My Favorite Animal

As promised I am going to answer the questions publicly for the Magical Me Makeover!  My favorite animal is a dolphin.  Dolphins amaze me.  They are free to roam and explore the mysterious underwater world.  Dolphins move with grace through the water in a methodic manner.  However, dolphins cannot roam freely without limitations.  They cannot stay underwater indefinitely because they need to come to the surface for air.  The need for dolphins to exit the water forces the creature to find a delicate balance between pushing the limits, and acceptance to vulnerability.

Photo excerpted from www.dolphins-world.com

Photo excerpted from www.dolphins-world.com

Magical Me Makeover Day 1 Questions

Here we go!  Day 1 questions:  What is your favorite animal?  Why?  What draws you to that animal?  What are some positive attributes of that animal?  Negative attributes?  Reflect away!

My 10 year old dog, Gracie.  She is magical!

My 10 year old dog, Gracie. She is magical!

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year!  It is 2013, and, as with every new year, it is a great time for resolutions.  Honestly, I hate the thought of a new years resolution.  So many of us fabulous human beings say we are going to change something in our life, but abandon the motivation to change within weeks of making the resolution.  How does one avoid this constant cycle year after year?  Follow these simple steps to success:

1)  Don’t set ONE BIG goal for the whole year.  When a person sets one big goal for the entire year it is a set-up for failure.

2)  Set smaller goals, like daily, weekly or monthly.  This will take you down the right path to be successful.

3)  Get a dry-erase board (or chalkboard, or piece of paper – whatever).  Write down your smaller goals.  For example, I use a dry-erase board and write down my small goals for the day (a new blog post is the last one on my list today;)

4)  Clear blocks or barriers for avoiding the completion of your goals.  These barriers are your problems and do not belong to anybody else.  Address them, face them, and get rid of them!

5)  Reward yourself.  Once you have reached your smaller goals give yourself a reward.  It can be something simple like a piece of gum or something big like a shopping spree!

Before you know it all your small goals will have added up to one big goal.  It is like a puzzle.  Take the time to put the pieces together.  If you take it slow, you will enjoy the achievement when you have completed the puzzle;)

Kindergarten Taught Me All I Needed To Know…

A fun fact about me is that I start each day with a cup of coffee, the news, and my rocking chair.  While I rock in my chair and sip my coffee I hear words of hatred, death, and fighting on the newscast.  I ask myself “why do I want to watch the news each morning?  Is this really how I want to start my day?”  The answer is no, yet I continue to do it.  Am I hoping that one morning I will turn on the news and find that one country baked cookies with pink frosting and sprinkles for another country as a peace-offering?  Maybe.  I just wonder what life would be like if we remembered what we all learned in Kindergarten….

First, we learned how to play nice in the sandbox.  If you didn’t play nice – you didn’t get to play.  Throwing of sand, and taking of shovels was not permitted.  It was simple – you play mean = you don’t get to play.  You sat quietly outside the sandbox and watched the other children play.

Secondly, I truly believe the teachers were onto something with the nap time theory.  Young children (heck even adults) get cranky when they are tired.  When people are cranky they have a tendency to snap at or be rude to other people.  A well-rested individual is in much better spirits to play in the sandbox.  I am just saying….

Third, we had snack time.  This is really the same concept as above.  A full tummy is a happy person.  It is way more fun to play in the sandbox with a happy person.

Fourth, ALL the children’s art was beautiful.  There was no judgement.  Heck, I cut out an apple in Kindergarten that looked like a square, but boy did that apple look perfect to my teacher and parents! (My mom still has that apple).

And lastly, don’t eat paste (do they even still use paste)?  Some things may look appealing on the outside, but when you get into the goo of it all, it really just leaves a sour taste in your mouth.  Yes – I am referring to HATE and HATEFUL words.

So you see, life could be more simple if we all remembered what we learned in Kindergarten.

First day of school!!!

What Brings You Joy?

I was reading an article today and the author posed the question “what brings you joy?”  It caused me to pause for a moment, but it was only a moment before I rushed to grab my journal so I could to explore the vast question.  As I sat staring at the blank page of my journal I wondered if other people had ever really thought about this particular question.  I mean, we know what makes us happy, but joy is an entirely different emotion.  When I think of the word joy I picture myself bubbling over with happiness, being engulfed with laughter and feeling the emotion throughout my entire body.  Once I was able to envision myself being overtaken with joy I was able to easily list the things that bring me joy.  Some things were deep and meaningful such as snuggling with my children, and having a romantic dinner with my husband while others items were simple like having a latte by the fire and dancing.

Once I identified what brings me joy in my life I realized that some of the items on the list were things I was not doing!  Why would I not make time to create joy in my life?  Many of us do not take the time to live our life to the fullest.  We often dwell on the sad drama-driven events in our lives, and don’t take the time to celebrate the joys that we have each day.

I challenge you to create a list, or a visual journal page of what brings you joy.  Ask yourself: are you doing these joyful things or do you need more joy in your life?  What are you dwelling on that will not move you forward with your journey of life, but continue to keep you stuck in the mud?  Are you celebrating the “little” joys in your life?  Once you have identified what joys you need more of in your life create a plan on how you are going to integrate joy into your daily living.

Always live joyfully!  Could you imagine a world where everyone lived in joy?  It would be a world of feetie jammies, snuggles, and dancing!  Live joy-FULLY!

It brings me joy to pick out pumpkins each fall with my kids. This was many years ago, but still one of my favorite pics!

A Time for You

The feeling of fall – or should I say winter – hit today.  As I watched the leaves tumble about and fall freely from their mother branches I thought about how fall has always brought life changes for me.  I always have bittersweet feelings about fall.  It is a time of death for the vegetation, hibernation for the animals and cold for the air.  I am often sad to see summer come to an end, and know that the cold winter is on its way.  I use the fall season as a time of reflection and change.  I met the love of my life in the fall.  I became pregnant in the fall.  I gave birth in the fall.  Each fall season I am reminded to be with myself, welcome the changes that may come, say good-bye to parts of myself that have died, and discover aspects of myself have been in hibernation.  Be the tree that releases its leaves or the flower that looses its petals in anticipation of welcoming new in time.

My pumpkin purchase last year in the fall!

Where’s the App to Unplug?

I spent last Friday night having a nice, quiet dinner with my wonderful husband followed by a whirlwind of craziness.  You see, my husband decided that he needed to obtain the new iPhone 5 that was released on, you guessed it, last Friday.  My husband went to the Apple store where he received the “golden ticket” ensuring that he would receive that shiny, new piece of technology.  He stood in line and waited for his turn to enter the store.  He was escorted into the store by an Apple “Genius” who retrieved his new phone, had it sold to him and activated all within 90 seconds.  As this whirlwind of fast sales was occurring I noticed that the store was packed with people, all wishing to meet the same goal – obtain the new iPhone 5.  This made me wonder….when did life start moving so fast????

Everywhere you look there is a person on their phone, checking their e-mail on their phone or engaging in some sort of social media on a mobile device!  What would life be like if we were all “unplugged” for a day?  Would we notice what direction the wind was blowing naturally instead of using the weather application?  Would there be less misunderstandings because people would actually talk face to face instead of misinterpreting e-mails?

Before you reach for that phone, tablet or computer take a look around you.  Enjoy the view.  Smell the roses.  Watch children play.  They are really the ones who have it all figured out.  They play in their worlds all day – never once worrying about social media.  We are the ones who ruin that for them – the adults – because of our constant use of mobile devices.  Watch the essence of a child and try to re-gain that in yourself by “unplugging” for a day…or a weekend…or a week….

Nikki’s Top Ten

I was reading a list online today of the top ten things you should do each day in order to have a successful day.  I found it a bit ironic that someone else was telling me I needed to do each day in order to have a great day.  That list blossomed my blog today – Nikki’s Top Ten.  Now I am not going to say that “this is what you need to do to have a successful day.”  I am simply reporting my top ten things I do each day to you only get your brain thinking about your personal top ten things you do, or should do each day to have a great day.  So here it goes counting down from ten…

10.  Wear Yoga Pants and Fuzzy Slippers – I wear these everyday I that I possibly can.  Right now I am wearing them.  I feel comfortable, relaxed and cozy.  What a great feeling!

9.  Surround Yourself with Inspiration – My whole house is inspiring.  It is painted fabulous colors, filled with great artwork and has the best people and animals inside it!

8.  Wear Feetie Jammies – Need I say more?

7. Indulge – When I say indulge I mean however you want.  Sometimes I eat something really fantastic, drink wine, take a nap, buy a pair of shoes – it can be a simple indulgence or a really BIG one.  It doesn’t matter:)

6.  Dare to be Different and Create a New Norm – I dare to be different all the time.  I color my hair funky, have tattoos and piercings.  I like to wear clothes that pop, and shoes that most people wouldn’t be caught dead in!  I love it all!  Who says what’s “normal?”

5.  Release Yourself From Others Judgements – Who cares what other people think about you?  Does it really matter?  They are most likely jealous, and wish they could live as freely as you do!

4.  Fill Your Creativity Cup Often – Whether it be going to the place that energizes your creativity, or buying a new coloring book, your cup will fill up creating a world of imagination and possibilities!

3.  Honor and Respect Your “Thing” – Yep.  That “thing” that you do and you just don’t know why you do it.  Don’t fight it.  Just honor it.  It is a part of you.

2.  Do What You Love and Love What You Do – It is important to wake up each morning and love what you do.  I love waking up, being a mommy and spending the day being creative.  On the days I work at my mental health clinic, I enjoy the clients I work with, and love helping people.

1.  Live Playfully and Peacefully – I always find time to play!  When you play you help create a balance in your life, which leads to a feeling of peace.

So that’s it.  My list that I live by.  Think about your list.  Are you liking the way you are living, or do some changes need to be made?  Do what works for you.  If you follow your heart you will find your life to by more enjoyable and fulfilling.

Me playing at Pier 1. I actually ended up buying that chair. I use it when I need a time-out from the real world.

Me playing on Halloween Night – kids don’t have as much fun with Powerwheels as adults do!

 

 

A Cup of Hollywood

Within the past year I found my favorite place in the world.  It is simple really – it wasn’t Italy, Australia or the exotic rainforest.  It was Hollywood.

If you have never visited Hollywood, like I had not, you picture all the glitz and glamour that is portrayed on television.  The red carpet, the stars on Hollywood Walk of Fame, and limousines with famous people riding in the back them.  Yes, this is Hollywood – on a night of a new movie premier.  On a daily basis Hollywood presents a much different culture, which is what made it my favorite place in the world.

When you stroll down the Hollywood Walk of Fame you see many sights.  It goes a little like this:  wax museum, tour bus (to visit the stars home), porn shop with stripper clothes, restaurant, wax museum, tour bus, porn shop, restaurant – and so on.  Mixed into the fabulous sites is a plethora of filth, poverty and garbage.  So why is this my favorite place on earth?  Hollywood has an energy that cannot be described.  It is filled with people chasing their dreams with a hope that they will, one day, come true.  You can actually feel the buzz of energy in the air.  It is so inspiring and freeing to be in Hollywood.  I can spend hours in Hollywood taking it all in.

We all need a favorite place to go.  A place that we feel refreshed and inspired.  A place that opens our hearts and honors our creativity.  A place bouncing with so much energy that you can actually feel the buzz in the air.  Hollywood fills my cup of creativity.  Where do you fill your cup of creativity?  What gifts does it offer you?  Do you feel like you are floating on a cloud when you are there?  If so – that is your place.  Soak it in.  Use the energy to inspire you and fill your cup of creativity.  Live your dreams without fear – like those who went to Hollywood.

Me on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with Iron Man!

Office Space and Attitudes

We live in a society that is so focused on productivity and the “get it done” attitude.  As a whole, society is under a great deal of stress to excel.  Because of this, people grow to hate their jobs, their bosses, their routines and, ultimately, their life.  Burn-out rates are high and because of that turnover is high for employers.  People are more productive and creative with the right environment, and the right frame of mind.

Let’s take your typical work environment.  Many office buildings are painted that fabulous white on white or institutional grayish-green.  We then place rows and rows of tiny cubicles, all of which are connected to one another, on institutional gray carpeting, with enormous computer monitors on gray desks complimented with black roll chairs.  The best part is, for 8 hours a day people get to sit in the little cubicles, and type on the computer – in hopes of accomplishing all their “tasks” for that day.  Doesn’t that paint a picture of excitement and motivation?

What would happen if office buildings began to paint their walls yellow, blue, red, pink or purple?  What if the “working” space had a warm, inviting feeling with a combination of tables, chairs, comfy couches, rugs and inspiring art work?  What if there were plants and fountains in the space?  How would people feel about their jobs?  Would the level of productivity go up?  Would the rate of burn-out go down?  What about employee attitudes as a whole?  Would employees get along better with one another if they were in a space that felt more relaxed versus a space that feels institutional?

I think that we all know what the answer is to those questions, but how does one go about changing it?  How can we take what we are given as our “office space” and create a world of motivation and creativity?  Simple – bring your own decor to your cubical!  I remember being young and visiting my husband’s office.  There was a woman there who had decorated her cubical with beaded curtains, candles and artwork.  Being right our of college I remember thinking “whoa – that lady has got that all wrong!  This is no place for decorations like that.”  When really – she had it all right!  She had created this fabulous work space where she could accomplish her daily tasks and still feel relaxed and comfortable!

Whether you work from home, in your own business, or for a company you can help control your level of stress at work just by setting up your perfect environment.  Create a space that makes you feel happy and productive.  Encourage others at your work to do the same.  Include things in your space such as your favorite artwork, your favorite colors, a work station as well as a comfy space – don’t forget to make is smell good.  Notice a reduction in your level of stress and a rise in your productivity.  I bet you will have a better attitude about work.

Imagine yourself in an office space decorated by you wearing yoga pants and slippers – oh the possibilities!

 

 

My home office with my favorite colors – pink and black with a zebra print accent!