18 Gentle Reminders

picLive and Learn. What else can we do? This Fall was a rough one. I won’t bore you with the details; it wasn’t dramatic and who wants to hear someone else’s stuff when everyone has their own fish to fry? But let just say that “fry” is the key word – at times I felt like I had gone from the pan to the fire. For me, the heat was even higher when I knew I was smart enough to do better…and yet, I couldn’t.

Lathering on the metaphorical balm last weekend, I spent Sunday in bed, napping, watching TV and re-reading old journals, looking for ways to bring perspective back into focus. Lucky for me, I have some very wise friends, have read some helpful books along the way and was able to find advice that I had jotted down in old journals, for just these times.

In Judaism, 18 is the number associated with “Life.” When I found our house on Zillow, one of the things I noticed was that the zip code was 80218. Re-reading some of my journal entries brought me back to “life” and so, given this is the season of lists, I thought I’d share my 18 Gentle Reminders. I am splitting them up between this MindFULL Monday and next. May you glance them over and feel as if you are sitting by a warm, cozy fire… and not in it…

  1. Notice people, numbers, sayings, songs that send you a message at just the right time (I call mine Binky Blinks. You can make up a name for yours). When you pay attention, they will appear. Promise.
  2. Sometimes we assume something about the other person that just isn’t true. Funny thing is that chances are both of us are experiencing similar things in a different way. We all try and be right and can miss what we need to hear and learn from.
  3. Gratitude is the best medicine. Everyday write down 3 things you are grateful for. If you’re sad, try best to come up with 10.
  4. We all have “soft spots” – parts of ourselves that are tender. One of mine is “not enough.” Sometimes folks “hit the spot” inadvertently and then we tend to “go South.” Best advice I’ve gotten: When an event is happening with someone, you have to decide if it needs to be solved or just let it pass through you. The moment the chatter starts, lean away from it (most people lean in and get involved). Get some space and give it room to pass through (from The UnTethered Soul).
  5. How people act is because of something in THEM. It’s not you, even if it feels like it is! Really. (Tough to remember but oh so true, whether you are 17 or 53…)
  6. “There’s another possibility of how to look at that…” Pretend the situation is a pie, cut it into slices and write all the ways you can imagine it could be (Special Thanks to Rena Tobey for teaching me this technique).
  7. We all grapple. It’s human nature. There’s nothing wrong with us. Try and shift from damning (y)ourselves to finding nurturing ground.
  8. Ask yourself, “What brings me peace in the most healthy way?” Make a list so you can take kind care of yourself during trying times. For me it’s re-reading excerpts from helpful conversations, warm baths and walks around my favorite park with my friend and her dog.
  9. Learn and know your strengths and weaknesses. We all have ‘em. There is no shame, just understanding. Understanding helps us re-frame, and re-frame can equal ease.


Check back next week for 9 more MindFULL Gentle Reminders! How do you MindFULLY turn down your heat? Let us know!

Tis The Season To Be Creative

It’s the holiday season and many of us are looking for fun things to do with friends and family. But one person’s fun, is another person’s misery. How to find something that fits for the whole gang?

One of my favorite memories, of holiday seasons past, was venturing into NYC with my family. I loved to ice skate at Rockefeller Plaza and press my nose to the holiday themed windows at Saks. I loved the smell of the pretzels and chestnuts roasting in the pushcarts on every corner. And I hated going to the museum. I was bored. Little chubby me would sit on the hard wooden bench in the center of the vast room, sulking that I wasn’t swooshing around the rink. Way back then, museums didn’t gear themselves to families. It was simply intimidating old pictures hung on a sterile, white wall.

So, imagine my delight when I discovered a fun way to learn about the Great Works of Art without ever leaving the comfort of home. Created by my ever talented, smart and resourceful friend Rena Tobey, Artventures! is a party game on the adventures of Art and Art History. It’s simple to play and you don’t need any Art History experience. Check it out! You can get it on Amazon or at www.artventuresgame.com


Recently, Rena completed her MA, art history program. She has a special way of explaining art that makes it relevant and engaging. As posted on her website http://www.renatobey.com/ Rena values learning, creative possibility, and fun and dedicates her energy to sparking lively minds. Building on an academic and organizational career, she is passionate about engaging people with all forms of visual expression and filling the spoken word with verve.

So, this winter break, stack some trays in the kitchen, set up a museum lunch buffet line and settle in at your table for hours of fun with Artventures! I promise it will be an adventure well worth taking.

What MindFULLY fun things have you found to do with Friends and Family?Let us know!

The Uniform



I love me two good things in life: a great Customer Service experience and a good “Uni” (a.k.a. “The Uniform”) — that Go-To outfit you can count on, regardless of weather or weight. Imagine my delight, when I stumbled upon both!

Color me crazy, but on Black Friday, I agreed to go to the Mall with my teenage daughter. Determined not to buy anything for myself, I wandered into LOFT while she scoured a Sale next door. Of course, there to greet me on the first rack in the store, was a tan tunic sweater for $20. It had my name on it.

“You’ll love it and should buy more than 1,” said the adorable, perky Sales Associate. Knowing I wanted for nothing, I stuck to the tan, even tho’ I eyed the black (who couldn’t use yet another black top?) and the silver. When I got home, I tried it on. It could not have fit more comfortably, nor been cuter. Of course, my “want for nothing” attitude flew out the window and I headed back to the Mall the next day. There in the store window read 30% Off Everything. My adrenaline rushed straight to my head, only to come crashing to my feet upon learning that my sweater was up to Full price and now marked down only 30%.

THIS makes me crazy. If it’s a $20 sweater, sell it for $20. If it’s $60, sell it for $60. After a quick chat with the same adorable, perky Sales Associate, we agreed I’d buy the silver sweater for 30% off and then call her Monday, when it was going to be 50% (!) off and get a price adjustment. OK. I know…I need a life…but that’s another post for another time. Excited at the thought of 50% off, I asked one of the ladies behind the counter about the houndstooth leggings to go with it. “Oh, those will never go on sale – they’re part of  a special line and if you read the fine print, you’ll see they are excluded from the Sale.” “But, that’s not fair, the sign says 30% Off Everything” I said. “You should read the fine print. I don’t set the price, I just sell the stuff.”

Those who know me, are probably laughing and cringing at this point in the story, shaking their heads and whispering under their breath, “Wait for it… wait for it…”

Well, needless to say, I launched into my Customer Service shpeal and laid out my retail background and marketing credentials. Big deal. It was what it was. I could take it or leave it. I took the sweater and left the leggings.

(Cyber) Monday, before calling my new personal shopper,  Janet, for my price adjustment, I poked around the LOFT website, only to see that the sweater was marked down to $23, but you had to pay $10 for shipping! Seriously? And to make matters worse, the leggings were right there for 50% off.

Lucky for me ( and really for them), I got a great sales rep on the phone, who patiently listened to my rant and without batting an eye, waved the shipping, sent it in 3 days and threw in a 50% off a full price item card. I ended up buying the black sweater, silver sweater and leggings for the Full price of one sweater!

I wrote a Kudos letter to LOFT and with gratitude for my new “Uni” donated a “Uni” (3 nice sweaters and a pair of pants) to a shelter. Now, I am all set for the winter. Bring on the snow and bread!

p.s. In an attempt to spunk up my “Uni”, I wear a “Uni” necklace designed by our fabulous and talented cousin, Susan Mayer. One good piece from Susan’s collection can change any outfit. Check out her jewelry line at any HML store or www.74harleystreet.com

 What’s your MindFULLy favorite “Uniform”? Let us know!