I’ve always liked the idea of Mardi Gras. A huge party to kick off 40 days of solemn observance in preparation for Easter.
My mother was in town for 3 weeks. It was a fun experiment in getting around town.
As I mentioned before, I was recently in a car accident and my car was totaled. Instead of replacing my car right away, I thought it was the perfect time to try a travel experiment in my life.
A couple years ago I heard about someone who decided not to drive for a year. It seemed like an impossibility for someone living in Los Angeles, but with my current circumstances, it seemed like the perfect time to try this for myself.
I always thought I would die before I was 21 years old. In fact, I thought I might die before I was 18. When my 18th birthday approached and passed, I was bewildered that I was still alive. I then presumed I must have made a mistake and 21 was my new expiration date.
I had a near death experience at the beach when I was about 9 years old. I was a very confident and strong swimmer, but I was ignorant of how to respond when caught in a riptide. If it wasn’t for a fast-acting uncle, who was also a trained lifeguard, I might have been swimming with the fishes. Or is the expression, I would have been fish food? After that experience, I had a vision, or more likely a dream, or maybe a waterlogged hallucination of future me dying very young.
I have survived 3 major car crashes. All 3 occured while I was at a standstill. The 1st car accident was a hit-and-run which occurred when I was a teenager. I was waiting at a red signal light and a car speeding down the hill didn’t stop in time and knocked me into the intersection where 2 other cars just barely missed me. The car that hit me, backed up and made a right on the cross street to get away from the scene of the accident.
Once I got my bearings and restarted my car, I chased down the car that hit me in an exhilarating car chase and we were finally able to exchange contact information. As it turns out the driver didn’t have car insurance, but my uninsured motorist policy kicked in. My 1966 Ford Mustang was fully repaired after the accident and it was better than new with a shiny new paint job! My advice, always spring for the Uninsured Motorist Policy.
The 2nd car accident occured on the newly opened 105 freeway while I was on my way to teach a swing dance class near the LAX Airport. I heard and felt something out of the ordinary while driving and thought I might have blown a tire. I safely pulled over to the right shoulder of the freeway to inspect my front tires for damage. While I was looking at my front right tire, I felt a wave of light brush over me and I heard or maybe felt a familiar voice say, “get back in the car and put on your seatbelt.”
I’m not one to argue with preternatural voices and feelings, so I did what I was told and got back into my car. As I was inserting the strap into the buckle, I looked up into my rearview mirror and saw an opalescent white Lexus attempt to illegally speed past a slow moving car by using the left shoulder. The driver realized too late that I was already parked on the shoulder blocking his way and he attempted to swerve back into his lane.
He was traveling too fast to avoid my car and as I was watching the approaching Lexus in my rearview mirror (strangely in what felt like slow motion), I locked eyes with him and I could see the fear in his eyes as he struggled for control of his vehicle. I took a deep breath to relax my body and slipped my car into neutral in preparation for the inevitable collision.
He clipped the rear left corner of my car while veering back into his lane sending my vehicle into a clockwise spin. The front right corner of my car (where I was crouched just moments before while inspecting my tire) crunched into the wall to my right. When the car stopped spinning, I was facing oncoming traffic. Several drivers pulled over to help me out of my vehicle and give me their contact information as witnesses to his erratic driving. My car was totalled, but I was able to walk away from the accident without a scratch.
I called my dance partner, who was driving separately, and she was on the scene within minutes. She was crying as my car was loaded onto the flatbed of the tow truck. We were only a few minutes late to teach our dance class, and our client was totally understanding of the situation. My dance partner drove me to the hospital after dance class and the doctor said the physical movement of dancing was probably the best thing I could have done to help calm my nerves and muscles, but I should take it easy the next few days.
The 3rd accident occured on Friday the 13th of last year. I was waiting at an intersection to make a left turn. As the signal light turned yellow and then red, I started making my left turn and a brand new BMW ran the red light and T-boned my passenger side of my vehicle. When my car stopped spinning, I was covered in glass from shattered passenger window and windshield. I remember thinking that it looked like I was covered in diamonds.
I was meeting a new friend for dinner and I was less than a mile from the restaurant. When I called her, she jokingly said the only excuse for being late was if I was in a car accident. When I told her what happened and she finally believed that I wasn’t joking, she asked where I was and was there within 10 minutes. She thoughtfully showed up with orange juice, some juice smoothies and snacks. She shared them with me and the driver of the other vehicle and said the sugar would help with shock.
She waited with me until the police took our statements and the tow trucks towed our cars away. She then drove me to an amazing Korean Restaurant where we were able to finally enjoy dinner. I’m so thankful for thoughtful friends and because I was able to walk away from another car accident I consider Friday the 13th my lucky day!
I am thankful to be able to journey yet another rotation around the sun. Many more than I ever thought I would be able to. I’m excited to add another candle to my vegan birthday cake and use this borrowed time to bring smiles and joy to everyone I meet.
While walking through the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, my sight was drawn to this shield on a wall surrounding a construction site. It read, “You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the world… but it requires people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney.
As my birthday approaches, I look back upon this past year and the many years before it, and I am thankful for all the people who have had their hand in shaping my life. There were those whom I shall never know. The ancestors who built their lives and raised their children. Those children repeated the process and after generation upon generation, eventually my parents were born.
My parents meet in college, (I should really inquire about how they met and get the whole story). How much of their meeting was chance? It blows my mind to think about that. Eventually, they get married and several years after, I am born.
I am born into their group of friends, acquaintances and families and we are linked for life. My godparents come from this pool of friends and I see them throughout my life at all the special occasions, including my birthdays. They had children about my age and I wonder where life has taken them since we lost touch?
People flow in and out of each others’ lives. Some are there for a short time and some are there for decades. I realize that it also takes effort on my part to stay in touch. Late at night, I think about souls I have met and I am thankful for them in my life. Some have shuffled off this mortal coil. I think about them the most. Death had a huge impact on me as a child, and I carry those who have died with me in my heart, more than I realize.
I am very thankful for my teachers in preschool, kindergarten & elementary school. I was a rambunctious kid and they had more patience with me then I may have deserved at the time. Their patience really helped to motivate me in school and gave me a love of learning which I still have to this day.
I may have been a dream for an ancestor long past? Of maybe, I am just a link in the chain for a future which was dreamt ages ago? Either way, I strive to live true to the dream I have for myself. I know I can try to do it alone, but why go that route, when I have chosen friends who will walk, run, dance and skip along the road with me?
I thank you for being part of my life and I hope I can help inspire you as others have inspired me. Remember, you don’t have to build your dream alone. There may be more help available than you realize. Sometimes, though, all you need to to is look around and ask!
I love to work! In fact, I consider myself a workaholic! But, several times a year, I book a trip out of state, to force me into another “state” of mind. This month, I’m in Orlando and I also booked a trip to Amsterdam to attend a friend’s wedding later this year in July .
I wouldn’t say I’m a HUGE DIsney fan, but I must say I have a great time anytime I’m at a Disney amusement park. Do I have a Disneyland Pass? Yes! Hmmm… Maybe I’m a bigger Disney fan than I thought I was? So, what am I doing in Orlando? Well, it just happens to be my birthday weekend, so why not travel across the country to visit the Magic Kingdom?
I usually work from sunup to sundown, and maybe a few hours beyond that. It’s coming to my attention that maybe this isn’t the norm for most people. I always, ALWAYS travel with my laptop, so I can sneak in some work when I have a spare moment. An extra bonus about traveling to the east coast, is that I’m now 3 hours ahead of California time. It makes me feel so responsible when I can reply to emails and phone calls 3 hours earlier than normal. It also makes it easier when I return home to hit the gym early in the morning.
I took the redeye from LAX to MCO. I was marveling at the ease of travel these days. In the past, I would beg a friend to drive me to the airport, but now a shared ride service like UBER or LYFT make it super convenient to travel around town.
A friend of mine in Los Angeles always complains about how hard it is to meet new people. I find it interesting that I always meet new people and it usually feels very spontaneous. As the saying goes, it takes 2 to tango, so I know the mathematical equation needs to start with 2 people. Or maybe, it just needs to start with 1 person, and that person is YOU.
I can rely on the OTHER person being open to meeting new people, or I can take responsibility and be in the “vibration” of wanting to meet new people. By taking the initiative, it makes it so much easier, because now I can just be ready to talk to anyone who is willing to talk to me.
Oh boy, this may sound like so much new age mumbo jumbo. I must say that it simply falls into place when I’m in the right vibration. Tonight, after taking the whole day off to wrap up a project, I was pleasantly surprised to meet an outgoing gal and her friends while visiting THE EDISON in Orlando, (which is modeled after THE EDISON in downtown Los Angeles).
My new friend, who shall go by the code name “J” approached me and said hello. We danced a few songs and then I met her friends, and then she met my friends, and it turned into a HUGE dance party. Now, I can chalk it up to coincidence, or I can give credit to my friends and our fun loving attitude and seizing the moment. =)
It’s still the beginning of the year and if you want to meet new friends, the first step, is to be open to the idea of meeting new friends. I consider myself an introvert, but I have learned to be more outgoing by practicing being outgoing. I took baby steps; talking to people in an elevator (which is always fun and potentially against the rules), talking to my cashier in the checkout line (as long as it’s not too busy), striking up a friendly conversation at a bar, or even volunteering time at a local food bank and talking to fellow volunteers. Sometimes, the conversation can be stilted at first, but it gets easier with practice.
Whatever you’re interested in trying more of this year, practice by doing more of that thing. I have found that www.MeetUp.com is a great resource, especially when I’m visiting a new city. If you want to explore the outdoors, join a local hiking group. If you want to start running, sign up for a 5K run. They can usually direct you to local training groups. If you want to explore new dining experiences, join a local foodie group, and if none exists, start your own and see what happens.
Many years ago, I had a dining club in my neighborhood and it was fun sharing my dining experiences with my friends and their friends. By special request, I’ll be starting up my dining group again very soon, so If you’re in Los Angeles, I would love for you to join me.
Good Luck on your adventures!
I started out the new year with the bright yellow book sitting on top of my to-read pile. I bought the book last year, and I’m glad, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, finally made it into my hands. I dove straight into Chris Guillebeau’s book, and when I’m on the road or out for a run, I’ve been focused on catching up on the many Side Hustle School podcast episodes. The episodes are about 10 minutes long, and every episode I listen to holds a nugget of inspiration for me.
Within the first few days of reading the book, I started a new side hustle and started rethinking the direction of this website. I have several more businesses I’m planning to incubate over the next several weeks and I’m super excited to help my family and friends start side hustles of their own.
One thing I love about the new year is the feeling of a clean slate. There are so many possibilities and so many opportunities to create! Another thing I love about new beginnings is the desire to get back to basics. With my new business(es) to create and website(s) to share I started thinking about the basics of marketing.
When I think of business marketing, social media immediately jumps to the forefront of my mind. Of course, there are also business cards for the face to face networking encounters and the print ads, radio spots and billboards for some of the larger marketing projects I’m coordinating this year.
When I get to my desk, one of the FIRST things I do is check my email inbox. I sort through what needs to be taken care of now, and what I can take care of in the afternoon when I handle the bulk of my email correspondence. It’s kind of funny that the main way I communicate with my clients, vendors and partners is through the medium I often overlook in my marketing toolbox, especially when email is the one I use most often.
There is nothing wrong with accumulating your followers on social media platforms. In fact, I think that’s a key ingredient in the marketing recipe. Just be aware that since you’re using another company’s system, you are also at their mercy. Algorithms can change and your followers might not see all the content you want to share with them, because of tweaks your favorite social media company might make to their code.
You OWN your email list, so treat it like gold. I read this sentiment often in various articles, and NOW it makes even more sense to me. Most everyone in the world has an email address, and an email address can be the direct link connecting you straight to a member of your audience. Treat your audience with respect and give them the best content possible.
If an email list is so valuable, why did I take so long to start creating one? Well, for me, I know it’s very easy to get distracted by the allure of social media. It works great when everyone is plugged in, but now I’m seeing more and more of my friends and colleagues shifting away from social media, or at least spending less time than they did on those sites in the past.
Yes, new communication tools like SLACK might be coming to the fore, (and if you haven’t heard of SLACK, I’m sure you’ll start seeing more of it this year). Just this week though, I had several people ask me to send them an email regarding some future events I was hosting. Email isn’t as dead as I thought it was, in fact, I’m seeing a resurgence in its daily use.
Now, how do I collect email addresses for my precious email list? There are quite a few options available on the market, and I sifted through many of them weighing the pros & cons. I decided that Constant Contact would be my primary email management system. I can easily add an email signup box by adding a widget to my website. In fact, a “short code” on this wordpress site, created the sign-up box below.
I really do value your support and I promise to respect your inbox.
Now, that I have a new email address in my management system, what do I do with it? Well, remember that axiom, treat others as you would like to be treated? Never flood their email box with junk. One of the key reasons I chose Constant Contact was because of the beautiful email templates I can easily create. These emails stand out from the boring ones and when I use the newsletter format, I can link to articles seamlessly from the email to the web content I’d like to share.
I hope you enjoy the newsletters I send you using Constant Contact, and when you’re ready to start building your email list, give Constant Contact a try and let me know what you think. Wishing you the best 2019 has to offer!
Most people dread Mondays! I totally understand. As a kid, on Sunday nights, it felt as if there was a dark, stormy cloud looming over my head, preparing to eclipse the sun and the weekend fun… Unless it was a summer vacation day, then Sundays were just another day linking to a HAPPY Monday of frivolity and adventure.
THE FLOOR, was my favorite dance event of the month. It usually took place on the 3rd Monday of the month and it was a like a summer vacation day in the middle of my work month. I missed many Monday night dance events at THE FLOOR over the past 10 years, but I attended more than I missed.
It was akin to summer camp, where I made new friends and I was sure to see many of my favorite people. THE FLOOR, was COMMUNITY. THE FLOOR was FAMILY. THE FLOOR was unbridled energy packed into a hot room full of LA’s most talented musicians and dancers expressing their art in many beautiful and compelling ways. THE FLOOR felt like HOME!
I love swing dancing! In fact, I want to swing dance every night of the week like I did when I first caught the dancing bug. Mondays were one of my normal swing dance nights, unless it was the 3rd Monday of the month, then I knew I would be going to THE FLOOR instead. Every once in a while I would pull a double header and go swing dancing, then leave that venue early to dance until the wee hours of morning at THE FLOOR.
Many of my friends wanted me to describe THE FLOOR and why I was so passionate about it. Usually, I would just invite them to see it and feel it for themselves. In a nutshell, it’s a musicians and dancers improvisation night. If you’re a musician, you sign up with the band leader and you’ll find out which set(s) you’ll be playing. If you’re a dancer, you express yourself in anyway the music moves you.
The music would morph and change as the musicians were added and moved around the stage. The tempo would speed up and slow down depending on the mood of the collective band. The flavor would alter slightly, or sometimes drastically, depending on various individual musicians’ proclivity towards a genre or style of music. Some people would say this was a recipe for disaster, but somehow it all worked out in gorgeous and mystifying ways.
The dancers would move and groove to the energy the band was creating, and in turn, the band would feed off the energy of the dancers. This would continue to feed back and forth and the energy in the room would continue to elevate with each note from the stage and every dance step on the floor. The joy which I felt could be seen reflected in the smiles of everyone present.
When the band took a break, the DJ’s kept the room moving and grooving. Whether the band or the DJ was working the room, the dancers were there dancing the way they felt the music. It was amazing to see a room full of dancers strutting their stuff as the music filled them with energy. Depending where you looked, there might be a jam circle with a couple dancing the tango followed by Lindy Hoppers throwing air. Or a salsa dancer working the shines, followed by a tap dancer accenting the beats. There were no rules at THE FLOOR, except to dance!
In the words of Jennifer Lopez:
"If you go hard, you gotta get on the floor...
If you're a party freak ,then step on the floor...
If you're an animal, then tear up the floor...
Break a sweat on the floor...
Yeah we work on the floor !
Carolina Cerisola and Sascha Escandon brought an idea to Los Angeles which was incubated, nourished and flourished over the past 10 years. I am forever thankful to have crossed paths with both of you and this beautiful experiment. I am forever grateful for every person I met at THE FLOOR and the many friends I have danced with there. I wish you both the best, and if there’s an anniversary or special event for THE FLOOR, I’ll be there with my dance shoes ready to dance, dance, dance!
If you want to experience THE FLOOR for the last time, it will be held at: Los Globos, 3040 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90026 on Monday, January 21, 2019 from 9 PM – 2 AM. Here’s the Facebook Event Link. I hope to see you there!
This has been an exciting week for me! It’s the 2nd week of the new year and I’m still (mostly) on point with my 2019 goals and intentions. I’ve read and made my bed daily. I’ve hiked Inspiration Point twice and I’ll probably go again this weekend. My daily steps need some help, but I did log in 24,000+ steps yesterday while swing dancing at Lindy Groove in Pasadena, CA.
I have been voraciously consuming the podcasts from Side Hustle School and I ONLY have 582 more to go until I listen to all the past episodes. Today, while listening to episode 588, Chris Guillebeau mentioned a quote which electrified me. The quote was: “Done, is Better Than Perfect.” A quick google search and the quote has been attributed to, Sheryl Sandberg.
Done, is better than perfect, really resonated with me. As a perfectionist there are many times I find myself frozen when I’m so close to completing my goal or project. Ever since I was a child, I would have a paralyzing fear of not doing my work perfectly. This has been an issue for me my whole life, but when I heard the quote today, I suddenly felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
Currently, I have about 20-25 work projects which need to be completed this month and I was feeling overwhelmed with the amount of time I would need to complete everything perfectly. When I applied the quote to my work, I suddenly realized I could still do Grade A work without the pressure of making it Grade A+ work.
I do amazing work! I’m really good at what I do. That’s not just an idle boast. Because of my perfectionist upbringing, I have really honed my skills over the years. One thing I am very aware of though, is that the time needed to bring a project from great to perfect can be an additional 30-35% of additional time.
Many times, I would look at the competing work in my industry and I was baffled at the projects which would pass inspection. If you compared my projects to similar projects done by someone else, you can definitely see the difference. When my “competition” was getting hired for more work than I was, I was profoundly, perplexed. I questioned one of my long time clients about why I wasn’t being hired as often. He said, “because all I need is a quick sketch, and you’re trying to create a photorealistic oil painting worthy of a classical master.”
In my effort to, “just get it done,” I’m happy to say that I had an idea for a “Side Hustle with my buddy Frank. We were talking about it last year, and I decided to just make things happen. I stayed up late one night and built a prototype for our website with some sample products I thought we could market. Now, to select a handful of products we will actually be selling on our website.
It feels good to have it DONE. Well, in reality, the website is nowhere near perfection, but it’s created and just needs to be refined over the next year. Normally, I would have wanted it to be be perfect before I let it go live. I know I am a work in progress, but I see the value in getting the job done instead of getting the job done PERFECTLY!
Best of luck to getting your work DONE this year. I’m excited to work on www.FrankAndAlan.com this month and to completing at least 15 of my other projects over the next 2 weeks.
Last year I purchased several books which I didn’t get to read, so they are on the top of my reading stack for this new year. The top 2 items on most people’s resolutions are to make more money and to improve their health. With this in mind, I decided my first book of 2019 would be, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, written by, Chris Guillebeau.
Chris Guillebeau, may be my kindred spirit. I love the idea of creating multiple side hustles for myself, as well as helping others to create their own. What is a side hustle anyway? As I understand it, it’s a side project which you are passionate about, which you can do alongside your EXISTING job, to earn extra money.
If you have a great idea, and the right skills, and perfect timing, it’s very possible that your side hustle income can eventually surpass the income of your regular job. Imagine that. Then you can decide what you want to do from there. This is what I call a great problem to have.
Imagine reading the Side Hustle book this month and transforming your idea(s) into a new side hustle which can earn you an additional stream of income next month and beyond. I’ve already cracked open the book and I’m already super excited for this years possibilities. Keep your journal or notebook handy, because once you start the exercises in the book, your creativity may surprise you. Make sure to capture all of those ideas on paper before they disappear.
Before I even started reading the book, I started delving into the Side Hustle School podcasts. They are entertaining and chock full of puns to keep you smiling or groaning (with utter delight). Each episode features an example of someone who turned their idea into a successful side hustle. The examples are varied and I find them inspiring. Not only because regular people created spectacular results, but because each and every side hustle example is fertile soil for a new potential side hustle idea which could be perfect for you and your skills.
I’m already filled many pages in my side hustle notebook with useful ideas and tips which may save me time, heartache and money. Here’s my challenge to you! Start listening to the podcasts, (they are FREE), invest in the Side Hustle Book and lets create a new side hustle this month which will stimulate your creativity, change the world for the better and fatten your wallet.
Cheers to your success!
It’s hard to believe that it’s already the last day of the year. It seems like just yesterday I was writing my new goals after hiking to the top of Inspiration Point. Note to self, dust off your hiking shoes and get ready for the beautiful view from Inspiration Point TWICE this week.
As I look back on the year, there were a lot of great things which happened. I met some fantastic new friends, I reconnected with friends from my past, I read a lot more books than I did in 2017, The Burrito Project expanded across California in 5 major cities and I was able to launch several new businesses.
On the flip side, there are quite a few things with LOTS of room for improvement this year. While managing 5 seperate businesses, I felt bombarded by phone calls, email & texts which were seriously limiting my productive work time during the day. I thought outsourcing all of the communication to someone else was the answer, but it created more problems.
In an attempt to wean myself off social media, my phone and almost all electronic communication, I attempted to have my assistant(s) return my emails and phone calls for me, but too much fell through the cracks. I ended up creating more issues with my clients and friends due to non communication which could have easily been prevented with a simple phone call.
A new business coach recommended creating boundaries with a time schedule for when I returned phone calls, texts, emails and participated in social media. I’m excited to put this tactic to the test this year, so expect to hear from me more consistently. It’s difficult to give that personal touch when it’s not me giving that personal touch. I guess sometimes I need to learn things the hard way.
It’s all relative, so beware when you compare yourself to other people. I like to have an idea of what’s going on around me, but I prefer to focus within, versus without. One of the reasons I like setting goals is to see how I measure up to my past performance and accomplishments. I’ve always liked setting goals which make me stretch, but I also sprinkle in some simple goals just for fun.
Some of my simple goals are making my bed, reading for 30 minutes a day and spending 15 minutes a day organizing something in my bedroom or office. One of my goals which I need to actively work on to complete is reaching 20,000 steps per day with my fitbit.
Some friends tell me I should set my daily goal to 6,000 or 8,000 so I’m guaranteed to hit it everyday. Although I’d love to hit my personal target EVERYDAY, and that is my continued goal for 2019, I’d much rather miss my target goal of 20,000 steps and settle for 16,000+ steps. For comparison, my friend is completing his/her goal everyday, while I only hit my goal a few times a week. Now, when you compare actual steps for the week, I’m usually in the lead. I’m twice my friends size, so maybe I should be hitting 25,000 steps per day. It’s all relative! =)
If you’ve had a chat with me this past year, you probably know I love cryptocurrencies and will chat crypto almost anytime and anywhere. I was analyzing the market in 2017 and I officially entered the market in January 2018. I made my first purchase of bitcoin on CoinBase and while I was waiting for my bank transfer to go though, BTC dropped from $15,500 to under $12,000 in the 7 days it took before the transaction was complete. That was the perfect introduction to the volatile world of cryptocurrencies for me. Wow!
Despite that almost 25% drop in BTC value, I was even more curious and started mining bitcoin, dash & ethereum. Among my fellow crypto enthusiasts, we would talk about missing the opportunity to buy BTC at prices below $10,000. Well, as luck would have it, bitcoin has been below $4,000 for most of December 2018. I guess wishes really do come true. Thank you Santa for the HUGE sale on BTC. These low prices have more than made up for the high prices I paid earlier in the year! Yes, bitcoin is about 20% of what it was a year ago in December 2017, but for comparison, BTC is 4 times HIGHER now in December 2018, than it was in December 2016. I guess everything really IS relative. 😉
Mining is no longer profitable with the price of BTC so low, but trading has been very nice to me. It just goes to show, when one door closes, another door opens. I’m excited to be trading bitcoin and etherium over the next year and look forward to turning on those mining rigs again when the price rises to a profitable level.
As we bid farewell to 2018, I hope you learned a lot this year and can apply your new knowledge to the next 365 days and beyond. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!