Wednesday Wellness: Success Log

Greetings, Friends!

I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I noted how many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my quest for wellness as I stumble along the way– literally!

Accidental Planner

If you are reading this you likely already know that I am sort of the Accidental Planner, as a creative spontaneous type I eschewed formal list-making and such, until I became a mom.  I happened upon the Planning Community only two years ago and it really has changed my life.  Now I enjoy planning!  There are so many creative tools available to personalize your planning experience.  There are so many etsy shops with creative and functional stickers. There are Facebook groups and instagram for sharing layouts and ideas. It has taken me a little while to get into the groove, but now I know how to really USE my planner- in a way that works for me.


Good Vibes


What Works for Me:

I use a vertical weekly planner with 3 sections and no time stamps.  I like to list and use color, and of course, sticker! This was working very well for my life and life/work management.  I wanted to keep work details separate, so I keep a work-only notebook on my desk.  I used to keep To Do lists, but I found that to be somewhat anxiety-producing, so now I keep a Success Log.

I keep a running list of what I do all day, as I do it. This allows me to feel more accomplished.  Instead of getting stressed about what I need to do, I feel satisfaction at having completed it.  At the end of the day, it looks like a To Do list, only it’s all Done.


Success Log

When I Stumble

Recently I took a bad fall and had to recover at home for a week.  My planner was a great tool for me during this time, as I had previously decorated it with inspiring stickers for the week. I also used some stickers that said “Over It” “Survived Today” and “Let myself rest.”   And my daily list became Reminders: Rest, Meds, Ice, Repeat.


Got Ice

But What About Deadlines?

I do keep deadlines & priorities in the forefront of my mind by using the weekly sidebar on my life planner.  For my Success Log at work, I use a project management spiral notebook which has a blank sidebar, and numbered lines.  I also use the reminders feature in Outlook to keep my digital work calendar up to date.

Memory Keeper & Gratitude Journal

My life planner weekly spreads are so fun to create and decorate!  I often write in what we actually did, and even name the shows we watched and food we ate (or the amusement park rides we rode!).  It then becomes a memory keeper, which I can reference as I write in my separate Gratitude Journal. This is a good practice to keep staying positive.

Quotes of the Month

There is a blank page following the last week of each month in my planner.  I use this area to write funny or significant quotes that my family members say.  I found this was a really neat way to memory keep, as well.  Each member of my family has a different color for their events and quotes in my book.  My daughter is pink, and my son is orange.  So I can tell at a glance who said what.

How do YOU stay organized?

Please let us know in the comments!

Read about my Plan to Have Fun philosophy here.

Read about my 15 -year Historical Spreadsheet for Holiday Gift-Giving here.


Wellness Wednesday: What I’m Working On

Happy Midweek, Friends! I started writing about Wellness topics on Wednesdays because I noted that so many of my creative friends struggle with balance, as do I. Join me as I journey to wellness and balance and make mistakes along the way.

I am tardy for Wellness Wednesday this week, but I am okay with that.  Because I am working on Letting It Go.

Holiday Collage

Tis the Season

This is something I have been working on for some time, in many forms.  I lost some friendships over the past couple of years and that really made me realize a couple of things.  Sometimes I just need to let them go.  Even though they may have been wrong and I may have been right, it just doesn’t even matter anymore.  We didn’t need to be friends anymore and I didn’t need to even tell them so.  I let it go. (Ok so one still hasn’t returned my things.  I admit I am keeping a Messenger open in case that happens. Alas.  Maybe I should just let that one go, as well.)

I downsized from an SUV to a sedan, and I had to learn how to deal with trunk storage efficiency.  (still learning) Then my office was being remodeled and I had to work in a different city. I took advantage of the time to review my boxes and remove what was old and unnecessary.  I was able to shred a ton of old papers, have one box contents imaged digitally, and for another- I am going to transfer the cd files to the digital archive. Progress!

A donation truck comes round our neighborhood tomorrow.  I was saving some clothing items for a former co-worker’s son- but it’s been years since I’ve seen him.  So tomorrow, out they go.  Sing with me now (to the tune of Let it Snow): Let it go, let it go, let it go!

I am so blessed as I have some wonderful friends and family members who are such outstanding beams of joy- but perhaps it has made me have high expectations of others.  I’m learning to tone down my levels of expectations and realize that other people have their own stuff going on and sometimes they just can’t see their actions.  When my daughter’s friends parents (who only have one child) don’t even acknowledge my older child,  I admit that does make me kinda furious inside.  But likely they don’t know better,  they don’t have older children and so sometimes don’t even know how to talk to them. Other people may have their own blocks, or they’re too far invested in their perceptions that they aren’t likely to change.  Can I let them go?  Some people I can let go, as long as I don’t see them.  Right?  Bueller?

I admit I have high expectations of myself.   I wrote two books, one musical, and recorded an album.  Why aren’t I more successful? Why can’t I find time to sit down and write my next book?  Why don’t I have more savings? Why did I forget about that school thing? Why didn’t I see that email?  Why can’t I keep up blogging three times a week?

Why can’t I just love myself and let myself be?

I am pretty aware, and I do have a lot going on, but I also have a pretty good support system and many tools available to me. I can focus and start using them to my advantage.  You know how when you have the right mindset, things just come to you?  Like that year when I truly believed that I was lucky, and I kept winning everything.  I want to live there.  I’m working on it.

Lots of times I do one thing, or see another, and then I think: Is this my thing?  Maybe this could be my thing.

Like that time I wrote a book.  Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I wrote that essay on how Harry Potter helps my family with Autism. Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I started making collage journals.  Maybe this could be my thing.

Or when I started travel writing.  Maybe this could be my thing.

The thing is- they are all my thing. I am me, and I am comprised of all these things.

I just discovered a crafty planning community.  I love the integration of scrapbooking elements with planning.  Remember I like to Plan, to Have Fun.

Integration.  Maybe this is My Thing.

What’s Your Thing?


Wednesday Wellness: Prepare Ye

Happy #WellnessWednesday! (Or is it Wednesday Wellness? I can never remember.) I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays, as I notice many of my friends who are creative types struggle with balance, as do I. Join me on my humble journey to wellness.
Having just survived that family ordeal which we call Thanksgiving, we are now entering my birth month, otherwise known as that month which always has me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, run over by a train. (Writing run-on sentences and mixing metaphors, apparently, too.)

Let’s just all take a moment to acknowledge the winter holiday struggle and invisible illnesses, shall we?  Here’s “Unwell” by Matchbox 20.

Sing it, Rob

Here are a few things I am doing this year to help me find the light and keep the darkness at bay.

Honor Advent.
Many world religions celebrate the winter solstice. Read this. I have a book of meditations that I like to read at this time of year- part Christian, part Zen. I am also singing at church on the second and fourth Sundays.

Practice Self-Care.
I listen to guided visualizations on my phone before bed. After some basic yoga and maybe the plank challenge.
I am near done purchasing my holiday gifts, and just have to wrap them. Thanks to my handy dandy historical gift-giving spreadsheet, which I have kept up since 2004. I also search online for lists of books containing characters with my children’s and nieces’ and nephew’s names.

Tis the Season of giving. Many social justice organizations need your help now more than ever. Feels good to donate even just a little. If you are a homeowner, your charitable donation may have tax benefits, as well. There are many ways to give, starting with collecting unneeded clothes, books and toys in your home to donate to a local charity, many which swing by your neighborhood on a regular basis. Your old glasses could give someone the gift of sight. You can also donate your time. Sign up to volunteer with a local food bank or charity organization to sort or distribute donations. Sign up with a friend or family member and share the experience.

I do want to journal and blog more. Right now I am working on self-editing my new book, so hopefully I can return to regular writing in just a bit.

Maintaining the family calendar of all our events. We have orthodontist appointments, church, religious instruction, pageants, school, band practices, band performance, the Nutcracker, recitals, and three family birthdays. Still it’s all manageable with clever calendaring. I’m so excited that my 2017 Diary Planner has already arrived!

Say No.
Even though singing with a volunteer choir sounds fun, I don’t have time for all the rehearsals. So, Ive learned to say “No, Thank you. Maybe next year.” Try it.

Read my other posts on Advent here.

Advent Calendar


Wednesday Wellness- Wait, What?

Happy Wellness Wednesday!  I started writing about wellness topics on Wednesdays as I noted so many of my creative artist friends struggle with balance, as do I.  I hope that in writing about it, we can start a conversation and  wake up to wellness!

It’s Wednesday, again. Wait, what?

I’m still juggling everything on my journey.  Sometimes the best I can do for my own wellness is to look at everything I am juggling, and just stop. I need to work on giving myself permission to stop.  That is the harder part for me, truthfully.  I can stop for a second and tune out, but then I seem to get overwhelmed again and even berate myself for having had stopped in the first place.  Does this happen to anyone else?

I’m learning to strain the stressors and seek strength from within.  It is a process for me.  I’m actually naturally flexible, it is society and responsibility that is seemingly inflexible, sometimes.  Am I right?

Watching a movie or reading a book can do wonders for me.  It takes me out of my own mind for a bit.  But, be careful what you are reading/watching.  After watching the recent release of  Batman vs. Superman, I experienced a cinematic PTSD.  But after watching the earthquake movie San Andreas, I felt inspired.  I read the Harry Potter & the Cursed Child script,  somehow finding three hours yesterday.   But that did not bring me the peace I had hoped for.  After finishing, I was tempted to return to my Star Wars books I’d been reading.  But something told me I needed a little bit of a break.

Last month I was working on letting things go. I had consulted Coach Reba Linker with regards to decluttering, and soon after, as it happened, we had scheduled an appointment with an appraiser.  How’s that for inspiring?  I returned borrowed items and donated or sold a bunch more. I also started looking deeply within and began to acknowledge what else might be let go of.  I had a couple of strained “friendships” and  finally started letting them go.  To be honest the relationships had already dissipated, it was time that I recognized it as such, and let them go with my blessing.  Make no mistake, this is not easy.  And I still have more to ponder.

This month I am working on letting love in. I am focusing on gratefulness and recognizing that which is good. There is a lot of good out there. I recognize that we live in turbulent times, but I am confident there is an awakening and people are starting to come around.  I think I will work on writing a new short prayer for my children to add to their evening prayers rotation.

My car overheated on a hot day, and required a bunch of repairs, including fixing the air conditioner.  Then, our air conditioner in our house stopped working, on one of the hottest nights of the year.  I called 27 service providers on Saturday morning, and only one was available to come to our home that day.  I’m certain there is a message in there somewhere.  Like, maybe- regular maintenance is required for living comfortably. It wouldn’t be the first time the Universe has spoken to me through my car.

Something else I have been awakened unto- my cruise/ vacation wellness practice has been leaking into my daily life.  I noticed that much of my wardrobe is now cruise friendly, iron free and wrinkle free. I’m perfecting my minimalist beauty routine, using only what I would travel with. Planning, to have fun- and making time for self-love.

My post on Cruisin’ 101 was featured on Wellness Warrior.  My book earned another 5-star review on Amazon.  The book containing my Harry Potter & Autism essay went on sale.   Teaching with Harry Potter  is now $9.99 on Kindle! My music publisher mailed royalty checks on Monday- crossing my fingers that I made the minimum for them to actually cut me a check this time, LOL. Just when I was wondering how I might make a little more money, my children’s lessons were cancelled for the weekend, and I got called in to play piano for church.

It’s like God is telling me: You already have the tools,  Just open your eyes.



Friday Friends: Yancy Lael & The Paris Diaries

Happy Friday, Friends!  I have been so fortunate to connect with the writers community: learning so much and making friends. I decided I wanted to give back to the community by hosting Friday Friends. Today I am super excited to bring you the delightful Yancy Lael. 



1. So, what have you written?
I have 4 books out in the world right now. One is a non-fiction book (Soulful Skincare) about natural skincare that I wrote after I closed the doors to my bath and body business. My customers had been asking me for years to share all my secrets…so I did! I also have a novel, The Poison Box, which was 17+ years in the making. It’s my favorite of everything I’ve written. Those characters have been my friends for most of my life, and they continue to speak to me. (I’m working on two more books about them.) My recent releases are The Paris Diaries and Dear Me.
2. What subjects & causes are near and dear to your heart?
One of my greatest passions is the environment. That’s always been a cause dear to my heart, since I was a little girl. I love nature and feel very strongly about protecting our beautiful land, skies and waterways. I also love helping young people – both little kids and teenagers – and I’ve been working in education for a long time, now, to that end. Another passion is women’s self-esteem/self-worth. I’ve witnessed so many women struggle with low self-esteem and distorted body image, including myself, and I’ve been writing a lot about that since I was a teenager. I’ve been working on lots of projects over the years related to this, and am writing a sequel to Soulful Skincare that really focuses on this issue.

image3. How did you conceive the Paris Diaries? 4. How did you conceive the story Dear Me?
(I have to answer these questions together – you’ll see why. J )
The Paris Diaries and Dear Me were actually never intended for publication. They were both pieces I wrote in my journal back in 2009. I went to Paris – a lifelong dream of mine – in May 2009 with a man who was, at the time, my ex-boyfriend, but best friend. While we were there, the forced intimacy of being in such close quarters made me fall in love with him all over again (I’d never really fallen out of love in the first place) and I was absolutely besotted with both Paris and the ex.
Unfortunately, his commitment-phobia kept thwarting our efforts to reconcile, once we arrived home. At the time, I was madly writing down my memories from the trip so I wouldn’t forget them, all the while struggling with our ill-fated attempts to repair our relationship. My journal pages would skip from the present moment – the arguments we were having, the anger I was feeling – back to the beautiful memories of Paris and how close we had been there, and then back to the present again. There was something about the way I wrote those entries – so raw, and so earnest – that kept me re-reading it over the years, thinking it wasn’t a half-bad story.
In the journal, the Paris entries were followed by a 30-day series of love letters I wrote to myself when my ex and I couldn’t get past his commitment issues. I had been devastated and decided to try to heal my heartache by giving myself the love that I couldn’t get from him.
The funny thing is that the ex and I DID end up together for almost six more years, until he quite suddenly moved out to pursue a relationship with a young woman he had started dating. Soon after he left, my cousin, who had traveled to Paris with us, passed away. The two losses were so staggering to me, I felt compelled to share the story, in particular as a tribute to my beautiful cousin. I decided to make Dear Me a companion booklet, just because it was so deeply connected to the Paris story. I hope it helps others who have gone through a difficult breakup to remember their own beauty and worth.

5. What was the most curious thing you discovered in your research?
As I have researched natural beauty, self-esteem, and relationships these past few years (which seem to be themes that come up again and again for me), I think the most curious thing that has come out is how much alike we all are. We share so many insecurities and doubts. I find it so fascinating that we can see so much brilliance and beauty in our sisters, but often fail to see the brilliance and beauty looking back at us in the mirror. I hope, in time, that we all learn to recognize our own light.
6. What music inspires you?
All kinds – I love classical, rock, and any song that’s passionate or maudlin. I have a particular soft spot for Tori Amos and Carly Simon.
7. How many books did you read last year?
I set a goal to read 60 books last year – ten more than I usually read – but I was dealing with a lot of emotional processing after the boyfriend left and my dog passed away, so I only got through about 30. I’m back on track for this year, though! I should be able to get in 50-60 by December.
8. Coffee or Tea?
Tea, 100%. I hate coffee!
9. What are you knitting/ creating right now?
I’m working on a mini poncho, a hat, a sweater, and two blankets. (I’m always working away with yarn!) I’m also working on the sequel to Soulful Skincare, 2 sequels to The Poison Box (I guess it’s going to be a trilogy!), a young adult novel, and a children’s book which might turn into another young adult novel. There’s never a shortage of creation over here, that’s for sure!
10. Do you have any writing rituals?
At this point, I just go with it whenever I can fit it in. I used to get tea, and set up at my desk, and play certain music…but now, I’ll write on scraps of paper on my lunch break, if I have to. Whatever it takes! I’ve lost all sense of ritual, out of necessity. But just the feeling of my fingers tapping on a keyboard is ritual enough for me.

11. Do you have a theme song?
If I had to choose, I’d say Libby, by Carly Simon. I’m not even sure what that song is about, so that’s probably silly to say (I read it was about her friend, but that didn’t really enlighten me as to its ultimate meaning), but there’s something about it… The piano is so beautiful (I play a little and it’s my favorite instrument – there’s nothing like piano music). My mother almost named me Liberty, so I feel a connection to the name, as well as all the mention of Paris (I even mentioned the song in The Paris Diaries), and there’s something about the emotion of it that I connect to: longing, passion, triumph, sadness…all of it all lumped together. That’s me.

12. What is one thing you would tell your younger self?
You are worth so much more than you ever dreamed. Stop settling for crumbs and hold out for what you really want. You deserve it and you can have it.
13. Is there anything else you would like to share with us today?
I really wasn’t sure what to say here, until I saw that this was number 13 – a number that’s very important to me. In The Paris Diaries, I talk about an intense experience I had with the number 13 at the Place de la Concorde. It was a number that started appearing to me when I began my relationship with the ex. But after he left, I still encountered it again and again. To this day, I’m trying to uncover the clues that connect me to this number. Those are the kinds of everyday magic that thrill me and make me remember that life is constantly offering us a strange fairy tale.

I have never been to Paris, but I just know that reading Yancy’s book will take me there. Who’s with me? 



Wednesday Wellness: Walk the Walk

After ten days of El Niño, the California sun returned. I woke up in the darkness that is the first Monday of Daylight Savings Time, y’all know what I mean, but I knew the sun would he coming out.

I’m not gonna lie, my great intentions were waning by mid-morning. I’d thought I would enjoy three meal-replacement protein shakes, then I thought well I’d just eat the salad in the lunch that work provided, but by afternoon I’d eaten the entire candy cookie. But here’s what I did do.

I took a long walk during my lunch break.  I knew the point of half mile, and so after my return it would be a whole mile.  I donned my purple floppy hat, plugged in my Wonder Woman earbuds, grabbed a water and headed west.  I listened to a guided visualization meditation as I walked.

Last year I could have sworn it was it a field   on the next block. This year, even the weeds are a spectrum of color. And then I saw this sign.




And I knew it to be a sign from the Universe, that I was on the right path.

I completed my circle and thought, wow, that felt so good, and I even have time left in this hour to read or write! As I approached my building, the meditation ended and my music shuffle chose to play Once a Day by Michael Franti for me. And I fell into step, as all former marching band members do. Left, Right, One, Two. And I began to see a daily walk as a gift that I give to myself, something actually enjoyable (and not a chore).

All too often, I talk the talk. I know my mantras and meditations, apps and affirmations. But I always seem to fall back into my little indulgences and pretend it’s self-care. But something was different this day.

That night I dreamt that an old boyfriend was telling everyone I knew that he still liked me. And Dream-Me was appalled, thinking ‘He has got to GET OVER me!’ And I woke up knowing I could now let go of my indulgences. It was like I already had.

I walked the next day, as well. A little longer. I joked about my popcorn and Pepsi “diet” and even indulged a little bit here and there, but I didn’t beat myself up about it.



That night I added a bit to my evening meditation. I visualized sending love and healing energy to parts of my body, especially to the parts I don’t really like. And then I sent Gratitude.  And I went to sleep, smiling.

This afternoon I added the prayer walk to my circle. I entered on the paved side, and couldn’t see how deep into the field it might go. But I went in. The path turned and became unpaved, rocky. I was a little annoyed. Then there was one point where there was a fork. I decided to go right, where there was a quick dusty dead-end, so I turned back around and followed the path back out to the street. Here the rocks began to change, there were rocks of many colors and sizes- red, blues, white and greys. The last bit of the path was under water on one side, but the right side was drier. So I carefully stepped my way to the sidewalk. No sweat.

There are so many wonderful sights along the journey.

image Now I get it. You gotta walk the walk.

Do you struggle with balance? How do you maintain wellness? 

Please scroll down and comment below!


Wednesday Wellness – Intuition


Hello, My Friends!

I decided to write about Wellness on Wednesdays, as I noticed so many of my writer friends and creatives struggle with wellness. As do I.  Join me on Wednesdays for wellness topics.  

I have a strong intuitive nature, but I often have to try to “turn it off” in order to get through my day.  I don’t like certain images (often hiding posts from my Facebook newsfeed), and I can’t watch the news after a disaster.  An unfortunate side effect of this attempting to tune out is that sometimes I get out of touch with my own intuition.

Sometimes I can’t hear my own thoughts.  You know how sometimes you get two radio stations on the same frequency, it’s like that.  Some previous thought or memory is on loop while some other noise is interfering.  And I spend the entire lunch hour overthinking where I should go for lunch.

I am working on achieving balance this year.  I am letting go of things which no longer serve me, including possessions but also limiting beliefs.  I self-imposed a debt diet, and am counting my calories again.  And I am practicing meditation.  (I mostly make up my own meditations, but I like listening to guided meditations especially by Kris Oster and Rebecca Kane.)

At first I thought I didn’t want to enroll in a super cool online course, because the cost was outside of my debt diet.  I almost didn’t sign up.  But then I realized, it’s an investment in MYSELF, and my well-being.  And already I am so glad I signed up.

In another seemingly counter-intuitive move, I decided to NOT go to Mass last Sunday.  Now I happen to like going to church, but I certainly don’t judge people who do not.  But I decided we could use a little break. The kids and I met up with my dearest friend for a lovely brunch and then some playtime at the park.  And it was so well-making.

Are you in touch with your intuition?  How do you stay balanced?

Be Well,