Sip and Savor Life: Life Lessons from Wine Country

Sip and Savor Life: Life Lessons from Wine Country

Red, red wine and feeling fine… but there is more to the story. A recent business trip took me to the beautiful rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma Wine country. The first part of my trip was business related, but once the work was done, my niece and and I were able to visit some of the areas wineries and partake in wine tasting. When tasting wine you learn to “see, swirl, sniff, sip and savor” the wine. What struck me on this visit was how using these techniques can also apply to life.

When enjoying a glass of wine, you start with “see”. You pour the wine into the glass and evaluate the color. There are a lot of grapes out there so you can imagine how many colors you can see with every bottle. People are a lot like grapes, not one grape is exactly the same just like no one person is exactly the same.

Next, you “swirl” your glass. Swirling increases the oxygen which allows the wine to release its bouquet and aromas. The lesson I took from this is that we should swirl and move more to get our oxygen flowing so we can appreciate the beauty and enjoy the smell around us.

Next comes “sniff” or smell. This is one of the most important steps. The first, second and third sniffs smell different. You can get more information sniffing the wine and should take little dog sniffs, not big long sniffs. In life this is helpful too – with more “sniffs” or information you get more clarity and satisfaction out of people and situations.

Now it gets really fun, it’s time to “sip” the wine. Generally we perceive three wine tastes: sweet, bitter and sour. As I sipped, I tried to pay attention to the overall taste as it lingered in my mouth. I have experienced sweet, bitter and sour relationships. Oftentimes in relationships you don’t know what’s going to show up and knowing these differences can help you be more prepared.

It seems we can learn a thing or two from drinking a glass of wine (red wine is my favorite) especially if we slow down enough and appreciate the process.

As I take the time to reflect on my recent trip, I’m realizing I learned a lot from my wine tasting experience. Here are some personal learning lessons I’m taking with me:

  • See what is in front of you. Not only did I enjoy the color of the grapes I drank, I also enjoyed seeing my niece and how much she has grown up. Yes, we are both aging, but just like I can enjoy a fully matured wine, I was able to see our aging process as beautiful.
  • Swirl for movement. We smiled a little more on this trip as we watched our wine “dance”. Swirling is important! We are meant to move. It invigorates whatever it is we are doing.
  • Sniff to breathe in life. Stopping to smell “the roses” along the way is important in life. It helps us fully experience the beauty all around.
  •  Sip to slow down. In life this translates to lingering more and rushing less. It’s about relaxing and enjoying the moment. I definitely experienced this in California.
  • Savor the moment. Spending time with my niece was a truly enjoyable experience. While we didn’t always agree on our favorite wine, we did agree that the moments we spent together were amazing. During the tastings, we learned to trust our own palate. This too can be applied to life. Trust yourself to know what’s best for you – you are the expert of your own life.  And in my opinion, if you want to truly savor your experience, add chocolate. It make everything more savory!When I returned from California this time (and I have visit many times), I put the “pairing” of wine and life together for the first time. I thought, if we can pause, see what’s in front of us, swirl enough to enjoy the next step and smell the aroma, life can be so much more.


Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown, CHA, CHT is a business owner, joint venture partner, HR expert, certified coach and training professional.  Her 3 components: Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate are what help her clients develop, spark action and grow a successful career/business and life.  Kelye can be reached at 301-371-9300 or by visiting her website:


Be You – Community and Celebration!

Be You – Community and Celebration!

The words community and celebration summarize our kick- off event of the new Be You series for the 2015 Wholistic Woman Retreats year at a glance. The new Be You program is building from a past series called Build Your Own Business (BYOB) success that I created five years ago as a way to build and weave a community together on a monthly basis with education and happy hours. Roughly 500 overlapping participants (mostly women) joined in for the personal and professional tips, fun networking, and a focus on results. All women based speakers brought powerful knowledge to our community, and this will continue.

During our event on Tuesday, we spent much of our time discussing the power of one word which filled the room with words of wisdom. I was happy to hear the word “shine” two times as that was my word last year and it served me well. My word this year is “move”. As I received this strong word late last year it became clear it was time to “move” toward the “Be You” program – dropping the “B” or Business from BYOB and focusing on YOU with a supportive group of professional coaches and members of the Wholistic Woman community.

Part of the program on Tuesday, which was extra special for me, was a 10 year business anniversary celebration of my KRB Customized Training Solutions, now KRB Business Solutions LLC. As I shared a few milestones, it was clear the first half of the decade was business building and the second part community building. My business motto is educate, motivate and cultivate. In building my business it was about education and motivation all the way. I have learned that the cultivating piece is a process and takes time. My business has involved traveling the past 20 years and you could say working on the road is how I do business. In the middle years of building my business, I was really craving community in my area. As the saying goes, “home is where the heart is” and those of you that know me, know I have a lot of heart. With traveling, my heart was all over the place. The BYOB monthly sessions, which I conducted and trained on a much bigger scale for a corporation before starting my own business, came to be a constant and were the building blocks in my life here locally. I have recognized that some business projects will come and go – like hitting the ball out of the park with a Washington Nationals 6 month contract during their inaugural season, and some stay – like my new Joint Venture in Texas formed with my top client of 5 years.

It is interesting that before starting my business there was a postcard with the words “take a leap of faith” that nudged me to start my business and now I am living this one word in my joint venture Minute Leap DFW, LLC years later.

Community building is where the heart is. The encouragement, empathy and attitude of gratitude in our community makes us whole. In other words, business will be here, but community is the heart that keeps us alive and growing. I am proud to see the seed I have planted grow, and it feels amazing to serve a larger community through WWR and pass on a program to more “women on the- grow” for more enrichment.

Our celebration the other night was topped off with a champagne toast and songs I selected for Coach Sandie to sing. Just as we all sang, “walking 500 miles and 500 more to be the one who walk those miles and shows up at your door” – KRB will be there, WWR will be there, our door is open and we invite you in. We have walked these miles and are opening more doors in our community. The second song, “Walking on Sunshine” touches me and touched others with beautiful words like: “ I feel alive, I feel a love.” I am more alive and a better me because of our community, and hope the new Be You program will serve you to be the best YOU in 2015.

If you are not a member, please consider reviewing our membership plan for Wholistic Woman Retreats by Clicking Here to see how you can build a better you through our community membership. Be Whole, and celebrate Being YOU!


Today’s author: Kelye Rouse Brown is an executive coach, conference speaker, HR expert, and seminar leader on employee and management training. Through her company, KRB Business Solutions, LLC, she specializes in communications and leadership, career coaching, and result driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare and service oriented clients. You can reach Kelye at or visit her website


Build YOU, Be YOU

Build YOU, Be YOU

“I would walk five hundred miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the “woman” ……great lyrics by the Proclaimers. At this time I reflect and celebrate the 10 years and thousands of miles I have walked, with others, to be the woman I am today in business. KRB Customized Training Solutions celebrates 10 years this January 2015 and for the last 5 years has included and created a series of seminars called BYOB or Build Your Own Business success with 500 cumulative participants. The business sessions picked up momentum year after year reaching a five year milestone in 2014. They proved to be a great outlet for small business and entrepreneurs to become educated, motivated and to cultivate their individual success. All it really takes is one step that turns into three to make a better you with more success, both personally and professionally.

My 3 lessons and motto are:

  • Educate – share and do what builds your skills and knowledge to develop yourself and others
  • Motivate – build a strong team and community to support yourself and others to spark action
  • Cultivate – grow, have fun, and let the spirit of positivity shine through to build success

These steps have been the foundation of my business success. It all started with my background in hospitality (both hotel and corporate work) which gave me the skills and knowledge to go out on my own and form KRB Customized Training Solutions, a professional HR, training and coaching company. I’m happy to announce that my new business name will be launched in 2015: KRB Business Solutions, LLC.

Five years into my business I recognized I wanted to reach out to the community and offer mini-seminars like I had on a much larger scale when I worked in the corporate world. Prior to starting my own business I traveled 40 weeks a year, and thousands of miles, delivering workshops and opening hotels in North America. It seemed as easy as one, two, three, to start workshops locally for large and small organizations, and entrepreneurs….. and to call them Build Your Own Business (BYOB) success seminars.

Initially, I conducted all of the training sessions myself. In time, however, I decided to invite area professionals to participate in the BYOB series and offer their expertise…which was a great move! Some of the topics I led were:

  • Cutting Edge Communication
  • Human Resources
  • Mentoring and Accountability
  • Creating Memorable Customer Care Moments
  • Leadership
  • Personal Sales

Jane Helm with Moore Wealth was a large contributor to the success of BYOB, adding topics such as ‘How to Play the Money Game’ and ‘More Money Matters’. Other professionals and topics included Using YouTube for Business Growth by Whitney Hahn of Digital Bard and Vitality Visioning by Jeanette Eleff of Focused Vitality, just to name a few.

It was a win-win…sharing what we know and learning from others at the same time, to really grow. The condensed sessions were designed for participants to unwind with fun networking from 5pm-6pm while discussing 10 business savvy tips. The focus was improving your business, and yourself, taking ownership of your success, and having a happy hour.

Many of the professionals that contributed to the success of BYOB were members of the Wholistic Coaching Coalition, a group of local certified coaches that I co-founded with Carol delaski, Laura Hall, Sandie Lynch, Lisa DiSciullo and Jeanette Eleff in 2010. My motto of Educate, Motivate, and Cultivate contributed to the success of the Wholistic Woman Retreats community.

I’m happy to announce that KRB Customized Training Solution’s BYOB program is growing and changing into a new and better version and will be called Be YOU in 2015. KRB and the Wholistic Coaches, who each have their own businesses, are excited to take new steps to bring you the Be YOU series. We are enhancing the program to include a private room, dinner, book topics facilitated by the coaches, longer sessions and a few past BYOB presenters for 2015.

Thank you for 10 years of learning, growing, and supporting one another. Join us as we continue to take steps to build a better you with this supportive community.

Save the date for the launch of the Be You series on Tuesday, January 27th 2015 – 5:30pm-7pm at Jo Jo’s Restaurant, 16 E. Patrick St. Frederick, MD to learn more about these fun and enriching opportunities.


Today’s author: Kelye Rouse-Brown is an executive coach, conference speaker, HR expert, and seminar leader on employee and management training. Through her company, KRB Customized Training Solutions, she specializes in communications and leadership, career coaching, and result driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare and service oriented clients. You can reach Kelye at or visit her website


Give Cancer the Boot!

Give Cancer the Boot!

My mom, an Oklahoma native, was a cowgirl at heart.  She believed in “putting on your brave girl boots” and pushing through.  So, as you can probably imagine, I was very excited about this years Dress for a Cure Fashion Show theme of Give Cancer the Boot.

This event was created to honor my mom as she battled ovarian cancer.  Dress for a Cure became even nearer and dearer to my heart when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, and my mother and I faced our health challenges together.

Recently, I have learned of an organization called FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), a nonprofit group that fights hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Their focus is a good ‘fit’ with our personal experience of cancer and I wanted to support them. Truly, my mom was the force inside me.  First she encouraged me to be proactive with genetic testing in 2001 which showed that I was BRCA1 positive. Then when I was diagnosed in 2011 she helped me to give cancer the boot!

My mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer over 13 years ago and passed away on April 3, 2013. Dress for a Cure is a way for me to remember our journey, and to educate others while having fashion fun. This event embodies so much of what my mom represents….the heart, bravery, and “cowgirl” spirit to stay alive during difficult times and to plan ahead.

This year was my 4th annual Dress for a Cure Fashion Show.  I am excited to report that the event tripled in size this year and we raised over $1,000 for FORCE.  This is an event that my mother and I saw as an opportunity to get the word out for a great cause. Thanks to my friends at Aspire Women’s Clothing Boutique and Whidden Hill who helped host the event.  Aspire provided the clothing worn by our beautiful models (as they have the past three years) and for the first time this year Whidden Hill helped us give cancer the boot by providing the models with western boots to compliment their outfits.

Speaking of boots, I wear my cowgirl boots all the time as I too, am a cowgirl at heart. Wearing my western boots reminds me to be brave, to push through and to help others give cancer the boot!


Today’s author: Kelye Rouse Brown is an executive coach, conference speaker, HR expert, and seminar leader on employee and management training. Through her company, KRB Customized Training Solutions, she specializes in communications and leadership, career coaching, and result driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare and service oriented clients. You can reach Kelye at or visit her website


Tree Hugger

As I sit and twirl in my new hammock tree swing I feel my mom’s arms wrapped around me. I just got this beautiful visual from my new writer friend who helped me feel the hug this morning. My summer has been one that is filled with anxiety and worry and stillness and calm. That’s because I have been working on my Tree of Life garden to honor my mom and feel her presence. I was reminded I don’t have to rush through the process to create this space and can take my time, hence the anxiety and now stillness and calm. It’s been over a year that I have started this planning, first with an ornament on the tree to set the focus and stone steps leading to the strong tree. Then colorful river rocks filling the space under the tree, a bench from my mom’s garden, a birdbath and now a cuddly swing to drink coffee in the morning in. The space is serene and I feel her presence. Friends and family have dropped off plants from their gardens or helped me in the garden and this has helped me with the process, one that I don’t think will ever end. This is a process that is creating less and less anxiety for me and now more still and calm. I have always enjoyed these meditative spaces to calm my soul and am feeling so joyful one is in my back yard now.

If you are searching for space to provide calmness and serenity consider joining our Be Calm event on October 4th (Click here for details) that will include a labyrinth, an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. It is a symbol that creates a sacred space. This visual alone makes me think of my tree hugging swing above my circular stones below me in my space leading the way. Stay or move along and be wrapped in hugs today.


Today’s author: Kelye Rouse Brown is an executive coach, conference speaker, HR expert, and seminar leader on employee and management training. Through her company, KRB Customized Training Solutions, she specializes in communications and leadership, career coaching, and result driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare and service oriented clients.   You can reach Kelye at or visit her website




“Lean towards joy and listening, and away from giving advice.”

That was the message to kick off my weekend retreat at Kripalu in the beautiful Berkshires area. I have always been interested in learning about positivity and happiness so I joined Dr. Maria Sirois on Introduction to Positive Psychology along with my oldest dearest friend Susie that I have known for 40 years. Many of you that know me have said why you would want to learn about happiness and positivity since you are that way. For me it was simple, learn some of the statistics around the benefits of these themes in life that I am so passionate about and pass along. Yes, it was a little scientific experiment I took in a relaxing environment and came away renewed with more spirit!

Positive psychology was referred to as the scientific study of optimal human functioning and officially launched as a field in 1998. Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar first taught a seminar at Harvard on this fairly newer topic in 2002 with 8 students enrolled and 2 dropped out. The objective was what psychology can teach us about leading happier, more fulfilling lives. The following year the class went public and 380 students signed up. The evaluations showed the class improved the quality of one’s life. Well, the next time the class was offered it grew to 855 students enrolled, which made it the largest class at Harvard University.

A few years ago I did a workshop on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” that got me thinking about how to help others lead a happier life. It’s no surprise more often we hear people focus on the negative or remember negative experiences more than positive and that’s in part how positive psychology came about. Psychologists focus on how to help human problems and course correct versus why people are happy and build on that. There have been many positive psychology teams that go into companies to create a balance and shift and help turn a “positive” profit. So in business, positivity equals profit.

As someone who has always been in human resources and the people business, I can’t help but get excited about this field. Guess what the percentage of genetics and intentional activity are in determining happiness? Yes, it’s almost 50/50. To be more exact fifty percent of our happiness comes from our genes and forty percent from our intentional activity, with the exception of 10% are life circumstances says Sonja Lyubomirsky. Happiness is not out there for us to find, it’s in us to find. I love the quote from Abraham Lincoln,

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

It’s true! We choose to change our negative state of mind to push through to find happiness.

Some of my favorite happiness boost are expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism and acts of kindness. There is a long list by Sonja Lyubomirsky that goes on to taking care of your body with steady exercise and meditation. One I am working on and will continue with our Be Whole, Be Calm event designed to relax your mind and walk a meditative labyrinth. I walked the labyrinth at the Kripalu Wellness and Yoga center and was reminded to pause and savor life’s joys and listen as advised the start of my weekend. These retreats fill my happiness bucket one day, one weekend at a time.

Today’s author: Kelye Rouse Brown is an executive coach, conference speaker, HR expert, and seminar leader on employee and management training. Through her company, KRB Customized Training Solutions, she specializes in communications and leadership, career coaching, and result driven solutions for hospitality, healthcare and service oriented clients.  You can reach Kelye at or visit her website http://home/wholisu6/