Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hey everyone.

You've heard me say this many times. But it bears repeating: lower the bar.

It's the holidays. And that means visions of Martha Stewart dancing in our heads. Somewhere along the road, the holidays have come to mean huge meals, dozens of presents, glimmering decorations, piles of sweet treats, and festive gatherings galore.

Holy heart attack, Bat Man! That's a lot of planning, preparation, money, and time.

In case it's a little too much for you, you can join me in a little ditty I sing aloud a lot this time of year. It goes like this, "Let it go, let it go, let it go." (Sung to the tune of "Let it Snow.")

Oh, and need a little added encouragement? Here it is, just there below, in the form of a permission slip.

Ease and peace,



Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Thank you to everyone who participated in The New Black Friday. If you created a Love List, but didn't yet log it in to get your free gift, you can do so here: Love List submit.

And ... if you haven't yet downloaded your free Love List ready-made gift template that you simply print out, fill out, and give out, get it here.

If you liked the free download and would appreciate having nine other designs to choose from, you can purchase my Love List 10-pak for just $10.


I wanted to toss out a few other resources for giving imaginative and impactful gifts:

Visit the Love List Gallery on Pinterest to see a variety of ways to present your Love List.  Visit my other Pinterest board, Think Outside the Big Box Stores, where you'll find 100+ pins of other great gift ideas that are unique and fun.

Consider hosting a Holiday Hoopla instead of buying gifts for your clan. An event stirs things up, makes room for lots of laughter, and best of all, creates awesome memories. My family has been doing a Hoopla for the past four years and it is such a memorable family tradition.  Click here for ideas and sample activities.

This is the perfect time of year to purchase my ebook, "Present Perfect," which is chock-full of ideas of creative-not-crafty gifts with imagination and impact. It's just $4.97 and is sure to spark some great gift ideas that are low in cost but high in love.

Stay tuned for MORE. I've been collecting unique gift ideas and will be launching my Present Perfect Story Series soon. Real live folks (like you!) share amazing one-of-a-kind gifts ideas. If you have one to share, email me!

May your holiday season be low on stress and high on love,

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hello hello!

I know I don't typically review books on my blog. But I'm very familiar with Marney K. Makridakis' work and when I was invited into the "Hop, Skip, Jump Blog Celebration" it sounded like such fun that I leapt right in!

I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but I admit, I did just that. Before I even cracked open Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, I figured I was gonna really love it. The name intrigued me, I loved the funky font, and the tag line promised that the book would be playful and meaningful.

(Spoiler alert: It is!)

Oh, wait. Before I go any further, I do want to tell you —disclaimer!—that I received a copy of the book from the publisher and am listed on Marney's (Artella Land’s) roster of 75 featured blogs. That said, when I was invited to participate in the blog celebration, they were really clear that they wanted an honest review. After the zingy title, that was what inspired me to agree.

I liked that Marney clearly wasn't wanting us to be blogger brown nosers and write something nice just because. However, now that I've read the book, I betcha she was pretty certain we'd all write something good. Because the book is really great.

What's so great? Well, first and foremost, the book most certainly delivers on "playful." The language is playful. The colors are playful. There are fun facts, haikoodles, manifestagrams, acrowhims, top ten lists, and doodles. Marney's tone is conversational and full of humor. It's the kind of book that draws you in because you can practically hear it giggle.

There's an active joy to the framework, even. I love Marney's concept of being in hop, skip, or jump mode when we are bringing something(s) into existence. The manifestation movements are lively and full of childlike delight.

But, also ... Marney completely delivers on the "meaningful." This book is chock-full of unique and useful activities, tools, and practices to support readers in moving forward on our dreams. She includes links and online downloads to add even more value. Marney also includes tons of personal stories that add depth and underscore her points.

I think what I appreciate most about this book is that the concept and tools are truly unique. I have read a gazillion motivational/self-help/personal development books. Never once while reading this book did I think, "Ho-hum; been there; read this." It's obvious that Marney lived this book before writing it. And that she put years into developing the activities in the book. These days it is hard to find original content. I love it when I read it.

I just realized I've been going on and on about the book but haven't yet told you the gist of it. Eep. Forgive me. This book is basically about productivity and manifesting what we want to create in the world. The hop stands for dreaming, the skip stands for experimenting, and the jump stands for taking action. However the whole foundation of the book is that these phases are each full of playfulness and joy. Work can feel like play. Play can make us productive. Neat, huh?

This is not a book I recommend you read. Whaaaaat? After all that positive stuff I said? You heard me right.

You should not read this book. You should interact with it! This is a book I recommend you play with. You create with. You participate in. You dance through. You color, cut, sing, string, loop, and romp through this book. The title is full of verbs and the book makes you want to move.

Oh! When I wrote that, I got an idea. I'm going to reprint an exercise from the book so you can get a real sense of Marney's style. AND it'll get you up out of your seat and moving!

But before I go, I just want to give two links: 

Your Celebration Manifesto

The following is word-for-word from Hop, Skip, Jump: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a meaningful Life. This material is all copyrighted and the property of Marney K. Makridakis/Artella Land. (Extra credit to anyone who can guess why I chose this specific exercise!)

Ready, set, go!

Try this: Manifest, OH!

1. Complete the following prompts in writing. Keep the phrases as they are, because repetition of the same word creates momentum as you write.

I am here today to celebrate ______.

I laugh out loud, and I celebrate ______.

I cry a little, and I celebrate ______.

I look to my questions, and I celebrate ________.

I look to trusting what feels impossible, and I celebrate ______.

I look to my choices, and I celebrate ______.

I look to my new beliefs, and I celebrate ______.


2. You have just completed your celebration manifesto! Take a moment to read it out loud to yourself.

3. Now go to a mirror, and sing "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang if you know it, in which case dancing is optional, though probably inevitable. Now, as you make eye contact with yourself in the mirror, read your celebration manifesto. Let doubt, anxiety, and worry melt away ... into play!

(Writer's note: can you see why I love this book?)


Meet the author, Marney K Makridakis:

Marney is the bestselling author of Creating Time and founder of, an online community for creators of all kinds. I've never met Marney, but I sure would like to. She's quirky, creative, and a great writer/storyteller. (Marney, come to San Francisco and have a sparkly drink with me!)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy The-New-Black Friday! A couple hundred of us are spending part of the day today cozy at home creating Love Lists as holiday gifts for family and friends.

I hope you'll be joining in!

You can download a professionally-designed Love List that you print out, fill out, and give out. Simple — and sweet as pumpkin pie!

Or, if you want to get a l'il fancy, there are lots of ideas for other ways to present your Love Lists. On our Facebook Event Group I've shared some photos of Fortune Cookie Love Lists, Joy Jars, and Love Lists Books.

Today, I want to share yet another unique way to present your Love List: as a customized Tiny Book. I first learned about Tiny Books from my wildly creative and artistic friends, Maya Stein and Amy Tingle. Last summer they created a whole library of tiny how-to books, which they showcased along their TypeRider 2 Journey from Boulder to Beloit on a tandem bike. (!!!)

I shared their story — and a Tiny Book I created —in a blog post a couple months ago. One of my dear friends, Tina Tierson, got inspired to make a Tiny Book as a gift for a mutual friend of ours, Jill.

When Tina shared her idea with me and sent me photos, I was so excited! I hadn't thought of these Tiny Books as gifts! What an awesome idea. I was inspired by Maya and Amy. Tina was inspired by me. And I got inspired all over again by Tina.

So now I want to offer a twist on a twist on a twist on Tiny Books: Make 'em into little Love List Books!

(The photo to the left is the gift book Tina made. I got a little intimidated when I saw how beautiful this was. A reminder to all of us: these books can be handwritten and really simple. The heart will still be there, I promise!)


How to make a Tiny Book Love List:

  • Click here to see a sample of a Tiny Book I created called "How to Survive in the Dark." You can see what the finished books look like.
  • Click here to find a video tutorial on creating your blank Tiny Book. If you use colored card stock or decorative paper, the book pages will be like Tina's in the photo above. If you use white card stock, the book will have white pages.
  • Write one thing you love about the recipient on each page of the book.
  • Decorate with doodles, stickers, markers, or magazine cut-outs.


Hope to see you sometime today at The New Black Friday!


P.S. If you do make a Love List for someone, please let us know so you can be counted toward my crazy goal of inspiring a million Love Lists in my lifetime. Click here to submit! (And you'll get a free gift from me afterward!)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

I recently returned from an amazing experience at a "camp for creative adults" called Life is a Verb Camp, hosted by author Patti Digh.

I've been wanting to write about my experience, but have felt rather tongue-tied. You know how it is when you've been someplace that feels life-changing? Words sometimes feel a little stiff or not-quite-right.

But then yesterday I was on a call — this was a business call, mind you— and one of the trainers for this call, Milana Leshinsky, said, "I'm not too woo-woo to say I love you."

And blam. I had it. Handed to me on the proverbial silver platter.

Because not-too-woo-woo-to-say-I-love-you kinda sums up not only how it felt to be at Patti's Camp, but also where my focus is right now— which is encouraging people to create Love Lists for The New Black Friday.

It can be a bit awkward and clumsy to tell the people in our lives — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances— how much we appreciate them. But like anything, practice is key. My mission is to help facilitate expressions of appreciation in as many ways as I can. Join me. Let's practice together!

Life is a Verb Camp: A Tiny Slice of That Appreciation Pie
There are lots of stories I could share with you about Patti Digh's camp. (And I will likely tell you more down the road.) But what struck me the most was how generous of heart and spirit everyone was.

From the moment I stepped foot on the grounds of Camp Kanuga, there was a sense that magic was afoot. And here's what that "glitter-gleam" feeling was: every single person seemed to be on the lookout for what they could love and appreciate about the others. It was palpable. You could see it in people's eyes: they were seeking out the best in one another. And they were verbalizing it and cheering it on.

This is the kind of world I want to live in all the time. And we can create it for ourselves, moment by moment. We just need to be on the lookout for what we appreciate and how to express it.


Paper Bag Love
One of the things I had prepared for my trip to camp was that I made "appreciation mailbags" for everyone who was attending. The idea was to have the mailbags out where folks could leave little notes for one another, signed or secret.

At the end of the camp, I was so honored to receive the "Golden Heart" Award. The truth is, I was just lucky enough to get to be a facilitator of so much love. While at camp, I got to mirror everyone's golden hearts. Whenever we initiate things that help people love and appreciate one another, the ripple effect is amazing.



How to create some paper bag love at your house or office during the holidays:

  •     Purchase some colorful bags. (Try your local dollar store or make 'em out of brown paper lunch bags.)
  •     Find a central location in your home or office to leave the bags visible.
  •     Label the bags so that everyone has one.
  •     Provide blank paper, note cards, or stationery near the bags.
  •     Explain to everyone that these bags are for people to leave secret or signed notes of things they're grateful for about the person, special memories, happy stories, inspiring quotes, etc.
  •     As the organizer, see if you can get the ball rolling by leaving at least one note or two for everyone. Model how it's done!
  •     Watch the magic happen.



"The New Black" Friday: A mission to encourage more love and less stress at the holidays

Here's another easy and fun way to express your love. Join us on Friday, November 28 for The New Black Friday. A bunch of us are spending part of the day at home, creating Love Lists (not shopping lists!) for our loved ones.

So listen, let's not be too woo-woo to say I love you. Let's say it in all kinds of ways to all kinds of people in our lives. Let's appreciate one another with secret notes or singing exclamations. Let's make Love Lists for family, friends, teachers, store clerks, and bus drivers.

Let's say it now. Because life is fleeting.

Delights of the season,



Photo Credits:
Camp Hug with Melissa Dinwiddie: Kind passerby!
Golden Heart Award with Patti Digh: Basia Kruszewska
Paper Bag Love: Bo Mackison
Happy foursome at camp: Ren Allen

Mail bag idea credit:  Thank you to Jennifer Robbins for inspiring the mail bag idea. When I volunteered for the Brendon Burchard Group, Jennifer had us all create mail bags for one another. Yay for you, Jenni. You really inspired me!