600231_10151162499084056_603029295_n Meet Mercedes Yvette.  You may recognize her from America's Top Model Cycle 2.  She became famous for being the gorgeous ball of light on the show but more than anything, she revealed that she had lupus and helped bring awareness to the disease.  On the show she struggled with health issues that seemed  so unfair to be happening to such a beautiful girl. Shortly after is when we met.  I was a single Mom, always with my son in tote at castings and she was always so helpful and full of light.   I never knew our paths would be so connected years later when I myself got diagnosed with rheumatoid Arthritis.  Mercedes became a source of inspiration for me because no matter what she was going through on the inside, she was always exuding her famous smile and dimples on the outside, and that is why I am so excited to introduce her to you! Mercedes was diagnosed with Lupus in 2003 and is the spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America.  America's Top Model was an incredible platform that helped jump-start her career as a model, actor, host, and advocate.  But as amazing as the fashion & entertainment industry can be, living with Lupus, makes it challenging.  Sometimes, her symptom list feels limitless.  The fatigue, hair loss, and arthritis has been the hardest for her.   As a result, Mercedes has had to make changes to her health habits and frame of mind.  She started "Conscious Cutie" to inspire others who want to live a healthy, cleaner, and conscious lifestyle.  www.consciouscutie.com consciouscutiesmall 1. What motivates you? I look at motivation as an external source. It is short term goal that leads to satisfaction.  It’s basically good ideas such as, waking up early, going to the gym, choosing healthy foods to eat, writing every day, mediating often. 2.  What inspires you? I look at inspiration as an intrinsic force. It is the burning desire that I am naturally drawn into. I am inspired to be the best version of myself everyday. Such as curing my body of Lupus by working out and eating healthy. Educating others about healthy living and eating. People also inspire me. Seeing the change in others sparks an innate reaction in me that anything is possible. In short, TED Talks inspire me, my yoga teachers, my dog for his insurmountable courage, my mother for her strength, and nature for its healing properties. 5170_117431809055_2290805_n 3.  What do you do to get through tough days? There are many tricks to my method of madness. I bring awareness towards what is causing pain and/or discomfort. Whether it be emotionally or physically, I try to take more breaths and look within.  It helps me regain focus and remove certain obstacles. I sometimes ask for help from my friends and family. This is relatively new addition to my method because I always I was Superwoman and could handle anything. At the end of day it is nice to have help. 4.  What kind of physical therapy/workout are you doing and how often? The physical therapy starts in the kitchen with the foods I use to fuel my body. I am an occasional carnivore. I mostly eat organic fruits and vegetables. I omitted process foods and piggies from my diet a long time ago. Besides eating healthy I keep my body moving. I practice yoga everyday for my arthritis. I take a pilates class two days a week and dance class once a week. 5170_117431819055_918332_n 5.  What are you most grateful for? I am grateful for my family, amazing friends, work, my health (for what it is), nature, and my dog. 6.  Do you look at your health issues as a curse or a blessing? Both. No one wants an autoimmune disease like Lupus but it is a blessing because I’ve been able to spread awareness about the disease as a spokesperson for the Lupus Foundation of America. 4397_104174599055_670631_n 7.  Tell me a book or quote that had a deep effect on you? I live by my own mantra, “Everything in life is negotiable.”  This helps me to reach beyond boundaries and choose the type of life I want to live. 542559_10151162498744056_2102974521_n 8.  What is your dream? I feel so fortunate that I am living my dream.  I do however have to dream up a husband soon because I would love to share my life with someone and one day have children.  600204_10151162499364056_774227329_n Follow Mercedes at www.consciouscutie.com