Wednesday, December 17, 2014

14 Days Left to Make Donations of Unwanted Items - Get a Receipt

As of December 17, you have 14 more days to donate any items to charity for 2014.

Gather your items, take a picture, write an inventory of the items (your tax person will love you for this) and then take them to your favorite charitable donation drop off center.

DON’T FORGET!!! Ask for a receipt.

It’s better to go sooner than later. Trust me, you don’t want to be at the donation drop off area of any charitable organization on December 31st. It's not pretty.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Address Book Decluttering – The One-Year Rule

 It’s that time of year when people are sending cards to loved ones with holiday greetings. 

Don’t worry if you haven’t already sent your cards. This post isn’t about shaming you into sending cards. I would actually suggest that if you haven’t done it by now, just let it go. Oh, yes, this is an intentional plug for my last post about taking a hard look at your holiday traditions.

Whether you have or haven’t sent the cards, this is a PERFECT time to take stock of your address book, whether it is digital or analog (aka paper). 

To declutter your address book, ask yourself this very simple question… 

“Have I had any communication with this person in the last year?” 

This is such a simple question and yet it is so hard. This isn’t the time to play the guilt/blame game. Dare to be bold and remove the person from your address book. 

By making room in your address book, you can make room for new entries (aka new people in your life) and you might just save some money on buying less holiday cards and stamps next year. 

Want more ideas/thoughts on decluttering your address book? Check out last year’s post on this very topic: “Easy Way to Make Room for the New – Clean Out Your Address Book.”

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Let it Go…Let it Go…a Hard Look at Holiday Traditions

Let it Go…Let it Go…a Hard Look at Holiday Traditions

Make Room for the Amazing in Your YOU-tastic Life

No, I’m not going to channel my inner-Elsa and belt out the entirety of Let It Go. If you need to hear it, you can go here Let It Go – sing-along version or reach out to any 6-year old and they will be happy to sing it for you.

I’m here to challenge you to look at your holiday “traditions” and see what you can give up.

Break out a piece of paper or create an Excel Spreadsheet for my techies and take on the below steps. If you are solo, complete these steps by your self. If you are coupled up or in a family then complete these steps together.
  1. Create 4 columns.
  2. In the first column, list all of the traditions you observe.
  3. In the second column, list why you observe each tradition.
  4. In the third column, list if you are happy about observing each tradition.
  5. FINALLY, for all of the “not happy about” traditions, consider letting them go. 

Be prepared! There will be all sorts of reasons flying around tempting you to keep these traditions:
  • “My nana or mom or grandpa (or whoever) always did this.”
    • Guilt plays a big part in keeping traditions connected to relatives. Having guilt as a motivator does no one any good.
  •  “It won’t be Christmas or winter or Hanukkah (or whatever) if we don’t do this.”
    • Being stressed out fulfilling a tradition you don’t like serves no one. Traditions are meant to celebrate, NOT stress.
  •  “I can’t deprive my kids, family, friends, co-workers, etc.”
    • This is a biggie for bakers. I’m not saying to stop baking. However, if the baking is more stress than pleasure…Let It Go!

 This is YOUR holiday season and YOU get to choose.

Now here’s the trickier, and most important, part of giving up a tradition…don’t add a new tradition in its place.

Enjoy the free time, the reduced stress and the open room for the amazing to show up.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Happy World Gratitude Day 2014!!!

Today is World Gratitude Day!

For the last 21 days I played with sharing my gratitude each day. This exercise taught me a few things.

First, I had fun playing with what gratitude I shared and what I kept to myself.

Second, I got that it's ok to be grateful about the occasional shallow things like morning lattes or Fridays.

Third, even on the "challenging" days, I could find something for which to be grateful, see #2.

Fourth, people will mock the activity. At first reaction, I took the mocking personally but then I reminded myself that every voice has value. I also got that it wasn't about me.

Fifth, and most eye opening, was that not everyone wanted to play and didn't appreciate getting the suggestion to celebrate or feel gratitude. Again, I let go of taking the feedback personally and honored their voice.

I am thankful for this exercise and what I learned. I am also thankful for all who participated in whatever form was true to them.

Check out for more history of World Gratitude Day as well as discover ways to experience and express your gratitude.

Enjoy World Gratitude day. May you find an abundance of opportunites to feel and express your gratitude today and always.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"Pushing Through" a Rest Day

This morning I'm killing some time at Starbucks before heading to breakfast.

I'm near my gym and a little voice inside my head is screaming, "You could totally kill this time working out at the gym." However, another voice is screaming, "NO!!! This is a rest day, you have worked out 6 days this week. REST."

This Shape magazine article gives excellent points as to why rest is so important for any athelete, from weekend-warrior to pro.

I'll let the mental battle continue as I sit resting and recovering so I can hit a nice big, yet relaxing, bike ride tomorrow.

Friday, August 29, 2014

21 Days of Gratitude - September 1-21, 2014

Last night, I was reading the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens and came across a short mention about World Gratitude Day on September 21st.

I LOVED the idea of expressing gratitude at a time other than Thanksgiving when, as Michelle Bommarito (@MichelleRoseFit on Twitter) shared, "usually people are only really thankful for food."

I then got to thinking back to my friend, Angie, and her 100 days of happy she shared during the summer months.

With all of this in mind, why not celebrate 21 Days of Gratitude leading up to World Gratitude Day on September 21st?

I will be expressing my gratitude September 1-21 in a variety of ways. I invite YOU to join me. Below are some ideas to get you and me going.

Share how you are expressing gratitude. OR Keep it to yourself. The most important thing is to express it.

Useful Links

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Losing Weight on a Cruise - Coming Back New INDEED!!!

Last week I was on a cruise with my boyfriend and his fabulous family on an Alaska cruise with Princess Cruises.

I had the audacity to declare that I was going to lose weight on the cruise. Everyone told me I was crazy and encouraged me to take on maintaining my weight instead. 

Now, maintaining your weight on a cruise can be a very challenging goal when the average weight gain on a 7-day cruise is 5-10 poundsI was bound and determined to play big. I wasn't going to be average. 

Thanks to the strategies below I came back 3.8 pounds lighter!!!!
  • Stairs - elevators on a cruise ship can fill up quickly, especially when it's meal time, with our cabin being on the 5th deck and the gym and buffet being on the 15th and 14th decks respectively, we got a lot of stair time
  • Soda Card - club soda is included with the soda selections, instead of spending a fortune on bottled still water, I filled up on club soda which equals zero calories and zero Weight Watchers Points Plus
  • Cut fruit - it is such a luxury to have pineapples, mangos, papayas, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon and more cut and cleaned, I indulged at breakfast and lunch
  • Buffet Strategies
    • "Take a lap before committing to a location"* - I took a tour of the entire buffet BEFORE putting anything on my plate.
    • 1/2 spoonfuls - cruise ship buffets are VERY efficient, I only took a 1/2 a spoonful of anything (or 1 spoonful of fruit) knowing that if I wanted more I could go back, usually when I was done eating the portion of what I got, I was full or really didn't want any more
    • omelette station - order scrambled egg whites or an egg white omelette loaded with veggies
    • fill 1/2 plate with fruit or salad - the fruit and salad will fill you up in a very good way
  • Activity
    • Gym - EVERY cruise ship has a gym and top notch staff, I took spin classes and did 2 of my own work outs taking full advantage of the facility and equipment
    • Excursions - one of our excursions was a kayak tour in Ketchican, a combination of activity and sight seeing
    • Dance Dance Dance - we did ballroom and club dancing and even the occasional line dance

  • Dining Room Strategies
    • Appetizer portions - on one lunch menu there were 2 pasta options, I requested to have an appetizer portion of each so I could enjoy both dishes, I also only ate 1/2 of each portion
    • Salad with every meal - skip the creamy soups
    • Eat 1/2 of what is given to you - even when you are looking at appetizer portions, they can still be a little large so I only ate 1/2 of what was given to me
  • Play the "Food Snob" card - just because they have unlimited desserts in the bakery/patisserie doesn't mean you have to eat 2 or 3 of them at at time multiple times a day, I only picked the desserts that looked absolutely AMAZING and then I would only eat 1/2 of what was on the plate or in the bowl
  • Skipped the Creamy "Drinks of the Day" - I stuck to wine with dinner and had Grand Marnier after dinner, I did have the occasional beer but I never finished them
  • Indulged smartly - I enjoyed the occasional small indulgence to keep my sanity. There's nothing like dipping a fresh dinner roll into the leftover butter & garlic from escargot.
Cruises don't have to be gut-busting. With planning and smart strategies, a cruise can be gut shrinking.

Bon Voyage!!!!

*Bonus points to whoever can name the movie connected to this quote.