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Sunday, December 18, 2011

"No Self-Shopping Rule" Creates Awareness

A few weeks ago my boyfriend established a "no self-shopping" rule for me until after the holidays. I first wanted to rebel and say, "You're not the boss of me" but then I realized that my self-shopping could ruin any gift shopping for me. So, I played along and I got more than I bargained for.

I actually found myself wanting to pick up a little something here and a little something there almost unconsciously. After the third or fourth time I was actually a but scared at how mindless I approached shopping.

My new plan was launched.

First, I started using the excellent Amazon.com wish list feature to save my "self-shopping" items. The great thing about the Amazon.com wish list is that I can post items from any website and not just those available on Amazon.com.

Second, I started being more mindful with my Groupon purchases. I hate to look back on how many of my Groupons expired in this past year. That equals money lost. So, now I only purchase a Groupon where I know it can be used by both my boyfriend and I.

So, what seemed like an "oppressive" rule has actually created awareness and saved me a few bucks along the way.

Monday, November 7, 2011

When a Book Comes Back Into Your Life....

Many years ago I bought a copy of Julia Cameron's! The Artist's Way. For one reason or another, I just couldn't get into it. After one too many failed attempts to get into the book, I let it go and donated it to Goodwill or Salvation Army or some sort of donation place so that someone who was ready to read it would receive it.

I've never had an attachment to books. They are meant to be read and then passed on for others to enjoy and to learn and to be entertained. That is why my personal "library" is so small.

I know that not everyone holds that same view. I learned that from my many bibliophile clients during my paid professional organizing days who had boxes and shelves of books that could never be read even if they read a book a day in their lives.

When I shared with my clients that if they were meant to read a particular book or books then they would show up again when they had the time or were ready to read it. Most of the time this helped them let go and allow others to enjoy the books for their benefit and or entertainment.

About a month ago, I was flipping through a magazine and saw the website 750 Words (http://750words.com/) described as an electronic version of the daily 3-page journal exercise used in The Arist's Way.

AH HA!!!! A book coming back into my life!!! How exciting!

I didn't question it and I bought a copy of The Artist's Way and I'm starting a wonderful journey into discovering my creativity.

So, when a book comes back into your life....BUY IT and more importantly.... READ IT!!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Listening to Your Gut AND Actually Acting

“I feel there are two people inside me - me and my intuition. If I go against her, she'll screw me every time, and if I follow her, we get along quite nicely.” - Kim Basinger

This past Sunday I had a wonderful bicycle ride exploring (aka getting lost) over on the Queen Mary side of Long Beach. I felt fantastic when I was coming back over the bridge. I was so fired up I decided to ride the bike path on the beach before heading home.

As I was approaching the Belmont Pier, I thought of my friend, Jocie who lives in Belmont Shore. I thought, "I should call/text Jocie to see if she is free to meet up for brunch/lunch." My next thought was, "Meh, it's too last minute and besides, she's probably doing something with her husband. I don't want to bother."

Yesterday I got an email from Jocie and she shared that she was out on the SAME bike path for a ride on Sunday. She said I should have called the timing would have been perfect.

By not following my intuition and not calling Jocie, I missed out on a nice lunch/brunch with a fabulous friend.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Watching Other People Do - Inspiration or Avoidance?

I just finished a semi-marathon of HGTV shows. I love watching the experts work their magic and then see the excitement and emotions of the home owners during the reveals.

I feel such inspiration and look around my home and imagine all of the cool things I can do. Heck, I've even imagined applying and getting on one of the shows for a home make-over of my very own.

Today, for whatever reason, it hit me that I do quite a bit of watching but not a whole lot of doing.

Then, I started going on mental tangents:
-"How much time have I wasted watching?"
-"What could have I had accomplished with all of the time I've spent watching the shows?"
-"Am I addicted to the happy feelings from the reveals?"
-"What am I avoiding?"
-"Am I avoiding anything?"
-"Am I thinking too much about this?"

Fortunately, I snapped out of it and cut myself some slack. However, I did take a look at my DVR queue and saw that over 2/3 of the shows I have set to record were HGTV shows. Perhaps cutting back might be a good idea.

So, today begins a "grand experiment." I'm going "cold turkey" on HGTV shows and start doing more doing.

Can't wait to see what shows up.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Be Careful What You Wish For....You WILL Get It & Then Some

A few months ago, I was driving to work and I decided to have a little chat with God. Don't worry. I'm not here to convert or otherwise. I'm painting a picture. So, in this little chat with God, I asked for some volunteer opportunities to come my way.

Boy, oh, boy did a few show up. First, an opportunity I couldn't refuse showed up to join the Gardena Elks Lodge (yes, I AM under the age of 70) and put my IT skills to good use with a lot of flexibility for my schedule.

The second opportunity showed up in the form of an all-day volunteer opportunity this Friday through work where I'll be possibly painting, landscaping or whatever else is needed.

I am so very grateful to have these opportunities. I believe that if one is fortunate in life that you have a responsibility to give back. Let's just say that I'll be a bit more clear in what I ask for.

Now challenge you. Get out there and give back. Don't know what to do? Well, ask. Ask God or Allah or Muhammad or Buddha or the universe or fate or whatever to send you inspiration.

Just be ready to be blown away on what shows up.

Oh and God, if you're listening, I'm good for volunteer opportunities...for now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Unplanned Inspiration - Priceless!!!

"Be bold in the dreams you dream for yourself."

This beautiful gem of inspiration showed up as I was doing something as mundane as waiting in the check-out line at Trader Joe's.

The wonderful thing about this is that I wasn't looking or hoping for inspiration. I was actually in the middle of preparing for the 3rd of 4 activities I had planned for the day. Ya, that's a lot of activities. I'll tackle that topic on another blog post.

Seeing that quote on the card by the check-out line got me out of the "mental checklist" mode for my day and got me dreaming bold dreams. What a wonderful place to be.

"Be bold in the dreams you dream for yourself."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Electronic Spring Cleaning

I have 873 contacts in my electronic "address" book. This is not something to brag about. This high number is due to a "glitch" in the synch process between my iPhone and Yahoo.

I've been "cleaning house" and removing the duplicates. I've also been removing the names of people with whom I haven't been in contact in years.

At first I felt guilty for "cleaning these people out" of my address book. I thought, "Hum, maybe I should get in touch." I then reminded myself that people come in and out of one's life for a reason. Now, as I delete each person, I bless them and wish them a wonderful life and am thankful they showed up in my life .

Who knew that a "housekeeping" task could become an exercise in gratitude.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The White Fabric Napkin Effect

Earlier this year I decided to move away from paper napkins and only use fabric napkins. I purchased sets of white napkins from Home Goods. I gave them a good washing and then put them into service.

It took me about a week to get accustomed to using a fabric napkin, no matter what was being eaten. Now it's second nature and I don't miss the paper.

The happy side effect is that my guests are impressed and I graciously accept their compliments. Another happy side effect is that I'm saving money by not constantly purchasing paper napkins.

Now, don't be totally impressed. My paper napkin habit wasn't completely broken. I still was guilty of using paper napkins at work. I was very proud to be using "real" plates & utensils but for some odd reason, I never carried the "real" to napkins.

Fast forward to today. As I was packing my lunch, I grabbed a stack of fabric napkins and felt quite proud of myself as I walked to the train to work. Yes, I'm a big fan of public transportation but that's for another blog post.

An interesting thing happened today at lunch. I noticed that I felt a little more special, as if I was at a beautiful restaurant instead of the work lunchroom. I sat a little taller and ate a little slower.

All of this civility because of a little square of fabric.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Don't Forget The Baby Steps

I've bought a bike. I'm so very excited for many reasons. Along with that excitement was a bit of stress. I worried about riding my bike in traffic and what are the least stressful routes to hit my desired destinations in my home town.

It wasn't until last week that I realized that I can actually take "baby steps" in my new bicycle adventure. I can start on the bike path until I gain a good comfort level with my bike. I can then take short rides on the dedicated bike paths in my home town during early/off hours. There are also group rides I can join to take advantage of the knowledge of experienced bicyclists. Then I can slowly add rides during more and more busy street hours.

By realizing that I can take "baby steps" I experienced a great reduction of stress and am excited to start riding my new bike.

Whatever you are facing, remember the take baby steps.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Letting My Inner Food Snob Call the Shot

I have the great fortune (or danger) of working where food trucks come every day. It's only for employees so the wait for a really good food truck is only about 20 minutes instead of 1 hour.

Today I tried Barbie's Q food truck. I ordered their cheesy grits in hopes of finding a west coast substitute for the AMAZING cheesy grits my sister-in-law serves from Switchin Kitchens in Charlotte, NC (http://switchinkitchens.com/).

I took the container of cheesy goodness to my desk only to have my excitement drop to massive disappointment when I took off the cover and saw what I thought were lumps. I stirred around and yes, they were lumpy. I tried a bite and the flavor was bland. I let my inner food snob out and I immediately threw the rest away.

Life is too short for bad grits.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Gift of an Injury and Turning off the Auto-Pilot

A few weeks ago I had pain in my shoulder and surrounding area and well I was in denial. I was on auto-pilot and just living through the pain thinking that it would go away.

Three weeks went by and the pain was still there. After some personal research about the timing of when the pain began I figured out that I had pulled muscles around my shoulder attempting a new exercise.

Starting with yesterday's workout, I lightened up on the intensity and was gentle with myself. As I approached my day with the same gentle spirit and paid attention to my posture and how my shoulder felt.

About half-way through the day I realized, that I had been more present in this half-day than I had been in the past week.

Basically, I had turned off the auto-pilot.

I was a bit sad that it took an injury to slow down a little and be a bit more present in my day. Now, I'm thankful for the gift of this injury that helped me slow down and turn off the auto-pilot. And, the pain around my shoulder is almost gone. Quelle surprise!!!

Don't wait for an injury to turn off the auto-pilot. Take the time to slow down and be present in your day.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just Show Up

WOW!!! This morning was rough. The alarm went off and I just didn't want to get out of bed. My "internal little brat" was telling me, no screaming at me, to stay in my nice warm bed.

Fortunately, my "internal big girl" screamed louder and said, "Just show up!"

I got dressed, walked to the gym, and worked out. The workout wasn't pretty and my mood wasn't "bright Mary Sunshine" but I showed up. 

By just showing up I can now walk around in my day with pride that I worked out instead of feeling guilty for staying in bed.

The next time you are dreading something or your "internal little brat" screams, "I don't wanna"...

JUST SHOW UP!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Free Book - Read This Before Our Next Meeting

I love free although free doesn't always mean "quality."

I think this free Kindle book could be the worth more than what you pay for it, Read This Before Our Next Meeting.

If you have ever been in a waste-of-time meeting then this book is for you.

Here's the link on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0057ZER34/ref=mp_s_a_2?qid=1312384166&sr=8-2

The recommendation came courtesy of Seth Godin's daily emails. For those of you who don't know
Seth, I recommend you check out his book Linchpin as well as his blog.

Hurry and "buy" your free copy of the "meetings" book. It's for for only the next 7 days.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Breakfast Inspiration - Courtesy of a Flow Chart

(Originally posted on my blog "The Irony of the Last 10 Pounds" on http://www.weightwatchers.com/ .)

I am a HUGE fan of the blog Apartment Therapy (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/) and it's sister blogs: The Kitchen http://www.thekitchn.com/ and Unplugged http://www.unplggd.com/ . I review them daily and usually a few times a day.

Today, on The Kitchen, there was an article featuring a breakfast flow chart. Being in a breakfast rut, I was so excited to have new ideas to chose from. The analyst in me totally geeked out over the flow chart format. The Weight Watcher member in me squealed for joy when I realized that this was a "healthy" breakfast flow chart.

Here is the link to the fabulous flow chart.
http://www.eatingrules.com/2011/07/healthy-breakfast-ideas/

Enjoy using this chart to add some fun and make your breakfast routine, well, less routine.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dealing with Self-Sabotage

(Originally posted on my blog "The Irony of the Last 10 Pounds" on the Weight Watchers website.)
 
On July 16th, I hit my lowest weight since starting Weight Watchers on August 1, 2009. This accomplishment left me with 8 pounds to lose til my goal weight.

Unfortunately, after this amazing success, the self-sabotage crept in and I started eating whatever, not tracking, "hiding out" (not actively participating in a challenge or posting to my blog or even posting on Facebook or Twitter) and letting my "inner brat" make the decisions. The results were a 1 pound gain at the weigh-in on 7/23 and a 1.8 pound gain on 7/30.

I was in a mental tail spin and I knew that if I didn't "snap out of it" I'd gain even more and get further and further away from my goal weight and ultimately Lifetime Membership at Weight Watchers.

I remembered a wonderful pamphlet called "Ship It" by Seth Godin that is a guided workbook to work through any goal for your life. I grabbed a copy and started the work of planning for hitting my goal of Lifetime Weight Watchers Membership by October 29, 2011.

Part of the work was looking at 10 things to add to support my success in reaching my goal. Fortunately, I didn't have to think very hard to come up with most of the 10 items.

Here are my 10 items:
1. Track every day.
2. Plan food and activity and actually follow the plan
3. Find fun ways to add "new" to my activity
4. Blog daily on WW Website and post blog entry on personal blog.
5. Return to participating in the 10 Pesky Pounds by End of Summer Weight Watchers Challenge
6. Chew lots of gum.
7. Hit 5 servings of fruits/veg
8. Tell the "inner brat" to "SHUT IT!"
9. Listen more @ Weight Watchers meetings. Be humble.
10. Buy GI Jane on iTunes and watch it to be inspired.

It's not a coincidence that a few of the items on the list are connected to Weight Watchers activities. The program does work. Go figure! :-)

I'm looking forward to seeing how these 10 things contribute to a successful weigh-in on Saturday 8/6.

"See you" in tomorow's blog post.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Survive or Evolve?

This morning the alarm went off and I was ready to say in bed instead of heading to the gym for a workout. "The voice" in my head had a perfectly logical argument for sleeping in another hour and skipping the workout.

Thankfully, I asked myself, "Do I want to merely survive or do I want to evolve?"

I chose to evolve, get out of bed and have a kick-ass workout.

This survive/evolve question came from a presentation months ago by a SVP at work, Phil Goswitz. His presentation was entitled "Satellites and Marathons." Not only did Phil talk about satellites but also about how approaching training for marathons can be applied to ones life.

He mentioned that each morning when you are going to train, you can chose to stay in bed which is a survival mechanism or you can chose to evolve get out of bed and do the work.

At the time of the presentation I didn't know how it would apply to my life. Today, I applied this approach in my life and I'm forever grateful to Phil for helping me stick to my plan of losing the last 9.4 pounds to hit my goal weight of 160.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What Is Your Passion? And What Are You Doing About It?

It's funny how "life" gets in the way of "best laid plans."

Weeks ago, I "pledged" to participate in the "Self Reliance" writing challenge to do daily blog posts or Tweets based on daily prompts: (http://ralphwaldoemerson.me/prompts)

Today, is the second time I've made a blog entry in this 30-day challenge. Instead of beating myself up for "failing" to do the challenge 100% I'm moving forward and writing anyway.

Today's prompt gives the reader the challenge to think about your #1 passion and then do something related to that passion every day. Dance is my numero uno passion. What is so exciting is that when I've looked at the past week or even the past few months, I've already incorporated more dance into my life thanks to a wonderful series of seemingly random events.

Back in May of 2011, I began teaching line dancing at the Gardena Elks Lodge on Tuesday nights. My students are wonderful and I'm having a blast teaching and finding fun new line dances to teach. Did you know there is a line dance called the Sanctified Slide? Check out my "Line Dancing" page on my blog for more details on this dance and many more.

2 weeks ago I "thought outside of the box" and discovered the excellent Zumba class schedule at the Gold's Gym in Hawthorne. The wonderful staff at my home gym in downtown Long Beach hooked me up and I can attend these classes after work when I can't make it on time to a Zumba class at my home gym.

The line dance classes and Zumba classes take care of dancing a few days a week. The bigger challenge for me is how I will incorporate dance into every day. It will be fun figuring out how to get creative with this.

Do you have any ideas? Comment them below. I'd love to hear them.

And more importantly, what are you doing every day with your passion? Share that as well.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Another Blog. Really?

Yes, really. Another blog. I guess you can say that either I'm a glutton for punishment or I don't know when to give up or I'm insane...as in the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

The key inspiration to start a new blog is the Trust Yourself Writing Challenge http://ralphwaldoemerson.me/#commit where in the the next 30 days you create something in a blog or in Twitter posts to trust yourself to succeed.

Ironically, I started this initial post almost 2 weeks ago and I never finished it or posted it. AND...I haven't created anything following the "Trust Yourself Writing Challenge."

This is an absolute reflection on the "success" I had with the last 3 blogs I attempted to start. In other words, those 3 blogs were failures.

This new blog is my attempt to break through the limitations I place on myself and actually follow-through on what I set out to do.

In this blog, I will share things connected to my last 3 blogs (Carless in a Quarter, Confessions of a Former Professional Organizer, and Cooking for One if Wonderful) and other goings on in my life (chasing food trucks, successes/challenges with weight loss, teaching line dancing, etc).

My dream is that through this sharing you are inspired/motivated to launch fantastic goings on in your life.