Thursday, April 28, 2011

Living Juicy

I once read an article about a woman who approached life with the motto "Live Juicy" (as far as I know, this should be credited to SARK). I love, love, LOVE this idea. Ideally, we should squeeze every last delicious drop out of life with the time we have. Not to mention, saying I live juicy is a great way to raise eyebrows. *wicked grin*

How can we all Live Juicy? I spend as much time as I can with ideas, actions and events that burst with flavor. For me, it's writing, reading, doing yoga, tinkering around our mini farm and dreaming up wild new projects. I also try to surround myself with people who share this same zest for life. And I never take things too seriously (which drives serious people crazy--an added bonus). Here are a few tips for squeezing the most out of your life:

1) Laugh often. Unless you're being tortured with tickling, laughter is the perfect way to feel better instantly. Call a friend who makes you laugh. Watch a hilarious movie. Read a funny book. Do anything that makes you dissolve into those deep belly laughs that roll through your whole body. Don't drink too much liquid before doing this.

2) Decide to enjoy life. It really is a choice. Bad things still happen (an unfortunate fact) but you can choose to be happy. Or wallow. Wallowing is a lot less juicy.

3) Be creative. Whether you enjoy creating new spreadsheets or sculptures, indulge in the pursuit of creativity often. If you go with spreadsheets, use lots of color. And pie charts--they're juicy.

4) Socialize. The trick here is to be around people who make you feel great. You might have a standing coffee date or a dozen scrap booking divas you meet with. As long as you look forward to the get together, you're living juicy.

5) Get a hobby. Something you do just for YOU. Purely selfish, purely fun. Maybe you have a thing for hiking. Or what about baking? Whatever feels juicy should be a priority (bonus points if you can combine all of the above!)

The point is to feel great most of the time. Life has a lot to offer, but it's up to you to enjoy it to the fullest. Why not make it juicy?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Difference of Opinion

One thing I loathe about social networks--people go nuts over a difference of opinion. Allow me to explain my point of view (and yes, this is all my opinion). offers multiple definitions of the word opinion. The two that support this blog are 1) a belief or judgement that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty, and 2) a personal view, attitude, or appraisal.

Please note it says a personal view, which means it is unique to you. The person next to you might share your opinion about one subject, but disagree completely regarding another. Does that make them stupid, evil or wrong? Nope. Not even a little bit. Nor are you stupid, evil or wrong. Opinion isn't right or wrong. As the first definition states, it's a belief (not fact) you have, though you may be unable to substantiate it.

I've recently seen polls circulating on Facebook regarding religious, political and hot button topics (like Coke vs. Pepsi). I LOVE that people are willing to share their opinions. It doesn't mean I agree with all of them. Others are appalled and immediately unfriend that person. If someone fires off an offensive statement, I hope you remove him/her from your cyber life. However, if you are offended because someone holds an opposing view on, say, religion or politics, that's a big red flag. To check your ego. So what if they don't agree with you? Who cares if they prefer red and you prefer blue? What does it matter if you drive a Ford and they drive a Chevy. If these things cause you to freak out, you have a problem.

It's called intolerance.

It's not your job to change anyone's mind. Don't waste energy being judgemental. Life doesn't end if you buy organic and your neighbor prefers conventional. The world still turns if you're a cat person, and your sister likes dogs. The world is a big enough place for every belief, every opinion, every taste. Why not appreciate the differences? You don't have to agree. You have the right to choose your personal view. That's all an opinion is.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I've mentioned my brutally honest amazing friends before, but I feel the need to whine elaborate a little more. Over the years, I've made, lost and remained friends with some awesome people.  They're I'm lucky. This is one truth I have no problem admitting.

My friends:

1) Tell it how it is, even though they're sometimes wrong when I can't see it for myself.

2) Lift me up with a verbal bitch-slap words of wisdom.

3) Understand my plans for world domination quirks.

4) Laugh at my jokes because they think  I need validation I'm hilarious.

5) Threaten me with bodily harm inspire me to move forward with my dreams.

6) Pretend to listen while I vent about life's irritations.

7) Think I'm as brilliant as they are and I can't believe they bought it.

In a nutshell, they seriously rock. Without them, I'd have way too many conversations by myself. I'm so glad they don't miss out on those. *grins*


Friday, April 22, 2011

Supernatural Creatures

I can now officially say my urban fantasy series will be released this fall (Sept 5, Oct. 5 and Nov. 5 respectively). Woot! In honor of that, I've made a list of my favorite supernatural creatures of all time. Why? Because unlike vampires, werewolves and demons, these creatures are often overlooked. I have a soft-spot for these supernatural underdogs.

1) Phoenix. I have a fondness for anything that can go up in flames, and then rise from the ashes as a younger version. I guarantee women would line up for miles if they offered the process as an anti-aging treatment. Phoenix also rock their bright colors. And they fly!

2) Gargoyles. My all-time favorite. They're stone. They live on top of castles. They offer protection from demons (or they're awesome rain spouts, depending on who you ask). Either way, what's not to love? Sure they look creepy, but they can fly!

3) Griffins. Super cool, mythological half-horse, half-bird of prey with a few lion traits thrown in. My three favorite animals all in one. And they can fly!

4) Harpies. Okay ladies, be honest. Who hasn't wanted to turn into a screaming, raging, beast who rips up any man that pisses them off? While flying! Wait...I'm the only one?

Oh. Moving on...

5) Pixies. How can you resist a small, quick, magical troublemaker? Who flys? Kim Harrison has forever changed the way I view pixies. If you enjoy urban fantasy and haven't read her Rachel Morgan series, you should. Stat.

6) Dragons. Shimmering scales, dagger-like claws, the ability to breathe fire AND they can fly.

7) Supernatural, the TV show. Sam & Dean Winchester. They don't fly, but they don't have to. And the writing is awesome.

This is a brief list--there are so many more! But for now, I'm distracted and must go watch Supernatural. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Genius or Crazy?

I know I've discussed taking risks before, but I believe the topic should be revisited on a frequent basis. Why? Because if you want amazing things to happen, you have to take risks. Willingly. I try to do scary things often. And by scary, I mean the kind of risk that makes the butterflies in your stomach go nuts, your hands shake and your heart beat faster. You might even feel nauseated from the combination of nerves, fear and excitement.

There's a fine line between genius and crazy.

The genius of taking a risk is this--you stand to benefit in ways you can only imagine. The crazy part? You can also lose big. Personally, I'm okay with crazy. I once had an elderly man I'd never met before walk up to me and say, "You're not normal, are you?"

What, do I have a crazy beacon? Wait...don't answer that.

On most days, I'd take exception to a comment like that. For some reason, on that strange day, it was one of the greatest compliments I'd ever received. You want to know why? This gentleman was a writer. A poet, actually. He sensed the creative spirit in me (what some might call the "crazy"). I don't remember the man's name. I only remember the impact he had on me. He inspired me to start writing again.

And let's face it--I'm not normal. I work hard not to be. Normal is fine if you're looking for a boring, pale and safe life. Yes, I put boring and safe in the same category. I'd rather experience every crazy thing life has to offer in bold, brilliant detail. Safety be damned.

Many of us have heard of historical figures like Thomas Edison, Rosa Parks, Henry Ford, Joan of Arc and Ben Franklin, but did you know that before they were considered geniuses (accidental or intentional), they were first called crazy? They dared to step out of the box and take a risk. They dared to fail. In the end, it paid off. They each changed history. Genius or crazy?

Don't get me wrong, I don't put myself in their category. Yet. *wiggles eyebrows* My point is, they led by example. You can't dispute their genius, their nerve or their success. I would much rather be a crazy genius, then a normal dud.  How about you?


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gratitude List

I think gratitude is underrated. Sure we have a day devoted to worshipping turkey, stuffing and pie (and that rates right up there as one of my favorite days of the year), but I'm more interested in every day gratitude. What are you thankful for this minute? This week? This year? Here's my top 10 list:

1) The endless supply of amazing opportunities just waiting to be grabbed. I've received an abundance lately.

2) My husband and kids. They offer love, support and hugs. You can't beat hugs, especially if they come with messy faces and grubby hands. Those are the best.

3) My friends. Mine seriously rock. They make my heart smile. Often. They also keep me honest and real. Who needs a therapist with friends like that? (that's a rhetorical question)

4) Sleep. Oh, the delicious feeling of a nap or a full 8 hours of sleep. I hope I get some soon.

5) My yoga practice. It has saved my back, my breath and my mind on many occasions. Seriously people, without yoga, I'd be one stiff, cranky woman.

6) My home. It's my sanctuary. As a wannabe introvert, it's the place I most love to be. And it's a good thing too, since I work from home.
7) My creativity. On any given day, I have a multitude of ways to express myself. I've recently expanded my creativity to coloring. Relatives, please expect a number of crayon drawings for Christmas.
8) Sunshine. When the warmth of the sun touches my skin, I'm instantly in a better mood. Too bad I live in an area where sunshine has been more rare than a Bigfoot sighting.

9) Chocolate. My family knows that without it, I would need to be humanely euthanized.
10) Books. I've mentioned I have an addiction to reading and it's one I feed on a daily basis. I read almost anything I can get my hands on. Including, but not limited to shampoo bottles, appliance manuals and the occasional anatomy book.

What's on your gratitude list? Feel free to post in the comments.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Tough Love

I'm a fan of the tough love approach when learning a new skill or working toward a goal. Compassion and understanding are all well and good, but a pat on the back is meaningless if you haven't really accomplished anything. Don't get me started on the growing epidemic of entitlement. Failure is a necessary part of life. The big test is whether or not you keep going. I'm going to follow my 10 Things theme and attack the top 10 excuses with a tough love approach. *laughs with evil glee*
Excuse #1--I don't have enough time.
Give. Me. A. Break. We all have 24 hours in a day. Do you really think an extra hour or two would make much difference for a person who can't prioritize? Nope. Not a bit. Make time. You have absolute control of your schedule (argue all you want, but it's true). If you have a goal, make time. If you're not willing to make time, pick a different goal.

Excuse #2--I could never do that.
You're right. With a defeatist attitude, you can't do it. Positive thinking--constantly--makes all the difference. Ask yourself, why can't you do it? And after your brain has filtered through the million BS excuses you create, ask again. Why can't you do it?

Excuse #3--I'm too old.
Again, you're right. You're so old, I'm surprised you can even walk upright. In fact, maybe you should go sit down. And while you're resting your ancient bones, think about this--when you hit 40, 50, 60, and 70, I want you to tell everyone why you're too old to do anything. I doubt they'll buy it either. I haven't heard of any medical studies that prove wrinkles and gray hair prevent you from accomplishing anything. Age is a number, not an excuse.

Excuse #4--I've got kids/dogs/plants/dust bunnies who need me.
Okay. But what's your excuse? Once again, there are no medical studies that prove kids/dogs/plants/dust bunnies prevent you from doing what you dream of. Kids/dogs/plants/dust bunnies don't want to be your scapegoat. In fact, dust bunnies prefer you to be occupied elsewhere.

Excuse #5--I'm scared.
I doubt you'll admit that out loud, but if you do, I'll give you credit. The biggest dreams we chase might inspire fear. As long as it's coupled with excitement, you're on the right track. If fear is paralyzing you, get a friend to administer a swift kick to your backside. Pronto. Fear is good as long as it doesn't stop you.

Excuse #6--I've tried before and it didn't work out.
Obviously you didn't do it right. Try again. Try as many times as it takes. Don't wallow in failure. It's not an attractive place for anyone to be. Besides, it doesn't get you any closer to your dream. Failure allows you to fine tune your approach. It forces you to get better and better. Appreciate the opportunity.

Excuse #7--I don't have the energy.
What do you have energy for? Watching your favorite show? A latte run? Breathing? Chasing your dreams energizes you. The first step is always the most difficult, but as you get closer and closer, your energy will increase. Either that or you need to exercise more.

Excuse #8--I don't have any support.
Then you're not surrounded by the right people. Limit or eliminate time spent with negative friends/family, because their negativity can do a number on your confidence. A negative attitude is contagious. That's one thing you don't want to catch. Find a great support system.

Excuse #9--Someone else has already done it.
And? Unless your goal is to be 15th President of the United States or Founder of Microsoft, who cares if it's been done before? Do it better. Do it with your unique flair. Do it regardless.

Excuse #10--I have a lot of other reasons why, but you wouldn't understand.
First, they're excuses, plain and simple. Second, you're right. I don't understand how you can spend so much time and energy thinking about why you CAN'T do it, instead of focusing on why you can, should and will do it. It's a mindset, my friends. Start with baby steps if you have to, but make sure your mind is pointing in a positive direction.

The formula for success is simple. Think positive + Move forward + Ignore the excuses your brain creates + Reward yourself along the way + Never lose sight of your goal = Celebrate reaching your goal.

It works. I promise.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

10 Things--World Domination

I couldn't wait for Friday to post this one.

The second installment of 10 Things involves an idea that's been at the forefront of my mind this past week: World Domination. No, I haven't been reading comic books. I'm serious. I have compiled a list of the top 10 reasons and rules for my World Domination plans, in no particular order.

1) I'd begin with a platform of honesty. I will make no promises I cannot keep. Forget lower taxes and elimination of the national debt. I'm only interested in personal gain and want to be upfront about that.

2) No politics whatsoever. I won't campaign. I won't take out obnoxious ads or indulge in a smear campaign. You don't have to vote. In fact, I won't give you a choice. I'll just take over. Simple, right?

3) No division among the classes. I would be the Queen of Everyone. You would be my minions. You would be allowed one group called ME. Minion Equality (ME) would be responsible for making all minions feel equally subservient. To me.

4) Education would be required. My minions must all read and write. The Queen of Everyone has an image to uphold. Intelligent minions are a must.

5) One minion would hold the esteemed position of He Who Kills Spiders For the Queen of Everyone. To simplify, I would call you "Bob" which doesn't stand for anything, it's just easy for me to remember.

6) Reality shows would be banned. Forever. Remember, intelligent minions are a must.

7) Chocolate Fridays will become law. Every Friday meal must have chocolate listed as the main ingredient. Why? Because I'm the Queen of Everyone and I happen to love chocolate.

8) All minions must be able to spell and use proper grammar. Anyone caught using "text speak" or some variation will be forced to read the complete works of Shakespeare and translate each line into "text speak." Ten times.
9) A minion group known as MIU--Minions in Uniform--will be established. This minion group will still be viewed as equal to other minions. However, MIU members will be ogled. Often. MIU will also perform various tasks that require heavy lifting, bending, twisting and flexing.

10) All minions will be eligible for benefits including but not limited to medical, dental, vacation, sick time and obnoxiously large bonuses. Why? Because I understand that a happy minion is a productive minion.

If you're considering World Domination, you're welcome to use any of the above ideas. Keep in mind, I will use them against you when I eventually rule the world. Until then, best of luck with your grand plans.

Monday, April 11, 2011

10 Things Kick Off

I'm kicking off the week with a new blog feature--10 Things, every Monday and Friday. Monday's list will be helpful and inspirational because we could all use a little boost at the beginning of the week. Friday's list will be anything but serious. Think funny, snarky and strange.

As I write this, rain is pelting the window beside me. Rain on a Monday is typically reflective of my mood--gray, gloomy and irritated. Not today. I feel relaxed and ready for what the week will bring. I want to share 10 quotes with the hope they bring you a smile or a bit of inspiration. Some of these are personal favorites, and few simply struck me this morning. Enjoy!

1) Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

2) Imagination is more important than knowledge. ~Albert Einstein

3) Life is too important to be taken seriously. ~Oscar Wilde

4) There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. ~Maya Angelou

5) We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize. Thich Nhat Hahn

6) When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way. ~Wayne Dyer

7) Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. ~Mark Twain

8) To see things in the seed, that is genius. ~Lao Tzu

9) The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. ~Author Unknown

10) Nothing is worth more than this day. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Cheers to an amazing, inspiring week!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Honor Your Teachers

I am, at heart, a teacher. Mostly a "do as I say, not as I do" sort of teacher, but still. I love teaching. And I hold a great appreciation for those who do it for a living. I'd like to tip my hat to the educators out there who make a difference. Every. Single. Day.

I've always loved to learn. I would be a perpetual college student for the experience alone, if life and family didn't prevent me. Thankfully, I have the opportunity to learn from someone outside of a classroom. Every. Single. Day.

We meet regular people throughout our lives who teach us. Some of us are able to see these people for who they are--a gift. Teachers come in many shapes and sizes. From many backgrounds and in many disguises. If you pay attention, you'll recognize them. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Start with those closest to you. Your family and friends. Maybe your parents taught you everything. Maybe your best friend is brilliant. Even your children are master teachers. Mine go out of their way to teach me patience, boy band songs, how to build with Legos and why limiting sugar is always a great idea. Your loved ones hold valuable information. Take the time to listen.

2) Pay attention to those who irritate the hell out of you. They are teachers in disguise. When negative emotions run high, it's difficult to recognize a teacher when your mind assigns them another name. Some days it seems that everyone you meet is determined to make your day worse. Ask yourself why? Maybe they're your reminder to take a breath and a big step back. Maybe your attitude is the problem. Maybe you need to avoid the place you see them. There are multiple possibilities. Only you know the lesson, but you have to be willing to recognize them as teacher. They're offering you a valuable experience.

3) Be around those who inspire you to be more than you currently are. I try to spend as much time as I can with those who make me smile, those who challenge me to think bigger, those who push me beyond what I think I'm capable of. Again, these people can be those closest to you. They can be people you are frustrated by. Or a mentor, religious figure, supervisor--anyone you pick up tips and ideas from. These people help you move out of your comfort zone, and that's where amazing things happen.

4) People you've never met. Sounds odd, doesn't it? For me, some of the most important people in my learning process are people I've never met. Authors. So many I couldn't name them all. I have a serious book addiction, and these authors, who so generously shared their time and words, have made a monumental impact on my life. For you it might be someone on TV. Or someone who created an organization you believe in. All are teachers.

5) Everyday people you encounter throughout your daily activities. The clerk at the store, the person at the gas station, or the lady walking her dog past your house. Each of these people are potential teachers, if you choose to interact with them. Now, you might only hear about their hernia or the latest soap opera drama. But you might also hear about a new opportunity. A better way of doing something. An emotional life lesson. As long as you're open to the potential knowledge, anyone can be a teacher.

Once you've identified your teachers, then what? Acknowledge them. Honor them. Appreciate the gift they've given you, however large or small. This can be done in your mind, out loud, an email or note. "Thank you" is a magical phrase. A genuine word of thanks is one of the best gifts to give or receive. I recently sent a word of thanks to an author who made a big impression on me months ago. She said my message made her day. What I don't think she realized is how pivotal her gift was for me. Thank you seemed inadequate, but it's not.

Honor your teachers. If you're able, let them know they made a difference. One exception: if you're thinking of someone who infuriates you, a few choices words aren't going to make the same impression as "thank you." ;)