Stress is real. You know what I mean—maybe your mind goes a million miles a minute or the stressors of the day seem to mount an attack before you can even get started. I know for me, in the rat race of the produce business (or any business, for that matter), the days can be long and filled with frenetic activity.

I think many people have a hard time sleeping at night or are restless when thinking about their next day, so they roll out of bed in the morning and rush to get to their day of work. That’s one way to handle stress.

But I’ve found a different way to start my day.

It’s a practice I started almost four years ago, and that is daily meditation.

A friend of mine shared an app with me at that time produced by Deepak Chopra in collaboration with Oprah Winfrey (Chopra Meditation & Well-being) and it is a 20-minute guided meditation. Perhaps you are aware that there are now many phone apps you can use to help with meditation, such as the Peloton app, Calm, Headspace, and to name a few. I’ve found it makes meditation so much easier when you have a ready-to-use coach at hand (the app).

So, this is the way I start my day:

  1. Alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. My goal is to get up when the alarm goes off, but on occasion, I do hit the snooze button. But I’ve found I end up feeling more rested when I get up the first time the alarm goes off.
  2. After brushing my teeth, etc., I start my pot of coffee. While the coffee is brewing, I do some simple and light stretching exercises for my hamstrings and feet.
  3. Then I grab my cup of coffee, sit on the couch, and launch my meditation app. The Chopra app is about 10 minutes of introduction, then about 10 minutes of music, during which you repeat the mantra of the day in your head with your eyes closed.
  4. When my meditation is complete, I open my eyes, and then take my resting heart rate on another app called “heart rate free”, which gives me a sense of my calmness level. Funny thing is, I can tell by my resting heart rate if I let my thoughts distract me during my meditation! If I was fully absorbed in my meditation practice, my heart rate is lower.

If you are looking for more calmness in your life and the opportunity to have some quiet time where your mind is free from thoughts, give meditation a try. With the plethora of apps available via our smart phones, it is actually super easy to implement. And, even though you may have to set your alarm 20–30 minutes earlier than usual to accommodate the period of time set aside for meditation, I think you will find that you start your day off with more energy, plus you’ll sleep better at night.



As I write today, I am sitting at a resort in Colorado Springs (The Broadmoor) for a global board meeting of the International Women’s Forum.  The view is spectacular.


Our two days of board meetings are 3 ½ hours long (from 12 – 3:30 p.m. each day). That’s a long time to be sitting at a table, listening to speakers and presentations. Plus, some of our global board members could not make the trip, so we have at least 6 people joining us via Zoom. Even though the organizers of the meeting published all the background information in advance (with a perfectly timed agenda), it is still tempting look at my phone during the meeting.

So, this is the commitment I made to myself before the first meeting started: do not give into the temptation. I was committed to being fully present during the board meeting without checking my devices. And, thankfully, on the pre-printed agenda were breaks where I could check my notifications.

It made me think – what other places and times do I have that same challenge of being present and attempting to multitask?  It is well-known that it is almost impossible to do two things WELL at the same time (think about those people who text while driving or walking).

Well, the obvious answer is during Zoom calls/meetings. If you are in business, or belong to an organization that uses Zoom, I’m guessing if the conversation topic or speaker is not exciting, you might turn off your camera so people can’t see you checking your email or your phone. So how does one make meetings – Zoom or in-person – super interesting and engaging?  I have a few ideas about this:

Truth be told, my blogpost today was inspired by an email I received early this morning.  Just as I was thinking about how to stay present during my board meeting, a dear friend and speaker, Colette Carlson posted this article today on strategies for an impactful virtual meeting.

And, if you really want to score big with your coworkers, try ending a meeting early and give them the gift of a few extra minutes on their calendar.  I’ve found this is a sure way to score points.


What Frieda’s and the pantone color of the year have in common

Los Alamitos, CA (February 2022) – What do our founder, the late Dr. Frieda Rapoport Caplan and the Pantone Color of the Year, Very Peri, have in common? They both are known for displaying a joyous attitude and dynamic presence that encourages courageous creativity and imaginative expression.

Sometimes two very different points in time can feel very similar. As we at Frieda’s look to celebrate 60 years in business in 2022, we cannot help but notice that as the global pandemic begins to wane, the opportunity that lies ahead does not feel dissimilar to the world of possibilities that were unlocked as Frieda first opened her business Produce Specialties, Inc. on the Los Angeles Produce Market. The company was renamed Frieda’s, Inc. in 1990.

“Success came because I never saw obstacles,” once claimed Frieda. She courageously took on purple as her brand color when she opened the doors of her business. What is even bolder is that marketing produce at that time was a male-dominated industry—some say it still is. Thus, the overall decision to choose purple embodied courage and innovative thinking, but resulted into something truly beautiful, don’t you think?

According to the official pantone website, the PANTONE 17-3938 Very Peri was chosen because it is a symbol of both the global zeitgeist of the moment and the transition we are going through today. As we emerge from an intense period of isolation, our standards are changing, and our physical and digital lives have merged. Very Peri encompasses the qualities of the blues with a violet-red undertone, displaying a spritely, joyous attitude and dynamic presence that highlights the expansive possibilities that lay before us, just like Frieda did.

Frieda’s has always been about creative solutions that inspire shoppers to embrace colorful, healthy & delicious eating. Call your Frieda’s account manager today for ideas on how your stores can take advantage of this fun color of the year and create displays for shoppers that will have them coming back for more.

Last week, I was on a phone call with a business acquaintance, and he commented that he had found my blog on our company website. He said to me, “You come across like you are a business coach.”

That was such an interesting comment. I think he expected that my blog would be about the fresh produce that we sell.

So I gave him the backstory of why I started blogging. In late December 2009, I read an op-ed piece in USA Today by then-Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey. John got a lot of flak about his op-ed piece because he was talking from his personal opinion, not as the CEO of Whole Foods. He commented afterward that “a company CEO should be able to have their own personal voice separate from their CEO role.”

John’s comment inspired me. So, in late January of 2010, I launched my own blog, “What’s on Karen’s Plate?”—the name was suggested by our company marketing director.

In the beginning, I wrote about produce, two or three times a week. But, I got tired of sounding like I was pitching the produce my company sold, so occasionally I would write about things happening in my life. One time the title of my blog was “What it’s really like working with my sister”, and I got so many positive comments that I started to rethink what I would write about.

Over the years, I transitioned from writing about produce to writing about what was going on in my life. And my posts seemed to resonate with more and more people. One time I wrote about why I had to change my thyroid medicine, and several people wrote to me that they had the same experience.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about “Is the upside worth the downside?”, and I had several people email me or call me to say that they were able to use the information I shared in making a critical decision that week!

And I cannot tell you how many people write me notes, emails or texts saying that it feels like I am “in their head” when I write my blog.

That is what inspires me to write—knowing that what is going on in my life is most likely happening for others. Whether it is about kids, aging, health, business, continuous learning, fitness, love or friendship, I may be verbalizing what others are wondering about.

So, when I saw this quote in a friend’s newsletter, it completely resonated with me.

“If you can help people see themselves in your story, then you have a connection.”

-Muhammad Ali

So, am I a business coach? Or a life coach? Or am I just someone who wants to inspire others to live their best life?