Thursday, May 24, 2012

Striving for Simplicity: Sayonara SugarShakes!

"You should be sleeping, not surfing."
Now that we have Facebook and Twitter, I think the heyday of the personal blog for blogging sake has passed. At least the heyday has passed for me. Blogs that are going to teach me something about the world and the practical skills I need to better live in it are great, but I think most personal blogs are pretty boring. The only personal blog I read regularly is written by a dog and even that's focused on her hiking adventures rather than what she had for dinner and who's rear she sniffed.

I think I am *the most* interesting person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. (I hope you feel the same way about yourself because I am sure you are amazing!!!!) Still, I don't see the point of devoting time to blog here. That's how I know it's time to say "Sayonara SugarShakes."

I strive for simplicity and excellence. Having a blog that I know I should update but never do makes me feel poopy. I'd rather devote myself fully to one or two meaningful projects and get great results than to occasionally work on a half dozen semi-pointless projects with ho-hum success. Not that it's impossible to juggle multiple projects; that approach just doesn't work well for me.

So here's what's happening: It's curtains for SugarShakes. For those of you who can't live without knowing where I had coffee or how I spent my weekend, I would like to first apologize for neglecting you. (I know have not been good about keeping this diary up-to-date.) I would also like to invite you to follow me on Twitter (I'm @itsolivialane) and become my friend on Facebook. If you love me as a blogger, come nerd out with me on green homekeeping at and be comforted by that fact that I plan share links to my guest blog posts on Facebook. xoxolivia

Sisters, have you recently decided to simplify your life by letting go of a project? Tell me about it in the comments.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daily Ritual: A Habit of Peace and Power

Lately, things have been a little shaky for me. In just a three weeks, I will relocate from NYC for the first time to live in Providence, RI. I'll leave behind lots of friends, family, familiar streets, and the beloved subway system. I must learn to drive. I've got to rebuild my business and find a job to make a supplemental income while it grows. I'm doing all this with my boyfriend, which is taking our relationship to a whole new level of interdependence.

The experience of writing that list, alone, requires me to take a deep breath. I can't believe I have elected to live it out. To combat overwhelm, I must constantly remind myself that I don't have to do it all at once, that it can't all be done at once. While it's true these changes are happening in a small concentration of time when compared to my 32 years of life, it's also true that they are unfolding bit by bit each day.

Dealing with the day-to-day challenges that accompany these big life changes is manageable mostly because I find refuge in the familiarity of rituals. Every night, I brush my teeth and remove my contacts. I hop into bed and write a list of the things I am grateful for. Then I rub some lavender and bergamot balm onto my lips, tuck my head into my boyfriend's armpit, and go to sleep. In the morning, I pee, drink some water, and pop in my contacts. I fill three pages of in my journal with a stream of consciousness-- my dreams, my anxieties, my complaints, my wishes. I then read a random power thought by Louise Hay and move into my day.

My bedside table
My daily rituals aren't elaborate or exceptional, but they bring me peace. I perform them with the knowledge that I am love, I am loved, and I am Divine. My intention is to honor these comforting and empowering sacred truths that don't change with zip code, relationship status, employment status, or anything else. 

Sisters, do you have a daily ritual? How do you celebrate and honor the divinity within yourself? If you're seeking inspiration to create or revitalize your ritual, check out How to be a Morning Goddess: 20 Goddesses Share Their Morning Rituals e-book on the *FREE* goodies page at (I'm having so much fun reading it right now.)

This blog post is part of a series called, That's So Goddess, which I am contributing to La Dea Vita, "a silk-road of Goddess inter-exchange of love, support, sisterhood, ideas, products, art, lifework & passion" founded by Mishel Herrera, Entrepreneur Empress.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bask in the Glory of Being Thanked!

on my mantle
Yesterday, a friend showed me a thank you note I had given him almost a year ago. It was posted on the wall above his desk along with other affirmations. It made me think of the thank you notes I keep on my living room mantle: cards and letters from clients, non-profit orgs, friends, family, and my sponsor child.

Recently, I wrote about the benefits of acknowledging gratitude for the gifts we receive. Today I am championing about the benefits of being acknowledged. Lots of people will tell you that doing good is its own reward. While that might be true a few words of gratitude always sweeten the deal for me. They are truly icing on the cake!

I feel motivated when I look at the thank you cards I've received. They remind me the work I do is important whether that work is cleaning an apartment, organizing a book swap fundraiser, attending a birthday party, or just sending along some pocket change so a child can eat and be educated. At the heart of that varied work is love and thank you notes encourage and empower me to love in more expansive ways.

Goddesses, I want to encourage all of you to bask in the glory of being thanked. Instead of  dismissing what you have done by blurting "no problem" or "it wasn't anything," honor the person acknowledging you by recognizing the difference you have made from that person's perspective. I promise it will not only make you happier and more motivated, it will also give you something to be thankful for.

Sisters, do you save thank you notes? Was there a time you were acknowledged for your gifts or contributions and enjoyed it? Please leave a comment!

This blog post is part of a series called, That's So Goddess, which I am contributing to La Dea Vita, "a silk-road of Goddess inter-exchange of love, support, sisterhood, ideas, products, art, lifework & passion" founded by Mishel Herrera, Entrepreneur Empress.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday Gratitude

My life is kinda awesome!
(Correction: The name of the restaurant with the super sweet server is Chuko, not Chuelo. I suspected the ramen bar did not have a Latin-inspired name, but their neon sign with cursive writing is pretty hard to read.)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Sunday and Monday gratitude

I come from too far in the past for blogging from bed to feel okay. However blogging from jury duty feels just fine.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Check out my gratitude lists!

(Almost) every evening I list the things I'm grateful for in a little book. I started in 2010 after reading a Wall Street Journal article about the benefits of counting your blessings. It reports:
Adults who frequently feel grateful have more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not, according to studies conducted over the past decade. They're also less likely to be depressed, envious, greedy or alcoholics. They earn more money, sleep more soundly, exercise more regularly and have greater resistance to viral infections.
Thank you to whoever left this newspaper on the Q train! <3

Since I'm having a little trouble posting in this blog everyday I figured I should share photos of my lists. This way I'll at least have one post a day and you can get an idea of what's going on in the world of Olivia. It's a task I can do from my bed on my iPhone with the Blogger App! Thanks Blogger! 

Here are my lists from April (via public Facebook album). Please let me know if this link doesn't work for you.

Let me know your thoughts on keeping a gratitude journal. I would absolutely love to see your gratitude lists too! Maybe leave a list in the comments.

Mom: Please ignore any mention of my sex life. It's just a joke cause I'm funny like that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Learning to TCB with a little self TLC

How often do you work through your lunch break? Do you sometimes turn down invitations to dinner with friends so that you can squeeze in an appointment with one more client? How many times have you used your workload as an excuse for not taking sick days or for skipping trips to the gym, the gyno, or even the bathroom?

I've been guilty of all the above transgressions more times that I'd like to admit, but it wasn't always like that. Back when I worked for "The Man", I was that person who dared to disappear from my desk at 1pm for a full hour-long lunch in the park and sung goodnight to everyone by 6pm so I could get home for dinner or meet friends for drinks. I also took ample breaks throughout the day to pee, snack, and dance at my desk whenever exceptionally awesome songs came up on my playlist. I wasn't a slacker. I just believed life should be fun and that work should be a fun part of life. The term self-care wasn't yet part of my vocabulary, but I knew intrinsically if I wasn't happy and healthy it would be harder for me to perform well.

Everything changed a year and a half ago when I started a residential green cleaning business. As a solo entrepreneur, I suddenly found myself working 16 hour days, usually without break. Responding to phone and email inquiries, booking appointments, marketing on social media, maintaining my website, cleaning apartments, posting flyers, laundering cloths and work clothes, diluting cleaning solutions, studying for my business management course, and researching cleaning techniques were all my responsibility, every day. It wasn't as terrible as it may sound because I am passionate about green cleaning and loved every aspect of running my business. The problem was that work was the only aspect of my life getting much love. I tried to squeeze work into every waking second of my day and often it crept into my dreams. This left little time for me to attend to my other needs.

I knew things were really bad when I realized at 8:30pm, during the 40 minute walk home from my second cleaning job of the day, that I hadn't consumed anything besides a muffin and a coffee-- not even water! I also did not find the time to poop. When I got home I quickly scarfed down a cold packaged sandwich and lots of ice cream while watching Survivor alone. I then got into a fight with my boyfriend over something stupid.

Alas, the Universe's most glorious gift to us is synchronicity! The following morning I received a video via email from superstar lady-parts holistic health counselor Alisa Vitti of FLO Living. Alisa explained how low blood sugar (ie skipping meals) disrupts our endocrine system and in turn negatively affects our mood, energy level, periods, fertility, and libido.

Cue the A Ha moment! I realized if I wanted to preserve my health, to save my sanity and my relationship, and allow my business to flourish, I was going to have to make self care a priority again.

In the two months since I first viewed the video, it's taking a bit of adjustment for me to learn self care in the context of being a small business owner and the live-in girlfriend of a self-employed programmer who also works long hours. I started with tiny, gradual steps like taking a daily vitamin, eating breakfast before work, wearing more comfortable shoes, and scheduling regular dinners with girlfriends. I've built upon those successes by cutting back on caffeine, alcohol, and fried foods, returning to the habit of journaling each morning and writing a gratitude list each evening, and completing a brand new beginners yoga course. I even enrolled in a local goddess circle for support.

Most recently, I signed up for The Daily Unwind program. Each day, my friend Kate emails me video and audio instructions for a three minute relaxation exercise grounded in yoga or meditation that I can do "anywhere, any time." I am embarrassed by how often I still try to weasel out of doing these simple exercises, but I am encouraged by how much better I feel once I actually do them. My muscles become limber. I get renewed physical energy, sort of like waking up from a nap. My creativity ignites.

I look forward to the day that I become one of those fabulous business women, like Alisa and Kate, for whom self care is as natural as breathing. Until then, I'm doing the oh-so-fun work of learning from their example.

Sisters, do you prioritize self care? What is, or was, your greatest obstacle to taking time for yourself? Have you overcome it? If so, how? Do you have a kick-ass self care habit or ritual that you'd like to share? Please leave a comment. <3

Also, did you watch Alisa's video? Seriously, you need to!  If you enjoyed that video and want to see more like it (plus receive 2 free gifts!!) sign up here and have more videos filled with life-changing, goddess-loving info from FLO Living delivered right to your inbox! 

This blog post is part of a series called, That's So Goddess, which I am contributing to La Dea Vita, "a silk-road of Goddess inter-exchange of love, support, sisterhood, ideas, products, art, lifework & passion" founded by Mishel Herrera, Entrepreneur Empress. 

(Sending hugs to Jenn at Roots of She, who inspired this blog post with her recent blog post: Demystifying self-care: 34 ways to begin your self-care practice. Check out her website for lots of great self-care tools!)