Category Archives: life lessons

Write While the Heat is In You

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
~Henry David Thoreau

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I haven’t written anything of worth in months now.

I can’t say I’m proud of this. But I can admit that it’s the truth.

Which of course isn’t easy to admit. Even if we’ve be told for however long, that admitting there’s a problem is half the battle. Though I wouldn’t actually say that not having much of a desire to write is actually a “problem”.

But I digress…

You see,  for years, I blogged 3-7 times a week. I had my personal blog (here) and my business blog (there). I was constantly in creation mode. My mind was always spinning.

I was making lists of ideas to write about. Lists of ideas to shoot videos about. Lists of ideas to speak about, to train on. Et cetera. I was always creating in my mind.

And then one day, that stopped.

I felt overwhelmed.

I felt like I no longer had anything to say.

I felt like I didn’t have anything original or inspirational or even motivational to share.

And when you make a good part of your living helping others to identify and clarify their passion, to find their voices and to get out there and share that with the world…well, not having anything to say, that just becomes embarrassing.

So I went into hiding. I disappeared from so many places that I once felt so comfortable.

I dimmed my light so that only the nearest and dearest to me could see it. And even then, I think they’d be hard-pressed to tell you that they saw me at all.

You can shine even in the darknessBut now I’m feeling that desire again. Thoughts and ideas are starting to flow.

The curiosity is back.

The desire to work with women is back. Heck, the desire to network and expand…is back!!!

I can’t make any promises that I’ll be posting here, at this particular website all that much. But you’re more than welcome to join me over at my other site…where I have some big plans….that I still need to wrap my head around.

35+ Year Old’s Guide to Attending Music Festivals

Summer is officially the music festival season.  There are the big ones: Bonaroo, Lalapalooza, Outside Lands, etc.  And then there are the smaller, more local festivals (we have quite a few here in the LA area – Pasadena, Echo Park, Sunset Junction, Eagle Rock – and those are just the ones that I’ve been lucky enough to attend).

Believe it or not, three years ago I attended my very first music festival.  And while knowing how much I enjoy going to concerts, that might come as a shock to you, trust me when I say, if I had my way, I could have gone on happily never having been to a music festival.

My husband, on the other hand, loves music festivals of all shapes and sizes and has attended many. In fact, it’s not uncommon for him to attend a handful during any given year.

Which of course means, eventually I was going to have to attend one.  There was just no getting out of it.

Lucky for me, my first festival – Austin City Limits – was a great experience (you can read more about it here).  And since then, I’ve gone on to attend – and even enjoy – a few others.  In fact, this past spring, I headed out to Stagecoach.  Which I promptly decided that I would never do again…the heat, the dirt, the heat, the hike, the dirt, and yes, the triple-digit heat. It was WAY too much.

Next month, I’ll be heading back to Austin to for another round of Austin City Limits.  This time around, I expect the experience to be even better.  One: I’m interested in more of the bands that will be playing.  Two: I know how things work since I’ve done it before.  And three: I’ll be better prepared as I’ve since been to a few music festivals now.

Here’s my suggestion on what to bring if you’re attending a music festival…be it small or large.

  • A backpack – it makes the whole experience so much easier since you’ll have everything at your fingertips.
  • Comfortable shoes – this is the time to worry about being fashionable.  Comfort matters.  And take it from my personal experience (something I learned long, long ago), nothing ruins your day like blisters, bruises or painful feet.
  • Sunscreen – slather it on. Then slather it on a couple more times throughout the day.  You will sweat and you will douse yourself in water to cool off, so I suggest going with the “sport” versions.  And those sprays make for super simple application.
  • A hat – hipster, cowboy, baseball, garden, hiking…I don’t care what kind of hat.  Just wear something that will cover your eyes from the glaring sun.  The larger the brim, the better.
  • A refillable water bottle – most festivals won’t let you in with a full bottle or even a sealed bottle these days.  But they will let you bring in your empty or your refillable bottles.  And if they’re good at what they do and they care about their people, they’ll encourage you to bring in those bottles and have plenty of filling stations available (I’m looking at you Stagecoach – no idea why you didn’t tell people to bring bottles and why you didn’t have more filling stations…especially in that heat).
  • A towel – I’d actually go so far as to suggest TWO towels…one for sitting on (during Stagecoach it protected us from the itchy hay bales and during ACL it reserved our space for the final shows each night) and one for wiping down or dousing in water and wearing around your neck.  Trust me, things get hot out there.
  • Toilet paper or tissue – you will be using porta-potties.  Making sure you have your own paper on hand makes the experience a bit more tolerable.
  • Hand sanitizer – you’re going to be there for hours.  You’re going to be using porta-potties (see above). You’re going to be sitting on the ground or wiping off your sweat. You’re going to be eating.  You’ll be glad you brought a small tube with you.
  • Lip balm – though this might just be me. But it gets hot out there.  And sunscreen on the lips isn’t a look that works for me.  Then again, I’m a bit addicted, so I always make sure to have some handy.
  • A lightweight jacket or sweater – you’ll have been in the sun, sweating, dancing, baking for hours.  Once that sun goes down, things get quite cool.  Having a little something that you can put on helps.
  • A flashlight – most of these music festivals are in big parks.  And once the shows are over, and you’ve left the stage area, it’s dark. And the walk back to you car (or bike, or the bus line) is even darker.  Having even a small flashlight helps.
  • Phone charger – or back up power.  Most festivals have charging stations, some require that you have your own cord.  Others, have the hookups there for you.  Either way, it’s worth having handy.
  • Bandaids – you never know when you might get that blister or scrape.  Can’t hurt to have some on hand, right?

If you’re a female, I’d also suggest that you wear dresses or skirts.  Those porta-potties are much easier to use (and to balance) when you can hold your close up and away instead of having to pull things down and away.  Just a thought.

If you’re part of a group, you might also want to have something that sets you apart from the rest of the hundreds of thousands of people.  Think tall flags, things with lights, etc.  It really does make it easier to find your people…especially if drinking has been involved.

This list is by no means perfect.  But it should get you through in comfort…until you can create a supply list that works better for your needs.

If you see me at ACL – merrily reliving my youth along with Depeche and the Cure, feel free to say Hi.


On Being Creative For the Sake of Being Creative

Lately, I’ve noticed two things…1) I’ve barely been taking the time to write here, in this blog.  And 2) that I’ve been really focusing a lot of time and energy around being creative. You know, doing art for the sake of art.

Funny how when you think about it, both are so closely related.  I mean, writing is clearly a form of expressing ones self creatively. Yet for some reason, while I’ve managed to write a weekly newsletter and weekly blog posts over on my business side of things, as well as create two books over the summer break, I’ve not carved out time to write over here.

I blame part of it on Facebook.  Before we had social media, the main way that bloggers shared our thoughts with the world was to blog about them.  And well, that took some time to do…you had to write it out, find photos (because they kept telling us that we need photos or our posts won’t ever get read), format it, pretty it up, and post it.  Then you had to wait for folks to find it and fingers-crossed, read it and leave a comment.

Then we had Facebook (which I’ll admit, I was way slow in getting into), where we could share whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted with our friends and we had instantaneous feedback in the form of comments or likes (or back in the good ol’ days, even dislikes).  And on Twitter, we had an even bigger audience to share anything and everything (as long as it was 140 characters) with the entire world.  Much like with our blogs, anyone could follow along.  Things went by so quickly on Twitter that it really didn’t matter if folks commented or retweeted or whatever, as long as you had those followers, you were golden.

Which is really just my way of saying that I kind of left the more personal side of blogging, for my social networks.  In particular, for Facebook.  You know where I could share any photo, story, article, or random thought.*  It’s so easy. Oh, how I love me some Facebook *sigh*

As for that “creativity” thing…this is something that I’ve actually been leaning into for the past couple years. I’ve read books. I’ve taken a couple classes.  I’ve picked up art supplies to play with.  I’ve taken my camera everywhere (and now I’m rarely without one thanks to my iPhone). I’ve written, drawn, stamped, colored, painted, taped, glued, and sparkled.

Yet, I still find that I struggle with this concept a bit.

Lately, I’ve gotten more comfortable with the fact that while I might never call myself an artist (let along an artiste!), as an entrepreneur and a writer, I AM creative.  When you think about it, one can’t create a business if they’re not creative.  The mere process of running your business, setting up the systems, creating the products and services…that’s all a creative, artistic process.

I don’t think I really understood that fully until I read Tara Gentile’s The Art of Earning.  She goes into a lot of explanation how the very process of earning income, is an artistic process.  Essentially going on to say that when you get down to it, living life is a creative process.

And this makes sense to me.

As a teacher, I think it’s really important to get our children comfortable with creativity.  Not just art and music.  But the outside of the box thinking that is necessary to succeed in life and business.  The sports, the dance, the story telling, the critical thinking.  All of it. It’s all part of embracing your creativity.

If you’d like to dig a little deeper and learn more about your creative side, I’d recommend you pick up Tara’s book (it’s only $3 for the digital copy – less than a latte at Starbucks).  I think it might get you looking at your daily experiences a little differently.


* if you’d like to follow along my FB journey of randomness, feel free. I don’t friends folks I don’t know, but you’re more than welcome to “subscribe” (and I do share things regularly that my subscribers can access).

Don’t Cover it Up

Back when I was in grad school, I did my final project on domestic violence.  At the time, I had recently worked as an intern at a local facility for court appointed, domestic violence offenders (the abusers) doing intake.

It was a difficult job.  You’d meet these men (during my time, there was only one woman), that we charming and funny and sometimes even good looking, and you’d hear their stories.  During all my intakes, I never got the bitter guy that said “she deserved it”.  No, I always got the charming ones.

So of course, there was also this teeny, tiny part of me that kinda believed that it was an accident.  I mean, the logical part of the brain knew that they were just telling a story.  But the naive, young woman in me sometimes thought that maybe this one was telling the truth.

Which, I must say, make it difficult for this single gal to trust the men she was dating…Were they telling me the truth? were they making up stories? Were they lying through their teeth?

That is, until the day my former boss came in for his intake.

Just to clear the air, he wasn’t my direct boss, but he was the owner of the salon I was working for.  So when I answered the phone, so I recognized his name.  I scheduled his intake and told my boss that I knew him so someone else would need to take the meeting.

When he showed up, he said that he was fine with my doing the interview (clue one he’s convinced he did nothing wrong).  During the whole interview, he went on and on about how it was an accident.  How his wife called the police but it was just to “get back at him” during an argument.  Et cetera, et cetera.

Thing is, I knew him.  Personally.  I was there, both inside his salon as an employee and outside his salon when I worked across the way.  I’d seen the short tempers.  I’d heard the yelling.  I’d seen the rampages.

I didn’t believe a word he said.  I knew better.

That day I decided that I could no longer work with this population of individuals (or substance abusers – domestic violence and substance abuse tend to go hand in hand) and quit.

My heart goes out to anyone that has suffered any sort of abuse…physical, sexual, financial or emotional.  I know they must feel trapped and they don’t realize that there is a way out.  And just as importantly, that they’re not alone and there is support out there.

Which is why when a friend shared this video from YouTube sensation, make-up artist, Lauren Luke I had to share it.  I later realized that it’s a fictionalized account, but it looks so real (especially the fear in her eyes at the end).

It’s a short one (under two minutes)…watch it.

And if it moves you, do whatever you feel you can do to help the cause and support other women in similar situations.  And if you need help, please, know you’re not alone and help is only a phone call away (800-799-SAFE).

This particular campaign is with – if you’re in the US and need help you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-SAFE)

I Hate Fleas!

They say that it only takes 10,000 hours before you are an “expert” at something…anything.  Well, I’m beginning to think that I may be well on the road to becoming a flea expert.  And not by choice!

For the past three months or so, we’ve been dealing with fleas.  We really didn’t think it was all that much of a “problem” since they weren’t bothering us or the cat.  Basically, it was just one or two on the dog.  For three months.

So first we decided to go natural and picked up some Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray.  This stuff basically uses clove and peppermint oils to kill the fleas.  And it works great.  At killing the fleas. Unfortunately, it doesn’t tackle the eggs or the rest of the n0t-quite-fleas-yet buggers.  And sadly for my little guy, it’s pretty potent stuff for his tender belly and it leaves him rashy (but their Hot Spot spray helps with that).  Really, I can’t recommend this stuff enough, but unfortunately in our house, it wasn’t enough.

From there we moved onto the Frontline Plus.  But for some odd reason, that didn’t seem to work as well as it had in the past.  We were actually starting to wonder if we maybe got a bad batch.

About this time, we were considering bombing the house.  But in order to do that, we all would have to leave…including the cat.  So we were calling around to see if anyone did daycare boarding.  We then called the vet to find out if his shots were updated so we could board.  It was at this time that they told us that because we didn’t treat the cat with Frontline at the same time as the dob, the fleas still had someone to feed off.  So off we go to the vet to get some Frontline for the fuzzy one.

So now we have both boys covered with Frontline, and we’re regularly spraying the dog and the room with the Vet’s Best spray.  Still, we’re not really seeing and end in sight.  Until a couple people start mentioning getting Diatomaceous Earth powder to sprinkle around the house.

We took the powder and sprinkled it behind the couch (in the dog’s favorite lounging place), in the dog bed, and on his pillow in the office.  We also sprinkled him directly a time or two.  We still want to sprinkle the couch, but we’re going for baby steps as this stuff isn’t safe to be inhaled directly (and wearing one of those mask thingies is kinda freaky in a claustrophobia sort of way).

I must say, we’re finally seeing an end in sight.  I know the vet said we’d still be dealing with fleas over the next three months as the fleas in their various lifespan become adults.  But it’s better than it was a few weeks ago.

And now, when we find a flea on us, or the dog, we pluck that sucker up and drop it in a cup of peppermint and clove oil water.  Instant death!

The Jury Duty that Didn’t

After a fun-filled weekend celebrating my husband’s birthday, I was more than ready to take part in my civil obligation and sit for jury duty.  That was until I called in to register and see if I was scheduled to show up.

Turns out, out of all the repeated, highlighted and bolded information…phone numbers, juror ID numbers, circuit court numbers, websites, hours, scheduled date, address, etc.,…they felt the need to write out, only once, on the back side of the paper, that you have to register within 5 days of receipt of the summons.  No date, just the phrase “required to register using the telephone withing 5 days of receiving the summons.”  No urgency or date noted in the outlined, boxed, 4-step instructions, merely a mention in step 3 that you need to “register by phone”.

And now, apparently you can’t register the night before. So um…no jury duty for me this week.  This works for me.

I had planned for the week, so I have nothing at all on my schedule.  An entire week without any outside obligations.  Awesome.

Luckily, it was easy enough to reschedule.  So I looked over my calendar and made sure to pick a date far enough away that I could once again schedule around the entire week.  And the minute I received my confirmation of my new dates and hung up I realized that I chose the very week that we had planned our vacation weekend on.


So now we spend most of yesterday and today trying to see if there’s any way we can still swing our vacation (and the member party at our favorite vineyard) and still get back in time.

I call back into the system to see if I can reschedule again.  I figured I’d poke around until I reached a person and try to plead my case for a one week extension.  Luckily, I didn’t have to.  On a fluke I was able to reschedule my week without any problems (even though the recording assured me that this date would not change under any circumstances).

So now we get to go back to planning our vacation.  And you better believe, this vacation will be totally and completely appreciated.

Oh and in case you were wondering…I wouldn’t suggest trying to call in and reschedule your jury duty while you hungover on a weekend’s worth of migraine meds.  Just sayin’.

Oh Noz…It’s Shiny Object Syndrome

Did you know that there’s such a thing as Shiny Object Syndrome?

Have you ever had one of those days where you know you have work to do, you’re trying to get something done (oh, I don’t know, like a newsletter or a blog post…let’s just say), but you find your attention being pulled in 20 different directions?

Did you know there’s actually a name for that?  It’s called Shiny Object Syndrome.  And boy howdy do I seem to have it this week!

You see, it’s not quite ADD or ADHD where you can’t focus on anything longer than for a few moments.  It’s more like while you’re trying to focus on a particular task, your mind gets pulled into another direction and then another.  It becomes really frustrating when you have something that really needs to get done.

I’m set up for jury duty next week so I’m trying to get ahead on things like blog posts, newsletter articles and status updates and tweets for my business.  But somehow, instead of focusing on the tasks at hand, I’m out there thinking about a whole bunch of other, non-business, non-task oriented things…

  • How the dog needs to be groomed and will that help to finally get the fleas and his itching under control?
  • What are we going to do my husband’s upcoming birthday and when will I have time to buy his gift and should I wrap it and does that really matter?
  • What should I get the little nephews for their birthdays and is there an easy and inexpensive way to get them something?  What do little boys even want?
  • Where is that book I wanted to give to my friend for part of her baby gift?  If I can’t find it what do I get instead?
  • Why did I donate all those baby gifts last year thinking that all my friends were done having babies?
  • When will I have time to get all these gifts?  Is it possible to buy everything at one store?  Target maybe?
  • Can you believe it’s birthday season already?  From this week through the next 4 months I’ll have over 10 gifts to buy for family…yikes!
  • What can I do to do to get the garden in better shape and with all this rain, when will I have the time to do that?
  • Will the Square Foot Gardening class still be going on in the rain this weekend?
  • Will ordering some worms be enough to salvage the dirt, or will I need to do more?
  • What am I going to wear tonight to the Sassy City Fashion Bash and will it rain and how will that affect what I’m going to wear?
  • what’s for dinner and when am I going to get around to washing the sink full of dishes if I have work to do today and somewhere to go tonight?

Oh Lordy!

Hopefully now that I’ve gotten all these raging questions out of my head I’ll be able to get back to work on the 3 other articles I’d like to write today before heading out.

Things Change. Life Happens.

Go for it now.  The future is promised to no one.

~ Wayne Dyer

Wow. I guess I didn’t realize just how long I’ve been gone from here. My last post was Thanksgiving Day – over 2 months ago.

Not cool.

I think I’ve been avoiding coming over here because well, like the title says…life happens and things change.  I felt more of a draw to my business blog and newsletter than to chat about life here in LA.  And of course, it doesn’t help that we haven’t really been up to much locally.  Funny how when the resources dry up, the going out also seems to dry up.

Which makes me think that I might go out and change up the focus here on the blog a bit.  While it will still be more of a personal, out and about sort of thing, I’m thinking that I’d like to try my hand at sharing some of my favorite things.  This might include…places to see, books to read, recipes to try, words and thoughts to motivate.  Who knows.

And while I won’t allow another 2 months to go by between posts, I won’t be writing daily.  But I will be here and I will continue to share tidbits and ramblings from the life and times of this LA Blogger Gal.

NaBloPoMo: Shall We Try it Again?

I’ve been participating in NaBloPoMo for the past few years.

Some years I finish.  Some years I give up.

I wasn’t going to participate this year since I’ve kinda abandoned this blog (seems I spend most of my time on Facebook these days).  But I thought that maybe this might be just the motivation I need to get things going again.

Thing is, counting this personal blog, I also have two other business blogs and a newsletter.  And if I stick to writing on all three, daily….well, that’s a lot of writing!

So I might just switch things up a bit and instead of posting at one blog or on each daily, I’ll commit to writing (and posting) daily across all three blogs.  And I’ll still be writing for my weekly business newsletter.

And to give me something to focus on…I’m thinking I’ll go forward with a 30 Days of Gratitude theme.

DAY ONE – Just Breathe: I just had a meltdown carrying the groceries and wet laundry from the car to my door.  You see, I once again seem to be sick (waiting for the doc to call in my prescription to the pharmacy) and just the short walk from the car to the door left me stopping twice.  By the time I made it inside, I just lost it and started crying like a baby.  Which then led to a little bit of a panic attack…seems when you’re having trouble breathing, your nose is clogged and you start crying…you have even MORE trouble breathing.  When then leads to the holy shit panic attack when you realize that it’s even harder to catch a breath.  Luckily I was able to talk myself into slowing down and leaving the crying behind for the breathing.  So for today…I am grateful that I can breathe easily and effortlessly.

Allowing For an Imperfect Life

imperfection is your ally

by Peter John Chen

Well, I could whine and harp about how I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to blog in ages. But really, what would that accomplish?

Instead I figure it’s best to acknowledge that I’m by no means perfect (who is?) and just jump right back in and start blogging again.

And of course, now that I say I’m going to do that, I can’t exactly think of something pithy or witty to say. Go figure.

I have realized though that often times, we hold ourselves up to some lofty and crazy expectations. In my case, I recently decided to sign up for a ten week business program with a 2 hour+ weekly commitment.

I knew that this wasn’t the best time. I was already way behind in blogging (both personally and professionally) and I haven’t touched my newsletter in weeks. I was also just finishing up my Beyond Social Media Basics Intensive with immediate plans to redesign and relaunch the program.

On top of it all, I managed to book 4 out of town trips within an 8 week window. One of those trips is yet another business conference. And all the while I need to finishing putting the office back together (some might call it organizing, I’m thinking it’s slightly closer to breaking the pre-hoarding cycle).

And as could only be expected…I feel behind in the (10 week ) program that I paid some good money for.

I could beat myself up about this. But instead, I figured I might as well practice the fine art of imperfection.

I knew before I even started that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with it all. No one could.

So instead, I’ve decided to move at my own pace and be grateful for being able to do so. I have to say, once I decided to allow for this (and chose to not beat myself up), it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’m no longer clenching my teeth. I feel more relaxed.

Which of course makes me wonder…why do we often hold ourselves up to such high and often stress-inducing expectations? Why can’t we just go with the flow and allow stuff…life…to just happen?

As Ieyasu Tokugawa reminds us, “Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair.”

That works for me.