Whirly Pop.  She's a total girl boss, you guys.  I found a how-to article here if you want to jump on in and roast some beans.

Bri loves thrift store shopping so that means we need to listen to Macklemore's Thrift Shop.  We just have to.

I think that does it!  Go look in the mirror and love the heck out of what you see!  I just tried on this swimsuit at the mall (normally not a swimsuit tryer on-er because of the bad lighting, bad angles, bad attitude etc.) and loved it!  I did not purchase because I just don't need it right now but I truly let myself just feel beautiful.  No except for's or if only's.  Just beautiful as I am.  Felt pretty damn good.  So go fearlessly and freely into the summer.  I'll be back soon to take the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Carlos Kulas-Dominguez

On episode 7 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Carlos Kulas-Dominguez.  This episode gets personal in the best way, you guys.  We have a great conversation about Carlos' journey that led him to acknowledging some addictions he had in his life and how he is now pursuing recovery and connection.  We talk about how our friendship wove through his story and how we both have learned from that.  We check off the Middle Seat boxes of acceptance, healing laughter and community.  

You'll hear that I have a cold during this episode so my voice sounds a little off.  But you know what is good for helping symptoms of a cold that Carlos is super knowledgeable about??? Essential oils!  You can find his fave brand here.

He's also a Thai massage practitioner so ask him about that too at his Facebook page.  Carlos does a great job at motivating and encouraging so go ahead and follow him.  Or better yet, send him a message.  Connection is what it is all about!

You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Val Cobbs - Episode 6

On episode 6 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Val Cobbs, Senior Regional Manager at the National Kidney Foundation.  She shares about how NKF is addressing diabetes and high blood pressure, chronic conditions that are the major causes of kidney failure and disproportionately affect communities of color.  Val is a staunch advocate for wellness and community and breaking down barriers.  She teaches me with her every word and I hope you will listen to her wisdom.

Check out the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and the Diabetes Improvement Program (DIP) at the National Kidney Foundation website.  You can get involved as a facilitator or a participant.  Share this resource with your people who may need it!

If you want to donate to the 2018 Kidney Walk that benefits NKF and happens on April 22, go here.  I'll be walking in honor of the living kidney donors I work with each and every day.

Val mentions her precious pit bull, King.  Speaking of animals, have you ever watched Pit Bulls and Parolees?  You should.  Do you follow Ludwik_guinea_pig on Instagram?  You should.  There, I made your life better.

Val shows up every single day in her life and makes this world a better place.  She continuously teaches me to do. the. work.  Even when I doubt my place in the work.  Even when I second guess if I know what to do.  She wisely tells us to do our work.  

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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