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"?

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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!