Please keep up with me and events regarding my new book Finding Dad From “Love” Child to Daughter at http://www.karasundlun.com
Go hubby, bye bye Nutella!
The first week of the six week transformation I’m attempting is in the books. Guided by trainer Joe Carabase of MELT Workout, I set out on September 25th to lose twenty pounds. Twenty seemed like a good number, and this fall Denise D’Ascenzo and I are celebrating 20 years of anchoring together.
As you saw last week on the Man Cave during Eyewitness News after Thursday Night Football, I weighed in at 205.8 pounds. At just shy of 5’11”, that meant my suits were tighter and some pants that once fit were hanging in the closet.
Joe put me on a new food and workout regimen, and after 7 days of sticking to it, I stepped on the scales and logged in at 199.2 pounds, down 6.6 pounds! I felt the difference before the weigh-in, and several people told me I looked thinner, particularly at the debate I moderated Tuesday…
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Old friends and former radio co-hosts Ray Dunaway and Diane Smith reunited for a taping of Face the State, set to air this Sunday morning at 11 on WFSB Channel 3. The pair was a mainstay on morning drive on WTIC AM 1080 until just a few years ago, and I invited them on for their rapport, knowledge of the candidates and the Connecticut political world, and quite frankly, they are good people.
Ray and Diane analyzed the race between Governor Dan Malloy and former Ambassador Tom Foley. We talked about Tuesday’s debate at the University of St. Joseph (the Courant Fox debate at UConn was going on as we taped) and both had interesting insight. Ray painted a comparison between the 2014 race here and the 2012 race for president and Diane told us how she made the Governor cry.
See you Sunday morning! We are also talking with…
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My friend’s journey to help her daughter leads to a great therapy in West Hartford.
“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”
― Thornton Wilder
Which means that we have made it one year here in Connecticut. The thick humid air, charming old houses, light summer nights ripe with singing wildlife, it has me feeling unanchored in time. The trauma we went through last year is blinking back at me in blimps and flashes… like post traumatic stress disorder.
We moved. People do. But during this time, our daughter Lydia, always a child who struggled with sensory sensitivity, burst into a new and life altering mania. She hated sounds. Specific sounds, like chewing and swallowing, and sounds of speech, especially S, T, K, P and C.
She hated these sounds, when they were made by me.
This suddenly made every day life a harrowing ordeal filled…
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Let’s face it we are all so busy, and though we all should meditate, carving out the time can be problematic.
As a mother of two small children, wife and talk show host it’s a daily struggle to stay soul centered when so many things pull us to the latest fire burning in our day.
Fortunately, my job helps me connect with gurus who yearn to help us regular folk learn how to balance. When I interviewed psychic medium John Edward about his book Infinite Quest, he stressed we all need to meditate to shield ourselves from the daily onslaught of negative energy that can make us feel like we are living in a real life poltergeist.
At least he was a practical guru who says we can all meditate while we do something we already do everyday. Does that make you multi-taskers smile? Hold on- I do not me meditate while you surf social media or take out the trash. Your brain is too active in that state. Edward suggested the shower, but I have found meditating while you blow dry your hair is the perfect mix of white noise to drown out distraction, and heat to make you feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. When you get that way your brain naturally hops off the fight or flight road and settles into the calmer, wiser state we want. Also people, like your spouse, children or cat tend not to bug you when you are in a bathroom blowing your hair. Bathrooms are modern day sacred space so why not get some zen while we are there?
Behold: here is my Blow Dry Meditation.
1. Sit down and take a deep breath
2. Affirm: I AM peaceful as you plug in the dryer.
3. Focus on the sounds of the dryer and feel the hot air blowing on you…really feel it. This is called grounding and just helps you be present in the moment.
4. Imagine warm, white light cascading down the top of your head and filling you up- your neck, chest, legs and finally out through your toes.
(You can pick any color light you want, but gurus will tell you white light is the vibration of unconditional love and who doesn’t want to feel that!)
5. Breathe in when you lift your arm, exhale as you run the brush down your hair.
I happen to have long, curly hair that I blow straight for TV, so with each tug on the brush I affirm all is peaceful. As my mind wanders away from the nozzle and onto my to do list, I gently bring it back with my blow dry mantra “Just Be.” Imagine just blowing the thoughts away.
For me this process takes about 15 minutes, though I was always envious of wash and go girls, I now treasure my obligatory time with the dryer.
If your daily matrix involves a blow dryer, why not surrender your stresses as your smooth your tresses? As I seal in the finished look with some anti-humectant pomade, I imagine sealing myself with love and protection. I am shielded from both humidity and negativity!
It’s one way to turn the daily grind into the daily divine.
What you do to invite grace into everyday moments?
This summer I had the pleasure of meeting Arianna Huffington, creator of the Huffington Post, at a fundraising gala for the Hartford Public Library. She was friendly, warm, inspiring and in a word- Soulful.
Though she could have been all alpha, as the head of one of the most powerful media companies on earth, Arianna was instead focused on our hearts, and how we can reconnect to them in a world where we are always connected to something.
The prolific author wrote the book the Fourth Instinct, that talks about how we should learn to listen to that all knowing and powerful place inside of us. The book was hard to find since it was written in the 90’s but when I expressed interest in reading it, Arianna immediately took note and sent it to me a few days later. I was impressed a casual conversation made it on to her very long to do list. I am reading it and love it. I also love the new App Arianna created called GPS For The Soul. I even got my super hyper co-host Scot Haney to try it and admit he liked it to calm down.
Here’s a link to my story on the app that aired on Better Connecticut.
Each Monday on Better CT, I host a series called Kara’s Cures where I explore our innate abilities to heal, transform and live Better! I am fascinated by the Big Questions in life and I like to hear how wise people answer them.
Here is what Arianna Huffington says about destiny, the afterlife, finding your passion, and getting peaceful.
1. Do you believe in destiny, and if so what does that concept really mean to you?
I believe the things that go wrong are often the very things that lead to other things going right. Understanding this means not letting negative experiences get in our way. And not letting that voice of doubt, which I call the obnoxious roommate living in our heads, have the last word. So whether it’s destiny or not, I don’t know, but we must choose not to let our failures, fears and doubts get in the way of our dreams and goals.
2. You write about the human need to connect to our soul, intuition, the 4th Instinct as it’s called in your book. How do you do this in your daily life?
For me, practicing empathy everyday is the key. In a world facing multiple crises, where we are paralyzed and polarized in our politics, there is an urgent need for us to summon our better angels and master our own gifts of identifying with other people’s feelings. Doing this can be simpler than we think: listening, opening ourselves to the wisdom of others, and widening the circle of our caring.
3. What do you think happens when we die?
If you believe that we are souls having a human experience — as I do — then the soul survives in a realm where, among other good things, there’s no wifi.
6. How do you teach your daughters to connect to their intuition, and more importantly trust it?
I try, whenever I can, to impart to my daughters a little of the experience and wisdom I’ve built up over the years. They are usually receptive! But what’s even more important is encouraging them to dare to take risks and to fail, as many times as it takes, along the way to success. It’s by testing ourselves and stretching our limits that we understand our intuition. Only then can we learn to trust it.
7. What do you wish you could tell the younger you?
Get more sleep!
8. You have created GPS for the soul, how do we use it, and why do we need it?
GPS for the Soul is HuffPost’s “killer app for better living” to gauge the state of your mind, body, and spirit, then automatically offer the steps you need to realign all three. When you tap your phone’s sensor, the app will tell you how stressed you are. You personalize the app with the things that help you de-stress on your own — a guide of music, poetry, photographs, meditation techniques, breathing exercises — and for me, pictures of my daughters when they were young and unproblematic.
Why do we need it? The philosophy behind GPS for the Soul is based on two truths about human beings. First, that we all have within us a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and balance. Second, that we’re all going to veer away from that place, again and again and again. That’s the nature of life. In fact, we may be off-course more often than we are on-course. So what we need is a great course-correcting mechanism, because otherwise the consequences can be serious, in terms of our health, our relationships, our jobs, and even our country.
We all know where we were when we heard about the 9/11 attacks. I was in a West Hartford coffee shop with one of our veteran news photographers Mike Fisher. Neither of us understood the gravity of that moment when we heard “a plane crashed into the World Trade Center.” For about 10 more innocent minutes we remained a news crew who had seen a lot of “accidents” and assumed this could be one too. As we rode the elevator up to the Channel Three newsroom, we were carrying our drinks and wondering about our next assignment. We walked over to our then news director Deborah Johnson to watch the video coming out of New York. Moments later the second plane hit. With the look on my news director’s face and expression of “oh no” I instantly understood what I had not realized until then. America was under attack. At 26 years old, I had never lived through war on our soil. As the daughter of a WWII bomber pilot I had heard my Dad’s account of Pearl Harbor, and how he and all of his classmates instantly dropped out of college to go fight the war. Yet, in my own young life War had been something a few brave Americans fight far away while the rest of us continue on with school, work, kids and life. But in that moment, I, like my Dad, wanted to serve. I asked my news director to send me to New York right away. She decided I should stay and cover the story of the wounded coming to CT hospitals. Of course that would change as we learned there were very few survivors to treat. I can remember Dennis rushing in with a few shirts and jumping in a news car to make his way into Manhattan. I would end up joining the crews the next day.
In the midst of work, I was worried about my own family and friends. My brother works in finance in the city and my father just happened to be in Washington for a meeting at the Pentagon. Thank God that meeting had been moved the day before to another office and my brother and friends were all ok.
The morning after the attacks our photographer Eric Hurst and I boarded a train in Fairfield with Connecticut firefighters heading to Ground Zero to help. Manhattan was in chaos. As we got off on the train platform at Grand Central it was eerily empty except for a priest who blessed us all. The firefighters boarded a bus to get to the still burning buildings. We were asked to separate from them for our safety. We proceeded to walk to Ground Zero and decided we would go until someone stopped us. That didn’t happen until we were right in front of the smoldering wreckage. Regular folks from all walks of life were trying to get in to help rescue people…and emergency crews at that time were not stopping them. I interviewed a hotel doorman who had come to New York to be an actor. He was writing his mother’s phone number on his arm so they would know who to call if he didn’t make it out. He didn’t have a uniform but like the soldiers generations before him he was willing to die to save a fellow American.
It was an exhilarating feeling to be an Eyewitness to history, this was why I became a news reporter. Though at the same time I felt deeply saddened and helpless. As the days went on, one after another, people would come up to us begging to put their loved one’s picture on TV so they could be found. It didn’t matter to them that our stories aired only in CT. To these desperate families we were a source of hope. Sometimes I did an interview just to make them feel better. We worked around the clock. Our clothes were dusty from the debris in the air. We sometimes wore gas masks just in case.
One night Dennis and I took a walk in between shows and visited a firehouse where all the firefighters were killed except one. That was the first time we ever saw each other cry. About 10 days later we all came home. Though none of us would ever be the same. As journalists, we had just covered the biggest story of our lives though unlike other tales of destruction, we had lived this one from our hearts the same way our viewers did.
10 years later Dennis and I think of 9/11 as the time that connected us for life. It is a story we will one day share with our children. I imagine they’ll probably listen like I did to my Dad, unable to fully comprehend what it was really like. As we mark a decade since the towers fell I hope we can change our world for the next generation. A world where we have more tolerance and compassion and less anger and destruction.
For the family’s forever changed by the attacks I wish you peace and strength as the years continue to pass.
I’m blessed to have some best girlfriends I have grown up with through middle school, high school and even college. When one of them, Dayna Horton, called to say “I am engaged” I could only say you could get married on Mars and I will be there just tell me when and where. (Except during TV ratings which she worked around.)
In some ways Mars and Hawaii are the same. Both take a million light years to get to, and each have out of this world qualities. Mars is red, Hawaii glows orange with lava and you can walk on black sand beaches that look like a perfect place for ET to land. Since it was too far away to leave the kids behind, we decided to bring our little aliens with us and hope they did not explode on the plane. Thank you to the airplane angels, they were awesome on both flights. No small feat since we flew non-stop from Newark to Honolulu 10 hours and 40 minutes but who’s counting.
Once we got there the trip was out of this world good! We saw volcanoes, walked on those black sand beaches, basked in the sun of Waikiki beach under the shadow of Diamond Head. Pineapple and chocolate macadamia nuts were daily events. Helena swam with a dolphin and asked him to make her a mermaid. That didn’t happen but many other amazing things did.
Namely my bestie Dayna said “I do” to a great guy Matt. I only hope we can renew our vows on Mars so she can bring her future little aliens to us next time.
Some lessons for the high chair crowd. Do take the non-stop flight on Continental out of Newark…they eventually sleep and you shave off 4 hours of travel time. Do stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu. Elvis, JFK and Brittany Spears all did. But, more importantly Hilton caters to the high chair crowd like us. Kids 4 and under eat free and strollers are a common sight.
Do move on to the Big Island to see Volcanoes National Park…tell your little ones Rapunzel’s hair makes it glow.
Do stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village where you can swim with dolphins and take boats to your room. Kids 4 and under also eat free here. I think they lost money on my 19 month old son Julian who downed a pineapple at every meal. Do go to your best friend’s wedding no matter where they have it, the memories will last so much longer than the jet lag.
Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Axtell!
I don’t know about you , but before this heat wave I was in full fall mode. I was dreaming of butternut squash soup from Tapas, wooly sweaters, and the sound of leaves being crushed under the baby stroller as we walk.
Fall is also a time to settle down in front of the TV and become addicted to your favorite old and new shows. It’s hard to believe Better Connecticut is entering it’s 4th season! While you have been enjoying repeats (hopefully) we’ve been brainstorming new ways to keep making Better …well Better. Some of your old favs like Kara’s Cures and Haney’s Helpful Hints are coming back but we will also have new features. Picture Scot and me testing out as seen on TV products, or making a quick craft out of magazine that you can replicate at home. Don’t worry, your diaphragn will still get a work out laughing at Recipe of the Week.
One of the reasons I love my job is because I am always learning. Better Connecticut is a place where even if you have lived here your whole life, or covered every story for last decade like us, you can still be surprised by a new place to go. I enjoy reading your story ideas so keep em coming.
See you September 13th for the season 4 debut! Happy end of summer until then!
Getting dressed this morning was tough. What do you wear when the guy you are going to host a show with is the host of What Not To Wear. First, my 3 year old daughter Helena was not feeling well, but fortunately she got sick on me BEFORE I put my outfit on. After getting her some dry toast and a seat next to Daddy the mission of What to Wear began. I remembered when he came on the show before he talked about his love of laundry and secrets for white whites. Hmmm I have a white skirt and it’s clean..check. I tried to google his favorite color …no luck so I picked a bright pink blouse since I know brights are “in.” Last a trendy zebra print belt to pull it all together…or look like a zoo keeper in heels. He would be the judge. When he arrived he met me in the make up room and I immediatley asked him…Ok Clinton let’s get this over with “Am I ok? Yes he loooved it. Perfect! He was a sweetheart from then on. I learned he loves roller coasters, doing laundry, vacuuming, is a good cook, grew up on Long Island and super close with his family. He lives in the Litchfiled Hills cause he loves to look at nature and thinks Connecticut is “freakin fabulous” also the title of his new book out in October.
It was a pleasure having Clinton fill in for the vacationing Scot Haney, and I hope he’ll come back, but in the meantime I’m glad myself and the rest of the newsroom can relax on Monday when we get dressed!
Check out the show!