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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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Embracing Uncertainty in Search of Your Life Purpose

In Eckhart Tolle's book, A New Earth, he says on page 274, "When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life."

Listen to the webcast that answers a question from someone that asks about finding a career path that merges her inner purpose with her outer purpose.

Reading this book has created a profound shift in my thinking. At first, it was a little bit too academic for me, but after giving it a second try, I was able to read the book and find some profound wisdom in the book that completely shifted the way I approached certain aspects of my life. It helped me to let go of the perfectionist tendencies I have--the ones that were detrimental to my happiness--and become more comfortable with where I am and being happy with the present moment.

Eckhart Tolle asks, "Can you be at ease with not knowing?"

This is a difficult task for most of us, and it takes practice to get to a point when you can be comfortable with where you are at, not knowing what lies before you. I was in this position for almost all of last year. I didn't know what the future held, and during the process I tried several different career paths to learn that these were not the ones that would fulfill me over the long run, but rather things I would like to incorporate into my life. After each step, I felt as if I was starting all over again, but looking back, I realize now that all of those experiences were necessary for me to learn more about myself. Each one of those experiences brought me closer to finding my true purpose and career path.

I am not completely out of the woods yet. I am still a bit uncertain where this path will lead me. The journey I have begun is nothing I would have imagined a year ago. I am just taking it day by day and learning to be comfortable with not knowing, embracing each moment as it comes. I have a general idea of where I am headed, but know that the experiences that will come into my life will be better than what I could have planned for myself.

"When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change." (p. 274, A New Earth)

I really believe this is true. The fear that used to be rampant in my mind has subsided and I am now ready and willing to pursue the things that make me happy. I am using my emotions as my barometer to guide me to do the things that make me feel fulfilled. I encourage you to do so too. Gravitate towards the things that bring you the most joy and separate yourself from the things that do not leave you feeling fulfilled.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Cute Dogs

One of my future goals is to get a dog, but I am not yet ready for the schedule, responsibilities, and the financial requirements at this point in time. My husband and I have decided to finally get a dog when we have paid off all our credit card debt. It's a motivator and the reward for achieving the financial milestone. I've always wanted a pug, but occasionally I see other dogs that are so cute that I wonder if I should expand my options. Here are a couple of videos I found that are too cute.

A black 4 week old pug named Maximus:

A sleepy dog named Spudgy:

Spudgy getting a drink:

Not sure what kind of dog Spudgy is, but he sure is cute!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Creating Order Out of Chaos

I wish I could wave a magic wand and have everything in my new home cleaned, organized, and ready to enjoy. Most of all, I think I just want to throw everything away so that I don't have to sort, organize, and buy new furniture just to house the stuff. Boy, do we collect a lot of stuff over the years. It's amazing how much stuff accumulates after just a few years. From now on, I need to put some conscious effort into making sure I only buy what I absolutely need, love, and will use regularly.

I've begun this process by auditing all of my purchases and everything else I bring home. No more throwing in a few extra things in the shopping cart at the grocery. No more adding bringing home "free items" from conferences or other such events that I won't use. No more buying things that you might already have at home. I'm going clean, organize and make sure I know what inventory I have in my home for all items.

Here are a couple of stories to illustrate this point.

My Camera
During the move, I thought I lost my camera. I was using it, and then was distracted after some people from craigslist came to buy some of my furniture. After hauling it out of the house, I came back inside to realize that my camera was no where to be found. I didn't know if it was lost, stolen, or just packed away by the movers during the move. I decided to wait it out.

A few weeks later, the camera had not resurfaced and I was getting antsy not being able to have a camera to document my oh so fabulous life. Ha ha. Actually, I really wanted a camera to take a photo of my friend's baby. My iPhone camera just wouldn't do. So, after not seeing the camera anywhere for weeks, I declared it lost and then purchased one online.

A few days later, after going through item by item while organizing the boxes that the movers had left, I finally found the camera! It was hiding inside a CD box. Again, the lesson is learned yet again. The less stuff, the easier it is to see what you have, the less things will get lost. The message is loud and clear. And now we have one more thing to add to our to-do list. Re-pack camera in the box and go to the post office to return the new camera.

Playing Cards
I never use playing cards anymore. I think the last time I used them were on family road trips when I was a kid, or maybe camping trips as a teenager, or maybe even a few times during college. After that, I can't remember ever using them. During our new home organization process, I found 2 decks of playing cards, then 2 more, then 1 more, then 2 more. Do the math...we now have 7 decks of playing cards. What? Why? Is this really necessary? Where did they come from? It's just the 2 of us living here.

Well, at least the additional clutter has been identified. We're keeping 2 and the rest goes to Salvation Army. This process is being repeated for lots of things we own. I think we've already found 5 flashlights, 5 or 6 umbrellas, 4 unopened wall hooks (all different styles), bags and bags of unsorted tools, decorations galore that we don't have enough surface area for, and we're even sometimes finding double copies of the same book! I even managed to find some little scented beads that I owned since I was in 4th grade. Why did I keep those things this long?

It's time to declutter and organize this chaos. With the little space we have, I'm discovering that every single item counts. That's one less thing to find a drawer for. The more the clutter is cleaned out, the easier I can breathe and the more calm I feel. Does clutter have any correlation to stress and anxiety levels? or possibly irritability? Maybe. I wouldn't deny it!

So, moral of the story is: reduce, declutter, organize, donate, and only bring home things you absolutely love, need, and will use regularly! You'll feel better and more organized, and you will have created space for new things to come into your life in the future. Let that positive energy flow into your life!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


About a year ago, my husband and I decided to purchase an eco-mattress. The old mattress had years of use and it was time to replace it. We understood that the mattress might cost a bit more, but knew that since a bed is where you spend 1/3 of your life, it was worth the investment. We wanted an eco-mattress because we wanted something that was better for our health and the environment. After doing some research, we found one that had good reviews that said that the mattress was comfortable. We decided to try it and ordered it online.

It was also shipped in a smaller box, which is also more environmentally-friendly (saving on transportation costs). It's hard to believe that a queen sized mattress could come in such a small box, but the company was able to figure out how to make it happen. It was so interesting that I took photos and a video of the process of opening it.

The mattress came in a box that fit the below mattress perfectly. Once we slipped the mattress out of the box, it was covered in a bag that had to be cut open. At this point, we were still not sure if it was going to inflate into a real mattress, or if the mattress would be uncomfortable (despite the good reviews) or thinner than a normal mattress. It was just hard to imagine such a small box turning into a big mattress!

Here's my husband cutting the bag open:

Here's a video of what happened after we cut open the bag:

Here's the inflated mattress on the floor. It does look like a normal mattress! It's still in its protective plastic covering.
And finally, the photo you've been waiting for. The mattress on the bed. Surprisingly, the mattress was much more comfortable than we expected. And I think it's even more comfortable than our previous mattress!

Here's a video of the same eco mattress on "The View" with Carter Oosterhouse from HGTV:

If you're in the market for a mattress and want to do an eco-makeover of your home, consider starting with your mattress. We also purchased organic sheets and environmentally friendly and hypo-allergenic pillows too. The mattress company is called Keetsa:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Taking Steps to Realize Your Dreams

I was flipping through the magazine Body & Soul, looking for any interesting articles that may be relevant for me right now. Sure enough, one caught my eye, and gives very good advice that I was just starting to apply to my life. The article was titled, "Small Changes Big Results: Why not make this the year you achieve your wildest dreams? The secret lies in your approach. We'll show you how to set doable, practical goals and actually accomplish them, with time and energy to spare." This article talks about to do lists, chores, obligations and commitments, and how to make time for those dreamy aspirations. Summed up, the main ways to make these aspirations happen are to:
  1. Change Your Story
  2. Break It Down
  3. Enjoy the Ride
It gives examples of different goals and how easy it is to reach your goal by doing a little every day. Some of the example goals they mentioned here are right in line with the very goals I have. Here they are:
  • Learn a Foreign Language
  • Get More Exercise
  • Save Money
  • Master Your Gadgets
  • Run a 10k
  • Read More Books
I'm going to take this article and apply it to my life while adding some of my own thoughts and resources along the way.

So, let's begin.

We all have dreams. We all have goals. We all have things we'd like to accomplish in our lives. There are many new year's resolutions that go unmet, year after year. I know I've done this many years in a row. A list of 20-30 items, only to check off a few at the end of the year...that is, if I remembered where the list was to begin with. To begin this journey of not just realizing my biggest goals for the year, but achieving the rest of the "want to" and "wish I had time to do" things on my list.

Step 1: Make a list
I'm going to make a new list to re-aquaint myself with my list of dreams/goals/desires/ambitions/new year's resolutions/life list/bucket list (whatever you wish to call it). This time, I'm going to store it somewhere I can find it again. One place would be this blog, but an alternative location I found was a website called: www.43things.com

The list here is not for things that are on your to-do list for today, but rather the things you would like to do within your life time. It's a great way to find others who have similar goals and cheer each other on.

Dream big here! You can't achieve it if you can't dream it first. This is the time to dream, explore possibilities, and expand your potential. You can do more than you ever imagined! Shoot for the stars on in your life list and use positive phrases (what you want to do vs. what you don't want to do).

Step 2: Decide on the things you'd like to pursue first
I've come to terms with the fact that not everything can happen all at once. When I get excited about a goal and motivated to achieve it, I, like many other people, like to try and tackle as much as possible on a given day to get as far as I can. This method works, yes, but it can also wear you down, make you stay up late, and create an imbalance in other areas of your life. I've decided to take a more moderate approach by tackling a few of the most important things with great rigor, and then adding the rest of the things I want to do into my schedule incrementally.

This means, I'm not going to try and work out 2 hours a day for 5 days straight for the next month to get fit. It ain't gonna happen, my friend...it just won't (well, at least for me). Not unless you've built up that kind of schedule for yourself over time. Just know that this type of schedule is probably not sustainable over the long-term, so let's create something that is more of a lifestyle change. Something that you can sustain for 5 years or longer.

Decide on the most important things from your list and put them at the top. What are the top things you are going to focus most of your energy on to do during the short-term? Then, select a few of the longer-term goals that you can work on incrementally. You can always add, change, or move things around later.

Step 3: Print the list and tape it somewhere you will see daily
I find that the things that are in front of me are things I cannot ignore. By having something stare at me every day, I eventually start to find ways to incorporate them into my life. This is a method to get the things that used to be in the back of your mind to be more at the front of your mind.

It helps to think of what you want the end goal to look like and then imagine yourself in the future, as if you have already achieved it. What does that feel like? Revel in that moment. That's the energy you want to feel every day. Act as if you've already achieved it.

Step 4: Take baby steps
This is where we start to break things down. For example, if you want to become a millionaire and the most you ever made was $50,000, it's going to be a little bit difficult for you to imagine yourself making $1 million, no matter how much you want it. We need to break down the goal into something we actually believe we can achieve within a given timeframe, then stretch it a little bit to challenge ourselves. We want to challenge ourselves, but we also want to find a way to incorporate things into our lives by making it relatively effortless.

For example, one of my goals is to get fit. For me, going to the gym is not something I really look forward to, but will do because it is necessary. To make this process a little easier on myself, I've decided to make sure I get 20 minutes of physical activity every day. If I walk 20 minutes outside at a decent pace, I'll consider that my daily exercise. On other days, I will go to the gym inside my building for 20 minutes to run or lift weights. For me, 20 minutes makes the whole idea more palatable because it's not too long, and it's time I can afford to make it happen. If I'm inspired to work out longer because I'm already there, I'll do it. I'm not looking for a super-fit body in a month, but I do expect some really good progress in about three from taking a more passive approach that fits into my schedule. I also plan on doing yoga once a week. Since yoga takes more time commitment, and is something I enjoy, I can build it into my schedule on a weekly basis.

Find an incremental plan that works for you. Start small and allow yourself to build up to a longer time commitment after you start to enjoy the process and see some results. Remember, some exercise is better than no exercise! That is the idea to remember here. A lot of small actions equal big results in the end. You've all heard it before...it all begins with the first step, and indeed this is the way it will work. Find a way to start small that is practically effortless for you. Can you start taking the stairs? Can you auto-transfer a smaller sum of money into your savings account every week to build more savings? Can you find 30 minutes a day to practice learning your foreign language? 30 minutes a day to read to start reading all the books you've wanted to get through?

Write down a little action plan for each item you are planning on working on simultaneously and make sure you have realistic action items. Make them actions you know you will be able to follow through on since they are so easy, why wouldn't you?

Step 5: Track Your Progress
When you track progress and see results, it can motivate you to stay on track and possibly even up your game. This is when things start to get fun. You see the payoff for the effort you've put in.

Step 6: Reward Yourself
It's important to reward yourself for the little milestones you've reached along the way. It's not just the big end goal that counts. Every little success is an important part of making your dream into reality. Acknowledge yourself or celebrate with a friend every time you reach a little mile marker. You're doing well and you're well on your way to turning that dream into reality.

What To Do When You've Gotten Off Track
Never mind if you didn't have time to do something for a day or two or even a couple of weeks because of a busy schedule or any other reason you had. Just start back up again. Every day is a new day and treat it as such. Don't dwell on yesterday. Just focus on today. Don't feel disappointed in yourself for not following through on your commitment. We all take a few missteps here and there. It's all part of the process. It's whether you choose to get back on track that really counts. After all, this is a long-term change you've created, not just a short-term fix. The world wants you to succeed as much as you do and there will be people to encourage you along the way and celebrate with you when you've finally arrived at your goal.

One day you will look back and say, "Wow, I've arrived." Time to create a plan and have fun with the process.

Here's my life list. Please share yours in the comments!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Make Money From Your Blog

Have you ever wondered how much the top blogs make per month?

Here are a couple of the most lucrative personal blogs I've come across:

I'm sure some of you have heard of the famous Dooce.com, which was featured on Oprah earlier this year. In the show, she mentioned that she now makes $40,000 per month. Both her husband and her can now stay at home full-time to work on this endeavor. I'm sure they've garnered more traffic after the Oprah show aired with all those curious people who wanted to know what types of things she writes about to be able to make so much money. It was the first time that I had heard of her blog, but then again, I'm not her target market (yet). Her blog is all about parenting and child-rearing.

Here's an article that was written in 2005 before her big money making days: Heather Armstrong, Bloggers on Blogging

Here's another article about her with some video interviews of her: Website Chat with Heather Armstrong, Dooce.com

I came across this website about a year ago that is all about personal development. I'm not sure how I got there, but I remember that I was searching for something that was very unrelated to the topics that are discussed on his website. His articles were interesting, though, so I decided to stay and poke around. Some of the more interesting ones that initially made me stay were:

After reading enough articles, I also stumbled upon articles about how to create a blog:
I considered creating a blog a year ago, but as you can see it's taken me a year to get it up and running. According to his second article, apparently I've already broken his rule #2: Create original content.

Instead of creating all original content, I have taken a hybrid approach by creating some original content as well as linking to other sites that I have found useful. Although Steve might disagree with me, I think I'll continue to share the resources that have helped me along the way. I can't claim that I'm an expert to be writing all my own content yet, so where I can provide valuable resources, I will, even it it means people may leave my site to visit another site. Hopefully they'll come back here for more. I've definitely been known to gather a lot of resources and blast them out to my family, so I'm hopefully assembling it all here in one place will be useful for you (and to my family). It's also helpful for me to keep my resources organized so that I don't have to dig through all of my emails to find that one link that I wanted to visit again.

I have found StevePavlina.com very valuable, and I've continuted to visit and read it periodically over the past year. I was even able to attend a workshop of his as part of the I Can Do It 2008 Conference in Tampa, FL last fall. If you like his work, you can also take a look at a book that he's recently published called: Personal Development for Smart People

I haven't read it yet, but if it's anything like his website, I'm sure it has good quality content. I'm not sure what qualifies as a "smart person" though. Don't all people need personal development?

Top Earning Blogs
Here's an article written a couple of months ago that lists all the top blogs with estimated figures on how much ad revenue they generate each month: Top Earning Blogs - Make Money Online Blogging

Ok, bear with me as I fantasize here for a little bit. It would be great to make so much money blogging that I could devote all my time to everything that I'm passionate about, which will probably also include blogging, but I would also have time to read, write, design, enjoy my crafts and hobbies, exercise, do yoga, cook organic gourmet meals, volunteer, and blog all about it. It would probably be a nice way to raise a family while enjoying the perks of having income streaming in while being able to work from home. And it could happen, who knows. I'll let you know when it does. :)

The reality is that I know that it takes time to build an audience. Dooce started in 2001 to get to where she is now (it's been 7-8 years in the making). Here's her first post about carnation milk. Steve Pavlina started in 2004--you can see his first post here: First Post. Well, here's to my first post that started less than a month ago: The Start of a New Adventure. Wishing you much success if you have a blog or are considering creating one for yourself.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Want to Create a 3 Column Blog on Blogspot?

Are you interested in creating a blog on blogspot (or blogger--not sure why there are two names) that looks like mine? I tried using the templates that were provided, but I just couldn't settle for the narrow 2 column approach. I felt suffocated. As much as I didn't want to go into the code, I had to because I just couldn't bear to look at the super narrow column on my page. I've seen other blogspot blogs with wider widths, so it must be possible! I did a little digging and found this great little tutorial that shows you how to use the Minima template and tweak the html so that you can create a 3 column blog. You can see the article here.

I did, however, tweak the size of the columns from the instructions provided. The 133 px column widths were too narrow for my purpose and taste, so I made them wider. Even though he said not to go past 960 px total, I found other websites that use 980 px and they look fine, so I used 980 px too. I assume with wide screen monitors these days, the majority of my readers will be able able to see everything just fine. You can view the code by going to View-->Page Source (on Mozilla) or something similar on other browsers.

I also reduced the margin sizes to give me more space in both columns, did the math, and everything seemed to work out fine.

In the tutorial above, where he says to replace the code with the code in red, you can use mine instead:

.clear {
clear: both;
display: block;
overflow: hidden;
width: 0;
height: 0;

#outer-wrapper {
width: 980px;
margin:0 auto;
font: $bodyfont;

#main-wrapper {
width: 485px;
margin-right: 15px;
margin-left: 15px;
text-align: left;
float: left;
word-wrap: break-word; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#sidebar-wrapper {
width: 250px;
margin-left: 10px;
margin-right: 0px;
float: right;
word-wrap: nowrap; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

#newsidebar-wrapper {
width: 195px;
margin-left: 0px;
margin-right: 10px;
float: left;
word-wrap: nowrap; /* fix for long text breaking sidebar float in IE */
overflow: hidden; /* fix for long non-text content breaking IE sidebar float */

You still need to change all the other code, and where it says 960, you should change it to 980 if you are using my code.

You will have to create a banner in Photoshop that spans 980 px (or 960) and upload it to match your site.

If you have any questions or have any additional things you'd like me to talk about related to blogging or anything else, leave me a comment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Choosing Your Own Greatness

A very old video of Wayne Dyer. He looks, different, doesn't he? :) He still provides a great message.

A few of my favorite quotes from this video clip:

"You are the sum total of all the choices you have made up until now."

Question for you: Are you a person who never has enough, who isn't flexible to change? Or are you the type of person who can handle anything?

"Your circumstances have very little to do with your fulfillment in life. It's how you're approaching your circumstances, your attitude toward your circumstances that make all the difference in the world."

"It's taking what you are and accepting it."

"Everything that comes your way is an opportunity, a blessing."

Part 2 of the video:

Part 3 of the video:

Part 4 of the video:

Part 5 of the video:

Part 6 of the video:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Book Review: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

I've been reading a book called Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. It's been such an inspiring book that I feel moved to do something to make a big difference in this world.

Perhaps for me it will be setting up the new non-profit that I was asked to undertake to help feed the homeless and to help them get back on their feet. Helping the homeless is one of those things I've felt called and compelled to do for many years, but was not sure what I can do other than go to soup kitchens and donate some money. Last year, however, an idea came to me that perhaps I can build shelters for the homeless, designed with their well-being in mind, to really support their transition from homelessness to independence. I thought this might be something that I might begin to think about 5 or 10 years down the road. That would give me enough time to pay off my student loans and have enough capital saved up to do something really impactful.

What I'm finding, though, is that when you decide to do something, the resources somehow start to appear to make it all happen. It's the decision to do it that gets the ball rolling. After feeling inspired by the idea that came to me last year, I made a decision that someday I would help the homeless and start a non-profit organization. I didn't know how, I didn't know when, but I knew I would do it. And I knew that I would need some experience in the non-profit world first for me to even think of undertaking this task, but I didn't necessarily want a job in the non-profit sector. I enjoyed my working in the business community, but still wanted the experience. Maybe I could sit on a board of a non-profit someday?

The break came to me last year. My mom asked me to attend a benefit dinner for a charity, and that my attendance was specifically requested. I had no idea why someone would want me there, and my ticket was already paid for. Why not? So I went. I was seated next to the president of the organization who talked to me all night. I wasn't sure why the president would be so interested in talking to me, but I was flattered.

A few weeks later, I received an email from the president to meet up for coffee. I wondered what she might want from me? I agreed, and we met at a Starbucks downtown. She told me a lot about the organization, which helps the Korean immigrant community by providing home care for senior citizens, health screening, legal help, feeding programs, children programs. They did a lot.

Then, the reason for her inviting me for coffee finally came up. She asked me if I would consider being a member of the board. They were interested in getting the younger generation involved and needed some board members to be the voice of the younger generation. Wow, I didn't expect that one. Hmm...maybe this was the experience I was asking for. I was just about to turn 30. Maybe it was the right time for me to get involved after all.

So now I have a good understanding of what happens at non-profit board meetings. There's a lot more to it than I had initially expected. I was grateful for the experience. A few months later, I was approached by another person whose organization I had just started to get involved with to help construct a mission statement for the organization. Due to a busy schedule, I wasn't able to get to this until a few months later, but eventually created one and sent it along.

A few weeks ago, I was asked by this organization to help create a 501(c)(3) for the organization. I was surprised that they wanted my help with this organization, and to my surprise, they even wanted me put myself in the role of President (if I was okay with having that title). Wow, interesting. I had asked to create a non-profit organization a year ago, and all the pieces fell into place to make this happen within 1 year. Amazing. The people and finances are already prepared, and all I need to do is put in the work to do all the legal paperwork and help set up the organization. I'm sure there will be much more work to do once we get the non-profit status, but I've been given a task I can help out with.

Reading this book by John Wood is now reigniting my passion to take this role seriously, and that maybe I could make a big difference in this world. I have a bunch of other projects still on my plate, but I'm going to set up some time for this one once I can get my printer set up in my new home.

If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it. I haven't finished it yet, but I couldn't wait until I was done reading it to start writing about it. It's that inspirational. You can hear John Wood talking about his experience in the video below.

You can buy the book on Amazon: Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Pursuing My Love for Crafts

Since I've been sharing stories of others who have followed their passion, I'd like to share a little bit about where I am going with my passions. Not only am I embarking on a career change this fall, but I am dedicating time to do the things I love, one of which is crafts! I've wanted to learn to sew, knit, crochet, reupholster, decorate, etc. You name it, I've wanted to do it. Part of my passion also involves trying new things.

Well, I began my journey into the craft world last November. After having put my career first before all, including my happiness, I had let everything else fall off the radar. I decided that it was time to make a conscious effort to spend time doing the things I love. No more putting things on the backburner. I had already burned a decade doing that. Plus, I was getting lots of signs from all over saying the same thing. From speakers, from classes I was taking, to what came out of my own mouth while the anesthesia was still wearing off after a minor surgery I had last fall.

So, last December, I decided to listen to my own desire to follow the crafter in me and let it all out. It seemed funny to me at first. Crafts and corporate culture just didn't seem to mix. Well, at least not the corporate culture I was used to. I'm sure if you worked at Martha Stewart in their crafts department, it would be a whole different story!

I began to knit. I taught myself to knit from a book. And my mom showed me how to crochet. Then it turned out that a co-worker of mine also knit, and she told me about a knitting community online called Ravelry that really opened the world of possiblities for me in the world of knitting. That's where my journey into the crafts began. Then, I started taking some sewing classes at The Needle Shop in Chicago. I had already registered for sewing classes at Vogue Fabrics twice, and failed to make it through the entire session due to my schedule. Or maybe it was because it was inconvenient to get there. Regardless, you see how the barriers pop up when you don't decide to make it a priority? This time I was determined to learn how to sew.

I then took a class at Tchad from January-March of this year. I finally learned how to read and use a sewing pattern! Of course I selected the most complicated and difficult pattern out there, which means that I haven't quite finished the project yet. I will get back to it soon once I'm all set up in my new place here.

I was trying to figure out how I could take this crafting passion of mine and make it a business. Can it be a business? Or will it just stay a hobby? I wanted to make it into a business because it would give me the excuse to spend more time doing it, which is ultimately what I wanted. Well, I've thought about it and really tried to think about how I can transform this hobby into something more viable. I don't have all the answers yet, but I've made some progress. I created a plan to turn this crafting passion of mine into reality on Someday.com.

So, according to the plan, I'm 28% of the way there. I'm just glad I'm no longer at 0%! I've created a new blog to go along with this crafting passion of mine. You can visit it here: Flow Design Studio.

I'm on track to making this a reality. Do you have a plan? Please share it with me and add me as friend on Someday.com. I'd love to see your progress.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chasing Change and Passion

I ran across another article about someone pursuing their passion. Since I'm on this journey, I might as well try to collect stories about those who have pursued their passions and how they made it happen.

This one is about a filmmaker and surfer. Sounds like a fun life, huh?

You can read the article here: Chasing Change and Passion with surfer-activist Vince Deur

What's your story? Do you have a story about yourself or someone you know who has pursued their passion and am now living a happy life? If you have a story or know of one that you'd like me to feature, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Etsy Article: Quit Your Day Job

I ran across a great Etsy story about a person who is making a living by selling her artwork on Etsy. It's an in depth article about what she does and how she made it work for her. It's a great read for those of you who are interested in leaving your day job to be self-employed in a creative field: Quit Your Day Job

Flight to NY

I just wanted to share a photo that I took from my phone at the airport a couple of weeks ago. It's so ordinary that most people walking by wouldn't have given it much thought, but as I saw the sign while we were walking down the hallway, it was almost felt like the sign was speaking directly to me! "Welcome to Laguardia!"

There was nothing special about the airport, and it was late at night, but I relished every moment of it because that night was the beginning of my new journey in the Big Apple. It represented the day that I arrived in live in New York. Oh, how good it felt to finally arrive!

I'm sure you've felt a similar feeling in your lives. You've wanted something for so long and it just wouldn't come fast enough. Pretty soon, years went by and you wondered what happened to that dream of yours. Until you gave birth to that dream again. Something triggered the re-brith of that desire, and you begin to think about it all the time. That's what happened for me, and finally the moment came ... I had arrived. Just wanted to share that special moment with you. I'm in NY at last! I'm still soaking it in...

Seeds, GMOs, and Monsanto

Back in grad school, when I was taking some courses in environmental management, I watched a documentary about Monsanto that really changed my understanding of genetically modified foods, our seed supply, and the pesticides and herbicides used on crops. It was eye-opening to say the least. That was when I began to change my diet to as much organic foods as I could afford and find, and stayed away from genetically modified foods. The more natural the food was, the less harmful chemicals I would be ingesting in my body. It also meant that I would be supporting organic farming versus farming that put pollutants into our environment, which eventually affect our water.

You can learn a little bit more about the Monsanto controversy here:

Over the years, item by item, I switched almost all of my products to organic products. Not only food, but also bath products, makeup, bed linens, etc. It is expensive, but I've found the long-term benefits will far outweigh the costs. Obviously not everything is organic yet, but wherever I find an opportunity, I make the switch.

Later, I discovered that there is a disturbing side to the "organic" label. Although there is a certification process to label foods organic, the same certification process does not exist for cosmetics and bath products. This means, that although products are labeled "organic" or "98% organic," what the consumer doesn't realize is that the 2% of the non-organic chemicals that go into the products was what made the products harmful to begin with! So, we need to learn more about the actual chemicals that go into our products, what they are, and if they are harmful to us or not. There's a lot to learn on this topic, so I will do that in a future post.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Become a Fashion Designer

I've created a little plan for myself that I think might be of interest to some of you who may be interested in going into fashion design. Making this change was not a quick process, so hopefully this plan will help some of you who want to become fashion designers as well. You can copy the plan to follow yourself, and edit it as you please if you create a profile for yourself on Someday.com.

I find it a very useful tool to keep track of the things I want to do. So many things in my past have just been pushed back because I never sat down and created a plan to actually do it! This time, I'm putting my plans out there and since it's shared with all of you, you can keep me accountable. :) Here's my plan to become a fashion designer.

Support the Cause: The Big Read

A Campaign for Free Education For All

I've just added my name to the Big Read book to show my support for a good quality, free education for every child, and to ask President Obama to contribute $2 billion to a Global Fund for Education. Please add your name to the book, as well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Books, books, and more books!

I'm an avid reader, or shall I say, an avid collector of books? Whenever I come across a topic that interests me, I go to Amazon and start adding tons and tons of books to my wishlist to keep track of all the book recommendations that I have received and would like to read one day. And of course, once on Amazon, there are the recommended books that I just can't seem to resist. I end up adding all of those to my wishlist too. It's really a smart way for Amazon to get people to buy more books! In reality, if I actually purchased all of those books, I might end up needing a separate office just to house all the books. And who knows if I'd actually have the time to read them all. I do appreciate the feature, however, because it allows me to learn and explore a topic just by reading the titles of books available on the subject.

Once I've culled through all the book titles on Amazon and added them to my wishlist, I add the ones that I actually think I'll have time to read to my shopping cart and purchase them. I think I've actually read only 5% of the books I own. Tsk tsk, I know. You don't need to remind me that this is one of the reasons moving is such a chore and why there is so much baggage I carry to every new place I move into. I haven't had time to read the books I own yet because of the insane number of hours I used to work and all the travel I had to do in consulting. I think it was even worse during grad school. I had purchased the books to read later. Going forward, I am only going to buy things when I actually need it.

Now, the window of opportunity awaits. I am here in my new home in New York with no "job" at the moment, cleaning and organizing all of our belongings and writing on my blog. This is the perfect year to commit to reading these books! Sorting and putting away all of these books only reminds me of how much I've longed to find time to read these books over the years. No more excuses! I'm doing the things that make me happy this year, and reading books is definitely on the list. This is the year to read.

It's been 6 years since I started collecting all of these books. The books are of all different topics that I'm not even sure I should share with all of you (I tend to be a private person with interests that I do not announce to the world)...but I will, since one of my intentions I made while creating this blog was to be open and share more about myself and what I have learned with others. Why hide? I've decided to live out loud. This is why after much hesitation, I decided to use my name as my website and blog name. I can't hide if I use my name. If people judge me or think I'm strange because of the content I write about, it's really their business. I know who I am and think others may be able to benefit from the things I've learned in my journey over the years. In particular, I've been hiding more of the spiritual aspect of my life as I've transitioned from a devout Catholic to someone who has become very open to every and all religions, spiritual lifestyles, beliefs, and even new age concepts. I've decided to share this journey as well (this is a bold move for me to share this one) in another blog for those interested in spirituality: Seeking a Spiritual Life.

In order to reduce the clutter in my home, I've resolved to read the books, then donate, give away or sell the books once read. Once I get through these books, I plan to use the public library this year (wow, what a concept! fortunately, it is located relavitely close to my new home) and purchase ebooks for my Kindle instead of buying another book to stuff into one of my overstuffed bookcases. You will be surprised to hear that we had to leave our TV at our old place because we knew there would be no space in our new place for one. Instead of a media cabinet and TV, we have several bookcases in its place. We had to choose, and we chose the books over the TV. How nerdy are we? It was definitely a difficult choice to give up all of my recorded shows on my DVR, though.

If you don't have a kindle and love to read, I would definitely suggest buying a kindle! One book, yet thousands of books, all in one device. I have the original one, and I love it. I like the ability to highlight and bookmark certain pages to go back to later. It's like sticking those little post-its without all the visual clutter. The battery lasts quite a while, so it's great for travel too.

If you're interested in books I recommend, you can visit my store:

Or, if you're just interested in looking at what books I'm reading, what I've read, and what I'm planning on reading, you can take a look at the books I own on shelfari.com.

If you have any good books that you've read that you recommend, please leave a comment. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Someday

I just recently stumbled upon this website called: www.mysomeday.com. I think it's a great website concept. It's a website where you can create a list of projects and things that you'd like to do someday. You can create an step by step plan for yourself and keep track of your progress for each of your projects. Others can also see your plan and copy your plan if it's something they would like to do as well. It's an interesting little community of people who are taking the steps to do the things they wanted to do some day.

Why not join and make your someday a part of today? You can find me under the username christine and add me as a friend.

Impressive Call to Action by a Young Girl

The Decision to Live the Life I Always Wanted

Moving In Day

Today was a long, long day. It was long because the moving trucks came to unload all of our belongings into our new home. They were finished by 4:30pm, but what made the day feel very long was all of the unpacking that took place today. I noticed the excitement of moving and finally seeing the reality of my dream to move to NY wane as I glanced at the endless piles of boxes and furniture stuffed into the large-for-Manhattan-sized 2 bedroom apartment. In my head, I thought, "We really needed an extra 800 square feet or so...but we'll make do." In the eyes of every other New Yorker, I'm sure this thought sounds pretty absurd. They are able to somehow make do with even less and live a fabulous life!

As I was unpacking box after box, unwrapping each object from the paper that was protecting it, it occurred to me that there might be a hidden lesson in this experience somewhere. Why else would I be feeling a little bit of dread as I realized the countless days that lie before me to be spent on unpacking, organizing, sorting, selling, donating, moving, and finding non-existent storage for all our stuff? There are so many other things I could be doing besides spending weeks, if not months on this aspect of my life. I'm sure not everyone has to sort through THIS much stuff!

As I reflected on the situation a little bit deeper, I came to the realization that the lesson to be learned here is: In order to live more, you need to live with less. Yes, the message is clear and I've heard it countless times. The question is how? How do I get rid of all this stuff without feeling the guilt of wasting all the money on buying it in the first place? I've noticed I've been able to talk myself into keeping things after I had already put it in the Salvation Army pile. How do I get rid of all this stuff without having to re-buy everything when I need it again? How do I actually live with less rather than just donating and selling my things only to replace it with something better, fancier, cooler, prettier, or more updated? (Yes, I admit, I tend to do that.)

Well, good question. The only thing I could come up with to help me decide what to keep and how to filter the things that I bring into my life going forward is to live by a new mantra: Only keep and buy things you love.

How many times have I bought something that is functional, but every time I pick it up or walk past it, I have a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that says, "I'm only keeping it until I can replace it with something better," or, "Ugh, I really don't like it..." Why do we live with it? Is it really better to live with something we don't really like rather than living without?

How many times have I gone in front of my closet in the morning trying to find something to wear to work and spend way more time than I had anticipated because I could not find something that looked right or that I felt good in? How many times have you heard people look into their closets and say, "I have nothing to wear!" Are you guilty of this same comment?

We do this because we have surrounded ourselves with things that fulfill a purely functional need, but are not things that we love! So, why do we buy things we don't actually like? Why do we settle for something that only fits the purpose (for now) or buy something that will do because we are tired of looking and waiting for that "perfect" pair of jeans, or that "perfect" coffee table? Is it laziness? Is it just really hard to find really good design? Is it because we like the instant gratification of having something fulfill our needs at this instant even though it only fulfills 70% of our true needs (functional and emotional) at the present time? I find that over time this percentage goes down as I realize more and more how much I really didn't like a certain object or article of clothing to begin with. Things fester if we let little annoyances grow. We've all experienced it.

How many times have you found something you really liked in your closet only after you cleaned it out and re-discovered it hiding in your closet after you completely forgot you even had it? Aha! The excess stuff in our lives even hides the things we love from ourselves! And that's not good. We need to break this pattern.

Back to my moving...

So, the ramblings above were some of the thoughts that were streaming through my head as I sat there looking at my useless stuff, carefully packed away by the movers. Why did I not sort through this stuff so that the movers didn't have to use so much paper and boxes to pack away things that I probably should have gotten rid of a long time ago? "What a waste," I thought. And here I am trying to be environmentally conscious by recycling and living green, yet I am creating so much moving waste by packing unnecessary things and lugging it halfway across the country. Wow. And now I have to spend so much time unpacking each and every single useless item that will either go straight to the trash or to the donation pile. It's crazy, I know. But, I also know there are many of you out there that do or have done the same thing! I've seen it over and over again. I vowed at that moment to never do this again...that from this day forward I will only buy things that I absolutely love. I'd rather live without than settle for less and make room for other new and exciting things in my life!

This is truly the beginning of a new journey for me on all fronts. Not only am I changing my career, but I am changing my life. I am going to declutter and keep only the essentials so that I can enjoy my new apartment. I need to create space for the new adventures that lie ahead (I'm hinting at some feng shui principles here...stay tuned for feng shui updates when I start to design and decorate my new home). I'm only going to keep the things I love...the things that make me feel great!

I'm also going to declutter my diet and create a new nutritious meal plan along with a fitness plan. I'm going to commit to a regular yoga practice and a meditation schedule. I am going to spend time doing all the things I wished I could have done if I had time in my past. I'm going to read all the books that I have always wanted to read (and that I've accumulated in my massive library at home---yes, it's contributing to my clutter, but I love these books, I swear!).

I'm going to dream, have fun, and create the life I've always wanted to live but never gave myself permission to live. I'm going to get involved in activities that fuel me, fulfill me, and inspire me. I have decided that I am going to live the life I always wanted rather than wishing for a life that I felt like was not possible given my current circumstances. I am going to make the live I always wanted happen by believing that it will. And I know it will, because I have decided. It all starts with a decision and I have made mine.

Are you ready to live the life you always wanted?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Book Review: I Lost My Job and I Liked It

I just finished reading a book called I Lost My Job and I Liked It by Lilou Mace this past weekend. Wow, it was so interesting to see how many parallels I saw between her life and mine! We're both in the process of making a career transition, and I've been watching her videos through the 100 Day Reality Challenge on Co-Creating Our Reality (CCOR). I have also been posting videos of my journey, which you can see on my profile.

Her honesty and openness in sharing her journey with her readers really blew me away. I find that most people want to edit everything they present to the public by trying to act like an authority figure on a subject matter, when in fact we are all constantly learning and expanding all the time. Lilou takes a very different approach compared to other books I've read by sharing her journey---trials, tribulations, triumphs, and all---with the intent of empowering millions of people to pursue their dreams.

Her open and honest approach has inspired me to do the same. I've been a bit hesitant in the past to share my journey online, only posting things that were positive in nature and wouldn't divulge my inner most thoughts. After reading her book, I've changed my mind. I'm going to come out, as Lilou did, and share my journey with the world, with the hope that in truly inspires people to go after their dreams and their passions, like I am doing now. Thanks Lilou!

Read Lilou's book or join CCOR to start your journey today! You can also add me as a friend or follow me on twitter. Wishing you the best of luck on your journey!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Day Has Come

The day I have been waiting for has finally come. It is moving day, and watching it unfold is like seeing my dreams come to life! Out with the old, in with the new! The old furniture and things of our past life that will not be part of our future has been sold and given away. We are taking the things that we envision to be part of our new life in New York.

This process of change requires uprooting myself completely in order to plant new seeds on new fertile soil. Making big changes can be easy or difficult depending on how we deal with the situation. We can resist the changes that come into our lives, or we can let things happen with the belief that something better is in store for us. In order to receive the new opportunities that await, we must let go of the things we have that are no longer serving us. This is the process we are going through now. This means purging old things, old thinking, old ways, and adopting a new way of thinking that helps you move towards your new goals and passions in life!


We are selling our home and our rental properties in Chicago and moving. (Yes, we're moving before everything has sold!) I believe everything will work out in the end. There is a reason things are happening now. Yes, it is a bit scary financially in this current economic climate, but I'm marching on with the belief that I am fully supported by the universe and that all things will work out for us. It has all worked out for us in the past, as long as I believed it would, so there is no reason why I shouldn't believe it won't happen again! I just set the intention that the right people who can easily get their mortgages approved will fall in love with our properties and put in an offer that meets us where we need to sell our properties at (or better), and will close on the properties very, very quickly. Then I let the intention go and let everything fall into place naturally.


I'm finally coming out with my new career change! I am now moving into the field of fashion design! This field fulfills all my desires to be creative, to work in a field that allows me to be hands-on with a more tactile approach, yet has infinite possibilities in the future to become an entrepreneur and have my own line. I'm very excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead. Everything is falling into place very nicely! I had applied to Parsons in January without knowing if I would be able to move to NY, but then a couple of months later, my husband landed a new job in NY. A few weeks later, I received my acceptance letter for Parsons! It's a new life with new changes for the both of us!

When I had received my acceptance letter, however, I was still debating whether I should make a career change or not. It was risky, giving up everything I had in my current career to start brand new again. Starting all over is not easy, but sometimes necessary to get to where you want to go. I declared that if I was able to get a scholarship, then I would go. At that point, all the signs would be pointing to fashion design, so all I would have to do is to commit to the decision.

So, I waited and hoped that a scholarship would come in the mail. I inquired about scholarships to the school's admissions office and received a reply saying that no application was necessary, and that merit scholarships were provided based on the overall application.

In the meantime, I continued taking sewing classes to make sure I really enjoyed sewing, since it would be such a big part of my new life. I a took class with Tchad and a bunch of classes at The Needle Shop in Chicago. There was a lot more to learn about sewing than I had anticipated, so there were moments where I really thought it might not be the path for me, but as I became more comfortable at the sewing machine and with sewing terminology, it all started to became more fun!

A few weeks later, I received a letter in the mail saying that I was awarded a small scholarship. Wow! I was beginning to doubt if it was going to happen, but was secretly hoping that it would. All signs now pointed to go. So, after much thought and deliberation, I finally made the decision to go for it. It was amazing how my mundane life all of a sudden became more interesting because I had something that I enjoyed that I was now looking forward to!

Now, next step... finding funds to pay for the tuition. Somehow, some way, I plan on finding funds this summer to pay for this tuition with some additional money flowing in to pay for the added expenses of living in New York. I'll keep you posted on this progress!

For all of you other career changers out there. Set clear intentions, commit to your decisions, and be open to receiving in whatever way your intentions may become a reality. Like the famous phrase goes, "Ask and ye shall receive."

The next post will come from the Big Apple! :)
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