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.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Do You Think I Have Too Many Emails?" If you have to ask.....

There's an old saying about asking about the "market price" for lobster, "If you have to ask for the price then you can't afford it." 

The same holds true for emails in your email box. "If you have to ask 'Do I have too many emails?' then you probably should purge your email box."

Last week, a great friend of mine asked for help with her email. She shared that she wasn't able to receive any emails. She also shared that she got a few "your mailbox is full" emails. 

I knew right way that some purging needed to be done. I was on her iPad and started deleting emails about 5-10 at a time. I had a feeling quite a bit needed to be deleted. 

I switched to a web browser and opened up her email account. I gasped at the total number of emails....


I asked her if there were any important emails that we needed to keep. Fortunately, she was "over" all of the emails and said, "Delete them all." 

Additional fortune came our way when I saw the "Delete All" button. I asked a second time "Ok to delete all?" I got the thumbs up, I clicked the Delete All. My friend gave a big sigh of relief.


Now that my friend has shed all of the excess emails, it's time to enter maintenance mode. I shared with her her new mantra, 

"Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe." 

When an "extraneous" email comes in, be sure to click the "unsubscribe" link in the email. Be ruthless or that 42,000 number will show up again. It's all about maintaining the clear email box.

Do you have too many emails?
If you need to Delete All from your email box here are some steps I found for Gmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL, Hotmail and Verizon Mail.

Oh, and don't forget to Unsubscribe from all of the "extra" email lists that no longer apply or serve you. Maintenance is key!!!!


Step 1 - Select All
-click the Square with the downward pointing triangle
-click "All"

Step 2 - Trash
-click the trash can button

Yahoo Mail

  1. Click the checkbox next to the delete "trash can."
  2. Click Delete.

AOL Mail 
(see this link:


  1. Go to your Inbox. 
  2. Click Sweep.
  3. Click "Delete all from..."
  4. Select "Inbox."

Verizon Mail

  1. Go to your Inbox
  2. Click the Empty button.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Jaxtastic Life Book Club – Thrive by Arianna Huffington – Week 1 – Introduction

Today, the week of the Independence Day Holiday, we kick off the very first Jaxtastic Life Virtual Book Club with Arianna Huffington’s Thrive: The Third Metric to Defining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder.

Don’t worry if you haven’t started reading. You can start now. These questions/topics will be available to you all week and through the end of the book. You are always welcome to respond, share your insights and ask more questions.

Let’s get going….

The Power of Wake-Up Calls & The Three-Legged Stool

The author shares about her impactful wake-up call waking up in a pool of her own blood with a cut eye and a broken cheekbone due to exhaustion and lack of sleep. She, like so many others, was focused on the generally accepted measures of success: Money and Power...the proverbial two-legged stool that it was just a matter of time before she “toppled over.”

Do you measure your success only by money and power? How is that working for you?
Have you endured your own personal wake-up call? What happened? What has changed? Has anything changed? Why or Why Not?

Controlling the Clicker
“Darling, just change the channel. You are in control of the clicker. Don’t replay the bad, scary movie.” This fabulous quote came from the author’s mother.
Do you find yourself replaying the same argument or frustrations or injustices over and over again in your head? Can you let them go? Why? Why not?

The Third Metric
The Third Metric or the third leg of the “stool of success” and the organizational structure of this book is introduced.
How would you rate yourself in the areas of well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving?
Are you excited or skeptical about taking on these four areas of your life?

Independence Day Declarations – What Are Yours?

This Friday is our country’s Independence Day.

Will you free yourself from the unsustainable “2 legged-stool” measure of success?

Will you declare to Thrive?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jax Adventures to Indoor Cycling Certification

This is my home for the next 9 hours for Schwin Indoor Cycling Certification ( at UC Irvine ARC (

So very excited and my fellow students are super nice. (Yes, I'm in the front row and I'm SO not front row person but gotta get the learning.)

Here are my materials. Lots of good stuff for the brain. The bike is for the body.

Finished the first lecture and practice of quick fit and a high-performance fit. As I was putting my shoes back on, I noticed this...Whoopsie!!!

Lectures & 2 challenging (well, challenging to me) rides & an exam and I was officially certified!!!

HUGE thanks to Doris Thews ( for your excellence today!!! I learned so much.

Now...the hard work begins. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Join the Jaxtastic Life Virtual Book Club!!!

On June 30th, the Jaxtastic Life Virtual Book Club will launch.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington will be the first book we virtually discuss.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Culinary Challenge - Homemade Ice Cream - Check!

Holday weekends bring an opportunity to try something new and this one is no different.

Today, I finally took on homemade ice cream. I say,"finally" because I purchased the Kitchen Aid ice cream accessory years ago. And, it has been in my freezer for years.

While at Trader Joe's today, I pulled up this Martha Stewart custard vanilla ice cream base recipe:

And, I proceeded to fill the cart with the needed ingredients.

After lunch, I got started and all went well. Below is the base chilling.

As the ice cream was churning I was dreaming of the add-ins...chocolate, peanut butter more....

I split the ice cream into 3 containers: 2 plain and one with dark chocolate chunks and peanut butter and got them into he freezer.

A few hours later we dove in. Still a little soft but oh so tasty.

Are you taking on any culinary challenges this weekend? 

Red Scarf Project - Baby Steps Back to Crochet

I have to be very careful on holiday weekends. My mind goes crazy thinking of all the things I can accomplish with a long holiday weekend. So far, I've been keeping things in check his holiday weekend. (Ok, I made ice cream today but that is another blog post.)

Lately, I've been thinking about crochet. It's something that I have enjoyed but I've been away from it for quite a while. 

Today, I wanted to kick off a project. I was all over the place. Make a blanket? Hat? Attempt a sweater for the first time? 

My mind then went to crocheting for a cause. I thought of a prayer shawl. As I was looking at yarn I was continuously drawn to red yarns. 

Then it hit me! The Red Scarf Project for Foster Care to Success:

It's the perfect project. It's compact so I can easily take it on the train. It has a deadline, scarves have to be sent in between September 1 & December 15. 

The yarn has been ordered and I am so excited to return to a favorite hobby and to do it for a good cause.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Unexpected "Ah Ha" Moment While Gushing About Cooking Shows

Today, at a work event, we were sharing about a recent TV viewing experience. I was gushing about how much I love cooking shows and that my current favorites are

Tricia Yearwood's Southern Kitchen

The Pioneeer Woman

I then found myself sharing that I love watching these shows because I don't have a lot of time to cook in my schedule. By watching these shows I am living vicariously through them as they cook amazingly yummy looking food.

Then the "Ah Ha" moment struck. I realized that I watch 1 or 2 recorded episodes a night which accounts for 20-40 minutes of my evening. If I took back that 20-40 minutes, I could actually do some cooking in my own kitchen. Go figure???!!!

Or, even more importantly, I could actually meditate as I have been trying to do ever since I started reading Search Inside Yourself through my Virtualy Book Club at work. I finished reading the book last night and I haven't been able to make a meditatino practice stick.

Tricia and Ree will have to say in the DVR the rest of this week. I'm going to cook and meditate. 

And I'm going to keep talking. Wonder what else will reveal itself.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Nutella Mini Cups - Instant Portion Control

Let me start off by sharing that I love Nutella. Unfortunately, I love Nutella WAY too much.

In the past I have innocently purchased a jar thinking, ah, this will last forever. I'll just enjoy occasionally.

Before I know it, the occasionally becomes multiple times a day.

At Target, I usually pass the "Nutella aisle" and with a sadness because I can't trust myself with even a small jar.

On a recent Target run, my joy turned to hope. I saw Nutella mini cups. I stopped in my tracks. Could this be too good to be true? I grabbed one of the boxes and pulled out my iPhone to do the Weight Watchers Points Plus math. Much to my joy and surprise, one cup is only 2 Points Plus (80 calories) and the Nutella was pre-measured.

Yes, some would argue that I'm wasting money. However, I would tell them that now I'm not eating 1/4 of a jar of Nutella before coming to my senses and puting the spoon down.

And that, my friends, is worth EVERY penny.

Thank you team Nutella!!!!