We sat down with badass cancer-beating, responsibility-juggling chef and entrepreneur Kelly Boyer, aka the woman behind PALETA. In case you missed Felicity’s 5-day cleanse, PALETA provides meal delivery, pressed juice detoxes, and snacks, all with a focus on healthy living.

While the word “meal” usually makes us cringe because it conjures up thoughts of cooking and lecturing our kids to put their dishes in the sink, the word “delivery” makes us salivate. All hail Kelly, patron saint of dinnertime!

1. What made you decide to start your own business?

There were a few factors that built up over time. My cancer diagnosis at age 21 definitely changed the course of my life and how I live it. I’m just a nice Polish girl from the midwest who was weaned on sausages and fried foods with ranch dressing! The illness changed all that and my entire family began to weave the thread of health and fitness throughout the fabric of all our lives. Once I was healthy, I had a great career in Human Resources after attending grad school in Chicago at Northwestern/Kellogg. I almost exclusively worked for entrepreneurial companies that were building new brands or starting new divisions or were being built from the ground up. I became passionate about BUILDING things.

I ultimately left corporate America to take some time off and ended up enrolling in culinary school for almost two years. I’m a classically French trained chef and became pretty unhealthy after all the cooking with butter and cream. I reverted back to my old healthier ways by adjusting the cooking techniques I learned in school to apply to more healthful recipes. I started learning more about organics and sustainability and then became licensed as a nutritionist to have an even deeper understanding of how and what is best to eat. Because of my own life path, I truly believe that a healthier lifestyle saved my life. I KNOW that what you put into your body really matters. And because of my love of FOOD, I knew I could create CLEAN recipes that put a healthy twist on haute cuisine. Once I started looking and feeling better, friends asked me to help them with their meals so they could achieve their own health and fitness goals. And then it spread word of mouth to their personal trainers, physicians, dietitians, neighbors, family, co-workers … and BOOM! PALETA was born.

2. Who has been your biggest inspiration?

The one person who has inspired me the most deeply is my Grandmother Leona who passed away about 7 years ago.

My brothers and I were lucky to have all our grandparents as an integral part of our lives growing up. We rarely went a week without seeing them. My Grandma was a housewife who raised 4 boys and my mom. She didn’t have a career outside of the home. But the home she made was something to be envied. I’ve never met anyone kinder or more patient. I doubt she ever said a harsh word to anyone. I really think she was an angel walking on this earth and had a sweetness and light about her that I’ve never seen before or since.

She inspires me to be kinder and to be more patient (which is not my strong suit!). She helped me be a better listener and gave me a love of FAMILY that I take with me everywhere. Even in my professional life, I use her influence to help me maintain an ongoing standard of integrity, even when it’s hard. It’s her that I want to make most proud in everything I do.

3. What has been your biggest obstacle?

My extremely rare ovarian cancer diagnosis at 21 years of age was a game changer. Immediately after graduating from college I was told I might have a year to live at most and the doctors would do whatever they could to make me comfortable.

At 21 years old I had no concept of mortality. I still had all my grandparents and dozens of great aunts and uncles. My own grandfather lived to be 103! Wrapping my head around the probability that I would not make it to 22 was devastating… at first. Then began the long journey of surgeries, chemotherapy, holistic treatments… you name it, we tried it. After a yearlong battle, we WON! And I say WE because it was a team effort led by my parents and brothers and extended family.

It’s now been almost 29 years of remission, so I’d say I’m sticking around for the long haul and I feel blessed. The biggest challenge in all of this would most obviously be the potential loss of my life, but once I was in recovery I had to address a deeper sadness. I had to have a complete hysterectomy when I was 21 so I was not able to have children. It’s something I mourned for most of my adult years. I grieved quietly, but it ran deep. It wasn’t until someone very special said to me, “Some trees were made to bare fruit, and some trees were meant to provide SHADE. Providing shade is your purpose.” It touched and moved me in a way nothing ever had before and it was only then I began to heal and let go of that loss. I realized my life had great purpose and value in spite of it. I’ve never looked back! And I’m truly blessed to have amazing Godchildren and nieces and nephews. They are the lights of my life.

4. How do you juggle everything?

I came out of the womb a multi-tasker. I am very good at compartmentalizing the multitude of things I have to get done in a day. I can’t live without TO DO LISTS. If I don’t write it down, it does NOT get done. And while I try again and again to use my beloved iPhone to track my to-do lists, I’m still pretty old-school in that I like to have a tiny notebook with me at all times so I can track my lists of things to do and I get a ridiculous satisfaction out of crossing things off. I do use my phone at all hours of the day and night to shoot myself messages as things pop into my head when it’s not convenient to pull out my notebook. When I wake up at 3am with an idea, I simply roll over, mumble something into SIRI, and then deal with it the next day. I also make it a painful habit to tackle the top 5 MOST CHALLENGING things I have to do in a day FIRST. I cringe every morning when I do it, but then I enjoy the relief of facing the toughest part of my day early on. It makes for a better day ahead.

5. What’s your favorite way to relax?

It USED to be cooking at home, but now that it has become my life’s work and my days revolve around food, not so much! I try to separate myself from the joy I get out of my work and the pleasure other things in my life bring to the party. There are 2 things that are my GO TO. First, I love to swim laps. I like the exercise, but more importantly, I love the peace and serenity of being under the water moving forward on of my own steam. No cell phones, no horns blaring, no one asking me questions. It’s MY time away from the world. Second, I really enjoy reading. I have been an avid reader since I was a little girl and used to devour 2-3 books in a weekend. Life gets in the way of that sometimes, so it’s only been in the past few years that I started picking up books again. It takes me to another world. You can hardly get my attention when I’m deeply entrenched in a book. My Mom just gave me a KINDLE and it’s my new favorite possession. I take it with me everywhere. If I have to wait in a line for something, out it comes so I can sneak in a few pages and it helps distract me from the little stressors we all have throughout the day. It’s the BEST way to tune out. And, it just makes you smarter! You’re reminded of the power of words and how beautiful language is.

6. What is your favorite four-letter word?

M F’er! NOT very original of me (or very nice!), but I’m not sure what I’d do without it!

As some of you may be aware, my mother was forced to retire last year. (A stroke has a sneaky way of making decisions for you).

Of course, this has not been easy.

Maybe more so for my mother: She never slowed down. Not for one minute in her entire life. She worked (as a much sought-after Interior Designer) through her retirement… she’s stubborn.. and talented, a true dyed-in-the-wool super sonic ‘tastemaker’ of design, fashion, style, entertaining, and elegance.

She also has a wicked sense of humor.

“Cheryl Ann, I hear you have a blog.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“That’s nice. What is a blog?”

“It’s a platform for spewing my shizz to a bunch of people I don’t know. It’s writing and publishing on the Internet.”

“What is shizzzz… or did you say ‘shit’?”

“Same thing…”

“Do people actually read your writing?”

” A few Thousands.” (We’re on the phone- thank God. If we had been eye-to-eye…).

“Your sister has read me a few of your letters. You’re just my little writer aren’t you?”

“Well, I guess. Sure. Yes. I am. Absolutely.”

“I find that occasionally you’re even witty. Occaaaasionally.”

“Alrighty then.”

“I think I’d like to write, as well. Do you think I should?”

“Yea. Sure.”

“Could you start a blog for me?”

“I could, but you’d have to write regularly to build an audience, and answer comments, then there’s the social media promo… “

“I think people would like to hear what I have to say. After all, I have stories about being a woman who has survived three strokes at 82, and that’s something.”

“Yes. It is something.”

“Do you think people would like that?”

“I think they would Mom. You should write your story… (before I do).”

“Then it’s settled! I’m going to write down a few things today and mail them to you. You call me as soon as you receive them and we’ll go over it together. Does that sound like a good idea?”

“The best. Idea. Ever.”

As so, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to what I hope will be the first of many installments of… (let’s knock a few titles around, shall we?)

Life With Leah (My suggestion)

The Crazy on Main St. (Her suggestion, not mine. I would never dare refer to my mother as ‘crazy’… to her face.)

Queenie (Again- her suggestion, but I believe I have that one already taken).

-or-

Being A Consenting Victim In A Small Town (She wrote that down, so I’m including it because she wrote it down damnit I think it kinda sums up her current state of affairs).

So, without further ado, my mother’s observations (with a wee bit of editing, because, really, how many ways can you spell poop?):

Here is my version of being ‘Free’. No vanity – who needs it.

1. Hair – Pay $6 to the neighborhood bad kid to cut your locks with a weed wacker. Put on safety glasses and ‘have at it’-or- forget the safety glasses and put on a stylish pair and hope for a better cut. Do this on a breezy day.

2. Eyebrows – As they grow they become curly and fall into your eyeballs- or- they fall out. You can draw them on with magic marker or have some Tattoo’d but, either way, without a large arch unless you have a quick cute wink.

3. Get used to the term ‘Old Hag’.

4. Learn to spit and drink beer.

5. Lips – When your lips feel dry go knock back a shot of whiskey.

6. Chin and neck folds – Forget it. They’re already floating around your ankles, which inspires me to design special cowl head covers and spats for shoes and long pants that just rip away. They should be made out of a zebra print or a marine blanket. (She included drawings).

7. Boobs – No bras! Use old Aunt Irene’s ace bandages wrapped around you but add colorful rick-rack to trim the bottom first.

8. Feet – you need them. Leave them alone, but buy expensive shoes.

The rest is just about being old, and who cares, but I can still kick and spit and wink at the mailman and here he comes so I have to find my hat and leopard slippers, but I’m finished with this writing and need a nap just thinking about it but I’ll write more tomorrow if you’ll call me.

~Love,

Mom

ps: Do not forget to call me.

This post was previously featured on Cheryl’s blog, A Pleasant House. Photo via

I came of age during the Sexual Revolution and before AIDS.

We had garden-variety STDs but this was the age of disco, the age of the Pill and even the sponge. It was okay to come home with something that could be treated with an antibiotic, but not to come home pregnant. I didn’t have the time or the money – especially the money – to get pregnant.

So I was a frequent customer to the little Planned Parenthood clinic because there was no way I could afford a fancy gynecologist. The exams and the prescriptions were like gold. I think I may have visited Planned Parenthood more than I stopped in at the college library.

And now, many members of Congress are using the selectively edited video of Planned Parenthood executives as a rallying cry to defund the organization. Many of these members have never have resigned themselves to the fact that abortion is legal. They may even shut down the federal government this week to prove their point.

But this isn’t a blog about abortion.

This is a blog about the health of a young person, a person who didn’t have loving parents to fall back on if she got in a jam. A young person who is not me, but who could have been.

This is a blog about the 400,000 Pap tests and 500,000 breast exams conducted every year to prevent cancer.

It’s about the 4.5 million tests and treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, many far more deadly than the garden variety from my youth.

It’s not a blog about abortion, because only 3% of all the stuff Planned Parenthood does is abortions.

It’s not a blog about the 3%. It’s a blog about the 80% who receive services to prevent unintended pregnancies. That’s about 516,000 pregnancies a year. That’s 516,000 times no one even had to discuss whether to have an abortion.

And that’s why Planned Parenthood shouldn’t be part of this Congressional blackmail.

This post was originally featured on Helen’s blog. Photo via Planned Parenthood

I am working on the 2nd season of American Crime and I feel like the luckiest girl alive. I have a job I love in Austin, Texas, a family waiting for me back in LA, and the ability to fly back and forth a lot. This means I am happy, tired, dehydrated and looking older than I would like.
I also had the Emmys on September 20th. Bill and I were both nominated and it was a pretty cool “date night.” BUT the Emmys also means being “Red Carpet” ready. It’s exciting and terrifying. As luck would have it, Kelly Boyer, who created PALETA, reached out to me to see if I needed some help to look my best and feel great.

PALETA is a meal delivery system that Bill used a couple of years ago when he came back home exhausted and unhealthy from the relentless pace of directing a movie. He needed to get healthy and strong to start filming SHAMELESS. He loved Kelly’s program and loved the results.

But let me give you a little run down on Kelly – she is a woman who started her own business (hurray!) in 2005 and it is a huge success. Kelly was diagnosed with a rare, advanced ovarian cancer when she was 21. She was given a year to live, but through change in diet, and eastern and western medicine, she proved them wrong! She has made it her mission to introduce the world to a healthier lifestyle.

So I gratefully said “yes!” to PALETA and I thought I would share the highlights of my five-day “cleanse” program with WTF.

The packages arrived and it felt a little like Christmas.

The basic program I was on was 4 protein shakes a day, a small lunch and normal size dinner.

The PALETA shake is delicious. I felt full, energetic and could do a hard workout. (Full disclosure, I did NOT give up my morning cup of coffee …or my midmorning cup of coffee!)

My morning shake ingredients: PALETA, a big handful of spinach and a few frozen berries. Sometimes PALETA provides the berry blend.)

The other shakes throughout the day were good and filling. If I felt I needed a little extra something I would add another handful of spinach or frozen berries.

Bill and I both in our trailers, Facetiming, as he looks longingly at my PALETA juices.

Also PALETA provided cinnamon and raw cocoa powder, so I could change up the flavor several times a day.

The small lunches did make me panic a little, I didn’t want to get so hungry I went crazy and ate everything in sight, but they were satisfying. Sometimes I would eat some almonds or pumpkin seeds after a hard workout or a long day on set.

My favorite dinner was a stuffed bell pepper with quinoa and black beans. But all the dinners were really delicious.

Here is what I noticed by day three: my energy level was great and consistent. I woke up easily, and ready to go. I didn’t have my usual 10am and 3pm dip where I had to turn to coffee to keep me going. I stopped craving crap food, and not having to negotiate what I was going to eat or not eat throughout the day was a relief.

By the time I hit the red carpet and the Emmy events, my skin was glowing, I felt healthy, and my energy level was high.

I actually looked at some of the photographs of the events and was pleasantly surprised. 

The PALETA protein shake is going to be a permanent part of my morning routine and as a midday pick me up when I am working on set.

Thanks PALETA and to Chef Kelly – you go girl!

Love,

Flicka

Emmy photos via

Who couldn’t use a few tips to help save time daily?  If you’re as busy as I am, sometimes you can’t keep all of the plates spinning.  Friends have often asked me how I do it all — work a full-time job, homeschool three children, attend graduate school, write part-time, have a son on a travel soccer team . . . oh the list goes on.

Of course, as I’ve said before, everything doesn’t get done every single day. I’m human just like everyone else.  But, I have learned several tricks over the years that help this season of my life to be a little more manageable.  Check them out!

The truth is that it’s not a wasted effort.  Simply keep the parts of your schedule consist that are consistent (such as the hours that you work or that your children are in school) and be flexible for the hours that are apt to change without much notice.  This may mean that you have a loose routine from 4pm-8pm on weekdays.  Take the time to rework your schedule for those hours when they change.

1.  Create a daily schedule

I’ve heard many moms say it before, “I am not organized enough for that!”  when talking about homeschooling, cooking real food dinners for their family or returning to school and pursuing their dreams.  My answer?  “Well, get organized!”

Not organizing your time, when it’s so simple to do, is a waste of time!  If you have children, you may protest this by saying that their afternoon schedules change with the seasons, so having a daily schedule for yourself is pointless.

2.  Set a timer

When you first use this tip, you’ll want to set a timer simply to see how long it takes you to do a certain task.  For instance, if you want to take a five minute shower, set a timer for five minutes.  If the timer goes off before you finish your shower you’ll know that you take longer than desired to shower.

Once you’ve decided how long certain tasks should take you set a timer and work to beat your best time.  This way of game-ifying my life has helped me to stay on track when I’m tired or when I’m prone to daydreaming.  To add more fun to mundane data-entry tasks at work, I listen to a popular music streaming website and make a game of finishing a certain number of pages by the time a song is finished.  I work faster this way and am less likely to get lost in thought or make careless mistakes.

3.  Stop watching live TV

Before you commit to this tip, calculate how much time you spend over a week watching TV shows when they are actually shown on TV.  Don’t estimate.  Actually keep track for a week and see what the number is.

If you aren’t taking advantage of DVR technology, online full episodes, or streaming websites, you are wasting time.  I can’t remember the last time I actually watched TV on a TV or watched a show when its first showing was scheduled.

I began using a DVR years ago and had the shows sent to my desktop.  Eventually, I began using Netflix and Hulu Plus and TV network websites to watch my favorite shows.  This summer we cut the cord on cable and haven’t missed it a bit.

I love having my shows waiting for me when I’m ready instead of having to work my life around when my favorite shows air on TV.  I love that I can pause a show at anytime and get back to it when I have time.

I watch an average of 17 minutes of TV per day (with most of my watching happening on weekends, where I’m likely to be found watching on my Kindle while taking a relaxing bath or while doing chores.  Most days I don’t watch any TV at all.)

4.  Take care of the morning the night before

If you are waiting until the morning to pick out your clothes, make lunches, find your keys and your work bag, etc you are wasting time.  Do everything you can do the night before so that you have very little to do the next morning.

This is a simple rule of time saving that my mother taught me as a child.  I’ve even learned to pick my work clothes for a full week on the weekends to save even more time.  Depending on what you’re packing, lunches can be prepared for the week, as well.

5.  Make meals ahead

If your busy evenings leave little time for making a real food dinner, try cooking several meals at once on the weekend and freezing them to reheat the next week.

Another time saver in the kitchen is the beloved slow cooker.  I have three and at least one is usually in use at any time.  Plan more slow cooker meals to save time in the kitchen.

6.  Leave home a few minutes earlier

Once you’ve discovered a little extra time in your morning by preparing for the day the night before, try to leave a little earlier than usual.  Earlier this year I discovered that leaving just ten minutes sooner helped me to avoid slow, heavy traffic.  This is especially important during the school year when school buses are part of the traffic congestion.

7.  Stop multitasking

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of multitasking. I have found that when I focus on one task at a time, I perform that task with fewer mistakes and it takes me less time over all.

Whatever you’re doing, do it until it’s done before switching to another task.  This will save time and create a calmer, less chaotic mindset.

8.  Don’t take phone calls

This one may be more difficult for you than it was for me.  Since I first began using email regularly in 1996 I’ve considered phone calls to be a waste of time.  Of course, I’m an introvert who doesn’t enjoy chatting with others for the sake of chatting, so it was easy for me to eliminate personal phone calls that don’t have a purpose.  (Don’t worry, I still call my parents who don’t have email and don’t like texting.)

In the time it takes me and another person to get through the socially expected niceties of, “How are you?”, “I’m doing well.  How are you?”, “I’m fine.”  I can have the information I need and send a response via email or text.  Currently, I screen every call to my cell phone and only answer calls from my parents, my husband or my children.  I only return calls when I’m asked a direct question via voice mail and the person doesn’t have email or text.  My husband has even gone so far as to disable his voice mail so that others must text or email him if they need a reply.  (He also answers calls from his parents, me and our children.)

If you get phones calls regularly, let them go to voice mail and pick a certain time each day to return calls.  Reply via text or email when possible and people will eventually get the message that emailing or texting you is the best way to reach you.

9.  Get off social media

Of course, you already know that social media is a total time waster.  I suggest picking two or three ten minute periods in your day where you run through your social media accounts for the latest news or personal updates from friends and family.  That’s 20-30 minutes a day and is plenty to keep up.

10.  Simplify your life and keep everything its place

The less stuff you have, the less stuff competes for your time.  Simplify your material possessions and make sure the ones you do have have a place to live.  If you put your keys in the same place everyday when you walk in the door, they will always be there.  If you own five work outfits, you can plan one for each day of the week and never have to decide what to wear.  (If you own more than five, you can rotate them month to month wearing the same five for a month at a time.)

Do whatever you can to simplify your things and you will find extra time in the spaces where there was once an over abundance of unnecessary material items.

This post was originally featured on Allison’s blog, Our Small Hours. Photo via

Ready for your health tip of the week?

Our favorite gymnast and Dancing With The Stars alum, Shawn Johnson, has a new video series where she answers fans’ burning questions about health, fitness, and life in general.

This week, she spills the details on how she stays motivated and keeps fit while traveling. Not that we’ve been on a real vacation at all since our kids were born (what does a quiet beach look like again?), but we’re certainly familiar with not having time or energy to work out.

Thankfully, she points out that she uses running as an excuse to see the city. So… is it too much of a stretch to take running as an excuse to get the hell away from our tiny terrors beautiful, well-behaved children for an hour or two? Run! Run away from your problems!

Solid advice. Thanks, Shawn!

Photo via