Archive | deep thoughts

when no means yes

In 2001, a major event happened that triggered a series of changes and opportunities in my life. In September of 2001, on September 11, specifically, we all know what happened. I don’t want to diminish it by not digging into details, but I think it’s safe to say that we all experienced that day in one shape or form and we’ll all have a personal story to associate with it for the rest of our lives.

What happened to me was that I decided that life was too short not to follow my dreams, which at that time was to attend a vegetarian cooking school in NYC. You see, up until that point, I just assumed it wasn’t possible. It was out of reach because of money, because of derailing my career in tech, because of a million other excuses. But it was never impossible, it was completely within reach, and I got a loan and went.

After school ended I needed to find an internship to put my new culinary skills to the test. I knew I didn’t want to work in a restaurant and feel the stress of a tiny, busy kitchen, let alone an insane Manhattan kitchen. So instead I started googling “vegetarian vacations” because why not make this an opportunity to travel? I went down a few interesting paths in this search, but ultimately landed on a yoga retreat center on the Greek island of Crete run by folks from England. Perfect. Or so I thought.

I reached out to them via email and explained that I had just finished the Chef’s Training Program at an internationally known culinary school specializing in vegetarian cuisine and would they have any cooking opportunities that summer? As it turned out, they would. I was in communication with the manager of the retreat center, a Danish woman who spent the entire season (late spring to early fall) at the retreat center.

We set up a time to speak by phone, because this was of course before things like Skype and FaceTime existed. We discussed the position at length and it all sounded quite manageable. But I felt that familiar something in my gut. I was afraid. I had basically worked myself up to say no even before she called. So when it came time to wrap our conversation and provide an answer, I said, “No, but thank you anyway.” She was very understanding and wished me well and our call came to an end.

Immediately after hanging up the phone, I frantically wished that *69 (yes this was a while ago) would know how to call back someone in Denmark. Or that I had caller ID.

Instead I went to my computer and emailed her back. YES, YES, YES, I’ll do it! 

And so commenced the summer of a lifetime. I mean, have you seen Crete?!?!

Agios Pavlos Crete

Moral of the story? Sometimes you have to say NO to know that you mean YES.

There are better methods out there, but hey, if this is the one that gets you there, use it.

Posted on April 20, 2014 in deep thoughts, life 1

what do you want to do more?

i want to write more | stellargirl.com

I’m going to put on my Captain Obvious hat for a moment and let you all know: I really don’t blog very much. I wish you knew how much I said, “I want to write on my blog more.” I started emailing myself blog ideas, which was at least a start. I’ve even fired up a google doc with a list of blog post titles. It’s a nice list. It remains unwritten.

I’m writing this post because the other post that was sitting top of mind didn’t want to write itself this morning. I kept coming back to a concept that I have been thinking about a lot over the last few months:

Whatever it is that you’re doing, you want to do that more.

OK. You’re probably confused right now. In fact, that was the response of a friend* when I said, I really want to blog more, but I end up just staring at the wall / surfing the web / doing nothing.

Whatever it is that you’re doing, you want to do that more.

Unpossible, I thought! That cannot be so. I must want to do all things all the time. I simply cannot just stare at the wall, surf the web, do nothing.

I want to let you in on a little secret. You can do that. I wouldn’t advise it 24/7, but sometimes… that’s just what you need to do.

Last year, you might remember that I had a series of blog posts on mentoring. In one of my posts, I talked about how forming an accountability group is a good way to open yourself up to support from others. That support goes both ways. In the group that I belong to, what started as an accountability group has shifted into a year of intention. And that has made all the difference. (Thank you Robert Frost.)

The truth is, we spend a lot of our lives, too much, in fact, doing the things that we think we should be doing, producing things that don’t need to be produced, completely forgetting to stop and just notice the world around us — which might be the color of the sky, the way a good friend makes you feel, or the cup of tea that you’re sipping.

We are forgetting to just be.

It has been my experience when you focus a little more energy on just being, everything else begins to shift. I wanted to write more, so I just started writing. In my journal, for myself. And now I’m writing this post. And when I have something else I want to share publicly, I’ll come back and write more.

For now, I’m just trying to be.

I hope that wherever you are, and whatever you are doing, you are doing the thing that you want to do more.

*My friend is Alla Zollers, who is also a life coach. She is amazing, you should talk to her.

Posted on April 21, 2013 in creativity, deep thoughts 0

i want to ride my tricycle

I Want to Ride my Tricycle

Queue Queen’s bicycle song and replace it with tricycle. This song will get stuck in your head like nobody’s business. Sorry about that.

I unwittingly made an analogy this morning when discussing my current career path. I said something to this effect: “I feel like I used to ride mountain bikes and now I’m riding a tricycle.” As though this was a bad thing.

Most days I wake up excited that I get to work for myself. Truly. Let me give you a little history. I have had a lot of jobs, some really great ones and others that were not exactly “a good fit.” I was the person who dreaded the feeling I got on Sunday nights, and I didn’t always like, ahem…authority. I carried on best I could, learning lots of cool stuff and making many friends along the way.

About two years ago, the stars aligned enough that I was able to go independent, as it were. It’s been an adventure for sure. I’ve had to learn the most basic things (how to create an invoice), as well as develop and refine more complex skills in technology, strategic thinking and design.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a multitude of clients of varying shapes and sizes. Freelancing is, and should be, a work in progress. Part of this continued experimentation is learning what it is that you like to work on and who you like to work on it with. I have caught myself saying recently that I’d like to work on more “bite-sized” projects. I think the subtext there is that I just like that feeling of getting things done. And if there’s more work and everybody is getting along, let’s do some more!

When I mentioned the tricycle analogy this morning, it felt small. Less than. Subpar. Not enough. I mentioned it again later and it felt slightly better: I didn’t want to ride the mountain bike anymore, I chose this. I mentioned it a third time (3x is a charm as you know) and BAM!

I realized that tricycles are awesome.

They’re shiny little red joy vehicles. They help people get started, learn something new, take the next step, play, laugh, smile. They take you places! These are the things that are part of who I am, what I care about, and what I want to create. Suddenly the idea of riding a tricycle doesn’t sound so bad.

Inspired by the wise words of Freddie Mercury…

I want to ride my tricycle 
I want to ride it where I like 

photo credit: abbyladybug via photo pin cc

Posted on July 24, 2012 in deep thoughts, work & biz 9

you are allowed

You are allowed.

I’ve been talking about the process of allowing with too many friends lately not to share it on my blog. If you needed a reminder, here you go. Enjoy.

If you think that because you just earned your PhD, you can’t be a makeup artist, well, you can. You are allowed.

If you listen to a collective voice and want to walk to the beat of your drum, go for it.  You are allowed.

If people tell you you’re a great painter, but you really love photography, take more pictures. You are allowed.

If you want to make money, possibly lots of it, doing what you love, go right ahead. You are allowed.

If you want to get rid of everything you own and travel the world, amazing! You are allowed.

If you want to stay home and watch tv, that’s great, too. You are allowed.

If you want to eat meat or wheat or cheese, enjoy! You are allowed.

If you want to quit your job and open a bakery, yummy! You are allowed.

If you want to turn down a job to follow your own path, enjoy the adventure. You are allowed.

If you don’t feel like staying up late, go to bed early. You are allowed.

If you need to turn off all the noise around you so you can truly hear again, by all means, do so. You are allowed.

If you need to look inward so that you can look forward, it’s amazing, do it. You are allowed.

If you want to go slower, slow down. You are allowed.

If you want to go bigger, reach for the stars. You are allowed.

If you want to unsubscribe or unfollow, it’s just fine. You are allowed.

If you want to wake up smiling, how wonderful! You are allowed.

If you need to be honest, do it with kindness. You are allowed.

If you just gotta give it a try, go for it. You are allowed.

If you want to learn something new, weird and crazy, how awesome. You are allowed.

If you want to be you, that’s perfect. You are allowed.

Posted on July 9, 2012 in deep thoughts, life 15

10 things I’m more or less addicted to

One morning, when feeling super inspired, I quickly scribbled out a list of things that are part of my almost every day life that I adore, rely on, love and am possibly addicted to. Since I’ve been going on and on about getting rid of stuff lately, I wanted to take a moment to appreciate the fact that there are actually things / objects / stuff that bring me joy in my everyday life. So here goes…

1) Endangered Species 88% Dark Chocolate Squares

I pop one (or 2 or 3) of these bad boys pretty much every day after lunch. It’s like espresso for the soul. It’s a true jolt of happiness, energy and creativity. They really pack a wollop! Once you go 88%, you won’t go back. Try a bite today!

2) Soy Chai Lattes from Ultimo Coffee

I confess. I am addicted to soy chai lattes, and have been for a very long time. Even though I’ve only been (mostly) vegan for a year+ now, I’ve been getting soy milk in all my fancy caffeinated beverages since the 90s. What can I say, milk freaks me out! Ultimo Coffee has the best coffee in Philadelphia, but I give them mad props for serving up a delicious and not-too-sickeningly-sweet cuppa chai.

3) Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Liquid Soap

You gotta get clean, right? Nothing brightens your day like a minty fresh and super bubbly scrubdown with Dr. Bronner’s. Hey, did I just say that on my blog? Yes, I did! This stuff is so ridiculously awesome and refreshing and really wakes you up. I love when guests visit. The reaction is always the same… “Umm, that’s some soap you got there.” They usually immediately go buy a bottle and become addicts just like me. Go ahead, get some, and have fun reading that crazy label!

4) Bumble & bumble Styling Creme

I try to give it up. It’s a lost cause. Without it, I’m just a sad, flat-haired mophead. With it, my hair has body, life, effervescence! You heard it here, I am indeed addicted to a hair product.

5) Things That Are Purple.

If you know me at all, you know that this should be #1. But this list is in no particular order and 5 is my favorite number. So basically, here’s what’s purple: my laptop case, my iphone case, my purse, my shoes, my bike helmet, my sunglasses, my everything. Purple, I’m into you.

6) My Kindle

I love, love, love to read. Love it, I do. I’m reading lots and lots of nonfiction right now. Stuff to keep me inspired and on my toes, or at least dreaming of a day when I am on my toes. My favorite part about the Kindle is downloading book samples. I love trying new things and this completely satisfies that urge. Not to mention, Kindle books do not take up space on my bookshelf!

7) Shiitake Mushrooms

Love ’em. Buy a big old bag of ’em at Whole Foods every week. They’re super yummy and soooo super good for you.  They get all up in your immune system and make it feel more awesome. I can get down with that.

8) Vega Complete Whole Food Health Optimizer

I drink one of these yum-tastic smoothies (with unsweetened almond milk and frozen raspberries) after every workout. It’s like getting all your vitamins and nutrients in one power-packed punch. It’s sugar / dairy / gluten free and has lots of protein from hemp & peas. It’s good for ya!

9) The GymBox

In a perfect world, I’d be slightly more addicted to this, but I’m hoping that putting it on my list will actually inspire me to you know, be a little bit more “everyday” about it. I really do love working out and the variety and selection of workouts on The GymBox is seriously awesome.

10) Paper Mate Flair Pens

I’m addicted to these pens! I’ve been rocking Pilot G2 gel pens for quite some time, but I got my hands on one of these by accident and decided to buy the whole rainbow. They look especially nice on graph paper which is great when you are dreaming up your big ideas.

Your turn! What 10 things are you addicted to?

Posted on June 19, 2012 in deep thoughts, life 5