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Dad

I have many wonderful memories from growing up but none as strong as walking by my parents in the dining room, overhearing their discussions on how they were going to vote for something during election season. Mom and Dad shared a ballot since Mom was a US Citizen and Dad was not. They studied and discussed issues together and decided how they would vote on something. The evenings were long and the discussions drawn out.

My father preached the values of the Republican party. He never expected us to follow his path. He only cared that we vote, that we learn, and that we consider not just ourselves but the world around us. He believed deeply and wholly that voting was the highest honor. When I was in college, he would get my absentee ballot and make sure Mom forwarded it to me with enough time for me to study issues and make informed decisions.

While he watched more Fox news than I cared for and shook his head at my collegiate idealism, he loved that I was an engaged, thoughtful kid. I'll never forget the day, my - I assumed - die hard conservative father lobbied for their shared vote to go to Bill Clinton. It rocked my world. To paraphrase his long explanation, "Laur, the world before the party." It left a huge political impression on me.

Dad became a US Citizen just in time to cast his one and only vote in a presidential election. He voted for W. He could barely walk to the polling place because he was so weak by then. My mom took the morning off so they could vote together. His smile was huge that day and he proudly wore his "I Voted" sticker on his robe. He slipped into his coma and died soon thereafter. We joke that he finally was able to let go because a Republican was back in office.

With less than 100 days until election time, I am researching and fact-checking the candidates and the media, asking myself WWDD? the whole time. It's a great, powerful voice in my head. I continue to eavesdrop on conversations as I did as a child. I hear a lot of misinformed rhetoric from both sides and it is only now that I understand fully, the great gift he left behind

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Saturday Round-up of LL Bits

Good Saturday YOU!

Below is this week's random thought, my fave money and tech tools, stuff that you may find interesting, and some blog posts from yours truly to peruse at your leisure.

for your consideration

If you are not married but intend to, might I suggest a flash wedding?! Most festive wedding I've attended to-date and I was fortunate enough to officiate. The crowd was the wedding procession and they arrived in the best and highest of spirits. This couple got an A+ from guests for hosting such a guest-centered wedding. I snapped a photo of them to start off the ceremony. As you can tell, they were struggling to find the fun in the process.

Technology played a huge role in the success of navigating 100+ people through the streets of San Diego. Texts were delivered throughout the day via a broadcast system and there were some helpers along the way to pass out boas and hats and make sure they got to the right place. They also chose a fun hashtag for the day (delivered via text) so we could follow guests throughout the day and see what they were doing. All around win for the love and technology.

money and tech loves

  • Girls Who Code is based out of New York. Their mission is to to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. They are doing good stuff. They have a summer immersion program and have clubs popping up all over the U.S. If you have young women in your life, I implore you to take a look or check out what programs are available in your area that focus on science and technology. 
  • Vegetable Spiralizer doesn't need power to be good technology. I do not discriminate! This is my favorite low-tech gadget. It only requires human power and I am eating A LOT of vegetables as a result. What is not to love?!
  • Jing is a great, free app that allows you to take quick screengrabs and videos of your computer screen for when sometimes writing out directions is too laborious. I used it for clients all the time when I can't jump on a call but need to show them how to do something on their computer.
  • Amazon Prime Video App is now available for Androids and Apple iOS?! Did you know that? 'Cause I just learned this and it brought great joy to my life. If you have an Amazon Prime account and watch vids on the regular this will make your life so much better on the go.
  • The selfie stick don't knock it until you try it. It was a HIT at the wedding. 

helpful things found on the interweb

the last couple weeks in LL blog posts

Expect typos and grammatical errors. Sometimes a half-baked idea. But always REAL.


Happy weekending my dear hearts,

LL

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Lady social media mavens who are business-savvy and eat fried food, where are you?!

Soooo, um, I've been on the internet hunt for the following: women of color who are bloggers/social media mavens, business-savvy, a bit on the gritty side, lovers of shoes and gadgetry, maker-uppers of words with the ability to eat fried things and know how to make a killer vegan meal. My searches have yielded little for obvious reasons.

I have found a decent number of amaze POC ladies as a result of my sleuthing. I am currently gulping down content of a couple. If you are looking for up-and-coming check these ladies out.

My top two right now are

Aminatou Sow. What a superstar. My last post was all about podcasts. Aminatou co-hosts a show with her "boo," (she says, not me) Ann Friedman. It is titled Call Your Girlfriend. Smart, young, savvy women talking about everything from Kanye to Woody Allen to tragic current events to retirement. They are going after their passion. Lots to admire about both of them and can't wait to see where they go.

Winnie Kao. She's just getting cookin'. Winnie launched the Your Turn Challenge where she created a tribe in 7 days. Basically, she challenged people to write one blog post a day for 7 days. She is all about shipping. She also works as the Special Projects Lead for Seth Godin. I am shipping because of her. Her posts are getting richer and richer. I suspect we're going to be seeing more and more of her -- especially since she is shipping every day.

So fun. If you have ladies who you follow meeting any of my criteria above, be in touch. I'm always on the lookout - seasoned and not. 

Happy interneting!

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A message to you closet TV bingers

People, I think I've broken up with TV to date podcasts full-time. Maybe I'm just infatuated but I show no signs of stopping. I have stalked the interwebs, I have a support group of girlfriends in the same boat (okay, maybe only one right now) and all I can think is what took me so long?! Am I the last?!

Did the Facebook talk to you like it did to me about Serial (the crazy, famous podcast that follows one true story over multiple episodes)? Because it was all over my feed, even days after it wrapped up. I gave in. I listened. I fell in love. I have opinions about Serial, of course, but forget about those, it was a total gateway drug into other podcasts. I'd dabbled but never like this.

Podcasts, the geeky cousins to  TV, movies, and books, always tinkering in the background. Seems like they are going to do big things, but it's never quite clear. Yes, those.  

If you don't you really ought to.

It's radio on steroids people. There are stories - fiction and nonfiction alike. There is news. There is music. There is just you and sound. It's so "simple" and totally engages you in a way that TV just cannot. 

And if you are the closet person who binges on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, then, well podcasts were made for YOU. Totally untapped place of entertainment and learning opportunities.

Also, I do have to say I feel a lot less dumb and less filthy after listening to podcasts than sitting in front of screen. But that's just me and is a direct result of my poor entertainment choices. 

Suggested tools for listening and searching:

You can start with Serial. You can also Google "Best Podcasts" like I did and start with a few of those.

Don't you worry. I'm sure I'll blog about my faves soon enough. This isn't the last time I'm going to write about podcasts.

I mean, I'm on the road full time, cruising around town with earbuds on. Normally, there is nothing coming through the earbuds, I'm simply wearing them to deter people from talking to me. But now, I have rich stories come through and I am stoked. I'm not distracted by the visuals, I don't have to stare at a box. I can clean out my sock drawer while I listen. And I can drive for hours and be thoroughly entertained. 

Clearly, I'm winning. And if you are already a podcast addict, tell me your faves so I can add 'em!

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Stop with the analysis paralysis TODAY

Hey you. Stop planning so much. Stop researching. Stop with the analysis paralysis. Just make a move already. 

Inspired by you and the Karate Kid, I'm starting Tiny Tip Monday. Yup.

Things have gotten out-of-hand with all these grandiose things on our task lists. And I am here to bring all of you back to reality. And it starts with tiny tasks. Get on this if you are feeling a little stagnant in life or if you are stuck in over-planning + over-researching mode.  (Channeling Mr. Miyagi.) 

I have an oldie but goodie. It is helpful for perspective, slowing down, and remembering ya don't need much in life.

Write down one thing you are stoked about today. You can replace "stoked," with grateful, celebrating, rocking. Whatever your sauce is, just write something down that is making you happy.

Don't overthink it. No need to instagram or tweet it out. Just do it for yourself. 

I'll help you. I'm on day 145 and it is about 45 seconds of my day. I write them in Evernote, tagged as Grateful. I do this once a day, usually when I'm looking for an easy win. I peruse them when I'm feeling bratty, overwhelmed.

Here are a some of my gems.

Korean food
Tasty vegetarian meals
My dog going potty fast
Balancing my checkbook and seeing I still have money after my shopping spree
My mouthguard
GADGETS. I love gadgets.
My mom.
All the sisters I have despite growing up with boys.

Make this a recurring daily task on your task list. Enjoy the perspective.

Exploring personal/business task management? Check out Asana and Evernote Reminders

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The world is waiting for you to be this

I've received a lot of sweet notes about how much I've been posting on this blog and on my new project, What's Your Bald Spot? They've been wondering what my secret is.

It is not a secret. Here is my process. I'm learning a lot about getting unstuck as a result.

I wake up at 5am.
I drink a glass of lemon water. Sometimes.
I set my timer for 45 minutes. 
What I write I post. 
I put perfection in a locked-up box.
I let go of typos and grammatical errors.
If I'm embarrassed to write it, I write it anyway. 
I do not pay attention to metrics.
I trust the next steps to where I should go will show up.
Repeat.

The truth is, I'd been hanging out in the future for too long.  I spent entirely too much time trying to develop my writing skills and crafting messages and projects. 

So I woke up and decided, if I want to be a writer - a for real, real-talker - I suppose I should just write and make it so. Who cares what that container is?

The distance wasn't as far as I made it out to be. 

If you haven't already, I hope you find your golden hour to to be what you've been longing to do. The world is waiting.

**If you aren't already on my mail list, please join here if you want reminders to come back and visit. I'd be honored to have you.**

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Saturday Round-up of LL Bits

Good morning YOU

Below is something I've been thinking a lot about, my fave money and tech tools, and some random blog posts from yours truly to peruse. 

LL Tech Reflection

There was a time when there were no phones at the meal table. I remember staying seated as a kid, as the phone would ring and ring because we didn't have an answering machine to pick up and we weren't allowed to answer the phone during meal times. It was standard then to wait ten rings before trying again later. Life would stop during those ten rings, wondering who it could be that was calling you.

I know times have changed. There is voicemail, text, email, instant messaging, etc. But maybe we could hang on to some of the old skool ways, like no phones at the meal table. 

LL's current money + tech loves

Google Inbox a different way to review your Gmail. Inbox bundles emails for you, allows you to snooze messages, and add to-dos at the top of you box. I LOVE the snooze feature. It is currently invite only. I have invitations available if you are interested. Just drop me a note.

Assistant.to is a fantastic scheduling tool. It basically searches your calendar for you and inserts suggested times and dates. Available for Gmail now and testing for an MS Outlook plug-in is happening. This is the direction of scheduling and I like it.  

Motley Fool, especially the Stock Advisor Newsletter + How to Invest section. I've been hearing a lot of friends chat lately about how they don't know much about money or investing and they want to learn. This is a great place to start. If you are a woman and are looking for something slightly less dudeish, I also suggest LearnVest

LL's Blog Posts for the Week

I participated in a 7 day blog challenge. This is what happens. 

Hi, my name is Lauren Lizardo and I am an inspiration junkie
Choose love
The lady who unboxes Disney toys on YouTube earns a cool $5M
Get unstuck and join a revolution in 5 minutes
Remove the first obstacle to getting something done
Save $500 in parts and labor

Happy weekending my dear hearts. 

LL

 

 

 

 

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The lady who unboxes Disney toys on YouTube earns a cool $5M

The headline that should have caught your eye this week if it didn't, "YouTube's highest paid star is a mysterious woman who unwraps Disney toys." And she earns roughly $4.9 Million doing so. Excuse me? Check it here. No joke. Apparently unboxing vids on YouTube is a crazy money-maker. Who knew?

People are making a living all sorts of ways nowadays that don't fit in the traditional 9-5er box. I'm sure you've heard a bunch of bloggers or have seen cheesy ads extolling the amazingness of nontraditional ways of "working" - online businesses, the sharing economy (AirBnB, Lyft, Uber, etc.), mommy bloggers (I have a lot of love for you). Lots of people talk about being location-independent. Heck, I am location-independent. It can feel a bit "too-good-to-be-true." Especially for Baby Boomers + Gen X'ers who grew up where you go to school, you graduate, you clock-in, you go out and get the 401k.

While that could be true, I also think you're missing out on something if you aren't considering the different ways technology has changed entrepreneurship. It's not just going to Silicon Valley to slum it with venture capitalists to start a tech company or buying a franchise, taking a big loan out from your in-laws. 

I know I keep talking about tiny but tiny is mighty in this modern world. It has never been easier to build infrastructure for a micro-business that brings in a good amount of money and doesn't involve a pyramid scheme. Technology has its downfalls but it really has made building a mini empire quite easy. 

You can consult. You can write. You can build communities. You can teach people skills using your video camera. (Talking to you Skillshare!) You can rent out your house. You can take pictures. You can craft. (Looking at you Etsy.) You can UNBOX TOYS on YouTube. Get thinking. Get reading.

Need some creativity lubrication, read anything by Seth Godin

Interweb friends, I didn't set out to live the life I have today. And I have a nice life. I have a nice life not because of the bits I own or the adventures I get to go on, I have a nice life because I'm living inline with my beliefs, with my values and that is of utmost importance to me. I wake up excited to start my day, for the road ahead. 

Traditional work and life may bring that to you and if so, that is awesome. But if it's not and you're itchy to try something to different, to live a different kind of life, I implore you to take a tiny step and explore the ideas you have in your head. We all have the capacity, if we want to tap that.

Happy Friday.

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Get unstuck and join a revolution in 5 minutes

If you are feeling stuck in life, I'd like to introduce you to the fictitious and effective LL Tiny Revolution, the revolution that will make you an overachiever in just a few minutes. 

There is only one rule: take one, tiny, baby bite of a project instead of inhaling the big picture all at once. 

Like, say,

  • Instead of planning the whole year ahead, plan the next hour.
  • Instead of cleaning out your whole house, just clean off your desktop.
  • Instead of running a marathon, get up right now and stretch.
  • Instead of "decluttering" your whole house over a weekend, choose one item - today - to give away. 
  • Instead of starting a business, buy your domain name. 

So sally forth. Find a big project on your ever-growing list of bits. Make it tiny with one step that can be achieved in under 5 minutes. Then repeat. Did you repeat?! You are officially an overachiever. Welcome.

Kick off your revolution and do something now. Right now.

Write me and tell me about your tiny step. I will celebrate you.

Do you find my words kinda amusing, kinda helpful? Spread the cheer by Sharing below, sign up for my mail list here, drop me note @ lauren [at] laurenlizardo [dot] com.  I would love to hear from you.

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Hi, my name is Lauren Lizardo and I am an inspiration junkie

Help. I am an inspiration junkie.

Especially as a woman entrepreneur. We have a tendency to want to change the world AND revamp our personal lives all at the same time. (Because why not multitask?) So naturally, we drink inspirational quotes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We write out aspirations. We institute mantras. I have an Evernote file of inspirational quotes. In fact, the tag is "inspirational quotes." Seriously. My Facebook feed is filled with inspiration. 

I regularly check out what Danielle LaPorte, Tara Gentile, and Marie Forleo are doing. Because those ladies, churn out the inspiration. I treat them like my daily scripture. They are amazing. They are wise. They've done it. I hope to be them when I grow up.

I mean who doesn't love inspiration? Hell, I LOVE writing an inspirational quote. (Well, really, I love writing anything that is compact and tweetable.) I launched a site to inspire others to be authentic. 

But people, it's too much. These inspirational things. When did I become such a junkie?!

So I'm fasting from hearing and reading about love and desire and courage I need to change the world. I'm going to write Facebook and tell them to not populate my feed with inspirational quotes. I'm breaking up with Danielle, Tara, and Marie.  All good things must come to an end anyway.

Or, I'm just going to recognize that I have all I need already to do whatever I want to do it. That those quotes are simply fuel and now it's just time to do less reading and more doing. Less searching for the silver bullet quote and more living the silver bullet quote.

I hope you join me.  

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Remove the first obstacle to getting something done

How many times have you gone to do something on the interwebs and you can't remember the password to do said task? And the thought of going through the password recovery makes you abandon the task all together?

The first barrier to any project, personal or professional, is usually having the password readily available. Can't go anywhere without it and if you don't have it at your finger tips, it's too easy of an excuse to not do the task at-hand or take longer to deliver something to your boss, to your client, to your peeps waiting on you. 

Put them in one place, together, and make sure they are secure. The easier the access, the more you will rock at whatever you are doing. 

Tool recommendations:

LastPass
1Password

You probably have hundreds of them. I have 503, not including client passwords. That's a lot of passwords. 

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Save $500 in parts and labor

You daydream about throwing a big bonfire for your technology. You want to throw in the computers, the tablets, the phones. They overwhelm you. You long for the return of paper calendars and file cabinets. Maybe you even still cling to those items. Good for you. And then there is all the jargon. What is this cloud you speak of? It's a clear blue sky. I see no cloud and I really don't understand why I have to pay for it when I don't see it. What the hell is an Operating System and why do I have to upgrade mine? And what, pray tell, is RAM and why do I need so much of it? This is a conspiracy. I know it is.

Technology is not going anywhere and it is developing faster than we can refresh our web browsers. It can make us feel like we are perpetually the new kid on the block, in a different country, in a different universe, in our adolescent years. 

The good word my dear accidental, everyday technologists is that 1) you are not alone and 2) you are in complete and total control. Also, you don't have to know everything. The challenge then is to not reject nor "hate" technology, it is to become friends, to find the good, to nurture a relationship with the digital bits around you, to take it one step at a time. I promise you, it is not a conspiracy. 

Yes, technology is developing rapidly but so is the user-friendliness and access to information.  Recently, I ordered tow mirrors online. I had no idea how to install them so I found a YouTube video and got to work. I saved $500 in parts + labor. That's pretty cool. 

There are people out there who share their knowledge for FREE. There are fellow stranger cyber friends posting answers on forums to questions you may have. Many companies have whole support platforms designed to be attentive to YOU.  Can't figure out how to do something on your phone? Don't want to go looking for the manual in your closet? It is likely the manual is available to download online so you can stay seated. 

You can moan or you can love. I say when all else fails in life, choose love. Technology is here to stay. 

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Be rewarded with more by letting go

I've been shouting from the rooftops that I launched a pet project that has been simmering in my heart for quite some time -- What's Your Bald Spot? (WYBS). I've casually been saying that it replaces my longtime goal of writing a book about my bald escapades.

That's kind of a big deal. I've been working on a draft of said book for four years. I thought 2015 would be the year I brought it to the shareable-level. I surprised myself by taking it off my 2015 Celebrations List completely.

I've held those words so close for so long, I think I suffocated them. Now that I've stepped back and am playing with the draft under a completely different context, the words are breathing again. I feel like I am breathing again. I am thrilled. And as a result, I am posting with reckless abandon and delight. It feels naughty and amazing to do something completely different than what I had originally planned.

So maybe the book is still in me or maybe it's a different book all together. All I know to be true is that I was stuck for a long time, like in a room of a thousand mirrors-style. When I let go of my plan, a new one came into action. It's easy to hold onto an expected outcome but maybe if we release that grip and that expectation, the result will surprise with something even better. 

I say less planning, more doing this 2015. Tweet it out

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Launch of new project

I'm making radical tiny changes in 2015. I've resolved to "go tiny or go home" after suffering from big picture fatigue in 2014. In that spirit, I removed "Finish book" from my list of 2015 celebrations. (It has showed up three years in-a-row, poor thing.) Instead, meet its replacement: What's Your Bald Spot? 

It is storytelling + community + bits from a most-likely orphaned memoir by yours truly.

I hope you stop by. I hope you get a dose of inspiration. I hope you share a bald spot with me if you feel moved. Or maybe there is someone you know that should shake it out. I welcome any and all. The queue is filling up fast. Head on over to check it out.

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Plan next year in a half-hour, on the back of an envelope

As we enter the last month of the year, I’m doing my end-of-year administrative stuff for myself personally and professionally. I reconcile all my bank accounts, I add up my mileage, I take a look and see what I’ve spent, what I thought I would do and didn’t do, etc. A big part of my annual close-out, is I write down what I will be celebrating at the end of the following year (ie. December 2015). Extraordinary women, Maria Cristini and Laura Peck, have given me different iterations of this exercise over the years.

I'll own it now. Not once have I completed everything on my list, but I’ve either completed some iteration of and/or have surprised myself in other places. Regardless, it ensures I take pause, to be happy for what I’ve completed, to let go what I did not, and to keep dreaming.

I also do it and then maybe check it out a few times throughout the year, if that. Sometimes I think I should be the person who posts it at my desk so I see it every day but that’s not my style. I like to just see where things go. I usually end up looking at it mid-year for a reminder and just before I do the next year's celebration list.

There are many ways to do this.

My list contains the following:

  • A theme for the year.

  • Things I will be celebrating at the end of the year, divided by sections of my life (money, work, relationships, home, etc.). It is usually five or six big life buckets. I use the Wheel of Life to get my areas such as the one found here. (That tool, btw, is an excellent guideline for an any-time-of-year check-in.)

  • A couple specific details for each section.

For example:

  • Theme for 2014:  Fun
  • Big life area:  Home
  • Statement:   I am celebrating a new home.
  • Statement details:   My new home is full of light and an amazing kitchen.

I wrote a version of that statement in December 2013. At the time, I had NO idea it would be in the form of an Airstream and the amazing kitchen would be a mini three-burner stovetop, an oven only big enough to cook a couple cornish game hens, and a bbq hooked up via quick connect to my trailer propane tanks.  Going into 2014, the idea of home was heavy in my heart. I was couch-surfing, housesitting, and on business trips. I felt rootless but had no idea where I wanted to put those roots down. I had visions of land and building a home. But it worked itself out exactly how it was supposed to. Check out my home here.

All my celebrations were like that. I wrote six things down and as the new year quickly approaches, I am celebrating them in whatever form they are in my life as I revisit them.

I didn’t do any laborious planning for all the things I am celebrating, I simply wrote them down and let life take its course. As freakish as I am with details and systems, I tend to not apply them intensely to my own personal goals and life. Life will happen as it should and so long as I am having a constant conversation with my heart. I don’t scold myself for not fulfilling things I thought I would a year ago. I celebrate the things that replaced what I wasn’t supposed to do in the first place.

Anyway, people, if you're inclined, take a half hour before the new year and write down your celebrations. Even if it’s on the back of an envelope. Don't overthink it, just write down what comes to you.

If we don’t plant our seeds, they won’t grow. Plant your seeds! -- tweet that out here.

Like what you see? Follow the REAL TALK by getting it delivered to your inbox here.


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Welcome to my - kinda, but not really - inaugural Airstream blog post

Yes, yes. I bought an Airstream (the poor trailer needs a name that is less, well, flashy) and I’m living in it full-time for the foreseeable future. Many have asked me if I will be blogging about my experience. And the answer is no, not intentionally that is. There are so many others who are doing it way better than I ever could or would. Here is a comprehensive list of great ones, updated just this June 2014.

And don’t even get me started on the amazing instagrammers out there. Just search any hashtag with “airstream” in it and your eyes will pop out with all the amazingness of people's trailer travels, happenings, and wild creativity.

I’m excited for this journey and the storyline will creep into my other writings and postings but in lieu of writing about it, I would much rather chat about it in-person or one-on-one in an email convo. I welcome you out on the road with me, to visit me wherever I am parked, get a Skype call or Google Hangout going if you have questions or thoughts or want to check out the inside of my glamorous trailer (not yet, but it will be!). Or if you just need some love and outside perspective. I love me some of that connection.

This leg is less about telling the story and more about living the story. It's also about nurturing offline friendships and relationships and seeing where it takes my business. I haven't even gotten on the road yet and the live connections have been phenomenal. It’s also a very small story in comparison to the bigger story of my life and decisions thus far. That stuff is the juicy stuff -- all the details leading up to the part where I decided I’m not listening to anyone but myself. It has been at times excruciating and other times downright liberating.

And seriously, I know this is going to sound crazy, but it all started with money and technology and how lining that stuff up in my life, has supported my heart to go big and to really, truly, want that for everyone around me, in whatever shape that takes. I hope you join me. I hope to hear from you. I hope to hear from your friends and family members and their friends and family members. My heart is always open to yours -- as is my facebook page and my mail list!! (Shameless.)

In the meantime, there will be mentions and posts on my FB page as well as Instagram and here on my blog. I love documenting whatever adventure I am on, be it in my flashy tin home or while hanging about town. It’s my little morsel of love I send out to the universe, thanking it for blessing me with a life that begets so much and hoping others will take leaps of faith with me.

Lastly, I think when observing this from the outside it could appear I know what I'm doing and I'm all courageous and bold and well-planned out. While there may be some truth in that, I am also scared shitless and freaked-out by all that is involved with this decision. It is no joke to tow thousands of pounds behind you, let alone the financial responsibility. It has taken a pretty massive community and a lot of incredible karma to get me to this point. My mantra these days:

every epic adventure starts with a good dose of serious, gut-wrenching FEAR #LLRealTalk #heartpracticalities  -- Tweet that out here!!

I'm diving in deep and hope you are too in whatever way that means.

Go get ‘em Big Hearts!

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When no words are the best words

Today marks the ten year anniversary of my dear friend, Claire Rudholm's death. She was just shy of her 33rd birthday. She was all sass, God, and wonder. We traveled backwoods together, slept on ashram floors, rolled our eyes during the most inappropriate times, gossiped about swamis across oceans (she would kill me today if she saw that I just wrote that publicly), ate a lot of dosas, made fun of each other's crushes, grew apart, and back together in her final weeks.

I miss her every day and know my understanding of dying and living would not be as clear as it is today had it not been for her. I rest in the fact that everything is temporary, and none more so than this lifetime. May you all be doing exactly what you should be doing in life, loving the people you are with, and letting go of the negative things that take up your precious life real estate. Life is so much better when we are surrounded by love, first from ourselves and second, from the community that surrounds us.

She said it best in her last email to her friends, "...being diagnosed with cancer has been a very bitter experience. In some ways, it took everything away from me, my health, my vocation, even my voice.  But it has also sprouted the seeds of unspeakable sweetness. I feel the sweetness literally in the place I sit...the air smells like melting sugar, the refreshing breeze, the depth of the locals' smiles. But truly I tasted this rare sweetness first in the love that radiates from all of you. Such concern and generosity have moved me and changed me, and this is priceless."

LL_Claire Rudholm Card.jpg

Claire and I coincidentally and unknowingly bought each other cards in her final weeks, to exchange before she left the country. I never found the time nor the right words to write in mine to her. It was too heavy. In our last private moment together she produced this card and said, "I got you this and didn't write in it, but I wanted to give it to you anyway." It turns out; we had bought each other the same card, probably from the same store. We didn't need no stinkin' words to say the things we needed to say.

Cheers my dear friends. Go. Change. Love. Repeat.

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Get a little piece of Laura Munson before it's too late

Table of delicious meals and fun convos. Whitefish, Montana February 2014

Table of delicious meals and fun convos. Whitefish, Montana February 2014

Laura Munson. Interweb friends, write that name down on paper or in your virtual notebook. Now. Maybe you already know her or her name sounds familiar. She wrote this small essay that went *slightly* viral. I don’t even want to name that essay nor am I even going to name that book that was then published as a result. You can - as a dear friend jokes - “google the internet” for that information. Although they are amazing examples of Laura, they represent only one dimension of her. In addition to being a bad-ass writer, she is an extraordinary woman, facilitator, storyteller, teacher, friend, horsewoman, and speaker. 

Laura is so damn accessible right now. You should go get a piece of her through her Haven Writing Retreats while she is in this window of time because who knows how long it will last? She’s the real deal: untethered to an agenda, all heart, and a legit writing whisperer. From my mini-perspective, Laura is just getting started. She’s at a rapid simmer. She's already had great success - speaking, writing, retreating - and I know there is only more on the horizon for this lady. I can't wait to see how her success continues to unfold. 

She’s got Haven in Cabo coming up in April and a few in Montana for her 2014 season. Check out the schedule and details here

Laura didn't ask me to plug her work. She might even be cringing a little if she's reading this post.  But I’m two weeks out from spending time with her, her amazing staff, in bombastic Montana (I’m sure Haven remote-style is amazing, but Montana is a real treat) and I’m even more bald (metaphorically speaking that is) and authentic than when I first showed up and I had no idea that was even possible. And to boot, Haven gifted me with a really wonderful writing community comprised of sassy, diverse women that I wouldn't have otherwise connected with and that is just pure joy. I want the same for you, my dear interweb friends. 

Go. Write. Change. #havenfebruary2014 

Website: http://lauramunson.com/retreats/

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Bear, Walking Lightly Ranch host and sweetie

Bear, Walking Lightly Ranch host and sweetie

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