Friday, April 30, 2010

Stamps to the Rescue!

Today, the USPS released its “Animal Rescue: Adopt a Shelter Pet” commemorative stamps and I made a special trip to my local Post Office at lunch to buy a sheet.

Every one of my pets (including my current two adorable and awesome cats) have been rescued in one way or another and I couldn’t be more grateful to all the animal shelters out there. They do a wonderful thing for amazing animals and deserve all of the recognition and help that they can get.

One of the celebrities helping is Ellen DeGeneres - my favorite animal advocate and philanthropist. She unveiled the stamps a few weeks ago on her talk show (which I watch religiously) and announced plans for her food company Halo: Purely for Pets to donate a million meals to shelters around the country.

Be still my heart. I couldn’t love Ellen anymore if I tried!

I’ve been an avid fan of her show since day one and will readily admit that her various campaigns to give back completely inspired me to be more philanthropic…which eventually led me to start Live Love Life Now™.

From the bottom of my heart I send my thanks to the USPS, American Humane Association, Halo: Purely for Pets, Humane Society of the US and for working together to promote these stamps and this important cause.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Get Yourself an Action Buddy

I’ve noticed that when people attempt a big life change, they’re often advised to team up with somebody going down the same path…in order to keep the other strong, motivated and from falling off the wagon (literally or figuratively).

On the reality TV show “Kirstie Alley’s Big Life”, Kirstie enlists her handyman Jim to be her partner in weight loss. Once he agrees, she begins to call him her Chubby Buddy.

It was hysterical and genius! And that’s when I decided that I wanted one too.

Fortunately, I already had the perfect person in mind.

A few months ago, a co-worker and myself were complaining about the office (everybody’s favorite pastime) when it dawned on me that we were in the same boat. We had both hit a wall at work and felt unfilled in our current jobs…but we were a little hesitant to take the next step out of the situation.

But now that we’ve gotten tired of complaining and are ready to take that first step, we’ve decided to partner up in order to push the other to follow through with her goals.

And so far it’s working like a charm! I’ve already crossed off two things that have been sitting on my to do list for way too long.

Of course I think we’re helped by the fact that we’re both Virgo’s and abhor the idea of letting somebody else down. But hey, who doesn’t love turning a negative into a positive?

Action Buddies U-N-I-T-E!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Giving Back can be Good Exercise

I’m not one of those people that volunteer a hundred hours a year or give thousands of dollars to charitable organizations…but I wish I were.

So I’m designing Live Love Life Now as my vehicle to giving back by always contributing a portion of the proceeds to those in need.

But I don’t want to wait till the business is up and running to start my philanthropy, so I’m starting to carve out more of my own time to volunteer.

This past Saturday, I signed up with Greater DC Cares to participate in their annual Servathon. Assigned to refinishing used and abused classroom furniture at a local YMCA, my donation to the cause was a little bit of elbow grease – and it felt great!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Perseverance Always Wins!

My boyfriend is one of my biggest inspirations.

His life hasn’t always been easy but he has always remained a positive, calm and loving person. He’s never let any setback get the better of him or break his resolve to follow his passions in music and filmmaking.

Tonight, his many years of determination and perseverance brought him acknowledgement and accolades at Tribeca Film Festival. Not being there to share in the celebration is heartbreaking but I’m on cloud nine in spirit.

Watching him struggle for all these years to pursue his passion and build a career has been difficult at times but always inspirational. He truly exemplifies what I mean by Live Love Life Now.

I am so proud of him and what he’s accomplished. He’s truly creating his American Dream and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Reality Bites

There’s one downside to vacations. They end.

Of course that’s a necessary evil - for if we were on vacation all the time, we would never appreciate it.

But when vacations end, reality comes on like a shockingly cold shower – miserable and desperately unwanted.

Today was my first official day back to reality. Yesterday was my go-between: the day in between traveling and going back to work. It was far less peaceful than I had anticipated.

I had been looking forward to sleeping in and relaxing all day with my cats. But when I woke up, my mind started to race with everything I wanted to do, needed to do and hadn’t done yet.

Geez, can I at least wash my face first?

Being on vacation is an escape. When you leave your normal environment, you don’t have any of your reminders of things to do. And you have the luxury of knowing that you can’t accomplish anything because you’re away from home and away from everything you need in order to do anything productive.

Yesterday, it felt like the five days worth of stress I normally would have experienced had all been released at once. At one point, I actually found myself saying the alphabet just to try and stop my mind from racing.

I’d like to say that that made going back to work today easier. But I can’t.

It was awful. I was immediately reminded again of the limbo that my life is in and how much I don’t want to be wasting my days away in an office.

On the upside (surprised I can actually think of one?), tomorrow is Friday and I can Thank God for that!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gone Fishing

In case you’ve noticed, the peanut gallery has been a little quiet the past few days. That’s because I’ve hitched my wagon to my sister’s business trip (read: free hotel) and gone on vacation.

As I’m sure it’s very obvious, this break was desperately needed.

And along with some cool souvenirs, I’m hoping to bring home a little serenity.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Sign from Above

After days of riding my erratic emotional roller coaster, I was having a hard time holding ‘it’ together. I felt like I was moving in a fog of depression, stuck in a limbo of indecision.

I wanted a change but didn’t know exactly what to do and I was exhausting myself with all of the possibilities.

And that’s when I got the sign from above.

Let Go, Let God

That was the message staring back at me from the license plate holder of the car in front of me at a red light. And it took me a second to realize just how familiar the message was.

In fact, it was one of my mom’s favorites and she often reminded me of the saying during tough times.

So like I had done many times before, I released all of my frustration and stress and depression upwards…and immediately felt lighter.

It’s been three days since and I haven’t gotten any more signs from above but I know that I’m on the right path and things will be clearer soon. The first step I needed to take was in acknowledging that I couldn’t take on all of this alone.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Seven-Year Itch

Last Wednesday was my seven-year anniversary at work.

In the past, I would have prepped my co-workers about my upcoming ‘special day’ because I can be a little bit of an attention whore (don’t worry, I am seeking counsel for this). But I didn’t remind anyone about this year’s anniversary and I was relieved when the day passed without the slightest mention.

You see there’s a joke around my office that once you hit seven years, you’re stuck for life and you’ll never leave. In the past, I had always laughed this off vowing that I’d never, ever, ever stay that long.

Sigggh, I should have known better. And perhaps deep down I did.

Like most people, I’m a creature of habit and not a fan of change. It had been stressful enough finding the job the first time around…I knew it’d be quite some time before I was ready to go on the hunt again.

Well I think I’m ready now. This seven-year anniversary has really put me on a roller coaster of emotions. It’s actually left me wanting to just up and quit on numerous occasions over the last few days. While I think some of those extreme emotions may be due to early PMS (darn chemical imbalances!), I know it is all rooted in truth.

I will never regret the job and all of the knowledge and experience it has given me, but I need to finally grow a pair and start working on the escape plan. I have seen so many people come and go at my office and I’m starting to feel a twinge of jealousy every time somebody else moves on.

Well that needs to be me…and soon. Just like the way my 30th birthday made me start to re-evaluate my life and what I want out of it, so has this been another wake-up call.

I just hope I don’t hit the snooze button for another seven years!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Quote of the Day

“You can plan for the future but what you live is the moment.”

Sometimes the most obvious and simple messages are the most eye opening.

At my boyfriend’s insistence, I have started to read Emilio Estefan’s new book “The Rhythm of Success”. In it, he discusses his life story and how it relates to his business successes. It’s sort of a memoir and a business book rolled into one.

Emilio credits his father for the above quote, because he always taught him to stay positive and to live in the moment. Seems like an obvious statement, but one we tend to forget all too often.

I know I stress about the future, and the past, all too often…and forget to take advantage of the now. But awareness is the first step to overcoming a bad habit and I’m going to remain conscious of the present from now on!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Virginia is for (Book) Lovers

I am officially a grown-up.

I have joined a book club.

And crossed off something else on my bucket list. I know it may sound silly but I’ve always wanted to join a book club. It always seemed like a very adult thing to do.

Now we haven’t read any books yet, but if it’s going to be anything like the first meeting – I’m definitely hooked! Our inaugural gathering consisted of having a picnic under a tree at the National Arboretum, enjoying the gorgeous spring weather...oh and talking about books.

My only concern about being a part of a book club though is having anything to say at the next get together. You see, my reading level is high but my retention level is low, very low.

But maybe I won’t have anything to worry about because everybody knows that most book clubs are actually fronts for wine tasting…so we’ll see how much discussion about books actually happen.

But I don’t really care because I’m just looking forward to having an excuse to read something besides emails and magazines.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It’s Almost as if I Don’t Like Money

If you got tax refunds most years, wouldn’t you rush to file your tax returns in order to get that refund as soon as possible?

Well if you’re me, then the answer is no. In fact, I only just filed my returns last night. On the up side, I did get them in a week before April 15th so that’s kind of a win, right?

So note to self for next year – remember this feeling and FILE EARLY! And then go out and reward yourself with something pretty.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thank You Karma!

In this day and age, it’s easy to be cynical…especially if you live in a big city. Last night I tried my hardest not to be.

After an admittedly frustrating day at work, I was thankful to go to yoga class and relax. As usual, I felt tons better afterwards.

And then I met Janet*.

Janet was a slightly older woman in a sleeveless long dress that stopped me on my way home for help. She appeared frazzled and explained that she was brand new to the area and had just been in a car accident in her mother’s car. The car had been towed, her mother was out of town, she didn’t know anybody in the area and had no way home.

I know, I know, it sounds like a classic scam right? That’s what I was trying to figure out in my head while she was talking. I dissected her story, her expression, her clothes, her mannerisms…anything to give me a clue to her honesty. In the end I believed her sincerity more than I disbelieved her and gave her some cab money.

As I headed home though, my inner cynic came out and I started to question my decision…and fell into a depression based on the belief that I had just been scammed. My boyfriend and sister tried to make me feel better but I just couldn’t get the incident out of my head and continued thinking of ways I could have handled the situation differently.

This morning, I was still obsessing over what had happened. Fed up with myself and not wanting to put a damper on the whole day, I finally released the incident and any possible feelings of regret. I figured on the bright side, I had helped someone out (even if they didn’t really need it) and I’d have a few extra karma points on my side.

Less than an hour later, while driving to work, I got a call from one of my co-workers informing me that a water main break near our office had closed down our building and everybody was to work from home – YES!

So thank you Janet - the money I gave you was certainly worth a day home from the office!

And thank you karma - I will never doubt again that you have my back!

* The cynical side of me thinks that Janet probably wasn’t her real name.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Procrastination is an Expensive Habit

Two steps forward, one step back.

So last year I committed to starting my own company and began to buy up domains as soon as I had come up with the name of my business. Due to my lack of commitment and uncertainty about actually going through with the whole thing, I only registered them for one year.

Fast-forward to January.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been ignoring renewal emails from GoDaddy. It actually took me a few weeks to even open the first email and when I did I saw that my first domain was going to expire on March 6th. And so I made a mental note to go online that night and make sure that it would auto renew.

Last night, I finally sat down to handle all of the renewals and started to mentally kick myself when I realized I had missed the March 6th cut off! I started to kick myself harder after I called customer service and found out that there was an $80 penalty fee for getting back an expired domain.


I was informed that if I registered the domain for 5 years, GoDaddy would kindly discount half of the fee OR I could buy a 10-year registration and not pay any of the late fee. Ah, the catch.

So even though it scares my commitment phobic self to commit to 10 years, I went with option B because at least all of my money would go towards the domain and not to the fee. I thought maybe that would lessen the feeling of guilt and regret over having succumbed once again to my old ways. So far it hasn’t worked because even though I’m not paying the penalty fee, the 10-year registration cost me $199!