I am thrilled to have Jennifer Melnick Carota, MS, LPC as a guest this evening on our blog. Jennifer is a licensed professional counselor and sought after motivational speaker. She is known as the Rachel Ray of shopping in many circles. She has great energy and is clearly going places!
This week, I interviewed Jennifer and she gave me the following responses. This is wonderful expert advice. Thanks for the gift of your wisdom, Jennifer!
How can giving to others give a person an increased sense of inner peace and contentment?
I have always considered giving as a natural expression of our love for one another. When we give freely without an expectation of return we free ourselves to give more abundantly and joyfully. What brings me inner peace is focusing on the “intent” in which I “choose” to give. As long as I am giving out of love rather than a sense of obligation I find myself more generous, thoughtful and full of life
What are you favorite gifts to offer to loved ones and why? I would like to consider myself as both a thoughtful and sentimental gift giver, therefore, I try to customize or personalize gifts as much as possible. I love to give gifts that bring back memories of happy times, funny moments, or emotional milestones in our relationships with one another. For example, my husband is a huge Batman fanatic and on our first date we went to the drive in to see “Batman Returns.” On our first year anniversary I bought him an authentically autographed and framed “Batman Returns” movie poster…He loved it! But I must add that I also wrote a sentimental note in the card just in case he didn’t make the connection.
As a licensed mental health counselor, what tips would you offer for managing stress and living a healthier lifestyle? Thank you for asking this question! As a therapist and mentor I have worked with many young girls who struggle with significant stress and anxiety in their adolescent lives. I feel it is necessary for us as mentors and role models to lead by example and make our joy and peace contagious! How do I do this? One of my favorite ways to start and end the day is with gratitude. I encourage everyone to keep a “Joy Journal” daily. Start and end the day by briefly listing the big and small things that you are grateful for. Do your favorite jeans fit comfortably? Write it down! Send that positive energy out into the universe! Do this for at least thirty days and I promise you will find yourself living a more calm, peaceful and healthful lifestyle…and a magnet for great Karma!
Do you have a favorite healthy recipe to share?
One of my favorite no-guild summer desserts:
Stuffed Angel Food Surprise
1 Pre-made angel food cake·
½ cup of shredded coconut (toasted or untoasted) or sliced almonds·
1 pint strawberries – sliced·
2 medium bananas-sliced in rounds·
1 can unsweetened crushed pineapple- drained·
1 container Light Cool Whip (thawed)
Cut angel food cake horizontally into two layers. With a medium spatula, spread the bottom layer of the sliced cake with thawed cool whip. Arrange sliced fruits alternately on top of the cool whip. Sprinkle with coconut or slice almonds. Add another layer of cool whip and put top layer back onto the cake. Press down gently. Chill or freeze until firm. Drizzle with powdered sugar, reserved pineapple juice or honey if desired before serving. Store any leftovers in refrigerator or freezer. Enjoy! *Be creative and substitute fresh fruits of your choice, i.e. fresh peaches, kiwi, mango, or mandarin oranges!
Please visit Jennifer’s website for more free tips, tricks, and strategies guaranteed to make your gift giving easier and fun this year http://www.thegifttherapist.com/. Want to give the gift of giving? Purchase Jennifer’s Book “Shop Smart GIVE MORE” by visiting her store at www.thegifttherapist.com/store.html.