Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Step By Step Towards My Goal

I lay in bed hearing the wind, suspecting it was raining - I was tired, feeling that it would be nice to sleep a little bit longer - so I hit the snooze button... twice.  Of course, I had pre-planned the extra time, just in case I needed snooze time.  Isn't that a good thing - knowing ourselves and being prepared for the obstacles.  I am happy to report that I was up and out of bed before the second snooze alarm sounded - that made me feel good.  Isn't it the little things that are the BIG things - and it is important to give ourselves a pat on the back.  Especially since it sounded so cold outside - it would have been easy to make up an excuse to sleep longer.

I am glad that I have the Goal to run - it definitely makes me feel excited!!  I make the bed as soon as I get up - less chance of being enticed back to slumber.  I have a Goal.  I have made a commitment.  Now I have to exercise my willpower and dedication to stick with the plan.

Out the door I run, it is windy, cold and cloudy, but I am happy to see the rainfall has stopped.  I am also happy to feel focused.  This morning I had visualised the run in my mind's eye - now I am just putting into action what I know is achieveable - the main goal is to run longer than Monday's run.  My main priority is to keep increasing the time Running - just Step By Step Towards My Goal. 

I am finding running easier, although anytime that it seems a bit tough I just repeat my affirmation to myself - Coz I Can, Coz I Can, Coz I Can - and I just keep running.  It is low tide and I am drawn to run along the beach - this was not the original plan, or the run I went on yesterday - but I decide to be flexible - as long as I beat Monday's 17 minutes.  I give myself permission to go in a new direction.  Running along the beach is challenging, very challenging - running in the sand is okay but the wind is strong, pushing me back, making it hard to move forward - at times I feel I am making no new ground, but I keep running - Coz I Can, Coz I Can, Coz I Can - I challenge myself - just focus on the seaweed, I say to myself - and once I am there, I nominate another milestone - Step By Step Towards My Goal.  At this time, it would be easy to give up, noone is watching, noone would know, what would it matter - but I don't entertain these thoughts - I can't imagine having these thoughts - this matters to me - this is about my Goal. 

I run as far as I can go, and have to turn around as the ocean is blocking access, so I turn back and am led to run up an alley of stairs, back to the street - this is tough - I keep repeating my affirmation and I find it gives me strength and focus to keep going - Coz I Can, Coz I Can, Coz I Can.  And then I am back in a familiar street and find myself facing another hill - another hill to climb, the hill from Monday - it is a tough hill.  I decide to approach the hill by just taking one step at a time, just watching the small space in front of my feet, not looking too far ahead, just Step By Step Towards My Goal. 

When I reach the top of the hill I am once again rapt - and I silently congratulate myself and keep on running - I am getting tired - yet I keep running - I decide my target time is 22 minutes, 5 minutes more than Monday's run - so I check the time on the phone and see I have a few minutes left - and I am tired - yet, rather than dragging my feet I decide to give this my best effort, I check my core, and make sure I am running tall (it's amazing that a change in posture can change the whole feeling within - I should mention my physio Aideen who has made me so conscious, in a positive way, of improving my posture -thank you).  I pick up the pace and race - I nominate a tree as the finish line, and I just go for it!!  And I feel great!!  Exhausted - but so great - as I have achieved today's Goal - and most importantly I have tried my best, I have given my all. 

I am feeling happy with my achievement.  I have always kept up my walking - yet running makes me feel like I am really exercising - I just love to run.  I have a framed running poster that I just love - it has a picture of a runner and then the following quote - I can relate to these words -
"The Essence of Running
Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance …
you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations
or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet.
But when you are through, exhilarated and exhausted,
at least for a moment everything seems right with the world…"

I then enjoy a leisurely walk home and I am fascinated by the seagulls.  They must be having a conference down at Cronulla - there are about 40 seagulls, gathered together on the beach, just near the water.  I have been quietly observing the behaviour of seagulls - just an observation a few times when I have been out walking - what I notice is that sometimes they stay with the group, sometimes they walk off on their own, sometimes they are off searching, other times they are just still and just silently stay, other times they run along, many times they fly, they fly and then they stop and rest... looks like they are just doing what feels natural to them at the time.  I realise that I can choose to be like a seagull, I can make it okay to be like a seagull - I don't have to fly all the time, or run around, or focus on busily searching - sometimes I can just relax and be still. 

How much we can learn from nature -
"Nature is an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we only will tune in." George Washington Carver (1864-1943)

Of course I easily forget about the silence and stillness - as I get busy walking back home, busily in my mind, thinking, thinking, thinking.  It is only when I get a pull from my intuition, that makes me look back, that I realise I have walked past the Tree that was cut down - I then realise that there were actually 6 Trees cut down yesterday - again I feel saddened.  I also realise how easy it is to get caught up thinking, in the mind, thinking about the past, planning for the future, that I am not always present to the now - and I totally missed giving honour to the Trees that are important to me - just because I was busy in my mind.  Apart from my running Goal I am also in the journey of learning to be in the now and embrace the present and be able to set aside my mind to just 'be'.  I really like these words - Being in the moment involves giving maximum appreciation and love to your present experience."  Sara Paddison, The Hidden Power of the Heart

This was just 1 hour of my day - running and walking - and it was such a precious part of my day.  In honouring myself and staying true to my commitments, plus all the energy that comes from exercise, I felt like I was ready for my day - able to go to work, talk to my family, enjoy quality time with my boyfriend.  I feel like I have energy to give, I am able to Spread The Yellow.

And I am always grateful to those in my life who Spread TheYellow to me - my boyfriend (gets a mention, as always) for sending me a lovely text message and for taking me out for dinner tonight to our favourite restaurant, my friend Aideen for her acknowledgement and for sharing her stories of how she naturally, so easily, can Spread The Yellow to her clients - and I also want to acknowledge my Operations Manager at my work for being thoughtful and giving us all Easter Eggs.  I am very grateful for the wonderful people in my life - thank you for being a witness as I am putting my dreams into action.

Mellow Yellow

Pure, bright and sunny - yellow is the easiest color to see. People who are blind to other colors can usually see yellow. Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy. Yellow symbolizes wisdom. Yellow means joy and happiness. People of high intellect favor yellow. Like the energy of a bright sunny day, yellow brings clarity and awareness. Yellow produces a warming effect, arouses cheerfulness, stimulates mental activity, and generates muscle energy. Yellow is an attention getter, which is the reason taxicabs are painted this color. Use yellow to evoke pleasant, cheerful feelings. You can choose yellow to promote children's products and items related to leisure. Yellow is very effective for attracting attention, so use it to highlight the most important elements of your design.

These are some reasons why I enjoy the color yellow:

Yellow daffodils are a symbol of new beginnings.

"Some painters transform the sun into a yellow spot; others transform a yellow spot into the sun" -- Pablo Picaso

Yellow is the color of sunshine. Much like the sun, the color yellow is associated with joy, happiness, intellect, and energy.

Canary yellow diamonds are recognized because of their strong color and their unusual characteristics. Yellow diamonds are extremely rare and expensive, and are cherished for their subtly dramatic appeal. The glow of a yellow diamond illuminates a woman with an aura, no matter the shade. The largest yellow diamond ever found weighs an astonishing 407.48 carats, and is also the world’s largest internally flawless diamond.

Illamasqua Nail Polish in Wayward $9

I adore all candy-colored nail polishes for Spring. They are so much fun and definitely make a statement. This particular brand can be purchased at Sephora.

Nine West Alena Satchel $59

This super-fun leather bag is the perfect Spring time accesory to add a punch of color. It is medium-sized and packed full of compartments. The best part is the animal-print silk lining. I found it at T.J. Maxx for just $29.99.

Adding lemon to your water not only adds flavor, but also serves as an appetite suppressant. You can cut a lemon in half and use it as a natural exfoliant on your elbows or other rough skin areas. Lemon juice can be added to water for a green cleaning solution and also neutralizes odors. Lemon juice works as a natural bleach, and a small amount added to detergent may reduce stains.

"The road to the City of Emeralds is paved with yellow brick." -- L. Frank Baum

The Yellow Brick Road symbolizes the path to a special place, a magical place; a safe haven. It is the path that a person follows to self-realization. This road is never easy and there are always obstacles, but with the support and guidance of others, we can all achieve those things that we have envisioned for ourselves no matter where we are or where we came from. My hope is that everyone will 'follow the yellow brick road.'


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Love Trees

Today was my rest day from running - for me it's not even about necessarily resting from running - but also having space to allow time for walking.  I love Running but I also love walking - not speed walking or power walking - or racing to get to a destination - just the type of walking where you allow your intuition to guide you - to take you on a journey - tapping into your body and getting out of your mind.

As I was putting on my joggers, my boyfriend was watching the news and it was heartbreaking to read about the 39 people who have been killed in Moscow as a result of 2 female suicide bombers who blew themselves up in two separate stations on the Moscow metro yesterday morning.  It was upsetting!! Watching or reading the news is always upsetting to me.  I remember years ago, our company challenged people reading the news - saying that it is all negative news - and encouraged everyone to invest time in positive material.  At the other end, my Dad has always challenged me to read the paper - or challenging me because I rarely read the news.  Even when I flick through the Sunday paper, I am selective in what I read - I choose to be selective - not ignorant - not not wanting to know.  It certainly does not mean I am not concerned with world affairs or big issues or the suffering - on the contrary - I am silenced and saddened by the suffering - and I am also dedicated to increasing my knowledge and awareness - to help me be more conscious - so that I may Spread The Yellow.

As I was walking out the door, I said to my boyfriend that I don't understand, why when there is often so much human suffering, that can happen so suddenly and outside our control, that brings such devastation, why humans choose to inflict suffering on others - or make life harder for others?  Hmm...

With that thought, I kiss my man goodbye, wishing him a happy day, and walk out into the world.  Today was a rainy day - but no reason not to walk - I grabbed my umbrella (yes, my Yellow umbrella) and was happy to be outside.  Yellow always brightens my day - even my Yellow umbrella on a rainy day.
My walk was lovely and relaxing.  I found the sky a good analogy for life - despite the clouds, there is still a brightness and a beautiful glow.  I walked up along the beach, admiring the view.  I feel so blessed to live where I live - to be so close to the beachside. 

I love walking along the beach - and I also love walking along the Bay - Gunnamatta Bay.  My friends from up the coast once visited me and they absolutely loved Gunnamatta Bay - they kept saying "It's Gunna Matter" one day - they were so impressed with the area.  I love walking along the beach in low tide and I love just walking through the natural bush-setting park- it is so natural and peaceful.  My boyfriend had rung me just as I was entering the Park - but being free of the phone, free of words, quiet in silence is what makes this walk so special to me.  As I am walking through Gunnamatta Bay, I notice a tree that looks like it has been crying - it is the sap on the tree.  The tree is sparce, not many branches or leaves - but I am happy to see that the tree is still living and breathing and attracting life - a bird, a small insect, a centipede.  I am then delighted to see all the planting of new trees - they have probably been there before (have I been too busy, lost in thought, or trying to relax, that I have failed to notice?) - there are 30, 40, 50 baby trees, all being protected with wiring fences to give them space to grow.  It warms my heart.  I Love Trees.

As I am feeling so happy about the planting of Trees - I am then devastated by the sight of a Tree being cut down.  About 4 workmen are putting up a baracade, and one man is up a Tree with an electric saw.  Instantly, I feel pained in my heart.  This beautiful Tree being cut down.  I stand nearby in shock.  I then ask a workman the reason why this Tree is being cut down - he tells me that they are clearing space for a new marina.  I am speechless.  I look at the tree branches cut into pieces on the ground and the tree is gradually being cut, one painful piece at a time. I look around at the other Trees in the local area - the slight breeze is softly blowing the leaves - it seems that they are waving goodbye to their friend.  Now I know why the other Tree is crying.  I now have a knowing what must drive the Greenies - the feeling that I too could chain myself to save a Tree.  It is not the exact image below -but can you image -just being present to the destruction.

And this is just 1 tree - which immediately turns my attention to deforestation - I realise that I need to be more conscious.  Did you know that an area of forest equal to 20 football or rugby fields is lost every minute?  I turn to the Internet to learn more - Just some of the facts from this website include:
- Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth's land surface; now they cover a mere 6%
- Experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years
- Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation - that equals 50,000 species a year
- As rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases - currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources
- Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
- There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago - today there are less than 200,000.
- When a medicine man dies without passing his arts on to the next generation, the tribe and the world loses thousands of years of irreplaceable knowledge about medicinal plants
- Experts agree that by leaving the rainforests intact and harvesting it's many nuts, fruits, oil-producing plants, and medicinal plants, the rainforest has more economic value than if they were cut down to make grazing land for cattle or for timber - the latest statistics show that rainforest land converted to cattle operations yields the land owner $60 per acre, and if timber is harvested, the land is worth $400 per acre - however, if these renewable and sustainable resources are harvested, the land will yield the land owner $2,400 per acre.

If these facts aren't heartbreaking enough - my attention then turns to the plight of the Orang-utans - reading that their rainforest is being destroyed for palm oil at such an overwhelming rate, costing the lives of 50 Orang-utans per week.  Now that breaks my heart.  Experts predict that Orang-utans will be extinct within 20 years.  There are some terrible, heartbreaking images on the web but I have chosen to show a beautiful image of the Orang-utan - I love that Orang-utan comes from the Malay language and means 'person of the forest'. 

While the image above captures the beauty, if you are interested in learning more, there are so many websites that further explore the horror of this situation. 

But now for the hope - what can be done - what can I do?  I Love Trees, I Love Animals - what can I do?  I instantly draw in strength from one of my favourite quotes - "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." (Helen Keller)..." my philosophy - my principles - my wanting to Make A Difference.  And I remember that my being aware and conscious in my daily choices, can Make A Difference.  I can choose to use recycled paper and less paper, stop getting throw-away cups from Gloria Jeans.  I can also be more conscious of choosing palm oil free products - see this great website  I have been so shocked of how many products contain palm oil - but pleasantly excited by the opportunity to be aware and make better decisions.  It is good to see that Lindt Gold Bunnies are confirmed as palm oil free and Cadbury has also confirmed that its dairy milk Easter range is palm oil free.  I am also happy to see that my boyfriend's favourite cereal, Sultana Bran is free of palm oil.  I am also happy to see that soap without palm oil is available, including, to my surprise, a Woolworths Select Brand and Herbon from selected health food stores.  Huge day today - so much to consider...

In fact I was happy to have some lightness and be introduced to a wonderful story on Today Tonight about the 'Free Hugs' You Tube Clip - that was one of the most popular in Australia - YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS - - this clip makes my heart sing.  This guy, during a time of his own darkness, was given a hug by a stranger and he felt wonderful - so he was inspired to go out and Make A Difference - I am inspired by this guy, who clearly is a great man, who in such a simple way is able to Spread The Yellow.

If you read my Blog - I invite you to become more aware and more active in your choices so that we can Make A Difference, Save Trees, Save Animals, Spread The Yellow, Offer and Embrace Free Hugs...

Here Today -- Gone Tomorrow

Now that I have a permanent address again, able to receive both mail and visitors; it is well time to consider where to travel next. With that in mind I did some bookings for Las Vegas last night. Buddies in the poker media will notice that I managed to schedule two trips in the next several months yet still managed to miss all of the World Series. I really am done with poker, besides they turned me down for a media credential, seems I don't have enough experience.  

I will be in Vegas in early May to do a little business and some research on a future book. In addition, my co-author Amy Calistri will be there spinning her wisdom for the investment minded at the Mirage. So Amy and I and another buddy will be spending some quality time at our olde haunts, which may include a casino or two but mostly the cultural and gustatorial highlights of the city. 

I also booked the discount deal at the Monte Carlo for mid-July, post-WSOP, for the annual Boyz poker trip. For the first time in several years I will not be the local host but merely one of the attendees. We expect a full turnout this summer with the obvious exception of he who shall not be harassed. Both of the Las Vegas trips will be around a week long. 

There is another more substantial vacation on the horizon. Vacation as a derivative of "vacate." At some point in the May-June-July period, there is a nascent plan to remodel the Berkeley apartment where I am currently resting my head. The remodel is so extensive as to require a complete vacating of both me and all the stuff in the place. Furniture, clothes, computers, kitchen all of it has to move out so the transformation can be done in some reasonable mediation of labor and time. At that point I am probably going to head up to Mt. Shasta to visit my good friends. We might even coordinate my vacating with one of their trips and wound two avians with one rock. 

All of this running about leads to a potential big trip in August. I guess I don't want to talk about this one too much quite yet. Just leave it for now that it does involve my passport, I don't speak the language and I have never been before. More on this one later.

For now, all my bags are unpacked but not stored away quite yet.
art credit: Golden Sunset by Lauren Luna

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Coz I Can - My S.M.A.R.T. Goal

"You must see your goals clearly and specifically before you can set out for them. Hold them in your mind until they become second nature."
Les Brown

As a Coach, I am committed to a lifetime of growth.  I also believing in setting and achieving Goals - I love having Targets and a Vision, I love achieving my Goals.

So today I started my journey towards a new Goal - today I have set the Goal to run from my place, around the Esplanade at Cronulla - I am estimating that the run will take about 1.5-2 hours. 

I often talk about how I "used to be" a runner.  I love running, LOVE running!  In the past I "used to" run many fun runs and races - every weekend I would be making sure I was in the front line, and off I would race, watching the clock, racing to beat my time, racing to win.  Running was a HUGE part of my life, I loved being in a running club, I loved running every morning, I loved competing in a race, rain, hail or shine, super early in the morning - I loved it!!

However, I have not raced for a long time, probably 3-4 years - a long time!  Over the last few years, I have set myself a new Goal of just enjoying running for the love of running, no longer competing or being in a running club - however, in the last 2 years I have been injured, on and off, that has definitely been slowing me down - where I have probably only ran for blocks of 15-30 minutes.  Plus now I have exchanged my loved brand of Asics that were light and speedy for Shape-Ups, which I love, and feel serve me, but which I have recently found out burn 15% more oxygen - which is great sometimes - but makes running more challenging - although I am choosing not to focus on this fact.

I have turned to other sports, I talk of other sports, "I'm gunna.." - thinking I will take up swimming or paddling or yoga or pilates - and while these would no doubt be wonderful as part of a cross training plan, I still come back to running - I love running!

After speaking with my Physiotherapist, who is a brilliant woman, I have decided to get back into running.  My Physio is one of those people that you feel so grateful to have met on your journey - I love hearing stories of the impact she is having on healing her Clients, everyday she is touching lives and making a difference, she is definitely a woman who knows how to Spread The Yellow.  Aideen is so honest and I love her direct communication - I also love that Aideen is a strong believer in the power of Visualisation and the Law of Attraction.  When talking to Aideen about running and my struggle - Aideen was quick to remind me that I had pictures and words about running on my Vision Board - that this is important to me - Aideen was direct in telling me that I CAN RUN - that I have to run - it is on my Vision Board!!!   

I have been putting up so many barriers - and I am realising my own fears and limiting beliefs that are holding me back. One fear is that I will do further damange to my back, I also have a fear that my love of running will take my life out of balance (where life balance is very important to me) - and in line with that, if my running becomes so huge in my life again, I have a fear that my love of running may lead to dramatic weight loss which may affect me having a baby.  And Yet with Aideen's reminder, I turn to my Vision Board and there are the words, "Run For You - And Enjoy It!" .

While I Run For Me, and don't want to put pressure on myself, I'm realising that I am missing the sense of achievement that comes from setting and achieving running Goals - even if I am only setting and achieving them for myself.

I also remember in talking to Aideen, my gifted Physio and friend, that when I was running and competing, I was so often injured, I was always having scans, and getting fractures - and yet it had never stopped me running - I just wanted to get fixed, get the go ahead and get running.  So thank you Aideen - for giving me the go ahead - I am going to get running!

So time for a S.M.A.R.T. Goal.  Looking up on the Internet I can see that there are different variations of the acronym, and there seems to be an overlap of the meanings, in some of the different letters in the acronym -
S - stretching, significant, specific
M - meaningful, measureable, motivational
A - attainable, achievable, agreed upon, action-oriented, acceptable
R - relevant, realistic, rewarding, reasonable, results-oriented
T - tangible, time-based, timely, trackable.

What makes sense for me, for this particular Goal is
Specific - Running from my place, around Gunnamatta Bay, up and around Darook Park, around the Esplanade, up to the fence that leads the way to the Sand Dunes

Measureable - This Goal is to be achieved within 12 weeks (I have allowed 12 weeks since this is normally the time of working with a Client on a Goal, so I thought I would give myself the same amount of time) - my Goal is to be achieved by 20 June 2010

Action-Oriented - Coaching is always about taking Next Steps towards a Goal - my Goal is based on running 3 times a week, every 2nd day (which will help me maintain balance and help me with my fears)

Rewarding - This Goal is about me - setting and achieving a Goal for myself - that is always Rewarding - I love the pure joy of running - to run the 1.5-2 hours for this run will be wonderful and exciting and definitely Rewarding

Timely - The Goal has a specific time frame and the time frame for the Goal is realistic - I have previously been on runs up to 3.5 hours, up to 35kms - I know training is the key, and as I have run before, I can draw on my Inner Strength and strong memories of my running success - I also feel that 12 weeks gives me plenty of time to build up my endurance (without too much pressure).

Aideen, who is so in the know, recommends that I visualise myself running and see the picture so clearly in my mind's eye, that it feels so real and is so possible - and then I just go out and run - running the run the second time - the first time in my mind's eye.  It makes sense!!  I was reading on the Internet where there was a study done a while back with Olympic runners and visualisation, where there were two groups - one group of runners just practiced running for a set number of hours a day, and another group of runners used the same number of hours a day, but split the hours between practicing running and visualising themselves running.  "The results: Those runners that practiced without visualisation showed little improvement on their times where those that mixed creative visualisation in with their training showed great improvements over their previous times" ( - there are other great treasures on this website)

So last night, before I fall asleep, and first thing, this morning, I close my eyes, focusing on my breathe, letting go of my thoughts, and visualise myself running - walking down the stairs and then I run, running down the street, running along the waterway of Gunnamatta Bay, up the hill and racing halfway up the street to Darook.  So I visualise it twice and it feels wonderful.  And so this morning, I felt fantastic - and I went running, so confident - and so clear about my Goal - so focused!  I ran, and kept running and kept running - knowing my Goal, despite the struggle up the hill, I kept going, relaxing into my breathe - and even sprinting the final 200 metres.  It was wonderful - all up I only ran 17 minutes - but I reached the milestone for today - and I felt FANTASTIC!  Thanks Aideen for inspiring me, and reminding me of my own capability, my own dreams, the importance of visualisation.

I'm looking forward to Wednesday's run, Coz I Can, next milestone is to run past Darook Park (visualising it first - and then time to go running!!) 

Go Nude!

Styling on Neutral Ground

It's that time of year again - warmer weather, flowers blooming, picnics in the park. Time to put away those bulky sweaters, hats and scarves and bring on the, that is.

EVERYONE can do this. There is a shade to complement every complexion. Here's how you achieve a soft flattering look: go lighter or deeper than your natural complexion, so there's some contrast. Blush and Rose tinted nudes work best with fair and light skin tones; Peachy or Beigy nudes work beautifully with olive skin; Carmael or Chocolate shades complement dark skin.

Here's a look at some Nude-inspired Spring 2010 Runway collections:

Blumarine Valentino Givenchy

Celebrities go in the buff at red carpet events

Elizabeth Banks in J. Mendel. Vanessa Hudgens. Sandra Bullock in Dior. Salma Hayek in Bottega Venetta. Kate Beckinsale in J. Mendel. Beyonce Knowles in Elie Saaab. Jane Krakowski. Eva Mendes in Christian Dior.

Shoes go nude, too. The best part about wearing nude colored shoes is that they give the appearance on longer legs, and can be worn with most anything.

Here are my favorites:

L.A.M.B. Tegan Heel $375

This amazing pump is made with crackled nude-pink toned leather and putty-toned accents, pieced together with rope trim - all of which hovers on a hidden platform sole.

Office Tutu Ballerina $53

Pink leather ballerina flat. Nude fabric piping and bow tie. Nude canvas lining. Leather
sock and sole.

Nude bags this season are stunning in shades of blush, shell and greige (gray-beige). Details are everything from ruffles, hardware, fringe and basketweave.

My picks:

Be & D Kan-Kan Tote $1,390

This blush-nude bag is made from Italian leather, with a magnetic closure, an interior zipper pocket, cell phone pocket, and keyleash. It's large and roomy enough to hold a laptop, has delicate ruffle panels on both sides, and suede and signature hardware accents. May be worn with a detachable shoulder strap or handheld. Also available in Cream, Black, and Gunmetal.

Christian Louboutin Hobo $1,995

This creamy pink bag has converging pleats and diagonal zippers,

“Nude makeup never goes out of style- it’s polished, sophisticated and always looks modern.”
- Bobbi Brown

Makeup Artist, Bobbi Brown, has created a delicate and whimsical, limited-edition nude makeup line. Nude makeup does not mean monochromatic or barely there - it means the right makeup for your skin, that keeps you looking fresh-faced from day to night.

The Nude Eye Palette ($60) features eye shadow duos in a sophisticated and universally flattering selection of shades and textures. The eye shadow duos come in a customizable 3 Pan Palette, which can be filled with your choice of any Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow or Blush shades.

Bobbi also introduces a new shade to her iconic Shimmer Brick collection- the Nude Shimmer Brick ($40). Featuring five pure pearl pigments in pink, gold, bronze, beige, and caramel, the shades are designed to be blended together to give all skin tones a soft nude, lit from within glow.

In addition, the Nudes Collection includes Caviar Ink Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner ($21) their best-selling liner now in a rich, deep brown shade, and four new shades of Bobbi’s popular Creamy Lip Color ($22) that compliment the Nude Eye Palette and Nude Shimmer Brick.

O.P.I. Nail Lacquer in Bubble Bath $7.50

My all-time FAVORITE natural nail polish. It goes on a sheer blush pink, and can be used for the classic French Manicure.

M.A.C. Viva Glam VII Spring 2010 $14

The perfect shade of nude pink has been made, and is endorsed by none other than Lady Gaga herself. The "From Our Lips" campaign can be seen in department stores and magazine ads galore, alongside 80's songstress Cyndi Lauper. This limited-edition Viva Glam lipstick supports the M.A.C. AIDS fund.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Newtown - Love, Food, Books!

Today my main priority was to have a date, quality time, an adventure with My Mr Wonderful.  I always want to make time for the two of us.

We have been wanting to go to Newtown for a long time - talking about it for a long time - so today was the day.  I was excited to go to Green Gourmet, Vegetarian Restaurant - Gareth and I loved it - especially the chestnut sang chow bow and vegan rice paper rolls (see menu on their website with restaurants at Newtown and St Leonards).  It was a great start to our adventure, and we are already talking about going back for lunch and/ or dinner.

What I love about Newtown and loved about our day is the opportunity to just explore - and see where the journey leads - also the opportunity to expand our horizons.  We were drawn into the home furnishings shop - Classic Furnishings Gallery Javanese Collection - beautiful furniture.  What impressed me the most was reading the "Our Story" book displayed in the store.  It talks of Indonesia where they source teak, where the owner works with people from several villages in Central and Eastern Java, where they locate disregarded trees that have fallen due to erosion or flood..  The owner also buys wood from homes that have fallen into a state of disrepair or deterioration and pays the owners enough money to rebuild their homes in bricks that are cooler in summer and warmer in winter.  The furniture is also made in Java, creating jobs for the local communities. See their website to read more about their Story Gareth and I both felt that we would venture back to Newtown when we are looking for furniture in the future.  I felt so inspired reading the Story of their business, felt very inspired that in the designing and building of my own business I would love to help people and make a difference to community, being conscious of mother earth.

Next adventure was Gould's Book Arcade.  Love this place - this is an adventure in itself - aisles and aisles and stacks and stacks of books - up and down, around and around.  This is a 'must go to' when visiting Newtown.

I walked in and felt that I would be led to where I needed to go.  I just love books.  I found myself (to no surprise) in front of the self-discovery section and the book that jumped out at me was Dare To Connect Susan Jeffers - I have read another book by this author and loved it!  It was only on the drive home, that I flicked through the book and realised that this book was such a gift of insight and beautiful words.  Susan Jeffers refers to Ram Dass, author and teacher who "suggests that when we are born, we immediately go into 'Somebody Training'; that is, we are taught by our parents and our society that what we are 'supposed to' be in this world is a Somebody!  They define a Somebody as a person who has achieved some measure of external success.  As a result, our 'Somebody-ness', or self-worth, is dependent on such factors as money, status, power, personality, looks and intellectual excellence."

Dare To Connect explains what is wrong with this:
"a) Somebody Training emphasises individual differences and puts us in competition with everyone around us.  Hence, we are always on a treadmill trying to keep up with or surpass everyone else... or we just give up when the competition seems too great.
b) When we strive to fill ourselves up with approval from people 'out there', we twist the essence of who we really are and create a false picture which we hope will bring us the acceptance we crave.  And when we lose sight of who we truly are, we feel empty inside.
c) When we focus only on externals, such as looks, money, success or sex appeal (ours or theirs), we lose sight of our common humanity.  We lose sight of the feelings that lie within, of those unseeable qualities that create a feeling of bonding.  And we feel alienated."

I just love this book - it explains -
"Somebody Training teaches us to... Work on what's outside
Everybody Training teaches us to... Work on what's inside
Somebody Training teaches us to...See how much we can get
Everybody Training teaches us to... See how much we can give
Somebody Training teaches us to... Develop a winning act
Everybody Training teaches us to... Discover the authentic self
Somebody Training teaches us to... Ignore the Higher Self
Everybody Training teaches us to... Act from the Higher Self
Somebody Training teaches us to... Control the actions and reactions of others
Everybody Training teaches us to... Control our own actions and reactions."

I really love the beautiful words of the affirmations in Dare To Connect -
"I am good enough exactly as I am...
and who I am is a powerful and loving human being
who is learning and growing every step of the way."

"I am powerful and I am loving.
I have much to give to this world.
I am a person of worth.
I deserve love.
I am a capable person.
My life has meaning.
My life is unfolding perfectly.
There is plenty of time."

"I acknowledge your presence.
I salute our humanness.
I welcome what you have to offer this world.
I hail the beauty in you.
I receive you with a loving heart."

I love this one, which is simple and so easy to remember and can help Spread The Yellow - "I greet the light in you!"

Susan Jeffers in Dare To Connect has created an "Everyday Training Action Vocabulary" - which is so in line with my Vision of Spread The Yellow -
"Appreciate   Validate   Empathise   Praise   Care   Share
Flow   Include   Relate   Compliment   Encourage   Reveal
Play   Relax   Balance   Explore   Commit   Cooperate
Listen   Learn   Grow  Blend   Lighten up   Enjoy"    

Wonderful book!!!

Wonderful day!  The rest of the afternoon we just explored shops, browsing, popping into any shops that caught our eye - eating gelato from Ice + Splice and venturing down to Eastern Flair where Gareth bought me a beautiful bright Yellow sarong that I will display in my Coaching space (photo below does not capture the brightness of the Yellow).

I am so blessed to have My Mr Wonderful who always wants to Spread The Yellow to me and is so supportive of my 'me-ness' and our 'one-ness' and my Vision. It gave me such joy and happiness today to just 'be' together, walking together hand-in-hand, kissing, laughing, talking, sharing, caring.  How nice to be 'in love' - finally, after years of aloneness and wrong relationships.

As I end my Post I would like to share some great images from the other book I found (or that found me) at Gould's Books - Happiness Is... A Warm Puppy Charles m. Schulz (I think I was drawn to it because Gareth loves dogs and the word Puppy caught my eye) - it is definitely a book that warms the heart - enjoy.

March Madness

I'm just trying to make a smudge on the collective unconscious.
-- David Letterman.

I am currently struggling with a decision that quite frankly does not have a completely satisfying answer. The question is simple: what do I write next? The more precise question is: which of several proposals do I complete, edit, polish and re-edit before sending it off to be shopped about the world of publishing by my literary agent?

Let me first apologize to any and all aspiring writers out there who know just how difficult it is to be in the position to even have an agent. I am privileged as a result of the Matusow book to have a very good representative, who is interested in my current work and eager to receive my next project.

The problem, of course, is the age old dichotomy between money and art. Although in my case the distinction is not completely neat and crisp. The book I want to work on isn't quite ready to be finished; which is to say that the entire story has not yet unfolded and it will not be rushed. So I am left with deciding which of the several other projects will be most profitable and/or will do the most for my reputation as a writer.

Unlike the great suffering literary giants of yore, I am not saddled with the crushing burden of artistic purity. I have no problem selling my words for profit. I do, however, want my work to make a difference beyond merely entertaining my readers. I want what I write to be such that someone might use my words, my stories, my insight to change their life or the lives of those around them. I want to inspire, to illuminate and to encourage.

For that to happen, it is clear I must produce profitable products for the publisher, in order for them to have faith in what I am producing on a more esoteric level in the books I really want to write. So I think the answer to my question is that I must for the present be more commercial, so that in the not too distant future and publisher will say to me -- "and we would like to see your next work . . . " For that to happen I need a name and a resume, so my current decision has several competing commercial and artistic aspects that I am grappling with.

The immediate goal is to deliver a completed book proposal by the end of April and to immediately begin work on a second. Nothing would be better then having two deadlines. I truly enjoy the demands of writing. My current wish is that such pressures came with valuation attached. Give me liberty or give me a big advance.

photo credit:

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Alice in Wonderland-themed Wedding

How to: Create a "Wonderland" Wedding

Alice in Wonderland is all the rage right now. The newly released Tim Burton version has all, who remember this delightful Disney animation as children, even curiouser and curiouser. There are so many obvious choices that would transform an ordinary wedding into an extraordinary Wonderland.

When thinking of a Wonderland location, what is the first thing that crosses your mind? A whimsical garden with lush green topiaries and aromatic florals blanketing the countryside.

Photo courtesy of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

With hundreds of amazing gardens across the world, it can be hard to find the perfect one. I've narrowed it down to few of my favorites right here in the United States:

Nashville, Tennessee
Cheekwood is a 55-acre botanical garden that includes a Japanese garden, herb, perennial and wildflower gardens, as well as a woodland sculpture trail and a nature sanctuary.

The Biltmore Conservatory
Asheville, North Carolina
The Biltmore is not only America's largest home, but it also holds world-class gardens and an award-winning winery. The glass–roofed Conservatory nurtures flowers, plants and tender bedding plants for the gardens. Its central room is the Palm House where a large collection of palms, ferns, and other foliage plants thrive year round. Annexes include a cool house, hot house and orchid house.

Niagra, Ontario, Canada
Niagara Botanical Gardens and School of Horticulture houses 100 acres of immaculately maintained gardens. Take in the subleties of the plant world in the herb garden, the vegetable garden, the rose garden or the splendid arboretum, as well as Canada's finest collections of several hundred trees and shrubs.

The original Alice dress was blue with a white pinafore apron, but the newly revamped version, as seen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland movie, put an elegant and modern spin on the childlike babydoll dress.

Photo courtesy of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

Photo courtesy of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland

These are a few amazing "Alice"-inspired wedding gowns, in the perfect shades of blue.

1950's Vintage $880

Photo courtest of Timeless Vixen on Etsy

This Ceil Chapman dress is an early-label designer couture original. It features metallic-embroidered rhinestone & sequin steel-blue tulle, a sweetheart fitted strapless bodice, and a heavily-pleated white-lined princess maxi circle-skirt.

1950's Vintage $880

Photo courtesy of Timeless Vixen on Etsy

This vintage baby blue tulle and lace dress has a tea length maxi circle skirt and a corested lace sweetheart neckline.

#841 RS Couture by Renato Savi $498

This baby blue dress has a fitted bodice with a cinched natural, dropped waist atop a gathered and pleated bouffant tulle skirt. It has a strapless, lace scalloped neckline that leads to the satin overlay and rosette detail. Bustled seen on right.

Your can't have an Alice in Wonderland look, without a little hair accessory borrowed from none other than the Mad Hatter himself.

Black mini top hat with netting veil on a hair band.

Diamond Star Halo $55

Silver mini top hat made from sinamay, adorned with stripped hackle feathers and netting veil on a hair comb.

Alice is usually seen in a basic black leather Maryjane flat. Here's a peak at a fun twist on the classic style.

Black d'orsay sandals with a Velcro ankle cuff, pleated white trim and spat-inspired button details.

Penthouse Shoes by Ellie #PH455-Molly $44.96

Black Patent Maryjanes with 4" heel and sweet twist knot details.

For the reception, I'm seeing white tablecloths and mismatched vintage china. A tea party, with an assortment of flavored teas, would be most fitting for this elegant Alice affair. Playing cards for the place card holders, "eat me" and "take one" iced cookies on tiered cake stands, and butterfly-shaped tea sandwiches all fit into the Wonderland theme. But when it comes to dessert an ordinary white wedding cake just won't do. Whether you decide on a lop-sided Mad Hatteresque tiered wedding cake, cupcakes or petit fours, this is your opportunity to really be 'perculiar' - and even provide a party favour for your guests.

Lop-sided tiered cake from Food Networks "Ace of Cakes"

Top Hat Cupcake Tower

Tea Cup Petit Fours

The ideas I've mentioned definitely make a nod to the Alice in Wonderland story, they are still classy enough to not become dated or be too over the top wacky. In the end, as long as your groom-to-be shows up in a waistcoat, trousers and a top will forever be his Queen of Hearts.


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