The Blog

Back to Basics: When Checking In Means Checking Out


IMG_1828_optTo say that I’ve had a lot on my plate the last three months is a grandiose understatement.  With both of my children engaged, and their weddings within 10 weeks of each other (one down, one to go), my summer was immersed with bridal showers and wedding plans galore (times two), all while maintaining my busy client schedule. Time-management became a masterful art when challenged to schedule bridal/dress fittings, hair and make-up trials, caterer, florists and band appointments, micro-managing timelines, details upon details (too many details to detail, lol), all with a bride that was way busier than me.  I like to think about them now as happy headaches, but with consequences nonetheless. The fast pace of an overwhelming to do list resulted in a stress-induced vertigo episode that lingered for over two weeks.

Throughout the entire process, I was stressed and pressed for time.  Summer never quite felt like the relaxing summers of the past. I realized that there is a status of busy, and then there’s “I can’t breathe” busy. This kind of busy clocks you into your priorities, big time. Clearly, what had to get done, got done. Non-negotiable and timeline sensitive.  And then there was everything else.

Notwithstanding that I disregarded other routine responsibilities, I fell off social media hard.  After 5 years of routinely posting weekly blogs, dabbling in FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, I logged into self and blogged out of the web.  Although at first, it was neither hard nor easy.  It just wasn’t even a thought.  Every day was jam-packed with a checklist and I was on a fast track mission.  It was only after several consecutive weeks of neglecting my blog that some guilt invaded. It was something I enjoyed for so long and scheduled consistently,  I felt I was breaking a good habit. Weeks turned into months and my web presence halted on a dime.  My anxiety waxed and waned more with wonder as to what my followers would think, or worse, what if no one even noticed?

It was increasingly hard to engage in FaceBook.  There was simply no time or space to keep up.  Admittedly, there were some late nights while engrossed in my wedding spreadsheets, I found myself scrolling mindlessly through my newsfeed, not feeling connected at all.  I felt somewhat like an alien.

More time has lapsed and until now, I’ve fallen off this routine completely. The distance has changed my perspective a bit. I may click here and there, but I spend significantly less time on the screen. I’ve fallen off the grid before but not for this long. Now I question how much time I really want to devote to this as I jump back in.

Having celebrated this wedding milestone in my life with so many special friends and family has re-directed me back to the basics. I want more personal connection. Perhaps it’s about living life with more intention and evaluating what really matters.  I find myself wanting to pick up the phone more to talk, connect with old friends and check in more often. Social Media can swallow you up and it can feel liberating to dial it back a little and check in with yourself.

For sure, FaceBook has its merits and connects people in ways we could have never imagined in an instant. It’s a powerful and effective platform for so many situations and relationships, both personally and professionally. But sometimes virtual connections are often too easy.  It can breed laziness and compromise personal relationships. There are so many ways we can connect and communicate. My impression is that an actual phone call will always trump a text, and a personal text trumps a FaceBook post, and a comment still beats a “like.” Always. These are revealing levels of intimacy.

As far as My Blog, I’m OK with the ebb and flow.  It is mine to have and to hold forever.  It’s a personal space that I’ve created to share my voice or catch a thought. It may not be Wednesday and it may not be weekly. These were confinements of my choosing.  I understand now that this rhythym of committment will come and go with the ever-evolving me. Aligning our priorities is an ongoing process. This honest epiphany doesn’t make me any smarter, just human 🙂

Counting down to another wedding yet to come.  The joy of witnessing both my children’s marriage in the same year is indescribable. I cannot wait to do it all over again and then alas, restore some life-balance and breathe.

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How To Be the Best Version of You: Have You Been Minding Your P’s?

superman_optWe all yearn to be the best version of ourselves, right?  Of course we do, who wouldn’t?  But the simple truth is that we don’t feel the same way every day and so this could be a very hard expectation to live up to.  After all, we are not super heroes.

Assuming it’s not the day after a long Memorial Day weekend, or a bad hangover morning after a friend’s wedding, you might be able to engage some measure of super power if you just mind these 4 P’s.

Priorities.  No matter how busy we get, we generally find the time to do what we want to do, not necessarily what we need to do. It’s only when our to do’s get too big or too many, that our priorities get all tangled and disordered.  Clarify what is really important to you. Whether it be a short term or long term goal, map out a doable schedule and/or a realistic action plan.

Preparedness.  Being prepared is the key to success in all spheres of life.  Getting “ready” may mean something different for each of us but this process will always yield optimum results.  When you pause to give any task proper attention, you may realize there’s another step you could be addressing. Readiness ignites purpose and intention.  Last minute action or a “shoot from the hip” mentality doesn’t usually bode as well.

Productivity.  Ask yourself if you are managing your time well.  Wasted time can discourage your thinking and draw you into a circuitous negative pattern. Try thinking more efficient with less effort when you approach any task. Is there an easier or better way to do this? Increasing your productivity can generate an internal energy that will empower you to do more.  The more you do, the more you will want to do.

Performance.  No matter what you’re doing, are you 100% engaged, focused, and committed? Are you giving it your best shot or just checking it off the list?  Showing up means way more than merely being physically present.  It is a mind-body connection.  When we bring our “A” game, it is apparent.  And vise versa.

Consider these 4 P’s as just stepping stones to build on.  Imagine that these are our super powers. They inspire each and every one of us to be our best selves.  Are you ready to soar?

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Emotional Interruptions: Have You Ever Fallen Off the Grid?

get-attachment_optSocial Media is not just trendy, it’s an integral part of our culture and it is here to stay.  We all play in the same playground but perhaps in different sand boxes. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest, and more, we are all broadcasting in real time, all the time. We are sharing the NOW.

Some of us use Social Media solely as an internet marketing tool for promoting business, while others consider it a viable platform in which to network, or a space to voice opinions, a place to connect with friends (both new and old), or  just an arena to share and post personal photographs of exotic vacations, celebrations & weddings, beautiful babies & grandchildren, precious pets, delectable foods, quotable quotes, breathtaking sunsets, etc.  Each of us are creating a traceable unique and personal timeline and sharing it with the universe. Everybody’s doing it, why not? It’s easy and it’s fun. Until it’s not.

One may also question, is it all real? Is everyone really that happy?  Recent studies reveal that Facebook, in fact, can cause depression.  Scrolling through people’s fabulous vacations, expensive purchases and adorable children, feelings of jealousy and resentment often emerge.   News feeds are bursting with mostly positive things in other people’s lives, and there are notably far less people publicly whining about their sad or unhappy life.

So when life got in my way, I shifted my perspective and my priorities.  Family and work were my focus.  Mid-summer, (for reasons undisclosed) I fell off the grid and flew under the radar.

In life, things happen both good and bad that can derail you, steer you off track and veer you off course. These life events were personal and private and mentioned only to emphasize that for me, Social Media had to take a back seat. My life was interrupted and consequently, my minimal interactions reflected that I was disengaged. Were you aware?  I wondered if anyone even paid attention.  Some did notice my glaring absence and lack of visibility and took the time to reach out to me.  It turns out that Facebook friends really are more than just fans. Go figure.

As an active user of many genres of Social Media,  I hadn’t the time nor the inclination to engage.  Life was too busy.  Admittedly, any kind of Social Media sucks up way too much time.  Sometimes it even feels burdensome.  As a business owner, (by choice, sans a virtual assistant who could manage and monitor my posts for me) I feel a certain responsibility to maintain a Facebook presence and to keep my blogs flowing weekly, and foremost, rich in content. What I’ve recently learned is that although I write for YOU,  I also write for ME.  It’s 100% cathartic. I take pride in sharing my authentic self so when real time trumped screen time, I took the virtual pause that I needed.

It was beginning to feel more like a second job more than something I really enjoyed doing. I always say, “you know when you know,” and so I knew it was time to take that break. There were days after work that I never even walked into my office to sit at my computer, as usual. My phone kept me connected enough, and the down time was actually quite liberating. Life without Facebook felt a lot less frenetic and free of pretense.  When it all became too much,  disconnecting was a healthy relief.

But things weren’t all bad, there was plenty of good too.  The greatest parts of summer were that the weather was stellar and my business was soaring! 🙂 (Hmm…caused me to rethink if Social Media is over-rated anyway)

But the very BEST part of this summer was that it ended with my daughter’s engagement!!  I’m over the moon with excitement! She’s marrying her best friend and soul mate and I couldn’t be happier.  Planning and preparing for this wedding has already begun to shift my perspective once again.

I’m back on course now, flying higher for sure.  Enthusiastic and passionate…just a wee bit more insightful.  Stay-tuned until the next blog.  I’m back on the radar.


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Over-scheduled? Over-acquired? Are you Over it?

watches_optPick your poison.  You could be over-acquired, over-worked, over-scheduled, or all of the above. So ask yourself, are you over-joyed or over-whelmed?

If you’ve reached your max and you have lost control, it’s imperative to re-evaluate your time-management and your acquired possessions. Moreover,  if you have increasingly less and less time for things you enjoy doing, that’s your red flag. Your wake-up call is ringing.

Over-scheduling is generally not our intention, it just kind of happens, right? It’s often a gradual process that creeps up on us.  But if we really look at it, it’s more about over-committing (fear of saying “no” and disappointing others) and under-estimating the time in which to get things done.  The fix for that is more simply said than done, but nonetheless doable.  Learn to say “no ,” graciously.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and always allow yourself more wiggle room in your day.  At the end of the day, both of these strategies are huge stress reducers.

Over-abundance can be both a blessing and a curse. We all love the shiny new toys, and that’s fine if we can afford it and have room for it. For some, it’s surrendering to acquiring more watches, sneakers, or technology, but how many sneakers or watches are too many? When does it become too much?  For others, it could be excessive clothing, candles, jewelry, or kid’s toys.  The conundrum is really when we can’t seem to part with the old rusty ones. No matter what the guilty pleasures are, there needs to be an incoming and an outgoing flow. One in, one out.

Continually acquiring more, without regard to letting go of the less desirable things is going to impede on more than your wallet. Compulsive shopping can overwhelm your spaces.  Consider the consequences. If there is only incoming and little or no outgoing, that’s a lot of stuff.  It’s not about the size of the house at all,  it’s about how you think about the possessions you have.

Buying something new to replace something old is sensible.  Keeping material things that you never use, is senseless.  If you don’t use them, then they are virtually of no value to you. Donate, donate, donate. There are people less fortunate that really need the stuff you’re merely storing.

To avoid  “material overload, ” make sure that your home and contents reflect who you are today. Create a home, not a museum. Surround yourself with your favorite things and live with less clutter.  Your time, your things, and your spaces should all be aligned with your current values and lifestyles. Examine your priorities carefully and strive to sync your schedule and acquisitions accordingly.

Find your balance, your own unique  life rhythm. Be over-joyed, not over-whelmed.


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What’s on Your Summer Radar?

The fireworks of July 4th may have faded but hopefully their crackle and boom ignited your summer mode into full throttle.  We all know how quickly summer passes us by, and so this would be the time to plan for it to be a memorable one.  Now.

Summer bucketlists tend to be lofty initially, but all too often, as the heat and humidity rises, so does the procrastination.

So what does your ideal summer look like?

Of course there is no right or wrong answer, it’s more about your priorities and being aware of  your productivity capacities.  How well do you know yourself?

  • Are you more or less motivated in the Summer?
  • In what months do you tend to be more active or more lazy?
  • Do you see summer as a time to complete projects? Or do you view summer as a giant vacation?
  • Do you find that your time-management is easier or more challenging in the summer?
  • How do you even measure productivity?


Overall, productivity levels vacillate day to day, but they can also vary from month to month and season to season, depending on the individual’s life rhythm.

Most people enjoy being outdoors in the summertime and so, no matter the activity (work or pleasure) it will be done outside. On a beautiful summer day, fewer people would probably opt to clean out an interior closet or a steamy attic. Likewise, more people might be  inclined to clean-out the garage, mow the lawn, wash the car, or plant the flowers while enjoying the sunshine.

One sure thing is that the summer days are fleeting.  It’s not too late to create a bucketlist if you haven’t yet done so.  Do something awesome this summer.  Take advantage of the gorgeous weather.  Make your days count before Labor Day.

Eliminate regrets with this helpful exercise:  Rather than considering and weighing the summer goals ahead of you, perhaps work backyards.  Pretend that tomorrow is the end of summer and think about what that would feel like? Did you accomplish all that you hoped to?

Now reclaim that time.  What will you put on your summer radar now?  Get going…time is awastin’.


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What Happened to Dinnertime?

When I was a young girl, I remember every day culminating with my family sitting around the dinner table. I was lucky enough to have my Dad home every night for dinner, 6:30 p.m sharp. The table was always pre-set, then upon my Dad’s arrival, we all sat down together with no interruptions.  It was dinnertime. That simple.

Television and phone calls were not allowed (obviously, cell phones did not exist then so “texting” wasn’t even a forbidden consideration).  Nothing fancy, no special holiday, just family dinner.  Cross- talk conversation, playful sibling banter, and repetitive prodding from Mom to clean our plates, were all common backdrops for our typical family meal.

I’m not suggesting that life was as perfect as the truly idealized families portrayed in Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver, but just that this setting was a big part of the American pop culture in the late 50’s. Dinnertime seemed somewhat sacred in all our homes.

Decades later, as I grew my own family, I wanted to implement these similar values into my own life.  Like my Dad, my husband was able to be home for dinner every single night, and it’s something my adult children still remember.  But let’s morph to the 80’s and the new world of Technology.  Its impact impeded a great deal on my family dinner.  For starters, there were more interruptions and distractions.  Televisions were glaring at high volume, cordless phones were ringing every 10 minutes, and my kid’s obsession with hand held video games delayed them from sitting down at the dinner table on time. Eventually, we all gathered and happy chatter ensued.  Family dinner was very important to me and I cherished it.  It was a time that the whole family would congregate and catch up.  It was a place for intimate conversation in the natural setting of our home. I can remember gazing around the table, taking it all in and knowing very well, that it was indeed a precious time; a special time that I would never get back.

And then it happened. My children got older and they were smitten by organized sports. The grueling schedules ruled us.  If that weren’t enough, my husband decided to enlist as the Basketball Coach throughout both of my children’s athletic careers.  Needless to say, you see where this is going.  My family dinner was crumbling before me.  Gone were the days of relaxing dinners, and instantly replaced with quick snacks or a slices of pizza, all in attempt to make it to early practices before the games.

So that was then, and now I fear that it is far worse today.

Busy households are a juggling act; balancing dinner meals, homework, tutors,and carpools, with too many extra-curricular activities.  As a result, a “balanced” meal, albeit a sit-down family dinner, are no longer an option.  It’s more like a sandwich on the go, a fast food stop. or sometimes just a protein bar or shake! Factor in the more advanced technology and the rise in social media mania, and you’re dealing with a whole other level of detachment.  Now we have iPhones, iPads, texting, Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, it’s encroaching on the privacy of family home life 24/7 .

So what has happened to the nuclear family? Is it breaking down?  Are we over- scheduled or disconnected?, or both? The problem is of course, it’s not that we don’t want to…but because there’s no time to.  Does it come down to a time-management issue?

Clearly the busy family of today is struggling with optimal quality time. This might suggest that we are changing priorities in our family culture. Overwhelming schedules push out valuable time to connect.  Shouldn’t we carve out the time to chow down with the family like we used to?

Now that my children are grown, I yearn for those table conversations; a cacophony of yelling, whining, teasing, story telling, and belly laughing til it hurt.  I recall it all with a sense of completeness, sweet and utter joy.  True gems came out of those family meals that I will never forget.

Children need both relationships and routines they can depend on.  Dinnertime is a great time to check in, connect, and share with your family. Dining in the privacy of your home can be intimate, even it’s noisy and chaotic. It’s a place where the family dynamics engage naturally, without outside distractions.  No television, no video games.  Just eating and talking.  Family in the raw.  Its value is truly under-rated.

Think about how often you have family dinner. Do you make the time? Is it on the schedule?

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