I am on a journey to live a life I love and to fill my life with the things that truly bring me joy... my dream job, loving relationships, financial abundance, a healthy mind and body, and a deep spiritual connection with all that is. I am living consciously to create a life filled with all the things I love.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Preparing for a New Year


 For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a Merry Christmas yesterday! I am currently in Florida with family and enjoying the peace and quiet. It is nice to be surrounded by grass and trees and have time to spend time with family and my new pup Winston. He's been very good, both during the car ride down and adjusting to a new environment. What a proud mama I am.

Now that I have had a few moments to think, I start thinking about what I would like my 2010 to look like. I have already started thinking about things here and there that I would like to see in my life next year, but the most important thing that I realize that I need to focus on is creating balance in my life where I can make time and space for all the most important things in my life. In the past, work has consumed my life to the point that I have neglected and sacrificed eating habits, exercise, fun, and sleep. This coming year I want to make time for all the things that I have on my long term list of things I wish to do and start the process of incorporating them into my life. These are things such as learning a new language, cooking, building a strong yoga practice, and building a business that I enjoy that also brings me financial independence.

Rather than creating new year's resolutions this year, I am going start making time for the things that bring me the most joy and create a schedule where I can regularly engage in these activities. Using my emotions as my guide, I am going to move towards the things that light me up rather than bring me down. So far, it has been working to help me create a life that is so drastically different than the one I had known just a year ago. I have so much more energy, purpose, motivation, and happiness despite all the work I have had to do. This year is fine tuning the balance in my life so that I can live a life with a schedule that I can sustain for years to come.

What are the things that you've been meaning to change in your life that you'd like to focus on this coming year? Take time to reflect and start planting seeds that will sprout into your best year yet. :) Wishing you peace, love, joy, and prosperity for 2010!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The End of the First Semester

The time has come. The first semester is over. And boy, was this the most intense semester I have ever gone through! After all the all-nighters, prayers to help make it through, and getting in huge assignments in week after week just in the nick of time... I've made it. 9 classes, lots of new skills, and lots of lessons learned.

Lesson #1
Set up my schedule to be more conducive towards living a balanced life. When you're in your 30's, it really does not seem right to have to pull all-nighters again and again. I'm getting too old for that and need to really take care of my health. How I am making changes? I'm reducing my course load to make room for exercise, sleep, visiting museums, reading, exploring the city, finding inspiration, playing with my new pup, cooking, and time for an internship. This means I am extending my 1 year fast-track program by an extra semester. It gives me time to take all the electives that I am interested in taking beyond the bare minimum requirements to graduate. I am here to learn the skills after all, not just to get another degree.

Lesson #2
Be realistic about how much time it will take to get things done. I tend to let my ambition get the best of me and whenever I'm given an assignment, I shoot for the stars. Yes, with blood, sweat and tears I finish with success, but it's not without toil and torture (self-inflicted, might I add). What am I going to do to change this experience in the future? Leave my ambitions for projects that will really move me towards my ultimate goal of having my own business. In the meantime, for projects that are just exercises to teach me, simplify, simplify, simplify. Simple projects can be wonderful too. It's better to have beautifully executed simple projects rather than something that is not 100% complete.

Lesson #3
Be disciplined about my schedule. What I mean by this is... wake up at the same time every day and go to bed at the same time every day. This is a simple idea, but one I've never followed. I know it's helpful to keep my energy level high and it prevents myself from working until exhaustion. What will this take? Working extremely efficiently during the day and being committed to my bed time and waking up time. Somehow I thought our new pup would help with this one, but he's been flexible with his schedule to accommodate ours. What a great pup. Perhaps a committed workout schedule will also help with this one.

Ok, looking at this list so far, it seems that all of them talk about time. Living a balanced life is all about how much time you commit to each of the activities in your life. By skewing it all in one direction, all the other aspects of your life suffer. Just a little bit of time dedicated to each activity makes all the difference in the world, and some activities really take no time at all. It's the same concept of how cleaning up just a little bit every day takes very little effort or time compared to neglect that leads to a huge mess to deal with and lots of weekends to get things back into shape. This applies to exercise, eating right, watering plants, keeping up with mail, laundry, meditation and all the other things that need and deserve our attention.

I'm looking forward to a new year with a new me. This time I am not going to compromise on my yoga classes or sleep. If I have to drop a class to create more space in my life, I should just drop the class and not let the guilt of not getting the most out of my tuition dollars and length of time dedicated towards my degree stop me. After all, with less stress, I will learn more, expand more, and retain more. I am going to lead a simplified version of my current life... one where I get more fulfillment by being able to fully engage in and enjoy the process.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Build a Window Farm

This is the answer to my urban gardening dilemma! Even with my large windows, I have limited horizontal space to place pots to grow a garden. What a great idea to create a vertical herb garden. I will have to test this out come January after the holidays. What a clever DIY invention.



You can learn more at www.windowfarms.org.

Or donate to the cause here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who You Are Makes a Difference

Watch this short, but very heart-felt movie about how simple gestures make such a difference in the lives of those around us. Here's to all of us spreading more love and light into the world...

http://www.blueribbonmovie.com/

Muppets Performing Bohemian Rhapsody!

I love this video!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Anthony Robbins on How to Get Rich

A very interesting video that talks about the power of compounding. We've heard this before, but I really like the way Tony iterates how important it is and the examples he uses, especially the story about betting on a golf game.

Holistic Pet Store

Did you know that there are holistic pet stores out there? Since we're in the process of getting a new pup, we've been preparing for him by buying all the necessary pet supplies and food, and since we like to be as holistic and organic as we can, we found a holistic pet store not too far away in the East Village in New York. I feel so lucky that we have access to such a great place where we can take care of our new puppy with the love and care he deserves.

The great news is that they have an online store as well, so you can order supplies online if you don't live in New York.

Whiskers Holistic Pet Store
235 E 9th St
(between 2nd Ave & Stuyvesant St)
New York, NY 10003
(212) 979-2532
1800whiskers.com

We bought everything from shampoo to brushes, doggie food and treats. We even purchase biodegradable indoor potty pads to use while he's getting housebroken. Just need to buy a little doggie gate for the hallway and we're ready for little Winston to come home! He'll be here in a week! How exciting!

Here's a picture of Winston at 8 weeks old. He'll be 12 weeks when we get him this weekend!

This was him at 2 weeks. Isn't he so little?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Support Wind Energy

The families in Appalachia need our help to stop mountain-top removal and build a clean energy future. Save Coal River Mountain, the last mountaintop standing in West Virginia. This mountain is essential for capturing wind energy in the area. Watch this video clip of what's happening.



Learn more at coalriverwind.org and ilovemountains.org.

Please sign the petition to save Coal River Mountain!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Live Your Message and Be Who You Are

Live in the vortex, where Source is and all good things exist by doing what makes you feel good. This is where you will feel your joy. Let your work and your example be the message.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dr Bruce Lipton and Dr Wayne Dyer talk about Beliefs, Healing, Placebo Effect and more...

Focus on what you want, not what you don't want.

What you put your attention on becomes reality. Here is a great talk between Bruce Lipton and Dr. Wayne Dyer about our cells, health, healing, environment, placebo effect, neurolinguistic programming, conscious/subconscious mind, feeling better, etc. Many of us have heard this message many times, but this is a great reminder and

A surprising insight - The primary programs in your subsconscious mind you acquired from other people...

We can master our health with our beliefs by focusing on what we want and not what we don't want.

Albert Einstein said that the most important decision you'll ever make is whether you live in a universe that is supportive and friendly or one that is hostile and not friendly.

What's your choice?

Part 1:


Part 2:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Catching Up on Sleep

I've heard many people say that catching up on sleep is impossible, and that the best way to move on after sleep deprivation is to start sleeping your usual 7-8 hours per night again. For me, this simply does not work! After days, weeks, or even months of exhaustion after working tirelessly for extended periods of time, I need a lot of time to recover, and this weekend was no exception.

I had been burning the midnight oil for 6-7 weeks now. My body was screaming for sleep, yet I had work that needed to be done with strict timelines. Sacrificing my health, I slaved away to meet my deadlines, only to see how useless I had become. Everything was taking longer, which only prolonged the amount of time I had to stay awake to finish projects. This past weekend, I decided I was not going to use my alarm clock and sleep and sleep until my body felt recovered.

The first night, I slept 14 hours! Yep. That's what it needed. I thought that would be it and I'd be caught up. Nope. The second night, I slept 10 hours. Wow... I had no idea my body needed this much sleep. Onto the last and final night of the weekend... 9 hours! Hmmm, still not at the 7-8 hours yet. My conclusion is this... our bodies NEED ample sleep to stay healthy, and making up sleep takes days or weeks, not just one night! Today, after 3 days of making up sleep, my skin glowed like I hadn't seen in months. I had no idea sleep could make such a difference! The dark circles underneath my eyes were gone and my skin which looked pretty pale over the past few weeks now has a pinkish undertone to it. Who knew that sleep could make such a difference!

So, my advice to you, for all of you who are sleep deprived out there! Make sleep a non-negotiable part of your life. That's my mission I plan on sticking to from here on out. It's just not worth it. And you'll work much more effectively and efficiently by getting ample rest.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How Can We Save When We Have Credit Card Debts?

Dr. John Demartini answers the question that many people are wondering these days. His answer is very clear and direct.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Kate Winslet on Who She Acts For



When you get to the state where you do what you do for yourself and don't really care about the opinions and reviews because what you do fulfills you, you have found your calling. When you're in that place, it doesn't really matter what anyone says. You do what you do because you love it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Our Contribution to Climate Change: Greening Our Lives

As I pondered what my contribution to Blog Action Day might be, I think about what I might be able to do to contribute to a positive impact on the global issue of climate change. My contributions may be small, but I believe that a series of small steps eventually lead to big results. We've gotta start somewhere!

I'm sure we've all started to make small changes. Perhaps it's being more aware of turning off the lights when they are not in use, recycling, or changing our lightbulbs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs. I think we can crank it up a notch, though, as we move forward. Here are my thoughts about small changes that I (and all of us) can start to incorporate into our lives. Obviously some may take more time to implement, but at least we can put the intention and thought out there that it will be done in the future and start taking small steps to bring the plan to fruition:

Reduce:
  • Reduce waste by using less disposable items.
  • Conserve water by taking shorter showers and turning off the water when you're brushing your teeth and washing dishes.
  • Walk more, drive less. Or, alternatively, ride a bike or take public transit. If you can do without, opt for a car share program and use public transit instead. (Yes, I know the conveniences are hard to let go, but you will lose weight if you take this approach! :) )
  • Go to bed earlier so that you can wake up earlier. Use natural sunlight as your main source of light and you can naturally reduce the amount of electricity you use on lighting at home.
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical plugs that are not being used. You reduce the amount of energy being lost through vampire energy and you save on your electric bill too!

Reuse:

  • Use a reusable/washable water bottle rather than using disposable plastic water bottles.
  • Reuse your old clothes to reinvent a new wardrobe by using your creative genius to come up with new ways of wearing old items.
  • Use your food scraps and turn it into compost. This one requires setting up a composting station in your home. I've been contemplating using a worm bin indoors, but haven't taken the plunge yet since I have no garden to use the compost for (yet)!

Green the Planet:
  • Plant an indoor herb garden.
  • Plant an outdoor vegetable garden.
  • Volunteer to pick up trash, plant a tree, or create awareness for environmental issues.
  • Eat organic. Vote with your wallet and buy organic. The more we buy organic, the more demand there will be for organic products, eventually reducing the cost, and the less demand there will be for conventional produce and products that are laden with pesticides and harm the environment.
  • Buy eco-friendly products: detergents, household cleaners, linens, bath products, cosmetics, and maybe eventually even clothes?
  • Learn more about sustainable practices and teach others ways they can make changes too.
  • If you have the budget and are able, green your home! Use sustainable materials for interior renovations, furniture purchases, or build a green home from the ground up. If this is in your plan you can think about creating alternative sources of energy supply for your home: solar, wind (if you live in the countryside, maybe), geothermal, etc.
  • Simplify your life. If we clean the clutter in our minds, we will more readily clean the clutter from our homes and our environment.
Have more ideas? Let me know. I'll add them to the list!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day - Thursday October 15, 2009

Bloggers unite to blog together about the issue of climate change on Thursday, October 15, 2009 (that's tomorrow!). What a great concept! Do you have a blog? Maybe you might consider joining in this cause.

To register your blog, go to www.blogactionday.org.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What is Your Relationship with Money?

Here is a 3 part interview that Lilou Mace did with Dr. John Demartini that sheds some light into how much we value money correlates to how much money we actually have in our lives.





Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Importance of Taking Time Off

Are you one of those people that are constantly working, working, working? You can be found working on your to-do list, doing chores, working, running errands, taking care of family matters. And maybe you can fit in some exercise on a good day, but maybe most of the time you find that you don't have the time to do the things that you always wanted to make time for. These are the things that always seem to take a back seat, like your hobbies, reading a book, learning a foreign language, taking a class, or traveling around the world. These peripheral desires seem to be less important compared to the more urgent and more pressing matters that seem to occupy your days, but are these hobbies really less important?

Do not underestimate the power of these "other" activities. It is through these activities that we play, create, learn, use our imagination, and expand our minds. These activities are essential to our evolution as spiritual beings. Taking time off and giving ourselves time to nurture the other things we long to do can have a profound impact in all aspects of our lives.

In this video Stefan Sagmeister gives a presentation at a TED conference to illustrate the importance of taking time off. It's a truly remarkable journey that he goes through and shares in a very compelling way. Take some time to watch this one. It's very, very good. I think I'm going to consider restructuring my future to build in "time off" just like he did. Maybe not every seven years, but possibly a portion of every year dedicated to "me time."

Enjoy!



What do you long to do that you have not given yourself permission to do? Maybe it's time to consider re-prioritizing your list and putting some of those things you've always wanted to do at the top of your list.

Hidden Messages in Water

The Boy Who Built a Windmill to Fight Famine


This story is amazing. William Kamkwamba was a guest on Jon Stewart's show. He is the author of the new book, "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," which is an autobiographical story of William's mission to fight famine in his country of Malawi by building a windmill just from pictures in a book from a library.

Watch the video here.

You can visit William's blog here.

What an amazing story! Incredible. His book is available on Amazon.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fashion Design School

It's been a while since my last post since fashion design school has kept me super busy! Who knew that you could pull all-nighters in the first two weeks of school. It shows my commitment to this process, and although I want to live a "balanced" life, I also know I need to do what it takes to "make it work," like Tim Gunn says. So far even though the workload is incredulous, it has been a great experience. I feel like I've been in school for months, but it has only been 1 month. Wow.

I'm taking 9 classes, as are many others who are trying to finish this program in one year. It is crazy. Yes, very crazy, but I'm enjoying every step of the process. I know that this will be my final career direction because I enjoy every step this time. Each class is teaching me a completely different skillset to round me out as a fashion designer. I am taking Fashion Drawing, CAD Photoshop and Illustrator (for designing prints and textiles and fashion related promotional materials), a fashion illustration course with more sketching, creating mood boards, drawing flats, and rendering, Fashion Industry Process and Skills (includes everything from fashion history to finding our own inspiration to studying companies and creating our promotional materials), Sewing, Draping, Patternmaking, Fashion Marketing, and Color Theory.

It's a lot of work for sure! Here are some photos of some of the work rooms at school:

A photo of the industrial machines we use at school. They are fast!

And here I am standing next to a dress form.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Book Review: Harmonic Wealth


This book is absolutely amazing. I really liked how the author, James Ray, uses 5 pillars to divide up different aspects of your life to determine how "harmonic" our life is. When you hear the word "wealth," most people think of financial abundance, but true wealth is more than just having a lot of money in the bank. What good is a lot of money if the other aspects of your life are suffering? James Ray talks about how to achieve wealth in 5 different pillars:

1. Financial
2. Relational (Your Relationships)
3. Physical
4. Mental
5. Spiritual

By going through exercises and a series of questions in each of these pillars, I was able to look at my life from this perspective. It made me realize that I have been focusing on three of the pillars: Relational, Mental, and Spiritual, but my Financial and Physical had been quite lacking. And it's not that I'm not working on those, but because I had neglected them for so long and paid more attention to other areas of my life, I have a deeper mess to dig out of, which is fine, because now I'm clearly aware of it and am doing something about it.

This book takes a very holistic and spiritual perspective in taking a look at your life, a perspective I believe will sustain true wealth for people who are seeking a wealthy life. As you work on yourself and do the internal work necessary to become better, your external life will mirror what's on the inside. That's the true message of this book. It's a fabulous book that takes a look at life from a deeper level, one that will help you become a better person, and wealthy, not just on the financial front, but on all levels. I highly recommend it!

If you're interested in reading this book, you can find it here.

If you're interested in seeing what other books I recommend, you can see the list here.

Rekindling My Yoga Practice

I've been thinking and talking about yoga for several months now, but finally made my first yoga class a couple of weeks ago. It was such a great experience and I felt so much better that I went again. Why did I deprive myself of this experience for so long?

Regardless of the reason, I've decided to commit to a regular yoga practice again. It's been 2 years since I've had a regular yoga practice, and that was when I was in the best shape of my life. I was living in San Francisco at the time, where they have amazing yoga studios and instructors. Now, in New York, I know there are amazing instructors and studios here too. I just need to seek them out.

I remember going to a yoga conference a couple of years ago where I was introduced to a lot of famous yoga instructors. I was new to the yoga scene, but I wanted to make sure I signed up for the sessions with the instructors that resonated with me. I ended up going to a bunch of workshops with teachers who have studios in LA, but I remember the names of several yoga instructors that are based in New York. I did a little research, and these are the ones that I am planning on trying out.

Sharon Gannon and David Life's Jivamukti Yoga School
841 Broadway, 2nd Floor
(between 13th St & 14th St)
New York, NY 10003


Dharma Mittra's Yoga Center
297 3rd Ave
(between 22nd St & 23rd St)
New York, NY 10010



Cyndi Lee's Om Yoga Studio
826 Broadway, 6th Floor
(between 12th St & 13th St)
New York, NY 10003



Fortunately these are an easy commute for me, so it will be convenient as well. I like to try out different classes at different studios, or at least with different teachers because I find that my body gets used to the same routine after a while and the classes become too easy. I need to challenge my body with different yoga routines and exercise regimens to work out my muscles. What keeps me going back to classes, though, is that it is also relaxing and I feel so flexible afterwards. My posture is always greatly improved after yoga.

My hope is that I can attend some classes with the owners of these yoga studios themselves. That would be amazing for me. Most of them teach only the upper level classes, so I'll have to practice regularly so that I can advance to some of more advanced classes. I'm still attending the level 1 classes for now.

I'm excited about my new commitment to yoga and my fitness. After reflecting on what I really wanted to accomplish by the end of 2009, I realized that my fitness was at the top of the list, so once and for all I am making it a priority!

Maybe I'll try Bikram yoga this year too. Hot and sweaty yoga. Will I like it? At least it will be a change.

Abraham-Hicks on When Someone Aggravates You

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Trip to Central Park in New York

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were checking out the upper west side when I decided that we should walk through Central Park to get to the the other side to the upper east side. We're fairly new to New York, so we wanted to see all the different neighborhoods in New York to figure out where we might like to live next year. I was expecting to see just a beautiful park with trails and trees and lots of people and grass. What I discovered was oh, so much more!

For example, as we set foot onto Central Park, we were greeted with a crowd that was looking at the ground. Curious, I looked over to find a beautiful display of cupcakes shaped arranged in the peace symbol around the word Imagine on the ground. Wow! The funny thing was, earlier that week, my husband saw Yoko Ono on the streets of New York.

Here are some photos of cupcakes!




Here are some shots of a wonderful little area within Central Park that we ran into with a fountain, boats, and entertainers. I later discovered that this place is called Bethesda Terrace.



Here is the video I put together of what I saw that day in Central Park. I address the viewers as "Co-Creators" because I created this video primarily to share with the CCOR (Co-Creating Our Reality) community that I am a part of. It's a group that uses the law of attraction and other practices such as meditation and journaling for 100 day periods to improve their lives. Hope you enjoy!

Starting Fashion Design School

The real beginning of my journey is about to begin. I will be starting my full-time fashion design program in a couple of days, and I've been warned again and again by staff, administration, and students alike that the program is very, very rigorous. And if you are doing the one year fast-track program, that it is truly "crazy." I'm not discouraged, though. I've done it before. 9 classes at one time, 2 graduate degrees at the same time. People told me it was "impossible" then and I faced a lot of skeptics along the way, but I completed a rigorous 3 year program and a 2 year program in a total of 3 years total. Anything is possible. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And if they do, don't listen to them.

It is what you believe that you can do that counts. I know I can do it. And my proof is that I've done it before. Sure, it was probably the most difficult time in my life in terms of work load, hours, and I sacrificed a tremendous amount of sleep along the way, but I learned a ton and would never take it back in a million years. We're all evolving and learning and adapting is essential to that process.

The time I am spending now is on preparing for the program. I attended orientations, made sure I was still registered for my classes, and figured out where all my classes are. In addition, I am making sure that I signed up for a payment plan and am making sure all the loans and funds come through to financially make this program happen. I am also organizing and cleaning everything at home so that I do not have to worry about searching for lost items. Utilizing time effectively is essential in this program. I've been warned. I've been warned. I know it can get crazy. Design school is much more rigorous than anything I've ever been through. In my opinion, design school was much more work and rigor than my MBA program, 10x over. And I was forewarned about that program too.

In the back of my mind, I do wonder... why am I doing this to myself again? And I have to gently remind myself that I am following my dream and following my passion. This will be what lights my heart on fire and I will never work a day in my life again...because I will do what I love and I will love what I do. Simple as that. I've already been working into the wee hours of the morning on all sorts of things I never imagined doing even a couple of years ago. Did I imagine that I would be putting content on three different blogs and two different youtube channels? Not a chance. Do I make money on them? Not yet, but hopefully they will. Whether or not they do, I just feel like I have to do it regardless. It's my contribution to the world at this time in my life when I am not working at a corporate "job" to contribute my talents.

It is here I contribute my thoughts, my lessons, and share the teachers I've discovered along the way. They have all been invaluable in my journey to discover myself, my true self, and to discover what my soul longs to do. I know I was born to be a designer. I love to create. I love to make. I love to work with my hands. I love beauty. I love learning new things. I love to share what I have learned with others. So here I stand at the onset of a new adventure that I'm sure will be one crazy ride, but I will love it every step of the way.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Preventative Medicine is the Best Medicine

Diet and exercise is the key to health. You've heard this all your life, so why are so many people suffering from so many diseases around the world? Sure, there are some people that have come here with a higher purpose--to balance out their energy in this life through a pre-determined disease, something that was charted out in their soul's plan--but many of us are suffering from illness needlessly just by eating unhealthy foods, not exercising, and submerging ourselves in negative emotion.

The cure is not in pills! Start with your diet, exercise, and treat yourself with kindness. Start by loving yourself for who you are, not for who you wish to become. You are already beautiful and lovable in every way. As you work on your inner self, your physical body will follow. For now, start by opting for healthier options. Incorporate salads and maybe cut out the soda and deep fried foods. Start with what you can, and little by little incorporate more nutrition and exercise that you enjoy! And remember to have fun! Fun is important food for your soul. :)

Here's a video of Bill Maher talking about pharma.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying True to Yourself

When you start to follow your passion, your dreams, and the things that excite you and bring you joy, you begin to discover a side of yourself that had been buried for many years. It is your true self, the person you may have been when you were younger, possibly back when you were a child, and have not been since.

Growing up, society, circumstances, and teachers around you taught you how to behave, what was acceptable, what was applauded, and what was frowned upon. Through this sort of "programming," we slowly became someone that others wanted us to become. Sure, we might have wanted to go down this path ourselves, but most of us picked the safe and more conventional route. A few of the bold and courageous ones dove for their dreams, knowing there was no safety net below. What's unfortunate about this situation is that even those that I knew that went for their dreams slowly saw their dreams fade and the need for financial security reined them into a "normal" 9 to 5 job. (These days it's probably more like 8-6 or more hours.)

The majority of us became one of the masses and although we tried to convince ourselves that our jobs were super-important and may have at some point felt like we were part of some huge project that was going to make a big difference. However, the result was always the same...we made a big difference for the company we were working for, or whoever our customers or clients were, and eventually the excitement there wears off until we feel like we're just part of the daily grind, going to work just for a paycheck. And if only there was a way out. Well, there is.

The choice is to go for the things that excite you, and spend some time reflecting on what it is that really makes you you. This is a difficult question for many to answer. For some it is easy-- they were born with their talent shining and their passion aligned with this talent too. But many of us have talents, but these areas are not necessarily things that excite us nor do we see ourselves turning these talents into a career. I played violin for 14 years, but not once did I consider that a career path even though my parents might have dreamed about it while I was growing up. And, I was immersed in the fine arts since I was 7, but somehow oil painting did not necessarily spark my passion much either.

The difficult question for many of us to answer is where do my talents and passion intersect? This was a difficult question for me to answer, even with years of soul searching, and I'm not even convinced I have found it yet. But each day I make a commitment to doing the things that bring me the most happiness and joy, whether it is cleaning my home so that I can have the ultimate relief of seeing a clean space, or reading that book that I really wanted to get through. Little by little, the things that we have passion for emerge because we will have been doing these things anyway, even without getting paid to do them.

I read books and magazines about certain topics because they interest me. I watch videos to learn things that I am interested in. I spend my time with certain hobbies that I know are not going to really be a part of my career, but I do them anyway because I have finally given myself permission to do things for fun and not just for work. Through this process I know I am discovering who I really am...who I've always been.

You've heard the phrases before:
"Stay true to yourself."
"Follow your bliss."
"Do what you love and you won't work a day in your life."

This is true, and I'm beginning to discover the depth of what these phrases mean. No matter what my financial situation is at this point, I've decided to dedicate my time, energy, and thoughts toward doing the things that make me happy, and making the time to do those things. Yes, we need to pay our bills and make money, but what's more important in our lives is to listen to our soul and follow our hearts. The money will follow. I have faith, and I am moving forward.

The hardest part is figuring out what exactly our careers will look like in the future. I've decided to just move forward with the things I've decided thus far and use my heart as a guide for every step I take. If I am excited about this work, then I'll do more of it. If I find myself dreading it, chances are that it's not the right path, so I'm going to try something else that feels right. And I've also decided not to let money influence my decision.

I've been guilty in the past of thinking about what business would be lucrative with the skills I have first rather than thinking of my passion first. Or, I would think of a skill that I have learned where I can do work that will help others, and I know it will be noble work since I am "helping people," but my heart's not really into it. I've learned that both ways are not the way to go. How can you make a living doing something you feel like you "have to do" for money, or you "should do" to help people? Where are you in the equation?

It may sound a bit selfish at first, but we must absolutely put our own passions first. By following our heart, we are able to achieve something even greater than we imagined, just by becoming our best self. The opportunities will appear at the right time, when we are ready.

So, for now, I'm going to take it day by day and do the things that really make me happy. If I want to learn how to make banana bread, that's what I'll do. If I want to learn how to golf, I'll find time to make it to the driving range. If I want to learn how to garden, I'm going to do that too. It doesn't matter that I live in a concrete jungle, I'll make my garden indoors. There's always a way to do what you want, but it is imperative that you give yourself permission to do the things you want. As simple as these things seem, they are the things that make your soul sing. These are things you always wanted to do but never gave yourself permission. And each thing will draw you down a path towards your happiness. Now is the time. No more excuses. Be who you are, not what anyone else wants you to be. And listen to your heart. You'll find that it speaks to you if you will find some quiet time to listen.

And if your heart says, quit your job, move to a different city, change your career, and go back to school, you might find yourself in a position similar to me. I'm learning to let go of the things that no longer serve me and let go of the things I used to value a lot in my old way of thinking (like money). I am, in many ways, shedding the old me to find who I truly was all along, bright and shining underneath, a creative and happy soul. If only I had let myself free sooner... but I am so glad I have decided to move on and follow my bliss. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Soul's Plan

Lilou Mace interviews Robert Schwartz, the author of the book, Your Soul's Plan. This is a very insightful interview where Robert talks about our soul's plan and how we plan our lives to balance our energy.

Part 1:


Part 2:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Amazing Talent

What amazing artistic talent combined with a story that has had such a deep impact in our history. Wow. This girl won the Ukrianian version of "America's Got Talent" competition. Kseniya Simonova is the Ukrainian artist in this video that uses a giant light box, music, and sand painting to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Interview with Dr. John Demartini

A great interview with Dr. John Demartini where he shares his challenges growing up, shares a lot of insights and wisdom, and also talks about love in his life.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Oprah's Acceptance Speech

An old video showing Oprah's acceptance speech for the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 25th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. I really love that she has been a beacon of light for so many of us. We love you Oprah!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Decluttering Your Books

If you're an avid book-buyer like me, chances are, you have tons and tons of books that are you have been collecting on your bookshelves, waiting for the opportunity to read them all. But, if you're like most people, you're busy working and taking care of the family, and have other more pressing matters at hand, which leaves you little time to kick back to relax and read. And maybe when you get to those moments, you just want to do something a little bit more relaxing and uses less brain-power after spending a long day at the office. So, you might opt to watch TV or browse websites instead.

So, why hold on to all of those books? Are you REALLY going to read them? Chances are, you will lug them from home to home as you move, or you will accumulate more books that you want to read first. And this is how clutter begets clutter.

Let's stop this process of accumulation and start purging what we don't need! For me, I had to start with my bookcases because it was what has been taking up the majority of space in my home. No room for picture frames, photo albums, or anything else. Just piles and piles of books. Books that are interesting, for sure, but to be very honest, with all the things going on in life, those were no longer pertinent for the direction I was headed. So, I am purging, and purging, and purging.

In the past I've been so fed up with having so much stuff that I just amassed a huge pile of belongings and lugged them to Salvation army for a donation drop-off. Then, I discovered that they do not accept books! Oh my. So, little by little I was either posting books on craigslist or giving them away for free...until recently.

In this economy, I want to bring in any extra income while purging. So, in the past few weeks I have decided to sell everything and anything that I can that no longer serves me or my future (even if I have yet to use it myself!). It will find a better home with someone who will put the book or object to use immediately.

Sell Your Books!

Amazon.com
I've been very happy with the response I have received from Amazon. I have been posting my books up there and have sold between 1-9 books per day. Pretty amazing. Just search for the books you have, and there's a link that says "Sell yours here" under the Used and New Books link.

The money I've made has already been disbursed to my account. You can disburse your funds at any time. I'm a huge fan now and will use Amazon as my first go-to source for selling books I've read. Just list your books for a penny lower than what others are selling it for.

However, recently I've discovered a little drop in the volume of sales. I think my most popular books have already gone, or people are just not buying the books I'm selling right this moment. And there are books that I have that are not really worth that much and people probably won't be looking for these titles any time soon.

So, I was very excited yesterday when I discovered that you can sell books online to some booksellers! Don't hold your breath on this one because you won't make a lot of money here. Amazon will give you much more for your books, but it also requires you to pack and ship each one individually. I found an easy way to do this. Package it in a yellow manila envelope with some padding around each book and voila. Ready to ship via Media Mail. And make sure you send all your books via Media Mail. You'll save yourself a lot of money on shipping costs!

Other Booksellers Online Seeing as I am eager to get rid of the books that no longer serve me so that I can move on to decluttering the rest of my home, I discovered some websites online that will offer you some money for your books and will allow you to ship the books to them for free. This allows you to get rid of books in bulk. They do not accept all books, so you will have to list your ISBN numbers on various sites to see which ones that accept.

I've been able to package four boxes of books this way, and all from just one night's work. Amazing. And some of those books I did not think would sell anyhow, so better to sell them for something than keeping them in your bookcases forever.

Here are the websites I've used and had success with:
Here is another one that I ended up not using, but looks like it offers something similar:
If you live in the UK, I received a recommendation for websites there that are working for others in the UK:
It's often hard to let go of things we've hung onto for so long, but once you decide you can live without it, it is quite liberating to see your life become lighter and lighter. I love it and now I'm searching for more things that I can live without. Instead of being burdened by the stuff I own, I want to be free to experience more of life. And I can always just go to the library and borrow books if I ever need any of these books again! And if I can't find them at the library, I can buy books one at a time that I will read right away. No more stock piling books to read for a future day.

There's a decluttering book that I've been meaning to go through (that I currently own and have not given up for sale yet). I think I might try and go through it step by step and really focus on making this next year a time to only surround myself with the things I absolutely love, need, and find useful. I know my life will be more rich because of it. Decluttering is like a diet. You've spent time accumulating and amassing stuff, much like what happens when you gain weight, and it takes effort, commitment, and a burning desire to let it all go to come out victorious in the end. But it's all worth it. Come join me! Let's simplify our lives and lead a more fulfilling life, filled with ideas, experiences, and dreams rather than stuff!

Here's the book I mentioned, called One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, a Week by Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized.


Great title, isn't it? Maybe I'll blog about my progress with it here. Use the "Decluttering" label on the right to find all my blog posts about this topic. Good luck with your decluttering project!

Looking for Love?

Are you still looking for your soulmate out there? Watch this video! It is so funny and wise. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Finding Ways to Bring in Money

I know a lot of people are looking for ways to bring in some additional cash these days, especially those who:
a) were laid off
b) are currently unemployed
c) are changing careers
d) are going back to school
e) had to take a pay cut due to your company's performance

And then there are those that are also affected by the economy, but not directly through their jobs. These include those who:
f) have had their credit limits reduced
g) are maxed out on the credit cards
h) have bad credit and can't get additional credit
i) are trying to sell their properties
j) lost a considerable percentage of their retirement accounts
k) lost a considerable sum of money in other investment accounts
l) had unexpected large expenses such as health care costs, car accident, home repairs, etc.
m) had their credit card companies drastically increase their APR

As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons why people are in financial difficulty these days, and the impacts of these can pretty drastic. Foreclosures, short sales, evictions, collection company notices, bankruptcy, closing down businesses, etc. Whether the reasons you are in financial difficulty by choice (because you decided to pursue a different career, move to a different place, etc. to pursue a better life) or you were a "victim" to the economic circumstances (in which case, you are STILL responsible for the events that have occurred in your life), we can all use some additional money right now.

Let me explain what I mean by "victims" being responsible for the events that have occurred in your lives. The reality is that we are only "victims" when we consider ourselves such. The more you consider yourself a "victim," the more life will deliver situations and circumstances that make you feel like a "victim." The truth is, we are not victims, even if you were laid off or some injustice occurred, remember that we are all responsible for the life we create for ourselves. We do this with our thoughts, our beliefs, and the affirmations we say to ourselves every day. All you need to do is change your thoughts. If you can change your thoughts, you change your words, which change the habits in your life, which will result in a different outcome. Doing things that make you happy will keep your emotions positive and you will get closer and closer to what your life was intended for.

Sometimes big, ugly things happen in our lives to give us a wake-up call that we are going down the wrong direction. Consider these blessings. The sooner you "wake-up" and realize that the direction you're headed down is not making you happy, the sooner you can choose to make a change that can alter the course of your life forever. There are hidden blessings in ever event that may originally seem to be a bad thing. Look for the lesson that these events are trying to teach us, learn from them, and then you will choose to take steps towards doing things that bring you joy.

Use your emotions as your compass. Only you know what is good for you, and you have the answer to all of your questions inside of yourself. You may receive signs from your environment or people around you, but the answers are within your heart. No one knows what you want better than you. If you are weighing options, pick the one that makes your heart flutter with excitement rather than the one that makes your gut or jaw tighten because deep down you really don't want do take that path. Don't do what you "should" do. Do what you WANT to do. This is very important. Because even though the path towards your happiness may seem more "risky," trust in the universe to want good things for you and always deliver what you need when you need it. There is always a way, even if you may not see the answer clearly in front of you right this moment.

Let me give you an example of how I am living this out. I took a look at my finances, and my finances look like everyone else's, if not more heavily indebted for now due to costs of the lifestyle we chose to live and the degrees I chose to pursue. Anyhow, there is no blame here, no "we should've done this instead," or any other negative thoughts. The only thoughts I'm choosing to have now is to observe my current situation and think, "ok, so this is our starting point, and therefore this is where we will start." Everyone has a different starting point. It's like a diet. Depending on how well you took care of your body for all these years, you are in a different position than the person next to you. You cannot blame anyone else for what has happened to you. Even if people try to influence you, ultimately, it is your decision to take someone's advice. It is all up to you.

The world is truly your oyster, and you can choose the reality that you want. You choose now, and little by little, as you believe that what you choose is rightfully yours, the world around you will begin to change and the opportunities that you seek will start coming your way. Believe this, try this, and keep practicing until you can master this. It is one of the laws of the universe.

In my world, I am looking at my finances and thinking that if I truly want to change careers and go back to school, I need to find a way to finance it. I declared to the universe that indeed I will be going to school, and there will be a way for me to pay for the tuition, preferably in cash, and then I opened myself up to the opportunities and thoughts that came my way. I held onto this thought over and over for the past 6 months. I trusted that the money will come and that I will be able to go to school this fall. Now, that time is coming up quickly. I am approximately 2 weeks away before I start classes. Up until now, I have been financing my other courses on credit card, but this is not a good solution.

Let me summarize what has manifested for my tuition for this upcoming fall semester:
1. Small merit scholarship
2. Stafford loan
3. Mutual fund account money
4. Corporate stock shares money
5. Reimbursement for taxes overpaid on property
6. 401k disbursement from last job since the balance was under $1,000
7. Amazon book sales
8. eBay sales

1. Small merit scholarship
This was an interesting manifestation. After I received my acceptance letter, I was still debating whether I should make such a drastic change in my career. It was a risky move, by conventional standards, and I wasn't 100% sure if this was the direction I was going to pursue. To help lessen my own fear, I declared to the universe that if I received a scholarship, then I would definitely move forward in this direction. I had no idea how I might receive one, but that is what I declared. I ended up writing an email to the admissions office to see if scholarships had been distributed yet, and they mentioned that it was in the process. I just wanted my name send them an email to make sure they knew I was interested. A week later, I received a letter in the mail stating that I had received a merit scholarship. Wow. I was shocked myself. Since that moment, I committed to this direction and decided to find other ways to make money.

2. Stafford Loan
After submitted my financial aid form, I then received a letter in the mail within a month or so stating that I had received a government loan for each semester. Now, I was up to about 40% of what I needed to pay for my tuition.

3. Mutual fund account money
My mother called me one day to tell me that I had a mutual account that she had transferred over to my name after I graduated college. I had completely forgotten about it, even though I received statements in the mail. I had been so busy that I had not had the time to keep up with those statements. It turns out there's enough money here to cover the majority of the remainder of the tuition for the fall semester.

4. Corporate stock shares money
While cleaning out the papers in a huge pile, I discovered a statement from a stock shares program I had enrolled in with a company I used to work at. I thought I had liquidated it all, but it turns out there was some money left in it. I called to see what the it was worth, and it was more than I expected. Another bit to help me cover the costs.

5. Reimbursement for taxes overpaid on property
We also received a check in the mail for some property taxes we overpaid on our old place. I wasn't expecting this at all, so it definitely helps!

6. 401k disbursement from last job since the balance was under $1,000
In my last job, since I wasn't there for a long time, my 401k contributions were under $1,000 total, so I received a letter in the mail stating that they were going to send me a disbursement for the balance unless I decided to roll it over.

7. Amazon book sales
This was an amazing find that I discovered. I had tried it years ago with not much luck, but this time around, it has been keeping me busy. I have been trying to declutter my place and make extra cash by selling my books on Amazon. This time, I am sending items Media Mail (I had lost quite a bit of money last time by sending everything regular mail and just spending time to send items while making no money), so everything has been working out great! I have sold 72 books so far, in only a couple of weeks. Pretty amazing! I highly recommend this route if you have lots of books that you know you won't be reading. Amazon gets tons of traffic.

8. eBay sales
Certain items are good for eBay. I had some additional stuff that I really didn't know what to do with that I decided to put on eBay. Don't expect to make much here, but every bit helps these days!

So, my point in telling you all of this is that if you keep moving forward with your goal and intend your desired outcome, somehow, some way, opportunities will arise and creative ways will come about for you to get to your intended outcome. Listen to your gut and let your feelings guide you. Do what feels good, and you know you're going the right direction. Trust that what you are intending is on its way to you. Listen and watch for opportunities, ideas, and signs, and act on them. Sending you much love, peace, wealth and abundance in your lives.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sweet Dreams

What a cute little film with a great message. I love it! I hope you do too!

Sweet Dreams from Kirsten Lepore on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Go For Your Dreams!

I just watched this video of Kandee, the makeup artist, who shares her heart and her story about what she went through to get to where she is today. It is truly inspiring and I wanted to share it with all of you. We've all gone through some rough times, but if we follow our dreams, there will be a way to make it happen!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Ideas for a New Business

I recently took a continuing education course at F.I.T. called How to Plan, Style, and Merchandise Your Apparel Line. It was a 2 day course that covered everything I wanted to know about how to get samples made, manufactured, and sold into stores. I'm so glad I took this course because I finally have all the answers to all the questions I had. I've been trying to get these questions answered by people working in the industry, but the people I've met have limited experiences and were not able to answer my questions. The process of creating a product and taking it to market seems less daunting, since I now have an idea of what it takes.

The course also included a guest speaker who teaches the Global Sourcing class at FIT. It was a great lecture that provided us with lots of resources to help us find sample making and manufacturing capabilities overseas.

Lately, I've been getting some ideas on potential products I can create. I know I will be going into fashion and will eventually create my own fashion line, but until then, I am hoping to create a simpler product that can take me from where I am right now to owning a sustainable business that will provide quality eco-friendly products for people, but also will bring in enough revenue to help fund my fashion design line.

What I discovered is that you should not expect to make a profit in fashion for the first few years. Imagine not knowing this and going into it expecting your new line to support you and pay for your living expenses. That would not be good. At least now I understand that quite a bit of capital is needed to start a line and I will need to find additional ways to support myself financially until the business starts to bring in profits.

I plan on starting with selling hand-made items until I have some more cash, or a business loan, to start my bigger ventures. Meanwhile, I'll have to juggle classes and currently my internship. We'll see how it all pans out. I'm enjoying myself learning how to make new things and learning a lot through my classes! I just recently learned how to draw and render fashion sketches. You can check out my design blog of all my design and craft related work. I will be posting things once I have photos of everything.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Self-Made Millionaire at Age 14

This is an amazing story about Farah Gray, a self-made millionaire at age 14. Watch his story here:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Soup Kitchen in Brazil

Last December, I visited Abadiania, Brazil with my family to visit John of God's healing center. My sister, who had gone a couple of times before, showed us various sites in the neighborhood. One of our various neighborhood trips was to the soup kitchen on the other side of the highway from the healing center. This was where the locals lived, and many of them were poor.

John of God built a soup kitchen there where people could come and eat hearty soup several times a week. We visited it to see what it was like. I was surprised by what I saw. It was nothing like what I had imagined. I imagined a small little room that served soup on picnic tables. I was expecting a very modest place that was dim, basic, and all brown or beige in decor. After all, it was just a place to serve soup.

When we arrived, I was surprised to see a bright white and blue structure that was decorated with Christmas decorations. It was during the holiday season, after all. I did not expect money to be spent on such festive decorations. Walking inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful paintings that hung inside. The interior was bright and airy in the warm summer weather. How nice. It was the best soup kitchen I've ever seen.

Here are some photos of the exterior with Santa and his reindeers.

The portrait is of St. Ignatius de Loyola.


Here is a picture of the front door:

The interior as you walk in:



A view of the front door:

The window to the kitchen:

The most beautiful painting I ever saw painted of the Virgin Mary above the doorway:
Something that really surprised me was seeing all the kids in the soup kitchen. It's sad to think that children are going hungry because their parents don't have enough money to feed them. Hopefully this family has everything they need and is just supplementing their meals...

A little girl at the water fountain:
A picture of the actual soup that is served. It was very hearty and yummy. They didn't skimp on the soup recipe.


Inside the kitchen:

What surprised me the most about this soup kitchen was not only how clean it was, but after we ate our soup, we were given a tour of the rest of the building. There was a lot more to see! In the back of the building, there were clothes, food, and all the basic toiletries and necessities that families might need.

A kids room in the back:

The back area is quite large!

There's lots of food stored in the back! It's so neat and orderly!




Not only is there a lot of food, but look at all the clothes and how organized it is!


They even have soccer balls and soccer shoes for the kids!





Look at the toys!


Santa in the window!




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