Challenge Accepted

challenge accepted

I read about two books a month. And I’m happy with that number, but I recently read this article that concludes we have the capacity to read over 200 books a year. 200 books a year. That sounds like A LOT, especially since I work a full-time job and spend almost an hour commuting each day (in a non-driverless car). So where does all this time to read more (a lot more) books come from?

Maybe I should put down my phone more and find out. #ChallengeAccepted

 

We Are All Influencers

Influencers

Working in the world of marketing, the topic of influencers comes up a lot. From a marketing perspective I get it. Employ a person with a large social media following to help sell your product. These seemingly regular people, with large social media followings, have now become as big as billboards and sometimes as expensive as Super Bowl ads.

But I think there is a problem with that from a civil perspective. The issue is that categorizing only people with social klout as influencers takes the responsibility and capacity to influence away from the rest of us.

We are all influencers. Everyone is. We influence others with our actions. We make recommendations through the places we go and the companies we spend money on. We lead others with our words. We are influencers on social media and we are influencers in real life and whether you have 2 million Instagram followers or two hundred, we hold the ability to influence and impact others. And we can all make someone else’s day or do something nice for something else.

So go on, show the world your influence. We are all influencers.

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa

January Reading List

january reading list

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here’s what I read in January:

  • The Soul of Money:  This is not your typical finance book. Instead, it reminds us of the power that money holds over us and the self-talk it creates in terms of sufficiency. While I didn’t love the storytelling part of this book, I came away with a huge mindset shift on how to think about money. I am learning to be much more intentional about the way I use money – from what companies I spend it on, what organizations I donate it to, what I am saving it for, what hobbies I spend my expendable money on, and how I look at the job that I make money at – because my relationship with money and where it is going is a direct reflection of my values.
  • Finding God in the Waves January was a month filled with celebration, love and deep loss. It was the type of month that led me to turn to the spirit world and really question the meaning of life. And for me, when I get introspective on life, God always pokes his head in and wants to be part of the conversation. And finally, FINALLY, a book helped me define who and what this God guy really is. This book articulated a belief system that I feel deeply but have not been able to put into words, and I recommend it to anyone who has ever felt the pull of faith without ever being able to understand it or always believe it.

See past monthly reading lists:

Celebrating 2017

celebrating 2017

In 2017, I hiked. I ran. A lot. I was humbled by the ocean and knocked down by waves. I danced. I danced with friends. I danced with my husband. I don’t claim to dance well, but I danced for many reasons and one of my favorite reasons was to dance as a form of celebration.

I grew in my career in 2017. At work, I was – and I am – challenged daily. But more importantly, I am given an opportunity each and every day to learn. To grow. To lead. To contribute. To collaborate. To be creative. To be inspired by those around me. I choose to celebrate this opportunity rather than focus on my shortcomings or things I can’t do.

In June of 2017, we traveled to Sayulita, Mexico where I had the honor of standing by my best friend as her maid of honor at her sweet wedding. Five days later we hopped on a plane to make a quick jaunt to celebrate another best friend’s 30th birthday in Santa Cruz. It has brought me so much joy this year to watch these two women, along with many other dear friends who crossed milestones, step into new seasons of their life with passion and purpose. Now, that’s definitely something to celebrate.

The cancer of 2017 was Brian’s dad diagnosis with Leukemia, but with the disease has come the most beautiful form of strength, resilience and fellowship. My father-in-law, Mark, is facing this trial with dignity and humor, and he inspires me every day. On top of that – as with many hardships – it has brought our family together even more and further connected me to my Gump brothers and sister. Together we celebrate life and kicking cancer’s butt.

As we get older it seems to get harder to get my family all together, and a last-minute idea to celebrate Thanksgiving in Colorado at my sister’s house was the best thing ever. Thanksgiving weekend was spent adventuring with my husband, hanging with my sisters and brother-in-laws, playing with my nieces and nephews, cooking with my mom and running with my dad. All of my favorite things and people packed into one long weekend filled with celebration and gratitude.

We ended the year with a quick trip to Yosemite and on the last day of 2017, with just hours until the new year, we hiked to a mountain peak and toasted to the new year. I don’t know what it was about being up there – maybe because the elevation is closer to God or nature or maybe it was the reward of the cold beer – but the reflection and resolutions felt extra celebratory this year.

It can’t go without note that this year started in the absolute best way possible, as I wed the love of my life on 1.7.17. Marrying Brian has been a life-changing event in more ways than I expected. Not only his he my partner and my person, but what I didn’t expect from marriage is how I would grow personally. He amplifies my positive attributes by bringing out my joy, humor, voice, spirituality, and drive. And at the same time he helps me find more patience, energy, acceptance and physical strength – things that come more naturally to him. He helps me sets goals and together we celebrate our successes.

We received a wedding gift from a dear friend that was a beautiful gold rimmed plate, delicately engraved with the words, “May there always be a reason to celebrate.” In short, that was my motto for 2017 and it’s a motto I will strive for every day and every year thereafter.

2018 – let’s continue the celebration.

 

A Holiday Reminder

Holiday reminder

I found this image on Instagram and it was a very timely reminder and something I needed to hear.

Holiday reminder

The hustle and bustle of the holidays gets to me every year. Shorter weeks at work. A never-ending to do list. Christmas gifts that won’t wrap themselves. Late nights. Early mornings. It just doesn’t seem to stop.

Stop.

This is the season to GIVE.  Give time. Give positivity. Patience. Joy. Calm. Give help. Give your presence. And of course, some gifts too.

What a message. And something I could use reminding of all year long. Lets keep spreading the happy and the merry rather than the stressed and the weary.

September Reading List

September Reading List

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here’s what I read in September:

  • Braving The WildnernessStrong back. Soft front. Wild heart. Oh man this book. It was so good that I finished it in one sitting and then promptly felt compelled to give it away to a sweet friend because this message of how we are all inextricably connected is a message that is severely needed in this wild world right now. I have tickets to see Brene Brown speak during her book tour in November and to say I am excited is an understatement.
  • What Maddy Maddy Run: This book was hard to read, but it’s an important read. It tells the story of a beautiful young athlete who’s  biggest competition ends up being her online persona. It’s a sad story of a young life taken too soon, and I think women of all ages will be able to relate on some level to the pressures that our digital society put on Maddy.

See past monthly reading lists:

Vegan Fig Bars

Vegan Fig Bars

When life hands you figs, make vegan fig bars!

My sweet coworker is blessed with a fig tree, and therefore she has a bounty of these delicious juicy gems. She often shares them with us in the office and as fig season is winding down, I thought it was the perfect time to try my hand at making vegan fig bars.

I used this Fig Honey Cheesecake Recipe, and as always, I improvised a bit. Since my food processor is still packed away in storage with our other beautiful wedding gifts, my little magic bullet blender came to the rescue. I used flax seeds over flax meal and I added more coconut oil than the recipe called for to help it blend better. I froze them overnight before cutting them into bite-sized squares for easy consumption and shared them with my coworkers (of course the bearer of the figs got the first try!) the next day.

The end result was a sweet vegan fig treat. My coworkers’ review? They said the little bars were FIGtastic! I’ll call that a win for the day.

Monday Gratitude

Monday Gratitude

Forget about the Monday blues and the beginning of the week to-do’s.

Use the first day of the week to cultivate gratitude, appreciate the weekend past and as a reminder of all of the reasons to celebrate during the week ahead.

Below are the things I am especially grateful for right now:

  • Camping with my sweet husband this past weekend.
  • Living close to both the ocean and the mountains. The California coast is a magical place.
  • Technology to allow me to connect to family near and far.
  • Trader Joe’s.
  • Finding the beauty in the small things.

Happy New Moon and Solar Eclipse Day. Today is a great day to set intentions and gratitude for the upcoming days. Think of it like a reset button. Ready…go.

August Reading List

August Reading List

Not only do I love to read, but I believe books are meant to be shared.

I always seem to be reading multiple books at once, and my stack of reads on my nightstand never seems to go down because once I finish one book I add another one to the queue. If you’re curious, here’s what I read in August:

  • Wonder: I saw a preview for this movie, and wanted to be sure I finished the book first. It’s a quick, touching, read about about a young boy that will warm your heart.
  • Wellth: I was introduced to Jacob Wachob through the MindBodyGreen Podcast which led me to be interested in this book. While this read doesn’t reveal anything completely brand new, it is a great reminder on how to live a balanced and healthy life. What I most appreciate about this book is Wachob’s realistic approach to wellness and holistic medicine.