Friday, December 30, 2011


Last night I met my friend's new little man for the first time -- he was 8 days old and utterly perfect.  As I sat in the living room drinking wine with the happy couple, her husband told me that the most amazing element of having the baby has been watching him grow and become more alert each and every day.  The little things like sneezing, squeezing a hand, or getting his first cold.  There is a new awareness and appreciation for every teeny tiny thing in life that we are so used to after existing for 20+, 30+, 40+ years.

Just a couple of days ago we touched on gratitude and today's challenge is going to revisit the topic, but in a slightly different light:  Gratitude for all of the little things in life that we take for granted!  Like being able to squeeze a hand, waking up every day being able to walk, and living in a country where freedom is celebrated.

As we go into the New Year's weekend, keep the little things in mind when talking about your bigger plans for the year ahead.


Holiday weekends are often very busy -- dedicate time over the course of the next three days to get some rest.  For many of my potentially 5-10 readers this will be a challenge, but ask your significant other to take on the kids so that you can squeeze in a nap or for my Single-in-the-City friends, don't be afraid to turn plans down so that you can get to bed a little earlier one night.  Exercise is significantly more effective on maintaining a healthy body if that body is receiving the rest it deserves.  I repeat, get some sleep!

Find the personal time for reflection, even if it just ten minutes, and reflect on all of the little blessings in your life.  Focus the mind on living in the present and wrapping the gratitude around all of the things that can be identified in that moment...try not to let you head run away with the plans and potential blessing for the year ahead.  Live in the now.  

"When you are grateful fear disappears and abundance appears." 

-Anthony Robbins

"Ask me why I smile a lot....cuz it's worth it."

-Marcel the Shell

It is easy to get caught up in the business of a holiday weekend.  Do your best to set aside time in the next few days to keep up with The Challenge and your own personal balance.  Physical activity, rest, and a couple of minutes a day to bring your mind into an intentional place.  

Today's Tips:  Exercise is only one piece to maintaining a healthy body.  Drink lots of water to stay hydrated, keep up with the vitamins, and steering clear of electronics for 30 minutes prior to bed time will help for a more restful sleep.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The first week of any new commitment is always the toughest.  It's kind of like getting back to the gym or changing your diet -- but once you get through it the rest feels like a breeze.  We are on Day 3 and I would guess that today and tomorrow will be some of the tougher to commit to as the shine is wearing off of taking on this new challenge, but I need to make a request:  Stick with me!!  I promise that in some way this 30 day experience will positively impact your life (and how many habits in your life can make that claim??).

I am fortunate to live in a part of California where I can wake up in the morning to go for a walk and within minutes I am staring below at some incredible beaches.  Today I dragged myself out of bed to brace the cold (in CA we consider 50 degrees cold) and go for my 30 minute walk.  As I approached the coastline the sun was coming up and where the water meets the sky the horizon was an incredible shade of orange.  The image was inspiring and for whatever reason the first thought that ran through my head was to be brave and trust that life won't give me anything I can't handle.  

Today, as we go into the rest of the first week of The Challenge, I implore you to Be Brave and take on life knowing that 'You Got This'.

Keep good habits in place -- for the third day in a row perform an exercise like running or walking or yoga that warms up the body from the inside out and gets your heart racing.  No need to run a marathon on Day 3 or sign up for the hardest class at the gym. Slow and steady wins the race -- but the key to 'Steady' is consistency.

Find the personal time for reflection, even if it just ten minutes, and look back on the year's greatest challenges.  Moments when you woke up and thought you wouldn't survive the day.  Was it a huge presentation that would never come together?  Too many places to be and you could never get it all done?  Chances are that you found a way to get through it.  We are a people of self deprecation and doubt, but really I think you are much braver than you ever give yourself credit.

"The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it." 

-Thucydides quotes (Ancient Greek historians and author, 460-404 bc

Is there anything that you have resisted pursuing or simply carrying through because fear held you back?  Perhaps the fear of failure or of falling (physically/mentally/emotionally)?  You don't need to tackle it today -- Rome wasn't built in a day, people -- but start to visualize taking it on and commit to the courage.  I dare you to take it on before the end of our 30 Day Challenge!

Today's Tips:  When was the last time you took some vitamins?  Vitamin water doesn't exactly count as the nutritional value is mostly sugar.  Grab an Emergen-C pack or some multi-vitamins today.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Last night I attended a dinner party with my entire family to celebrate my grandmother's 90th birthday.  I would first like to say that if we can all be as spunky, and fashionable, as sweet Betty at 90 years old then we have a great life ahead of us.  But the most important moment, for me, of the whole night was at the very end as we were all saying good night.  Plenty of sentimental speeches had been made and laughs shared, but it was at the end of the night that I turned to my grandmother and said "It was a wonderful evening -- I hope you enjoyed it."  Her response, and this is coming from quite the sassy lady that I rarely see get sentimental, was a very genuine "It is because of all of you that my life and this party was so special. Thank you."  As her eyes started to water I could tell that she meant every word of it and, trust me, such moments are rare with this little lady.

This leads me into the theme for today's challenge post.  A Course in Miracles teaches that true happiness stems from knowing one's self and freedom from the influence of The Ego.  But, I would argue that it is also critical to recognize that life is a blend of such truth AND how others have brought color and texture into the pattern of your life.

If you were to host a dinner party tomorrow night and look around the table at each person that has provided support, loved unconditionally, made sacrifice, or simply provided moments of laughter when you needed it the most...who would you invite?  Do you know that last time that you made it known to them that they hold such a place in your life?


Whatever exercise you chose to perform yesterday for 30 minutes, do it again today.  Part of the 30 day challenge is developing good habits -- and habits stem from repetition.

Give yourself a moment -- alone.  Take a deep breath.  Sit in a comfortable position.  Now take a deep breath again.  Set an intention for how you want to let this quote impact your thoughts and actions TODAY.   Gratitude can transform not only our lives, but those around us as well. 

“For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who are the loved ones in your life that help make you a better, stronger, wiser person?  Take a moment to thank them with simply a prayer or perhaps a note.  It will go further than you can ever imagine.

"Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself-and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That's what real love amounts to-letting a person be what he really is."
- Jim Morrison 

Today's Tips and Reminders:  Drink lots of water (habits!) and throw back your shoulders and squeeze your core every time you feel yourself slumping over -- standing or sitting.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011


So here we are approaching the end of another year and the buzz has begun about New Year's Resolutions.  Many disdain the idea of indulging in such a cliché, but I say why degrade the one time of year that encourages us to take a step back and set goals, evaluate our priorities, and be more intentional. 

I have been spending a great deal of time these last few months reading books about manifestation and the power of thought -- and the incredible impact that a state-of-mind can have on the path we travel in life.  It's been very informative and amusing to read about the success stories and the 'suggestions' on how to maintain a greater sense of self awareness, but realistically, I have stood on the sidelines this entire time simply reading and absorbing it all.  Well, the time has come dear friends, for me to step off the sidelines and get in the game!  And if you are up for it, then come with me!

I present to you "The Challenge":  Intentionally spend the next 30 days working on your physical, spiritual, and personal health and well being.  For all of you fearful of major commitments in life because you are so busy, I repeat, 30 DAYS.  We can do this -- and I am going to further step it up and commit to  posting daily words to encourage, recipes for better well being, and personal propositions that come from others who are much more qualified than me to be a personal coach.  If you are ready for the challenge then read on because today is DAY 1!


Take 30  minutes today for your own personal time to be in tune with your body.  Keep it basic.  We are looking to hit a home run our first time up to bat.  Suggested activities:  walking, running, or stretching (I am a huge Yogi and yes this counts as exercise).

Give yourself a moment to read and meditate.  Don't be afraid to set an intention for how you want to let this quote impact your thoughts and actions TODAY.

"Fate is how your life unfolds when you let fear determine your choices. A path of destiny reveals itself to you, however, when you confront your fear and make conscious choices."
 - Caroline Myss
Set aside 10 minutes before going to bed and write down in a journal some of your favorite memories from the past year.  Life presents good with the bad and it is up to us to determine on which side of the fence we will focus our thoughts and energy.

Today's Tips and Reminders:  Drink lots of water and give up any and all electronics at least 30 minutes before going to bed tonight.

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Friday, December 23, 2011

TOP 11 in 2011!

We are heading into the holidays and it's time to reflect on our favorite moments of the past year... Here are some of mine:

#11 Realizing that Bravo, Wine, and Marcel the Shell can pretty much turn any day around

#10 Hearing God come to me in the night to tell me that (S)He has a bigger purpose for me in life than the broken relationships of my past ... and it is time to let go

# 9 Realizing that my break up was the best thing to happen to one of my best friend's business (new boyfriend found her a brand new store and much better location!)

#8 Discovering #TDL

#7 Watching my sister fall in love for the first time and watching my brother take on the job of his dreams...and hit it out of the park

#6 Standing before a table of my 20 closest family and friends to say thank you for an amazing year ... you are all a huge part of what defines the foundation on which I daily live my life

#5 Watching two friend's lives transform as they welcomed their first child into the world ... and one of them thought this moment could only be a dream

#4 Another year of working with my father and realizing that his unconditional love and hard work for our family has been highly underrated my entire life

#3 Graduating with my MBA ... after 3 1/2 years of night school

#2 Realizing that the glued together pieces of a broken heart are much stronger and capable of taking on life than the innocent heart that has never been tested in life

#1 Learning about living in the present and trying to embrace every day for the gifts that it has to offer ... and trusting that He has a fantastic future lined up for me to discovery on His time and not mine

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011


My girlfriends and I established a curriculum for us to abide by when dating called "The Catch and Release Program".  It is a tool to help us navigate our Adventures in Dating and the basic structure is committing to the plan that if, after three dates, you can definitively say that you could never imagine bringing this person to meet family or close friends for dinner -- then it's time to 'cut bait' and throw that fish back out to sea for someone else to hook.  

I recently hit that potential 'fourth date' moment and simply could not decide what to do.  My head and heart were feeling two different things.  My head was saying "You're in your late 20's, it's not the time to be picky," and my heart was questioning the passion.  I turned to my go-to girlfriend that is always full of brilliant insight and often knows me better than I know myself.  She tells me when my blouse isn't the most complimentary shade of red for my complexion and she responds to every break-up announcement with "We are going to get through this together."  For the record:  we should all have a friend like that in our lives and make sure that we are an equally good friend in return...but I digress. 

As I described to her my situation, she asked me what my gut intuition was on the probability of getting serious with this person.  I hesitated to respond and she told me that right there I had my answer.  I complained for a moment as dating can be so much work and how do you ever know if you are making the right decision -- especially early on in getting to know someone.  Her response quickly became my new personal mantra:  "Dating is like shoe shopping, except this isn't a clearance sale at Barney's and he's not the last one in your size."

She was spot on.  Dating and shoe shopping, for those possessing any element of a 'Carrie Bradshaw' persona with a love for shoes,  can be incredibly similar experiences.  It's fun at first, tiring as time wears on, discouraging when you have tried on so many but nothing seems to fit, and then incredibly rewarding and exciting when you find that perfect shoe.  It might have taken four malls, putting up with some cheesy salesmen, and more patience than a five year old waiting for Christmas morning this time of year -- but so gratifying to put on the shoes that fits like a glove and possesses the style that brings with it a desire to throw back your shoulders and stand a little taller when taking on life together.   

To all of my 'Single and Twenty Something' friends:  you don't need to rush this process.  Be patient.  And above all, follow your intuition when deciding whether or not 'the shoe fits'. 

Nothing says 'Inspirational Moment' like the program Twitter, so in conclusion:  "Trying to rush love is like trying to create a masterpiece using paint-by-numbers.  It's not gonna turn out good."  #The SW

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Thursday, December 8, 2011


The other day I was forced to take a sick day, by doctor's orders, and I found myself flipping through the television using the ever-convenient 'On Demand' feature. The young co-ed in me immediately gravitated towards reruns of Sex & The City on HBO. I selected an episode at random, having watched the whole series at least three times over, and found myself lost in their story line illustrating the contrasting lifestyles of 'Single in the City' and 'Pregnant in the 'Burbs'. The majority of the thirty minute episode was spent jumping between scenes that point out some of the pros and cons of each role, but the concluding punch-line is really what I found to be the most entertaining: each woman envied the lifestyle of the other.

Terrified of the monotonoy of the suburbs, Mother-to-Be longed to put on her pair of Jimmy Choos that had been collecting dust in the back of her closet (behind her more sensible and comfortable Cole Haan flats) and, in contrast, Single in the City was burnt out on the ever exhausting dating adventures and ready to trade in the stilettos and small talk for something of appealing stability. The episode hit home as I lingered on the couch and looked inward at my own life of Single in the City.  I thought about the many moments when I had flashed my wax smile at the latest baby shower and squeezed out a less than genuine (and way too high pitched) "Congratulations!" -- when often I was envious of the new chapter that my girlfriend was embarking upon and wishing I could hit the fast forward button on life to just 'get past' this whole dating gig.

I was describing this process of thought to a girlfriend over a glass of wine the following evening and her response, after laughing and telling me "You really are able to view all matters in life through SATC colored lenses while the rest of us settle for rose tinted.", was that the whole concept was powerful in it's simplicity.  We long to look ahead, but perhaps at the price of appreciating the present moment -- a moment that could be gone in an instant!

Being Single in the City gives the freedom of deciding in the middle of a tough work day that all you want to do later that night is grab martinis with a girlfriend as a stress relief and not have to apologize, or ask permission, to anyone for such a thing. On the flip side, being Settled in Suburbia can mean declining the office happy hour invitation because you are looking forward to getting home to spend the evening with your spouse watching the latest episode of Dancing with the Stars -- knowing that you will be warmly greeted by a familiar smile as soon as you walk in the door.  Will martini nights get 'boring' night after night?  Perhaps.  Will the weekly routine of your favorite show feel monotonous?  It's a definite possibility.

Whatever stage in life currently defines your existence, there is a pretty good chance that someone else is looking at the plot of grass you are standing on and thinking it might be a bit greener under your shoes.

I dare you to defy the odds, and our social tendency, and not focus your gaze across the pond at someone else's grass. Instead, look down at exactly where you are standing and appreciate the blades of grass for all that they have to offer. There is a good chance that you won't be standing in this exact spot for long -- life is ever changing -- and if you never return to this place wouldn't it be a shame if it were overlooked and under estimated?

I will be the first to admit "lawn envy" -- but today I will look at the ground below me with gratitude and excitement for the freedom and adventure that Single in the City can bring into the everyday. After all, if I wasn't standing here's, then how could I entertain my married and pregnant friends with all the storties from my "Dating Diaries"?

Image Courtesy of

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Friday, December 2, 2011


The holidays are always a challenging time of year to keep our emotions in check and a maintain a level head.  There is this pressure to demonstrate absolute joy, gratefulness, and excitement for a period of 38 days straight -- otherwise known as the period from Thanksgiving to New Years.  Ironically, for many, this pressure to be happy actually brings out the suppressed emotions of sadness or worry is more often set aside throughout the year as we able to focus that energy on all the other activities happening in our life.  But the holidays are a special time of year -- they bring everything to the forefront.

I, like many of you, have a love/hate relationship with the holidays.  I do, truly, love making the time to take a step back and recognize the blessings in my life.  There is much to be grateful for as I have good health, a roof over my head, and am lucky to call many magnificent people my family and friends.  However, earlier this week I was having some challenges with work -- a lot of "Do this, don't do that.  He's an idiot.  Go tell that person to 'Pound Sand'."  I mean, typical real estate talk for this economy, but I became overwhelmed by the negativity... and then listening to Christmas music during my rides home from the office actually caused me to sink deeper into that dark place.  I was in a rut (!) and didn't see, or have any interest in finding, a way out.  Then a friend of mine quoted a YouTube video in an attempt to cheer me up and one night, after having run out of TiVo recordings, I reached for my phone and clicked on this character that had provided such a humorous moment of inspiration to my friend.  His name was Marcel.  Marcel the Shell.

Marcel is a literally a shell, with shoes and one eye, and he has this charming personality that is a blend of fun loving, sincere, and insightful.  He leads a simple life with his "breadroom" and "reading receipts to get a taste for real life" -- and he also says things like "Ask me why I smile a lot -- cuz it's worth it".  And you know what?  This little shell launched me out of my 'rut' and had me laughing hysterically while also compelling me to look inward at the simple joys in my life that I often overlook.  The simple joy of being single and able to dance to 80's music with my girlfriends on a Tuesday night.  The simple joy of waking up in the morning to walk and watch the sun peering over the harbor with the waves crashing around the corner.  The simple joy of telling my friend that 14 lip glosses are way too many for one purse to handle.

Who is the Marcel in your life?  The person that reminds you to not sweat the small stuff, to laugh more than you cry, and to smile a lot...because it's worth it!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I am preparing to throw a fantastic dinner party this coming weekend and had to make a decision on the guest list a few weeks ago as I prepared to mail out the invitations.  There was one name in particular that I stared at for quite some time  -- unsure what to do.  He had become a dear friend of mine this past year and someone I really enjoyed having in my life -- but I met him through The Ex.

I contemplated on the "appropriateness" of including him at the dinner party table as he would be integrated with many chapters of my life, including family members, but then I also realized the background for each of the other contenders and saw that for at least 5 of them the common thread was an ex of some kind.

In the movie The Holiday there is this little old man that befriends Kate Winslet and he relates the modern day Hollywood (and life in general) to the patterns and quirks of the Hollywood Golden Era -- life in Tinseltown.  It is the sweetest character that I have ever come across in a movie as he looks through his 'Tinseltown' glasses at so many situations and at one point he describes to Kate that what she just experienced was the "Meet Cute".  The point in a film when two characters are brought together in a spontaneous moment and from there the relationship begins to develop.

I had experienced my 'Meet Cute' with many friends, new and old, over the years through a former lover.  It was just a fact.  I am a personable young lady that appreciates developing relationships with those I can immediately relate to and I happened to develop these relationships beyond the relationship status of my lovers.

So naturally, I posted his name on the envelope and placed it in the mail.  I am prepared for the backlash that might come from those that feel when you experience a break up it is best to pack up all of your things, including your friendships, and go your separate ways.  People, and relationships, run a deeper connection than the egg poacher or margarita machine that might have been shared by a couple.  I'll take the poacher and you can have all the margs you want -- but I don't want to have to end some fantastic friendships after my lover served up the Meet Cute.

Now here is the kicker -- and it might leave you in a fit -- since I feel like I carry the weight of a broken heart after the most recent breakup, I have decided he isn't allowed to have access to any of my friends.  The fringe friends you can have all you want, but my 'besties' have seen the bruises of the heart and know where their loyalties lie.  A double standard?  Absolutely.  So the question remains...In a break up, who gets the friends?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Have you recently connected with a friend and been on the receiving end of the basic question "How are you?" and answered it with anything other than "Great!"?  The other night I received a more honest response from someone as they told me that their day was okay, but really just another ordinary day.  A simple response, yet somewhat profound.  I hardly ever respond with such honesty -- especially in our Facebook driven world of competitive comparisons of Status Updates and Posted Photos.  Can life ever look less than extraordinary or has ordinary become passe?

I was ruminating on this whole idea this morning as I was informed by my boss that our recently hired operations manager has resigned before his first official day on the job due to a better offer, our intern has dyslexia and probably needs to quit soon to focus on school, and our lead customer service representative has given her two weeks notice to transition into the insurance industry.  Awesome day to start giving thanks, right?

Brace yourself -- Pollyanna is about to get up on her soap box -- I'm not going to head into the holidays with a cloud above me, instead I am going to try and Keep Up The Beat!!  Get it?  My little play on words, to stay upbeat?!  Yes, I have possibly overdosed on lattes this morning but for now I will state that it is erroneous.  No Twitter tweet, FB update, or work challenge is going to make me feel like life isn't worth celebrating this weekend.

Sometimes we have to set aside significant time and energy to actually give thanks and recognize the blessings in our life.  Do you have a roof over your head?  Do you have good health?  Can you name at least one person in your life that knows you well and loves you just for being your perfectly flawed self?  If the answer to two out of three is yes, then we are on the right foot to a very Happy Thanksgiving!

As for the other challenges that flow freely through life...they will still be there on Monday to tackle, so let's just deal with it then...

"A philosophy of life: I'm an adventurer, looking for treasure."

- Paulo Coelho, from his best-selling book "The Alchemist".

Monday, November 21, 2011


Manifestation:  The materialized form of a spirit.

This past weekend I enjoyed the company of good friends on Friday and Saturday with wine nights and birthday dinners -- but then found myself in a very quiet place and alone on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  As I have alluded to in the past, I am a bit of a 'Type A' personality and I enjoy keeping busy and feeling productive.  So here I was with the only productive activity on my list for the day being "Do Laundry" and I had successfully checked it off my list by lunch.  In my moments alone, that many of you pine for and consider a peaceful space, I was suddenly able to set aside all of the joy of the last few days and settle in on the loneliness that come with the fact that I was watching the light hearted comedy 'New Girl' alone in my apartment while laughing out loud and hearing my own voice echo down the hallway.  I was pretty up-to-date on the season so two episodes later I was at a dry river when it came to 'things to do'.

The pity party was soon to follow and my imagination was running amuck:  "I wish I had a boy here to cuddle on the couch with while enjoying a fire and a movie.  I wish I had a small dog to curl up on my lap and at least pretend we were conversing.  Maybe I should visit home so that I could at least have my parents around to laugh at my jokes -- oh wait, they are out of town too!  Why, oh why, do I not have a text message to return, a man to dote on me, or a posse of people to keep me company on this rainy day!?"  Oh yes, poor lonely me. 

In case you missed the tone of my last line, I will emphasize the sarcasm in describing my next move:  telling myself to snap out of it!!  I have a great life and this wide open day with rain as a relaxing backdrop is something for me to make the most of -- so I hopped in my car and drove to the LACMA (Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art).  I bought my $10 ticket and wandered the exhibits and the hallways all by myself for over two hours.  It was the best Sunday afternoon I can remember on record. 

As I wandered the halls, staring at the exhibits and telling myself what a gift a day like this truly is, I nearly laughed out loud at the memory of a heavy heart drowning in a pool of pity just hours earlier!  I was in a great mood and spirits were high, yet I had done nothing much beyond change my own internal frame of mind.

When times are good it is so easy to focus on everything we have, and if we are mindful enough, to express gratitude the generous people around us or the Higher Being for the blessings in our life.  But what about when things are so perfect and plentiful?  The times when our minds can run a long list of everything we DON'T have in our live?  That is when we are in charge of our own destiny and we can choose to focus on what we HAVE or HAVE NOT.  It's the basic idea of Manifest Destiny.  Yesterday I was on the edge of the cliff towards full free fall into the pool of pity and instead chose to focus my mind on all of the blessings and goodness that I can -- and will -- seek out in life.  How will you CHOOSE to MAKE tomorrow a great day? 

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This week my mind has been filled with gratitude and excitement as I look towards the future.  I have "cut the chains" of the past that were holding me back and am now preparing to embrace life and enjoy the adventure ahead.  With a free mind and open heart to explore new ideas, I started thinking about the upcoming holiday season and more specifically the -- only weeks away -- food feast that is commercially titled "Thanksgiving".

I played in my mind a list of things that I am grateful for and even started the dialogue as a prayer of thanksgiving..."Dear Lord, I am so thankful for my family and friends as they have showered me with unconditional love this past year.  I am thankful for my parents as they continue to provide encouragement and a rock hard foundation for me to stand upon in both my professional and personal life.  I am thankful for my sister who always seems to know just when to check in on me.  I am thankful for my friend that shared a glass of wine with me last night and had me laughing for hours..." -- and the list goes on.  After a couple of moments, I sat up in my bed with my eyes wide open (I'm talking Kathy from NJ Real Housewives raccoon eyes) and realized -- This is all well and good, but what am I doing to actually give thanks to these people in my life?!  Sadly, not much beyond whispering a prayer.

Everyone from Wal-Mart to Nordstroms is gearing up for this 'Gift Giving' season as we shower our loved ones with thoughtful presents of new possessions.  I would like to offer to you the same challenge that I presented to myself -- how can we actually giveof ourselves to those we are most grateful for in our lives?  Is it delivering dinner unannounced to the friend buried at work or barely sleeping as a new mother?  Is it sending a greeting card in the mail (snail mail, unlike Santa Claus, actually does still exist!)?  Is it sending cupcakes to a friend the day before their big presentation?  Or perhaps it is simply telling someone, I need to make time to celebrate our friendship as we have both been busy -- you name the date and place and I will be there to enjoy your company.

Whatever it is that can personally touch and give back to the people that brighten each and every day of your life -- I encourage you to write the idea down and make it happen.  My list is quite long as I feel very blessed to have so much love and support in my life, but I am bursting with excitement at executing each of my little deeds.  In fact, I have changed the name plate on my desk to "Santa's Little Helper".

Happy Thanks Giving to all!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


"People always say change takes time.  Indeed, the majority of change requires commitment and daily repetition, but there are cases in which major life shift can occur overnight.  These types of instant changes come to those who are truly open to them, at times that are called "Quantum Moments."  The outcome of a QM is a Quantum Shift, which results in allowing you to change your perception of who you are and what you can accomplish.  Quantum Moments are actually opportunities to reinvent yourself." -- Gabrielle Bernstein from Add More ing to Your Life.

This is the first paragraph of the first page that I opened when I reached for Gabrielle's paperback, which has a permanent home on my bedside table, and opened towards the back of the book where I had not yet read each chapter three times over.  It was a chilly Sunday night and I was processing (ok, maybe obsessing) about an incident that had occurred just days before -- with the outcome of this said incident being that my somewhat emotionally drained and exhausted body felt thrown me up against another one of life's speed bumps.  I read the next two pages after this particular paragraph struck an emotional chord and then made the decision that I was ready for my Quantum Moment.  Ok, let me back up as to how I got to the place of a QM...

This past weekend, while I was en route to spend time with family and enjoy a long four-day weekend in the Midwest, I received an email from one of my closest girlfriends notifying me that my most recent Ex (Ex #1) had contacted her -- to say hello.  Are you kidding me?!  What right does he have to contact one of my closest girlfriends, inquire about her life, and then invite himself to a social gathering that he knows I have planned on attending for months.  Last I checked, she was the Ethel to my Lucy and had been in my life for nearly 5 years. He knew her for six months and only because she was my go-to girl for everything from brunch dates to shopping excursions to Saturday night cocktails on the town.

I felt punched in the gut, for only a moment, and then I was mad.  Not just "upset", but F-Bomb-Every-Other-Word angry!  Leave me alone, Mr. Ex.  You decided, without my input or even any real participation in the matter, to break my heart in ending a relationship that brought much joy into my life.  I get it, you have issues and needed to cut things off, but now here you are deciding to pour salt in a wound.  How dare you contact one of my closest friends only a month after I respectfully asked you to check out of "Hotel B.Dawn's Life" and not return for at least a year.  My mind swirled with hurt and anger for days -- I was reeling about how someone could be so self centered and feel so entitled to live their life with such disregard for others.

I continued to read through Gabrielle's book on Sunday night looking for answers and then I found one:  "Quantum shifts are about deciding who you want to be and then going for it. The Quantum Shift requires an open mind and deep desire to release the chains of the past.  By surrendering your past and accepting a new perception of your present--and a new perception of yourself--you''ll realize that change is available in an instant."  

In that very moment I mentally pictured cutting the chains from my shoulders, took a deep breath, and said good bye to Sean.  This person, this break up, these emotions -- they were dragging me down, and more importantly, holding me back.  I had officially hit burnout in giving him my time and energy and when I made the decision that the time had finally come to release the chains there was a tremendous sense of release -- it was incredible.  

We all have issues/people/decisions that we hold onto in our lives and allow them to swirl round-and-round in our minds.  The ego allows us to fall into this trap and we can get so deep that we don't know a way out. It's a trap that is all too familiar and more pronounced with addicts.  But Gabrielle pointed out the light in this dark tunnel -- the decision for change can be ours alone.  Is there anything chained to your back that you need to release?  Take a chance and cut it free, I can almost promise you will feel liberated in an instant.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Have you ever been thinking about something so ferociously that it literally becomes an obsession?  We hate to used the word obsession or "OCD" because it implies that we are unstable or not mentally sound, but I would argue that all of us find ourselves falling into this trap every now and then.  My latest obsession -- letting go of something where I have no control. 

I have spent the last week or so wrestling with the thoughts of confusion and vignettes of the past in my sleep.  At one point I even woke up and said out loud "Stop!".  I wanted more than anything to have my mind shut down, ease into sleep, and to wake up with a smile on my face  in recognition of the many blessings in my life. 
I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I am still struggling with my most recent break-up, which in real time has hit the 2 month mark -- for a 6 month relationship!  Not a statistic that I am proud of.  I find myself nostalgic for the way that I felt in the relationship and the life that I lived.  I was happy.  I was in love.  I was excited for just about anything.  And I was busy sharing all of this joy with someone else. 

I have been told, by myself and others, that what happened is beyond my control.  He had issues, I did nothing wrong, he can't/doesn't want to be in the relationship anymore, I can do nothing to fix it or change it, and it is time to move on.  So let's get this straight:  I was happy and a good person and then this joyful chapter ended through no fault of my own and without any of my input allowed.  Total bullshit.

Letting go is hard.  Letting go of things that we have no control over is even harder.  I am a firm believer in the power of thought and what influence it has on how we experience our daily lives.  This obsession feels like a brick sitting on my heart valve -- the one that usually pumps highly oxygenated blood throughout my body to create energy and excitement.  The best thing to do is surrender and I am putting my best foot forward to do just that.  I will surrender to a higher power that things happen for reasons we don't understand and then we must accept these things in which we have no power of influence. 

I  started a habit of affirmations last night when I lay down to sleep and I will keep these affirmations going until I feel my mind and soul let go and stop the wrestling:  I am thankful for the many blessings in my life.  I pray for the light and goodness of the future.  And I smile knowing that He is watching over me.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I recently attended two different major industry conferences, both of which had a turnout of a couple thousand people. To say that I represented the minority in attendance as a young female is an understatement.  If 'The Betting Boss' in Vegas were to draw the line at 15 for percentage of women at the convention versus men then I would definitely take the under. And for women under 35 -- we probably represented less than 2%. 

I normally don't mind the role of standing out and doing my best to represent women as a force to be reckoned with in business.  After all, we are just as intelligent and capable as the man standing next to us -- and likely a bit more modest.  But something was different about the conference kick-off dinner.  For the first time in my entire career, I felt defensive.  I was defensive of my female status (obviously not something that I have control over or any desire to change) and defensive of my professional position.  I sat down at the table and was surrounded by men ranging 10-40 years my senior and they looked at me wide-eyed and confused.  I can only imagine what they were thinking -- something along the lines of "I can't wait to look for her hot pink Barbie Corvette in the valet lot".  I knew within 2 minutes of conversation that the next hour and a half would be a mix of silently sitting there and listening to their banter (aka 'pissing contest') about their latest deals, selecting moments to contribute with confidence to the conversation, and then prepare for the spit to fly right back at me.  And guess what, that's exactly what happened. 

As I attended the meeting the next day, I was a bit more demure when walking into the breakfast room.  I didn't sleep well the night before and I wasn't in the mood to spend an entire day continuing to defend my right to be there and to wear the name badge stating my company and position.  Much to my surprise, I spent both breakfast and lunch visiting with industry professionals that were warm, respectful, and complimentary.  By the end of the day I was standing a bit taller, my eyes were once again smiling, and I had a handful of new colleagues that I am sure would be considered friends in the years to come.

Regardless of whether or not we are in a 'Male Dominated Industry', the question will always be relevant to a young, and especially somewhat attractive, female (not trying to toot my horn, but I have long blonde hair that I am not afraid to curl and where down with a pencil skirt) -- 'Which is my bigger asset to getting noticed:  my blouse or my brain?' 

To command respect, there is no doubt that intelligence and class will reign supreme.  But what about the first impression?  The moment that warrants an introductory conversation?  Is he approaching me, talking to me, expressing interest in working with me because of my blouse or my brain?

I am not an ultra-feminist as I believe that our society has come a long way in not only accepting women in business, but also promoting and encouraging women to pursue the same opportunities and dreams as young men.  But like anything else in life, there are always the 'exceptions'.  At that dinner table, I met an exception (or two or three) and it took my breath away -- a real kick to the gut.  However, the next morning I was surrounded by intelligent men and women that helped me build back the confidence that makes me believe I have worked hard and earned my place in the boardroom.
We can't control or avoid the exceptions, but we can take a stand to not be one.  We need to lift each other up with words of encouragement, respect, and acknowledgement.  I will continue to face the 'Blouse versus Brain' conundrum in my career, but I must remember that for each exception there will be another colleague willing to look me in the eye with respect instead of look right past me.  

Image Courtesy of

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I was mulling over the disappointment of my most recent courtship with a girlfriend over a glass of wine last night and she listened with an open heart, could see the hurt in my eyes, and responded simply by saying "Be Still".  These two simple words profoundly touched me and I felt myself sit up a bit straighter, take a deep breath, and tell her "Okay".

One of the more challenging parts to living out life can be experiencing disappointment -- specifically, when people disappoint you.  Anger I can handle.  I get mad, dwell on it for a New-York-Minute and then move on.  Sadness is also somewhat easier to process.  I get sad, mourn the loss of a person/moment/opportunity and then get back to living life.  But disappointment is a whole different beast.  When people disappoint me I tend to look inward, wonder if I could have done anything different to avoid the disappointment, and then spend time trying to process how it should affect my life moving forward.  I then end up at the same place every time, it's the analytical A-type personality that comes with being a Virgo, and I am asking myself "How can I learn from this?"  And you know what -- this whole routine can be absolutely exhausting!  The processing of disappointment is draining and I am burnt out!

So there I was disappointed in yet another dating fling gone wrong and my friend tells me "Be Still".  It is a powerful concept and ties to my previous post on living in the now.  Eckhart Tolle says "It is the stillness that will save and transform the world."

It probably isn't too hard to figure out at this point that dating and my volatile romantic life is the struggle that I face most often right now.  But I know that we all have struggles, worries, and moments of disappointment followed my periods of processing and analysis.  Whatever the issue at hand is for you right now, I challenge you in joining me to find a place of stillness -- just for this week or maybe month.  Life has to move on at some point, but for now, let's set our worries aside and just be still.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I haven't actually read this book by Eckhart Tolle, but I have discussed the philosophies he teaches with many friends in the last year.  The theme is not far from what you would imagine it to be and is probably in line with a chapter or two of The Secret (aka the Bible according to Oprah) -- with great focus on living in the present moment, existing in the 'Now', and then realizing that there is great enlightenment and discovery of truth in that simple act.

This past weekend I lived out another chapter in my, yet to be published, Adventures in Dating novel.  I spent a great deal of time with my latest male suitor -- a phrase that I am opting for as it seems classier than 'Flavor of the Week' -- and true colors were revealed very quickly.  On paper, I thought this had the potential to be something very meaningful.  He is well educated, has deeply rooted faith, was raised only miles from my home town, and likes to be a planner in just about all aspects of life.  Perfection!  I thought I had possibly met the yin to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, the Harry to my Sally.

In our time spent together this past week, it became abundantly clear to me that he is so stressed out about his future, that he doesn't take the time to enjoy the present moment.  We had a heart-to-heart yesterday as he came to me in a very honest way about his struggle to feel comfortable in his own life right now and I found myself thinking about Eckhart Tolle's book and quotes I have read from another enriching writing called A Course in Miracles.  The Power of Now is simple in concept, but more powerful (and challenging to live out) than we could ever imagine.  Living in the present moment requires a great deal of conscious surrendering -- especially when the present moment isn't what we necessarily wanted or thought it would be.

My life coach and I broach this subject regularly in our meetings as the outside pressures of family, societal norms, and Facebook can make us feel like life is simply a never ending competition.  Are you dating right now?  Are you married yet?  Are you having kids yet?  Are the kids getting into the top schools?  Instead, I challenge us to have conversations in which we simply ask one another:  How are you doing today?  Is there anything I can be doing in your life to be a loving friend?  

I am going to make it a personal goal to wake up every day, look at life straight in the face, and do my best to make the most of the moment at hand -- and simply be hopeful and faithful towards the life in front of me.

Image Courtesy of The Learning Annex

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I have been told that I suffer from a 'Pollyanna Complex'.  When I googled the meaning of Pollyanna, gave me two definitions:  (1) an excessively or blindly optimistic person (2) 'Pollyannaish' as an adj. meaning unreasonably or illogically optimistic.   The words in black and white are not nearly as flattering as the image of a young Hayley Mills in the 1960's seeing hope and love in an otherwise forlorn town. 

Still, I want to believe in the good in people and in the power of change! 

Unfortunately, if this past weekend is any illustration of what the reality of change is for most of my friends and peers over the hump of their mid 20's, I have to accept that despite hope and faith...people don't really change. 

I am happy to say that I made it through the weekend without slapping Ex #2 across the face, but for you to know why this is of any significance I need to flash back to April 2010.  I had been seeing #2 for a little over a year and was madly in love.  I was having visions of the USC Marching Band at our wedding and wondering if he would propose at the summit of Machu Picchu where we planned to be exactly one month later on our big trip.  Out of the blue, things were starting to spiral and his behavior dramatically changed -- but I wasn't ready to see what was really happening as I was blinded by the hope that comes with being in love.  Then one night, after another random dinner date cancellation, I finally had some clarity and went G.I. Jane on his ass to confirm that my suspicions were true.  He was being unfaithful.  I never thought I would use Gucci as a weapon, but that night it couldn't be swung hard enough at the man that shattered the passion and optimism that was once so deeply engrained in me about 'Happily Ever After'.

Fast forward eighteen months later to October 2011.  We haven't spoken in over a year and we are now on our separate planes to Florida where he will stand at the altar as the Best Man and I on the other side as a Bridesmaid.  As I flew over the great states located in between Los Angeles and Miami, I couldn't help but have flash backs to that fateful night and yet feel a sense of hope that it would be nice to see him as I am sure he had grown up and changed his life to be a better man. 

The rehearsal occurs without an exchange or even acknowledgement of each other's presence.  Then at dinner, I greet him hello with confidence and warmth.  He gives an equally warm response and we go our separate ways.  Later that night I go up to his girlfriend to simply introduce myself (I mean, she must have been staring with angst all night at the blonde across the way that once had captured her man's heart, right?!).  I try to be the bigger person and even say "It's a pleasure to meet you.  I have heard some really nice things about you."  She smiles and warms up at the comment and after another moment of small talk I walk away.

The next morning, as we prepare to send my dear friend down the aisle, I beam with confidence and pride at how we can all grow and learn from even the darkest of experiences.  My closest girlfriends all came up to me at the reception to show their support and inquire about how I am doing with the whole "Ex #2" situation.  I share the story of our exchanges and say how we have all grown up and changed for the better -- it is a great feeling!  NOPE.  Thanks for playing, but try again!  Guess what?!  One of the girls then tells me, "Oh, she has no idea who you are.  All of the groomsmen have told us that he opted not to tell her anything about you.  In her eyes, you were a random wedding party member that simply said hello."  My mouth dropped.  This poor girl!  Everyone in the wedding and most peers in attendance know the history between me and #2 and all are watching us glide through the night with careful ability to rarely cross paths and this whole time he is keeping this secret from her and putting her in the position of 'Last to know' -- that we even dated (!) -- heaven forbid he tell her the truth of his behavior.  Worse yet, maybe never to know!

I returned from the weekend with new introspect and a reality check that while things happen in life that allow us to grow and learn...the bottom line is that the core of who we are rarely ever changes.

I hope to be a good and honest person to all those I come across in life and to work hard at keeping integrity as my center of gravity.  Do you know what defines your character and core?  Have you made it a point to live it out loud every day in your words and actions?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fish Out of Water

This past weekend I attended my 10 year High School Reunion -- and let me tell you, it was quite the experience.  I was asked THREE times if I was engaged (!!).  I finally started holding my drink with my left hand so that there was immediate indication of a missing disco ball on my all significant ring finger.  I really don't know where this inquiry came from -- but considering the somewhat recent breakup, it felt like salt sprinkled into a healing wound.  My initial reaction was that of self pity as I looked around the room at the number of engaged/married/pregnant women that appeared to be on a life path that I had once envisioned for myself as a little girl.  There was once a plan and it involved getting married at 25, having kids at 28, and then taking on some incredible CEO role once the kids were in school full-time.  I think this plan came from watching too much Disney Channel and the Cosby Show.

Mid-way through the event a moment of inspiration occurred that turned my attitude right around.  I was standing in a circle of classmates and one of the girls was asked about her marriage status and her response was an upbeat "Happily single!".  My 'Fish Out of Water' pity party suddenly felt a bit ridiculous as I realized that I too was happily single!  Regardless of whether or not life was going 'according to plan', I enjoy the life that has been given to me and am starting to really enjoy (and even take advantage of!) my newly single status.

The following day I attended a baby shower and after spending an hour sitting around girls talking about things like the difference between a one-sy and a sleeper -- and somehow finding a way to use the word "cute" in every sentence  -- I retreated to the kitchen and found the hostess who was reaching for the secret bottle of white wine stashed in the refrigerator.  She kindly poured me a glass and the two of us sat in the courtyard to visit and I realized very quickly that feeling like a 'Fish out of Water' can happen all throughout life.  My girlfriend has been happily married for three years, but now is fielding frequent questions and pressure from friends and family about having kids.  She and her husband are enjoying married life, yet all of their other married friends have started having a family so the pressure for them to follow suite has become increasingly stressful.  I felt for her and remembered my frustrations from the night before as I shot down all questions about the non-existent 'Special Someone' in my life.

I think that it is a blend of societal pressures and simply our human nature that compels us to be competitive.  We tend to look outward for points of comparison and not inward to recognize what blessings exist in our lives and what makes us truly happy.  Today, I am happily single and celebrating the love and support of family and friends that accept me for exactly where I am.

I don't normally use this platform to speak about religion, but I have to include the statement that I firmly believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  Sometimes this plan is not in alignment with our own plan for our lives, but that is why we must have faith.

Tonight I am going to leave the office and not think about the chapters in life that I am not yet living, but instead relish the time at hand.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's the Condition of Your Wrapping Paper?

We are told early on, either through school or family or church, that life is a gift.  A precious gift.  We are to treat it with care and be grateful.  I am in complete agreement with the concept.  However, I have decided this gift is not to be labeled:  "FRAGILE.  Handle with care."

My mother once gave me a Collector's Edition Wedding Barbie.  All of my friends would keep their Collector's Dolls on the top shelf and stare at them with pride.  Not me.  I decided right away that this Barbie was meant to be played with and I enjoyed it.  At the end of the day, my doll was the one with messed up hair and a less than bright white wedding dress...but I would guess that my mother felt that the memories were more valuable then the resale value of one with an impeccable package.

Okay, you might be wondering, what exactly is my point.  The other day a friend commented to me that she was in awe and wonder of how busy I am and how much effort I put into my social calendar.  I thought to myself, well, life is a gift but I want to make the most of it and take that gift out for a ride!

This week I have been tremendously affected by the number of people diagnosed with some form of cancer and battling for their lives -- and the tragedy of loss.  I spent Sunday morning with a dear friend celebrating the life that her mother lost to the fight against breast cancer while my other friend walked alongside her friend currently in the throws of this heart breaking battle. Additionally, to bring matters even closer to home, in the last month I have been made aware of two separate family friends diagnosed with a very serious form of cancer and now fighting for their lives.  Hearing the song on country radio "Live Like You Were Dying" suddenly has new meaning.

I seriously could write a book called "Adventures in Dating" ...don't stop reading here. This one I kid you not, on Tuesday night, while on a blind date (!), the guy requested to listen to a voice message his father had just left him and then solemnly told me a few moments later, "Yeah.  My uncle just passed of cancer."  Right now?!  While we are sitting here having coffee?!  "Yes.  Right now.  He died."  Of course, I immediately offered to let him take the rest of the night to talk with family and address this personal issue.  I must have really been spitting some good game because he declined and then offered to take me to dinner instead...but I digress.

I am blown away by the number of potential dangers that threaten our lives every day.  Life truly is a gift, but not one that is meant to sit in the closet on the top shelf and be protected so carefully that it isn't enjoyed.

I would like to think that the wrapping paper around my gift is sun bleached from trying to be outside and living life as often as possible.  It is frayed at the corners from burning the candle at both ends sometimes.  It definitely has tire tracks on it from how many miles I drive on our local highways. It might have some dents and dings from the times that I have fallen down in life.  Yes, I am pretty darn proud of my wrapping paper because each imperfection has a story behind it.

What is the condition of your wrapping paper?  Have you been too gentle with your gift?

This quote came to me last week in an edition of The Daily Love newsletter that I receive...I hope you find it as inspiring as I did!

"Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out."

- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Holmes was a physician by profession but achieved fame as a writer; he was one of the best regarded American fireside poets of the 19th century.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Stalker-Net. Guilty.

Last Thursday was one of those great Southern California days in which the sun was shining, the air was crisp, and you can feel that fall is just around the corner.  I was feeling great having successfully tackled a few meetings in Los Angeles and was beginning to daydream about the weekend ahead and how much I was looking forward to spending time celebrating various friendships.  While en route back to Orange County a text came through from the Ex.  "If you're curious as to why I wasn't super keen to talk to you last night [note: day after business function run-in], it was because I realized only 45 minutes earlier that you had defriended me on FB.  Not sure why you did that."

My head immediately starts spinning and the hormone levels are rising.  Not sure why you did that?!  Well, for starters, we aren't friends anymore!  We met, you quickly became my boyfriend, and now you are simply my ex boyfriend.  Suffice it to say, I don't really feel like being your friend on Facebook when you aren't my friend in real life!  It then dawned on me that the only reason he would know I had 'de-friended' him is because he sought out my Facebook page and was essentially rejected.  Ha.  I took some satisfaction in that.  But then the overall question still lingered...has our use of Stalker-Net gone too far?  Is it detracting our lives as we experience the occasional emotional tail-spin from feeling inadequate when comparing our own life with those presented on the Facebook Newsfeed?

Friday afternoon had finally arrived and it came to my attention, through a mutual 'friend', that the Ex had gone to San Francisco and was out on the town with his guy friends -- who then took the liberty to post these social outings on their FB pages and ultimately in my Newsfeed.  I will admit that the sight of these pictures still made my heart feel a pang of sadness and longing.

Now here I was on Friday night with plans to spend time with great girlfriends all weekend via dinners, baby showers, double dates (a story for another day), and hikes...and my mind kept wandering to someone's wall post on Facebook?!  I was no longer 100% focused on the blessings appearing right in front of me, but instead my mind was lingering in places that were full of 'updates and activities' and a truly ambiguous state of mind for people participating as this form of media strips all emotion from the equation.

I look back on this past weekend realizing that I have so much to be thankful for in my life and any thoughts of distress or sadness are a direct result of the airbrush effect presented by things like Facebook that initially came about by some digital artist working for Vogue magazine who was once told by the photographed star "I'd like you to make me look flawless".

Today I am taking a stance to focus on my own life's activities and opportunities rather than be entertained by the posts of others.  I am allowing myself to remain on Facebook, but only to respond to the communication sent my way.  Until my Emotional Bank Account reaches that $42,000 mark, I am no longer going to 'browse' pictures or news-feeds.  I will instead spend that time writing a thoughtful note to a friend, practicing yoga, or maybe even being more productive at work.  I am not saying that everyone should boycott Facebook, but perhaps we should take the time every now and then to thoughtfully process the influence that it has on our lives and if we are comfortable with it or if change is in order.