Posted in Awesome Stuff

Take a Little Trip

The news these days continues to be rough on the soul….thank goodness some people are still sharing the good stuff. Check out this story of some penguins at the aquarium in Chicago (do yourself a favor and click on the video links – they’re bloody delightful!):

After Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium was forced to close amid the coronavirus pandemic, staff decided to let a few waddling residents out of their enclosures for a field trip.

The aquarium shared videos on Twitter of three penguins checking out exhibits from the other side of the glass.

“Without guests in the building, caretakers are getting creative in how they provide enrichment to animals,” the aquarium said in a statement. “Introducing new experiences, activities, foods and more to keep them active, encourage them to explore, problem-solve and express natural behaviors.”

In one video, a rockhopper penguin named Wellington visits the aquarium’s Amazon Rising exhibit, which features creatures from the Amazon River basin, the largest river system and rainforest on Earth. At 30, Wellington is the oldest penguin at the aquarium and has lived there since it opened in 1991.

In another video, a pair of bonded rockhopper penguins named Edward and Annie waddle past a tank full of sharks and rays. Eventually, they wander all the way toward the information desk.

Some zoos which are closed due to coronavirus concerns have stayed connected with the public by livestreaming shows with popular animals like Fiona the hippo at The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. The El Paso Zoo’s “zoo cams” also let viewers sneak a peek at the daily life of meerkats, sea lions, giraffes, orangutans and more.

Meanwhile, other animals like Hector, a Patagonian mara at the Fort Worth Zoo, have also stepped out for some fresh air while the zoo is closed. Hector got to meet three excited otters during his trek Benji, Hudson and Makita.

Shedd, which will remain closed until March 29, invited the public to follow along digitally as Edward and Annie begin to build their nests next week.

“And yes, Wellington will return!” the aquarium tweeted.

This is the kind of stuff I’m living for at the moment – how about you? Hope you’re doing okay, and that you have all the TP you could possibly need. 😊


PS: Happy St Patrick’s Day! 🍀 Lets celebrate with the Muppets:

Posted in Awesome Stuff

Fear Me

I have been a massive sufferer of FOMO for most of my life – and it has caused some serious damage to me, physically, emotionally, and financially. When I was young, the thought that everyone was out doing something fun and I wasn’t drove me nuts – I didn’t know how to be comfortable and happy with what I was doing. In my adult life, I struggled with the notion of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ BS’…and I’m sure I will be paying off that credit card debt for many moons to come. My fear of missing out on things caused me to live beyond my means, to stretch myself when I shouldn’t have…and likely made me a very annoying, and pathetic, person to be around. Argh. So much time wasted. Thankfully, I seem to be overcoming all of it – but what a ride it has been. The tips offered in this article are VERY useful – hopefully they will help you, too. Who cares what others are doing in their lives? Focusing on your own should be pleasure enough. 😊

Why FOMO is Addictive and How to Overcome It by Jade Nyx

What is FOMO?
The official definition of FOMO is:
Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.
But I don’t need to tell you what the definition is, you have all experienced how it feels when your friends are on social media doing something and you aren’t. Missing out on all those jokes, adventures and plans. Feeling excluded.
We have all felt the gnawing anxiety of FOMO as it ruins our once happy moods with envy and sadness. Even if we got invited. Even if we turned down going to this event simply because we didn’t want to. Even if we couldn’t think of anything worse to be doing. FOMO does not discriminate. FOMO worms it’s way into your mindset and sets of that anxiety that makes you breathe just a little faster.

Why Do We Fear Missing Out?
Simply, because we are humans. We are social creatures and most importantly, pack animals. To be socially included is a survival instinct.
If we were rejected by our pack, we were left out to the elements to die so it is biologically programmed into us to want to be included and be a part of the pack.
Since the days of being a cave humans, our societies have drastically progressed since then. Social rejection doesn’t mean death anymore, it is more death to the ego than actual death. But since the rise of Social Media, our primal FOMO has resurfaced because all the things we could be doing to be included are shoved in our face 24/7.
Life isn’t one long party, in between the parties and fun adventures, there is mundane, routine life! And while our routine, mundane life can be wonderful, we still get insecure that our life isn’t perceived as interesting and that is thanks to Social Media.
How FOMO Affects Our Lives
40 years ago, FOMO wasn’t that much a problem because long distance communication wasn’t great. Instead of having 500 hundred friends, we have a few friends that were nearby and if they were doing something, we had no idea and therefore, were not triggered to feel FOMO. Unless someone rubbed it in your face that you weren’t there, then we felt left out.
But now, social media dominates our lives with everyone’s exciting highlights reel bombarding our minds. We always make the assumption that everyone else’s life is so much fuller and more exciting than our own.
Information Overload
Thanks to advancing technology, we are subjected to huge amounts of information constantly and it is too much for our brain.
We can’t tell what person has done what, it all kind of blurs into one and that one person is everyone. Everyone is doing all this cool stuff, all the time, 24/7 and you aren’t. All this information is emotionally and mentally overwhelming us and it is exhausting.
FOMO is a cyclic compulsion that we can’t quit. We are addicted to distraction, using social media as a mental break, in doing so making ourselves feel bad from FOMO and so we scroll more.
We are addicted to social media and we are not good at practicing good social media health.
As much as I would like to blame social media giants for creating platforms that are designed to be addictive, we are the ones that open the app, scroll and feed the addiction everyday. We are the ones that don’t unfollow bad channels, bad people and negativity.
In real life, if someone doesn’t bring you happiness and joy, you avoid them and you avoid all communication with them. But you still have them as a facebook friend, you have unfollowed them in real life but not in your virtual life which is in many ways worse.
So what is the result of this overwhelming information and lack of proper social media care?
Your mental health is in tatters. FOMO has a detrimental effect on our mental health, causing mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, anxiety and depression.

You see all these things happening around you and you feel overwhelmed by the huge amount of things going on without you.
There are so many avenues to go down and you don’t have the time, energy or resources to all of these things. Even if we did one of them, there will always be 10,000 more things that other people are doing and we feel insignificant.
Specifically, fear of exclusion. You feel excluded and therefore afraid on a base level, like if you missed out on this one thing, you will be excluded forever and therefore, fear for your survival in a social group.
Self Hate
We feel uninteresting, boring and average. Fearing that we will be perceived as boring if we don’t attend all the social events, even if we didn’t want to go.
We instinctively care about what people think of us and we use this information to bully ourselves. Making us anxious and depressed, which in turn, makes us anxious at social events so we can’t have fun.
Being Set in a Comparison Mindset
The comparison mindset is a cancer that ruins your life.
We love to compare ourselves to others to work out where we are on the scale of success, because we love succeeding and progressing. It is in our nature. But the comparison mindset only leads to self hate because we are finding reasons we aren’t succeeding and we bully ourselves about it.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone because you aren’t comparable in any form. No one has walked your life, not even an identical twin and no one has what you have. Instead of bullying yourself for your lacks, focus on your blessings and express gratitude for it.

How to Overcome FOMO
FOMO kills happiness. Comparison is the thief of joy and as we compare our lives to those on social media, even though we cannot be compared because our lives are so beautifully different. So what can we do to overcome it?
1. Know That Social Media Isn’t Reality
Understand that social media isn’t reality, there are so many posts of happy cheerful faces doing something cool and being included. But it doesn’t tell the story of the person who is smiling through gritted teeth because really, they didn’t want to be there.
2. Embrace JOMO
JOMO is the Joy In Missing Out<>. When you feel the tugs of comparison and fear, just remind yourself of your worth and take a moment to show gratitude to what you are doing right now.
What you are doing right now is someone else’s dream. Practice gratitude<> and remind yourself that just because something else is happening without you, doesn’t mean they you aren’t important.
3. Reassurance
Reassuring yourself that just because something is happening doesn’t mean that your worth is affected in anyway.
FOMO is caused by a instinctual fear for survival. The best way to deal with a fear is to reassure yourself that you are safe and you are physically, emotionally and mentally are safe. You are still interesting, important and full of worth.
4. Ask Yourself, “Did You Really Want to Be There?”
Seriously, did you really want to be there? I know the travel FOMO when someone is on a warm beach in living Bali with the beautiful yoga poses and you feel the FOMO. But ask yourself, do you really want that life? It isn’t as great as instagram makes it seem.
Also, we get FOMO from parties and events that if we were there, we would hate. We often just want to be seen doing something so we feel cool so people will think we are interesting, which leads to.
5. Try Not to Care What People Think of You
This one isn’t so easily done but it shouldn’t matter what people think of you. You shouldn’t spend your life trying to get favorable opinions from people who wouldn’t turn up to your funeral.
6. See the Larger Picture
We sit there and torture ourselves on all the things that we are missing out on. The reality is, in your entire life, this one thing that is making you feel the FOMO is a grain of sand in the ocean. In less than 24 hours, it won’t matter to you at all, so don’t let it ruin your day because in your whole life, it is nothing.
7. Make More Plans
If you feel FOMO because you feel like you aren’t doing much with your life, go and do something. You are the master of your life.
If you feel like you are being left out, go to more events with people. Alternatively, if you are an introvert like me, try a class, learn a new skill, book a flight, go on a walk, cut your hair. Go do things while you still can! Life is short so fill it with adventure!
8. Self-Care
Check in with your emotions more and take better care of yourself. Take time each day to sit and watch the rain with a cup of tea or meditate, nap, go for a short walk. Spend some time not connected to the internet so your brain has a moment to play catch up and rest.
9. Clear up Your Social Media
Get rid of anything that makes you feel sad, down or depressed on social media. Make sure your social media is a place of positivity and happiness.
The benefit of social Clear up Your Social Media media is you can unfollow people but not unfriend them. In this way, you can stop listening to their opinions all day without hurting their feelings.
10. Be Excited for Other People
If you see someone who is on holiday and you feel the FOMO, you don’t have to unfollow them or throw shade. Be happy for them.
Be grateful for where you are right now and the adventures you have had. Be happy for all these people who are living amazing fun lives and know that it has nothing to do with you.
Final Thoughts
FOMO is a mindset that makes us feel anxious, depressed and most commonly, boring and uninteresting. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
FOMO is only going to get more and more difficult as more of our lives go online, so I hope these techniques can help you overcome FOMO more easily.

Good advice, eh? I know! I hope it helps you – enjoy your day, friends!


Posted in Awesome Stuff

How Much is that Doggie in the Window?

If this doesn’t make your day, I’m not sure what will:

Nice IKEA Store Opens Its Doors To Protect Stray Dogs From The Cold

Staff at this IKEA store in Catania, Italy, have gone above and beyond merely selling furnishing to fill a house — they’ve begun providing a home to pups who need it most. 

And the reception from customers couldn’t be warmer.

Martine Taccia was on a shopping trip to the retail giant on a chilly autumn day recently when she was surprised to discover a group of dogs nestled cozily among a living room display. 

“My reaction was pure amazement,” Taccia told The Dodo. “It’s not a common thing.”

But, as it turns out, the dogs were local strays — and that little taste of home was actually a gift.

Taccia came to learn that the store had decided to open its doors to homeless pups in the area to give them refuge from the elements. And the welcome came with more than just a safe place to stay. 

“The dogs receive daily food and pampering from IKEA’s employees and customers,” Taccia said. “Some dogs have even found a family, going home with customers.” 

Though it does not appear that IKEA’s Catania location publicly advertises this policy of letting in needy pups, it’s certainly made a positive impression on guests like Taccia. Another customer, Beppe Liotta, was likewise smitten with the store’s dog-friendly initiative.  

“I felt a feeling of deep tenderness and great happiness in seeing dogs crouched in the exhibition space at the entrance of the IKEA,” Liotta told The Dodo.

As a self-proclaimed animal lover, Liotta hopes other businesses will follow suit by opening their doors (and their hearts) to animals whose sad circumstances are all too often overlooked. 

“If all the stores that had the space would make a place of refuge for strays, I would be really happy,” he said. 

And Liotta’s certainly not alone.

Isn’t that beautiful????? SO proud of IKEA for this one!!!! Pups make everything better. ♥️🐶


Posted in Awesome Stuff


I saw this article this morning, and it made my day – we all need to try some of these things:

50 ways to be ridiculously generous — and feel ridiculously good.

I realized — many years ago — that when I behave generously, I feel rich. And I like to feel rich. So I choose to be generous.

But “behaving generously” doesn’t necessarily mean “donating money” or “giving away your last cookie.”

You can share knowledge freely, instead of hoarding it. You can send a hand-written note, instead of a text message. You can make eye contact, instead of checking out. You can make a life-changing introduction for a friend, instead of letting them “connect the dots” on their own. 

You can do big things. Small things. Simple things. All kinds of things.

You will never run out of ideas. You will never run out of love. You will only create more. 

What would happen if …

You said “thank you” 50 different ways, to 50 different people, every day, for the next 50 days? 

The possibilities are beyond imagining, but one thing’s for certain: 

You’re about to become everybody’s favorite person.

Starting today, join me in 50 days of ridiculous, shocking generosity.

You don’t need to “prepare.” 

You don’t have to “buy anything.” 

You don’t need to “give it some thought.” 

You don’t have to “clear space on your calendar.”

You just need to fold generosity into your day, in little ways, every day.

Here are 50 prompts and possibilities to inspire you.

(It’s going to feel so good.)

Day 1: Compliment three strangers: a child, someone your own age, and an elder. Congratulate them on something highly-specific — “Way to rock that tricycle, kiddo!” — or simply say: “You look lovely today.”

Day 2: Find a Little Free Library near you and donate a book. Can’t find one? Start one. 

Day 3: That public radio station or podcast you’ve been streaming for months — or years? Become a member. Don’t put it off. And while you’re at it? Send a gushing, praise-filled email to the production team. 

Day 4: Find a blogger who’s been slammed with mean comments lately. Send them a love note. Tell them to keep writing.

Day 5: Choose a local show — improv! stand-up comedy! storyslam! indie rock! — and bring a MASS AVALANCHE of friends. Scream. Cheer. Make the hardworking, little-thanked performers feel like superstars.

Day 6: Choose a struggling (or not so struggling) artist and publicly thank them on Twitter, Insta, or somewhere else on the Internet. “I love your work. Please keep going.”

Day 7: Choose a big-name celebrity that you admire and write them a genuine, heartfelt letter of thanks. Just to say, “Your work really moves me and I appreciate what you do.” No “request” or “ask” or “gimme” attached.

Day 8: Offer to take a photo of a sweet couple in love. When you email it to them, send along a GiftBit gift certificate, too — for a bottle of wine, or a couple of coffees. 

Day 9: See a bicycle with a basket parked on the street? Put flowers in it.

Day 10: Sponsor a local yoga class. Buy up 10 or 20 spots, and give them away to strangers. Or neighbors. Yoga for everybody!

Day 11: Tell a teenager: “You are so brilliant. I can’t wait to see who you become. And I love who you are, right now.”

Day 12: Tell your mom (or someone who feels like your mom): “You raised me right. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from you? This: _______________.”

Day 13: Tell your dad (or someone who feels like your dad): “You’ve given me so many gifts. Like the ability to _______________, and the confidence to _______________. Thank you.”

Day 14: Be like Diane von Furstenberg and start your day by sending out one email specifically designed to help somebody else — without directly benefiting you at all — before you do anything else. Make introductions, send some encouragement, offer a helpful resource or link. 

Day 15: Prowl through your closet and donate some treasures to Dress For Success — or its equivalent in your country. You’ll de-clutter your wardrobe and help a struggling lady look like a star at her next job interview.

Day 16: Put away your smartphone and close down your inbox for a day (or just an hour). Give the world the gift of your undivided, non-digital attention.

Day 17: Experiment with Tonglen meditation: inhale suffering (yours and others), exhale compassion (for the whole world). 

Day 18: Tip generously. Not sure how much? This is how much. Except double it.

Day 19: Record a Vocaroo message for someone you’ve been meaning to thank for awhile. Tell them: “Keep this audio note and replay it whenever you’re doubting your awesomeness.”

Day 20: Buy a meal for a stranger and start a magical chain reaction.

Day 21: Do somebody else’s laundry. Ask for nothing in return. 

Day 22: Turn a photo from your smartphone into a real postcard. Send it.

Day 23: Give someone a grrrrreat massage. Here’s how.

Day 24: Get outlandishly excited about a small piece of good news from a friend. (“You did WHAT? Just like THAT? You’re AMAZING!”) Model the kind of unbridled enthusiasm that you want to see in the world. 

Day 25: Overwhelmed with things to read? Instead of cancelling your newspaper or magazine subscriptions, donate them to a local school for a few months (like this) till you’re ready to start receiving them again. Or not.

Day 26: Riding the bus? Waiting in line? Strike up a fascinating conversation with somebody who looks bored, sad or checked out. Start by simply asking: “What was the BEST part of your day?”

Day 27: Applying for a job? Trying to woo a client? Or even just make a friend? Send them something useful and astonishingly generous … before asking for anything. (It will change your world.)

Day 28: Create a generous “auto-responder” (sometimes called an “out of office” message or “vacation auto reply” message) for your email … full of links, resources, fun videos, answers to commonly asked questions, maybe a complimentary gift, or whatever else you want to include. This is such an easy way to offer people something inspiring, entertaining, helpful (or all of the above!) automatically. They can enjoy the cool stuff … while they await your reply. (Want to see some creative examples? Check this out.) 

Day 29: Buy a massage for a veteran of war. (Just call a local massage therapist, make a payment, and then contact your local veteran’s health administration and pass along the details.) 

Day 30: Call up a friend who’s been having a rough time — or just an agonizingly busy week. Say: “Let me vacuum for you.” (They might weep.)

Day 31: Make a mixtape of uplifting, positive, soul-affirming tunes. Label it: “Listen to this when you need to remember who you are.” Leave the CD (or several copies) in a local coffeeshop. 

Day 32: Send a story tip to a local reporter. (Especially if it’s good news.)

Day 33: Leave a wrapped gift on top of your trashcan with a note for your friendly neighborhood waste disposal professional. They deal with unspeakable filth, every week, all for YOU.

Day 34: Brew up a big pot of (good) coffee. Fill up some eco-friendly disposable cups. Offer free java to everyone at work — or the bus stop. 

Day 35: Buy an Amazon gift for a total stranger. (Search wishlists here.)

Day 36: Four words: gourmet ice cream delivery.

Day 37: Choose a friend. Any friend. Grab a notebook. (Or … this book.) Fill the book with love notes and compliments written by you, and other people, too. Give it to your friend, and tell them it’s a High School Yearbook for the Soul.

Day 38: Make an 8Tracks or Spotify playlist for your favorite human. Extra credit: give your playlist a special “reason” or “theme,” like, “Listen to this while you’re getting ready for your first date with Zach!” or, “Pump-yourself-up music to play before you deliver your TEDx Talk. You’re going to do GREAT.”

Day 39: Leave a platter of treats in the common area of your office or apartment building. Extra credit: a handwritten card with an inspirational quote and a list of ingredients (for folks who are plagued with allergies).

Day 40: Pray for someone. Or if you don’t pray: send love.

Day 41: Nominate a talented friend for an award. Like The Bloggies. Or The Webbies. Or The Stevies. Or … any other award in your city, state, country, etc. You could also make up an imaginary award (“Best Dog Walker of the Century”) and present it to someone you love.

Day 42: Help somebody land their dream job. Proof a friend’s resume. Rock out a mock interview. Loan them your lucky blazer. Tell them: “You’ve got this.”

Day 43: Volunteer to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur through your local SCORE chapter. (You don’t have to be an “expert” or know “everything.” You just have to know a few things … more than they do.)

Day 45: Leave a rave review on the iTunes page of your favorite podcast. Gush. Five stars. Bravo!

Day 46: Arrange a luxurious gift for a public school teacher. A concert pass. A nice bottle of wine. God, they need some love. 

Day 47: Drag a friend — kicking and screaming — on stage to read a poem, do karaoke or tell a joke. Roar and cheer for them. Show them it’s safe to be visible — to be seen.

Day 48: Ask someone, “How was your day — really?” Let that person talk about themselves, past the point of comfort. Lean in. Stay there. Be present. Let ’em ramble. Give it that extra five minutes. 

Day 49: Send a pizza to your best friend’s office. Lunch = sorted. Surprise!

Day 50: Be ridiculous and shocking and start this 50-day cycle of generosity … all over again. Just because you can.

Great ideas, eh? I know!!!! I LOVE these, and can’t wait to try some out!! Woohoo!!!


Posted in Awesome Stuff

Know Yourself

A few years ago, I did some side work as a Virtual Assistant. I had a few clients that I worked with, and while I ultimately decided that this type of work wasn’t for me (actually, the truth was that the type of clients I was working with weren’t for me), I learned SO much – about myself, and what I’m willing to put up with.

One of my clients wanted to pay me for four hours of work per week, yet wanted me to answer phone calls and set up appointments for him 8:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday. That seems slightly more than four hours, don’t you think? I asked if he wanted to increase my hours – no. I asked if there was a way we could work something out so that I would have clients leave quick messages and call them back throughout the time that I was scheduled to work? Nope. As well, that four hours had to include a once a week, mandatory (in his eyes), video call meeting with me, the content of which was usually him berating me because I wasn’t as available as he wanted me to be. At first, I was trying to give his business more than the agreed upon four hours, but…then I realized I was devaluing myself and working for free, so…enough of that. After about four months, we moved on – he contacted the placement company and said that working with me had shown him that he needed full-time, in-office assistance, so…I was out. On to the next client.

I really liked the next client I worked for, and let me tell you, I did WAY more than our agreed upon tasks/hours. WAY more. I really respected the service that she was trying to provide – she was a life coach for women, and her work came from a good place. I found that she was very particular and fussy about things, but her business was about her, so I got it. She was very focused on developing her brand and empowering the women that she worked with – and I could really get on board with that. After a time, however, I found that she was focusing more on promotion of herself instead of actively helping the women she was working with – which I struggled with. However, it wasn’t my place, so I kept quiet, and waded through the reams of hippie/spirit/juju language that came from her (whenever she wrote even the simplest Facebook status update, it would take you 10+ minutes to read as it was SO long, and was all about every emotion she’d ever felt, all of the sacred things that were happening and whether or not they were in alignment, the conscious parenting and intentional grief people felt, holding space for feelings, reflecting on her thoughts and feelings CONSTANTLY – apparently I’m too damn pragmatic to worry about holding in anything apart from farts, and I don’t feel the need to share every thought I’ve ever had with everyone I know on Facebook!). Anyway, things were trucking along until after four months in (I’m seeing a pattern here, are you?), she informed me that due to lack of clients and finance issues, she could no longer afford me. I felt badly about that because I liked helping her clients – so badly, in fact, that I offered to keep working for her for a couple of months FOR FREE to finish the projects I had on the go with a couple of her clients. She said no. So, there’s that. I’m not sure why – perhaps I was getting too good at helping the clients?

The third client worked in real estate, and wanted to develop a lucrative online training business for other people desiring to be real estate agents – she wanted to be Marie Forleo if real estate. For realz, every day, she wanted EVERYTHING to be Marie Forleo – her website had to have a font once used by Marie, it had to feel like Marie’s site…everything. Obsessed with Forleo. The thing was that the content she was peddling in her online class was a whole metric shit ton of words that said very little. It was shocking to me – there was no content there. She made the mistake of asking me for my opinion, which I gave her – I let her know that the content was lacking, and shared with her loads of ideas on how we could beef that up and make the product better….no dice. She decided she didn’t want to work with me after 2 months. Fun fact – I’ve since looked at her online course, and guess what? She’s incorporated 99.9% of the ideas that I sent her way – huh.

My final client worked in the athletics industry, and he needed a lot of assistance. I edited a book for him (which has since been published, no editing credit to me) – actually, I rewrote the book for him as he struggled with literacy A LOT. I rewrote a large number of policy documents for him, and mass-produced contracts for his various speaking engagements. Our problem was that he was terrible (TERRIBLE) at communicating, and expected me to read his wants using my psychic powers. In the end, we decided to part ways as my crystal ball wasn’t working, and that was that.

The Virtual Assistant experience taught me quite a few things – first and foremost, placement agencies will often offer clients a 3 month reduced rate to reel them in, charging them the full amount in the 4th month…which, coincidentally, was when my clients decided they didn’t want to work with me. I didn’t know this at first, so I took the rejection BLOODY hard, but…now that I understand the way it works, I’ve no hard feelings. Business is business.

Second – I love VA work! I would love to do this type of thing all the time! Working from home/remotely is wonderful, and I loved learning new skills (I’m looking at you, InfusionSoft!). My already good multitasking skills have reached Olympic quality, thanks to taking this challenge on – and I made some moolah to supplement my meager Education income. Bonus!

I also learned that there are a lot of snake oil salesmen in this world, and I don’t have it in me to hock (hawk?) products to vulnerable populations and charge them A LOT of money for it. Salesmen blood does NOT run through my veins! Instead, I would like to create some great online products, and sell them at a very reasonable price, making the process affordable – and helpful – to the masses, not the elite few. I also will never use language like making space, and giving myself permission…if I want to do shit, I do it. Perhaps I give myself permission, but it’s internal, and I certainly don’t feel the need to share it. The oversharing and never-ending language drives me nuts. The world does not need to know every single feeling you’ve ever felt since the dawn of time – it’s okay to leave some stuff out. Be mysterious! Live a little!

Prior to working with my hippie client, I was toying with the idea of becoming a certified Life Coach – not because I believe I have life all figured out (hahahahahahahahahaha), but instead because I thought that I could apply the techniques and strategies that I would learn to help me figure it out and improve the quality of my life. I still think this is a great idea, and something I should look in to. The thing is that I don’t want to be her kind of Life Coach – that approach is way too much. I’m not that kind of person. I think I would be a different breed of Life Coach, one that tells it like it is and cuts straight through the bullshit with a very sharp knife – and actually helps people. I haven’t made a decision on this one yet, but I think I should pull a Nike and Just Do It. 😉

The media had a story this week that the peak age for the dreaded midlife crisis is 47.2 years of age. Huh. I’m not THAT far off from that figure, and I’m wondering if so much of what is going on with me these days is part of it? Am I in the early stages of the midlife crisis? Where’s the Harley Davidson? Where’s the sports car?? Why is my midlife crisis manifesting itself in deep self-analysis, career changes, and a sudden interest in being a wellness practitioner (when I’m nowhere near the picture of health??!)???? Argh!!!! 

Life has some ‘splaining to do. 😉


Posted in Awesome Stuff

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I came across this article this morning – the title is “How to be as Likeable as Mister Rogers”, and I kind of love it. Growing up with three TV channels in rural Canada, Mister Rogers was not part of my childhood (we had the Canadian version of him – Mr Dressup – who was just about as fantastic, let me tell you!). Once we got cable, though, I began checking out his show (yes I was 17, so what?) to see what the fuss was all about it…and I LOVED it. I found him to be everything that a person who hosts a show for kids should be – kind, sweet, caring, with such a lovely sense of joy and fun. I appreciated the cadence of his voice, the speech patterns he used were rhythmic and comforting…and don’t get me started on his magnificent puppets. I’m here for puppets anyway (I seriously love them – I don’t know why I don’t work at the Children’s Television Workshop on Sesame Street), but his were extra special. Sigh. I love him. Anyway, back to the list of ways you can be as likeable as Fred Rogers – and I hope you follow it and become as likeable as him. We need more of him in the world. For realz.

How to be as likeable as Mister Rogers

Tim Denning

Make light of dark topics

The TV show that made Mister Rogers famous was called “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It was a kid’s TV show and often contained dark topics which Mister Rogers was able to present in a positive way.

His ideas about death and the inevitable event we will all face were spoken about using puppets, a dead goldfish lying in a tank that was later buried, and through the use of songs and puppets.

He took a dark subject like death and found something positive in it both for children and for the adults that would watch his show with their children. One such example saw Mister Rogers reflecting on what his mother used to say to him about death:

“Always look for the people who are helping.”

“You’ll always find somebody who’s trying to help.”

Even with a dark topic like death, there is a way to find the positive if you take Mister Rogers’ advice that he learned from his mother. It’s easy to find a horrible outlook from a dark topic — but it’s much harder to see the good and that’s one way to become more likable. Because people fall in love with those that can find the good in every situation.

Make everyone feel good

The whole way through watching both films, the viewer is left feeling good. You feel good for many reasons and most of them tie back to one central theme: it’s so easy to be a good person if you try hard enough the way Mister Rogers did.

There is so much to feel bad or guilty about in life and the internet only amplifies this problem. People that make us feel good are uncommon and so when we’re introduced to such an individual, we like them.

By making us feel good about the world, we feel good about ourselves.

And when we feel good about ourselves, we can achieve outcomes that we may otherwise of believed to be impossible. Make people feel good.

Give everybody your full attention

Ever spoken to someone about an important topic and they are looking at their phone or computer and giving you a small amount of their attention? You feel horrible and wish that they would just listen.

Mister Rogers was different — granted, technology was not robbing us of our attention during his era the way it is now. During many scenes reenacted by Tom Hanks in the film about Mister Rogers’ life (and confirmed by the journalist he was talking with, Tom Junod), Rogers takes a deep interest in everybody he talks with. He asked them questions about themselves and leaves them pondering thoughts long after the conversation is done.

He takes pictures with people he meets and calls them friends, making them feel important.

People love it when you pay attention to them and the way you do that is by being genuinely curious and asking questions about them, rather than talking about yourself.

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less — CS Lewis

Plans don’t always work out

It one scene of the film, Mister Rogers says, “I want kids to know that plans don’t always work out.”

For a typically positive man, this may seem like strange advice. What makes Mister Rogers likable is that he tells the truth and doesn’t sugarcoat brutal life lessons.

By knowing that our plans won’t always work out, we can be prepared for it and not be disappointed or have our thoughts turn to trash when our plans fail. The corporate world has long told me that I must have a business plan (helpful advice), but what is often left out is that even with a plan, things generally don’t go accordingly.

Having a plan is not a way to prevent failure or even prevent it.

Positive ways to deal with feelings

Mister Rogers’ key theme of his TV show that made him likable was to find positive ways to deal with feelings.

We are going to have unhelpful feelings and learning to deal with them is far more useful than trying to suppress them or numb them with alcohol, drugs, binge-watching tv, being unkind on social media or eating junk food.

You deal with feelings by facing them head-on and looking inside yourself at the good and not-so-good parts of who you are.

Get people to tell the truth

Good luck ever trying to lie to Mister Rogers. He was known for getting people on and off camera, to tell the truth. There were the pauses and the stares into their eyes that unconsciously helped them to say what needed to be said.

Talking with Mister Rogers was refreshing because you knew that he wasn’t going to judge you or force you to agree with his view of the world.

Helping people tell the truth is useful and you do that, mostly, from listening to them and letting them know that you’re not going to judge them.

Know everyone’s name

One of the simplest hacks to be likable, that is often overlooked, is to remember people’s names. Cast, crew, journalists and the extras on set were often surprised by Mister Rogers’s uncanny ability to remember their first name and it made them feel valued.

No matter how famous or influential you are, do your best to remember people’s names.

Be well-researched

Researching someone before you meet them shows you care and they’ll like you for it. When Esquire journalist Tom Junod met Mister Rogers, he was surprised at how much research he had done on him.

Their conversations were deep and the friendship that developed later on was partly made possible by the research Rogers had done prior to meeting Tom. With social platforms dominating our lives, we can use them to be well-researched and incredibly curious when we meet someone for the first time.

I personally like to read up on the hobbies of business clients before I meet them to understand them from a different angle. You can tell me about your business, but I’ll learn more by hearing about your hobbies and why you chose them. Because hobbies and business are closely linked.

Give people a chance

Tom didn’t exactly have a brilliant reputation as a journalist with the way he wrote and it was risky, in a way, for Rogers to be followed around and written about by Tom.

But Mister Rogers gave people a chance and lets his character do the talking for him. Even with Tom’s controversial style of writing, it was impossible not to be inspired by Mister Rogers and share that truth with the audience.

See who people can be and not who they currently are, and trust your character to do the talking for you.

Show huge amounts of empathy

Another key theme of the TV show, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the teaching of empathy. It was a key theme throughout many of the 900 episodes and was acted out by Rogers himself and then portrayed through some of the characters featured in the show.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Mister Rogers, mentioned an interesting idea in an interview with NBC:

“Listen, it’s important for you to know that he was not a saint. Because if you think of him as a saint, then his message is unattainable.”

Being a saint makes the idea of empathy and kindness unattainable and the fact that you have made many mistakes and don’t always see the good in people is perfectly fine.

We’re likable because of who we are, not for unattainable perfection.

Work at your way of being

You may think Mister Rogers was never angry, given his outlook on life. In both films it becomes clear that he was, at times, angry. When asked about his children, he would admit that they were not perfect either.

Everything Rogers does is a work in progress. The reason his anger didn’t dominate was because he learned to work at it and deal with it. The same opportunity exists for you. You’re going to get angry, especially when you’re tired, and working with those feelings is useful. How can you channel that anger into something positive?

Rogers teaches us that we can choose how we respond to anger rather than have the default option selected for us and be held back by it. Working on yourself is how you become more likable and minimize anger that turns people against you.

Write back to people that support you

Mister Rogers would write back to his fans and meet them in real-life. He was generous with his time and gave it to people that needed it.

This is a huge learning for me. Lots of people will support you in your life as it progresses and when they reach out, you have the opportunity to connect with them. People find you more likable when you take the time to respond to them, even if it’s a brief response.

It’s one of the key reasons I do my best to respond to any reader that contacts me directly.

Don’t take the people who support you for granted, and you’ll be more likable for it.

Live modestly

Ever met someone with a giant mansion and a Lambo in the driveway? It’s hard to relate to them, isn’t it?

Mister Rogers was known for taking the subway each day to the TV studio even though his fame meant that he didn’t have to. Like the viral footage of Keanu Reeves riding the subway, Mister Rogers did the same because he lived modestly. You could relate to him because he was just like you.

He let his character shine rather than let his ego be polished and put on display with the accumulation of money. Perhaps Keanu learned this life lesson from Mister Rogers.

The world doesn’t need another rich dude flaunting their money and making us feel like a failure.

We need more people riding the subway and using their money to make a real difference.

Live within your means. Avoid the temptation to buy fancy stuff and you’ll be more likable because you’ll be relatable.

Sharing your problems is bravery

Mister Rogers wasn’t afraid to talk about his problems. It was a small act of bravery that helped the audience understand their own problems through his.

Demonstrating you’re imperfect through talking about your problems is useful. This insight was what inspired me to talk more about mental illness and it may have the same effect on you.

It’s okay not to be okay.

No normal life is free from pain

“There is no normal life that is free of pain. It’s the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus for our growth” — Mister Rogers

All great advice, eh? I know!!! I love this so much! I’m on my way to start putting this to practice right now. 😊


Posted in Awesome Stuff

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I’ve been listening to podcasts in the car A LOT lately – not sure what has prompted the change, but since my drive to work is SO MUCH LONGER (argh the traffic blows around San Antonio these days), and I have a lot of time to fill while driving, so…I’m trying to learn stuff. Get smarter. Become a more interesting conversationalist. Podcasts are the way! 😊

  1. Life Will Be the Death of Me – Chelsea Handler: I read the book first, and then listened to all of the episodes of the podcast. I LOVE this new, vulnerable Chelsea – and I love the focus she’s put on meditation. She’s inspired me – I’ve been doing Headspace for a couple of weeks now, and I can’t be sure but I think I may be mildly more chill? Hopefully?! Anyway – the podcast is good, she has friends come on and talk with her…it’s enjoyable. I like it. 😊
  2. The Conversation with Amanda DeCadenet: Full disclosure: Amanda’s show of the same name was one of my FAVORITE TV shows of the past 10 years, so I’m thrilled with the return of her interviews through this podcast. I wish there were more episodes (and I’m hoping like hell that they are coming), but Amanda’s interview style is one of my favorites – she strikes the perfect balance of light-hearted and serious, and she doesn’t shy away from politically-charged topics. She’s WONDERFUL – her podcast is on Spotify.
  3. Good For You – Whitney Cummings: I’ve just started listening to this one last week (it’s also on Spotify), and Whitney is a REALLY good interviewer as well. She hasn’t had that many episodes yet, but if you like Dave Grohl or Busy Phillips, be sure to check those ones out (the Busy one is really good, and I worship at the temple of Dave and think he is quite possibly the greatest man alive).
  4. Unqualified – Anna Faris: This is one of the first ones that I got in to listening to fairly regularly, and I love it! Again, she has a WONDERFUL way with the people that she interviews, and she gets celebrities talking and sharing things that they may not always be so forthcoming about. She’s on episode #227 this week, so…she’s clearly kicking ass and doing well with this. Yaa!😊
  5. Armchair Expert – Dax Shephard: I really enjoy Dax. His self-deprecating sense of humor delights me, and he does a really solid job of interviewing people – sometimes his guests are celebrities and the people you’d expect him to have on, other times it’s evolutionary biologists, pediatricians, or anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky (this episode is ACES, friends, you must check it out!)….Dax has varied interests, and I appreciate his eclectic mix of guests and topics. GREAT show! 😊 (Shout out to Dax for asking questions on one of the episodes of Jeopardy Greatest of All Time tournament last week – woot! woot!)

What podcasts are you listening to these days, friends?


Posted in Awesome Stuff

Three Times a Lady

Three Times a Lady

I read the book “Three Women” over the weekend – and let me tell you, that was some time seriously well spent. Are you familiar with this book? It was written by journalist Lisa Taddeo – she traveled around the country until she met three different women that she was interested in writing about. She followed their lives for eight years (talk about a time commitment!) – she moved to the towns were two of the women lived, she tells their stories through interviews, diaries, legal documents…all of these artifacts are pieced together to tell the story of these women, their desires, and how their lives play out. The book is FASCINATING. ♥️

One of the women she profiles is Maggie (actually her real name) – she has an inappropriate relationship with a teacher while in high school, eventually goes public with it…and is branded a whore. Of course – people can be so cruel. Her story plays out in Fargo, and after an administrative leave suspension, the predator who took advantage of her is back at work in a classroom (he was the North Dakota State Teacher of the Year in 2014, in case you’re interested)…and she has had struggle after struggle. This shit breaks my heart, for real – Maggie deserved better than the treatment she received. I hope that her life turns around, and that things are looking up for her – she SO deserves it.

The second woman profiled is Lina (not her real name) – she’s an Indiana homemaker and mother of two kids, and she is deeply unsatisfied in her marriage. I understand her problems, she’s starving for affection… but I’m not sure about the lengths she goes to when it comes to getting what she needs (digging up the bones of a relationship from high school, one that’s probably better left dead and gone). The way that her high school flame treats her makes me very uncomfortable, likely because I’ve let men treat me in that shitty manner as well. I think Lina’s story cut too close to home for me…I felt squirmy and awkward while reading it. It was tough…but SO well written.

The last woman profiled was the least relatable, at least to me – Sloane (again not her real name) is gorgeous, thin, successful, runs a fancy-pants restaurant, comes from wealth, and happily married…to a husband who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. I found NOTHING relatable about her, to be frank, and most of her issues screamed of #firstworldproblems to me, but… I’m likely bitter because I’m not gorgeous, thin, nor successful! 😉 I wouldn’t be cool with someone who could only feel thrills by watching me get it on with someone else, though…that would be a hard pass for me. I found her personality in the book to be quite cold, calculating – and such a contrast to Maggie, who came across as passionate, sensitive, and invested in the life she was trying to make for herself. The contrast was an excellent dimension of the book, and really spoke to the depth of research the author did. Mind blowing!

Overall, this book was one that I couldn’t put down…I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. Happiness is a good book! I have tremendous respect for the author and the work that she put in to telling the stories of these women, all driven by their own desires (what do desires even look like in women?), but taking dramatically different paths. ARGH! Such a great book! Get reading – you’ll love it! 😊