Nicole Genthe Smith and I go all the way back to middle school when we both had unfortunate haircuts and styles of clothes. We parted ways in high school, though I remember watching her fondly from afar at cheerleading competitions. See, she was on the WISCO team which pretty much blew everyone else out of the water. If you wanted to see teenage Maggie’s green horns of jealousy come out, you should have been standing next to me when the whole team (THE WHOLE TEAM!!) performed perfectly synchronized standing back handsprings.*
* Update: I have come to find out that Nicole was in fact on poms, not on the cheerleading squad. I stand corrected, but still horribly jealous of all parties involved. 🙂
We are not here to talk about the past. We’re here to talk about how cool Nicole still is in the present. Through the beauty of charity work and Facebook, Nicole and I reconnected and realized we still have a lot in common. Whereas I’m working on my yoga certification, Nicole recently completed a nutritional counseling program and has become an all-natural lifestyle expert. She hosts cooking classes and teaches straight from her blog, More Beets, Please, about easy ways to eat healthier while still keeping the taste buds happy.
Nicole has also introduced me to many other natural practices, such as acupuncture and the essential oils we discussed last week. I love that she does this without being judgmental. She appreciates we’re all real people who like the secret little snack every now and then, but really do want to be better.
In addition to her nutritional counseling business, Nicole currently has a full-time job in health insurance, travels often as an alumnae volunteer at the national and local levels of Chi Omega, and enjoys time here in Milwaukee with her husband and doggies and the occasional barre method class. And just when I think my girl crush on her couldn’t be any greater, she tells me #11.
Let’s be inspired by her, shall we?
1. Who do you want to be when you grow up? Are you this person yet?
I can honestly tell you that I have absolutely no idea who I want to be when I grow up (which means I’m probably not this person yet). Coming from the woman who changed her major 5 times in college, I’ve really learned to just explore new opportunities and see where they lead me. Right now I have about 20 ideas of who I’d love to be when I grow up, but I honestly can’t tell you I’ll become any of them.
2. What is your favorite part of your life?
The people I’ve been fortunate enough to meet. My work and volunteer opportunities have taken me all over, and I’ve met some really, really cool people. I love that I have a thousand different pieces to my life – and that every single one of them makes me feel whole.
3. What’s the most annoying part of your day?
4. How do you handle a stressful day?
In other words, how do I handle every day? I will be the first to tell you that I create more stress for my life than there needs to be, BUT it is an area that I’m working on. Most of my stress is healthy stress, but stress is stress. So, taking on new projects, agreeing to sit on another board, coming up with new recipes are all things I enjoy doing – but, what’s the saying – “there aren’t enough hours in a day”?
When I’m really feeling stressed out I stop and breathe. It helps if I have some essential oils with me (lavender, peppermint, etc). I put a few drops in my hands, cup them over my nose and mouth and then close my eyes and breathe.
5. Biggest secret to your success:
Knowing that I’m no better than the next guy or gal – we’ve all got our positives and negatives. The biggest key to success is knowing how to confidently work the positive, while being humble enough to recognize when the negative is hindering you – and then doing something about it!
6. Biggest “duh” thing you do the rest of us don’t:
Acupuncture! I don’t know how I ever lived without it. It helps me stay grounded and has really done wonders for my energy.
7. What was harder for you to accomplish than you expected?
Having my own business while holding a demanding, full-time job. It’s been a great learning experience, and the craziest experiment of my life thus far!
8. What comes easiest to you? Does this help or hinder your awesomeness?
Public speaking. I love speaking to big crowds or in small, group settings. I’d rather be out talking to people – teaching them and learning from them. It comes very natural to me, and I credit the fact that I was an only child for 9 years and was constantly surrounded by adults. I was always comfortable sharing my opinions and speaking to people of all ages from a very young age.
9. Have you had the same goal(s) your whole life or do they change? If they change, how often?
I’ve had the same overarching goals my whole life: to be happy and healthy. My idea of what each of those means has changed at different points in my life., but it’s still my ultimate goal. Recognizing that I can’t always control what impacts each of those outcomes, I try my hardest to find the good in it all. Everything happens for a reason – being open to that definitely keeps me happier, and positivity is a huge factor to one’s overall health.
10. What is your ratio of life-planning to life-happening?
Well, I’ve got a ton of life plans, and it’s not that they aren’t happening, they just happen at a slower pace than I plan them. I’m always planning, though, whether it’s trips I want to take, business ventures I want to explore, or the tons of recipes I’ve yet to make… All in due time, I suppose!
11. What else should we know?
I have a huge crush on John Cusak. This is completely irrelevant to food or health, but I thought you should know.
12. What is one healthy life tip you think everyone could easily put into practice?
Find quiet time for yourself EVERY day. This is not an easy thing to do – we have families and jobs and spouses and laundry… BUT, this is the only life, the only body we’re going to get and we’ve got to give it some love. No one likes a cranky wife, an over-tired mom, or stressed out co-worker. Find some time, even if it’s 5 minutes a day, to quiet your mind.
For me it might be actual meditation, getting up early to have a cup of tea and catch up on my blog reading or taking my dogs for a walk in the evening. Just remove yourself from daily life and find some peace and quiet. Don’t feel guilty about it either! Dinner will be finished, the laundry will get done – after all, we’re only talking about 5-30 minutes. It is AMAZING what that time will do for you. My most creative ideas flow, my dilemmas work themselves out and I find a little peace amidst the beautiful chaos of life.
13. We’re all real people. What’s your favorite Halloween treat?
Those little packs of sweeTarts – the ones with 3 in a pack. I love anything sweet and sour (sweeTarts, lemonheads, Sprees).
Bonus: If you already have an inspiring story about how you, or someone you love, transformed your way of life and turned your health around, then Nicole would love to hear from you! More Beets, Please and Tony Just Photography have teamed up to offer great prizes for the best story. A photo shoot and a cooking class are just two of the great things you could win! Check out this page for more information. The deadline to enter is Thursday, so act fast. Good luck!