Amazing Women

My fellow Canadian and fashion designer Gilles Montezin is well known for his elegant haute couture style. You can find his stunning outfits in the closets of high-profile celebrities and featured in films, such as Sex and the City and Confessions of a Shopaholic. IMG_2754

I am very excited about Gilles’ new project, Women Artists of the World (www.womenartistsoftheworld.com). 

It’s the perfect virtual gallery space to make women look their best..

The project provides female artists with a platform to exhibit their work. Women Artists of the World creates the opportunity for artists to network and share their work to an international art world.  This collaboration reduces the gap between artists and fans /clients and enables artists to reach new audiences. How amazing is that!

I encourage you to visit and support Women Artists of the World.

Giardini Hanbury Luglio 2013 021Make sure to view the different virtual gallery space profiles. To my delight one of my favorite artists, Monica Vazio located in Genova Italy, has her virtual gallery space opened.  Love her work! Missed her last show, wish I could be at her next show in April. Excited that I can attend virtually…….

Make the Stars Work for You

I enjoy reading my horoscope while drinking my morning Manhattan-20130908-00181coffee every day. I like to believe. It’s fun to see what the stars have in store for me that day. I also read the horoscopes for people who are close to me. Sounds silly, but if it is not a great horoscope I may text them a happy, feel-good message… just in case they are having one of those days. Some days my horoscope is on the money. Then, there are the days it’s so off I have to laugh…

For all you non-believes, it’s okay…I get it.  You may think, horoscopes are too general and can be interpreted any way you want. But what is the worst that can happen? Reading your horoscope may give you an idea, provide insight into a relationship, help resolve a conflict, or forecast the approaching year.

Year in Review

At the beginning of the year, the astrology world does an overview of the year.. It’s a must read!  My overview from Astrology.com said this year I’m going to:

Broaden my Horizons.      With an emphasis on long distance travel philosophy and all forms of conscious awareness. Unprecedented adventure awaits.. Life is sure to take me on some important journeys (literally, figuratively or both).

Prioritize Work.     Work and career goals continue to be top priorities, according to the stars.

Love & Travel.    My forecast noted the possibility that I could fall in love with someone from a foreign country or at least while visiting one. The more I jet, the happier and luckier my love life will be!..

My Reaction…

IMG_1669It’s not too far fetched for me to travel long distances. Last year, my travels took me to Italy and Moscow. After loving Moscow so much,  I can’t wait to visit Saint Petersburg. How romantic, the possibility of falling in love! How fun me a jetter! Unprecedented adventure, that could be fun! There is no doubt, according to the star’s, I have an exciting year ahead.

Forecast Check-in

I encourage you to read what the stars have in store for your year. This is fun exercise:

Save your astrology forecast for the year (I print it & post it up). Throughout the year, if I need a smile or to center myself, I revisit my astrological forecast.  It’s also a great conversation at the end of the year. How accurate was my astrological prediction? How could I have better used my forecast to navigate difficult situations?IMG-20130704-00008_2

I would like to think my horoscope could happen. I will make a diligent effort to make 2014 the unprecedented adventure my horoscope predicted.

 

It’s that time of year again, the holiday season.

IMG_2561It’s been a “Good” year. I’m pleased to say, I have had some “Excellent” moments. I feel very lucky and blessed. I promised myself that I would continue on the same path, it seems to be working for me.

Celebrating this time of year to its fullest sounds like a good plan.  Both my children were born around Hanukkah and Christmas, so birthday celebrations are a part of my extended holiday season.  I start celebrating on Thanksgiving and continue until around January 10th.

This holiday season I plan on:

Cooking and Baking     Cooking and baking makes me happy; I smile through the process, and it makes my home smell inviting (added bonus!)

The oatmeal cookies I made (without raisins) for the ninth graders at FDNY High School Prep For Success’ after school program were a huge hit! I’m looking forward to spending more time in my kitchen this holiday season. Holidays, for me, are about the list of dishes that are “must have” favorites. It’s also a wonderful time to try new recipes. My friends are not shy about asking me to bring something to their place.  My Lemon Pound and Sour Cream Cakes are everyone’s favorite gift.Sour Cream Cake

Entertaining     This summer, while visiting with friends in Moscow and Italy, I was inspired to fix up my place.  From the minute I got back home, I had the remodeling bug. One day, I couldn’t look at the carpet in my place any more. So, I ripped out.  Once everything was gone I discovered a floor under the carpet! Getting rid of the carpet forced me to get rid of more “stuff”. . I now have room in my closets! I rearranged everything.   I still have a lot to do. But I am having the grandest time transforming my home to fit me.  For the first time, in a long time, I’m looking forward to hanging out at home with my family and friends.   IMG_0044

Getting out of the House     It’s been so long since I went to the movies that I forgot what I saw? I need to do new stuff too. It’s been too long since I crossed the park to visit the Guggenhuim.  I plan to be out and about this holiday season!

Starting with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade,  New York City has a special holiday energy. All the stores and buildings are decorated for the holidays.  The classic New York Christmas “must see” traditional spots: Rock Center Christmas Tree, 5th Ave Store displays, Macy’s. Madison Avenue store windows must be lovely at this time of year too- I’ll have to check them out. I’ve never ice skated in Central Park, maybe I’ll try that.

Closing out the Year    Year ending means goal setting for the New Year. Getting ready for the New Year is exciting.  During the holiday season, I assess my work year and think about strategy.  I reflect on what I did.  What I should have done differently. I’m glad some commitments have ended, excited to begin new endeavors, and I’m very proud of on-going projects that are moving to the next level- super cool!

Enjoying Downtime     Home spa days are a “must do” for girls any time of the year. On spa days, I love wearing the most comfortable clothes, looking through fashion and cooking magazines or watching Lifetime romance stories. This time of the year, how can you not watch all the Christmas classics?

Connecting with My “girlfriends”     Sharing the holidays with my girlfriends makes it more fun. Some of my closest friends live in different parts of the world. Getting together is hard. It is especially hard to stay in touch during this time of year with work hectic schedules family and holiday obligations. Modern technology has made it so easier to bring the world together. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, email, texting and phones make it so easy for girlfriends to keep in touch. It’s not the same as being in person, but it’s fun having coffee together via Skype.

IMG_0009Saying Thank you     I plan on making a conscience effort to thank people.  I discovered when you say and give from your heart it reverses the aging process, as well as, numerous other health benefits.  I suggest putting it into your daily routine.  This time of the year is the perfect time to get started by saying “thank you”, “you are the best”, “greatly appreciated”, “I’m grateful”,  “ I like you”, “I love you”.

Holiday Magic     I plan on making this holiday season memorable by saying “yes” to the out of the ordinary.  Say “yes” to unknown surprises or any unexpected spontaneous things that come up.  Friends from out of town visiting…yes.  Letting someone show me the holidays though their eyes…Yes. Go with the flow; Let it all happen like magic.

That’s a long list. I’m excited to start the celebrating and enjoying the holiday season to the fullest.IMG_0010

I want to wish you and your family a wonderful, healthy & happy holiday season.  Make a promise to yourself to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest. Make your own holiday “to do” list with all the things that will make the holiday special for you.

Join me on my holiday adventure @NewLifeSusanne or Facebook.

Hugs  Susanne

Happiness

Happiness

Being Happy is Not Always Easy

Being happy is not always easy. Life is never going to be free of challenges or stress.  Our lives get complicated. Complicated is not bad, unless your view of life is  “half empty”.  A negative outlook makes it even harder to see the bright side of a situation.  With a “half empty” outlook towards life, nothing ever goes your way; making it next to impossible to be happy!  There comes a point when you need to let go of inhibition or negativity and start enjoying life. We all have challenges and stress – why not be happy despite them?

Are you Happy?

It’s important when you do the below exercise that you are honest. If dishonest, the only person you are fooling is yourself.   Fill in the below graph by asking yourself, how is/are my __________ (relationships, friends, career, finances, health, your general well being) and rate them as: Excellent, Good, OK, Not Good, Bad.

 

 

If you have indicated “Not Good” or “Bad” for an area of your life.

With time and a positive outlook, happiness will return. Remain positive and work towards happiness.  It can sometimes seem easier to feel “Not Good” or “Bad”. Change is not easy, but the benefits of working on you far outweigh giving up.  Have no fear for the unknown!

If you indicated “Not Good” or “Bad” for more than one area of your life.

You need to work on yourself.  Prolonged periods of extreme negativity can lead to worse, sometime destructive, behavior to mask your depressed state. Be willing and open to accept change and humble enough to ask for help.

 If you have indicated “OK” for one or more areas of your life.

That is cool! A small change or adjustment will get you to “Good”.  Things could be better, but truth be told, everything is fine. Maybe there is room for improvement, small needed changes. You are moving in the right direction. Work on positive changes. Change can be slow; don’t let the small pitfalls inhibit your journey.

If you have indicated “Good” for one or more areas of your life.

Checking Good indicates that you perceive this area in your life to be secure. While there is always room for improvement, you are confident with your position in this arena.

If you have indicated “Excellent” for one or more areas of your life.

You are probably experiencing a high point in life. Falling in love, promotions, babies, graduations, and celebrations of any kind…. All the wonderful things that make us feel super amazing excited and happy.   If you are feeling Excellent in one or more area in your life – congratulations and enjoy!

The Objective of this Exercise

Checking “Good” for all the areas in your life is the goal of this exercise.  No ones’ life is “Excellent” all the time. Excellent is reserved for the wonderful highs. Checking good, indicates that you probably enjoy a wonderful balanced life. All the parts of your life are in check. You are in check.

Why are you unhappy?

When one part of your life is out of whack it can make your overall existence fall off balance.   It’s easy to fall trap to a downward spiral of negativity when one aspect of your life isn’t going as planned.

When you are unhappy, it’s best to isolate the area of your life makes you miserable.  Are you between jobs? Experiencing a life changing moment – like a divorce, death or loss of any kind? Are you lonely?  Has weight gain caused you to be insecure?  Are you bored?  Once you isolate the real reason you are unhappy – compartmentalize it.  Don’t use this shortcoming as an excuse for not seeking happiness and wallowing in negativity.   Address your issues; don’t let your issues consume you.

How do you get happy?

Once you admit you are unhappy you are the only one who can change.  Life challenges will always be there. It’s important to counterbalance the less pleasant aspects of your life with positivity.  Having positive outlets makes it easier to cope with the harder moments. Stepping away and giving yourself a timeout may also enable you to handle or cope easier with difficult subjects.  Don’t avoid your problems. Instead, increase opportunities to lessen negative pressures – make them less overbearing

Where do you go to get some of this happiness?

Stay busy with activities that make you happy.

Keep it simple- easy things. Try sitting in your favorite park and reading a book. Spend time doing something you love, like dancing in your PJ’s to your favorite tunes.  It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it’s fun and makes you feel good. Find activities YOU enjoy. Can’t come up with any ideas?  Walking is easy and you never know what you will get into.

Mutual respect

Start treating others like you would like to be treated. Being nice to others will result in people being nice to you.

Smile More

It’s hard to be unhappy when you are smiling. Not to mention, smiling prevents premature aging and wrinkles, that’s something to be happy about.

Making these small steps will make it easier to get to a happier place.  Stay upbeat, keep it positive, embrace health, LIVE HAPPY.

What is stopping you from starting a new fitness routine… NOW?

Fall is the best time to get started and get active. The weather is still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.

Central Park Tennis Courts on a perfect Fall day...

Central Park Tennis Courts
on a perfect Fall day…

Not to mention, starting in the Fall gets you prepared for the holidays. If you start now, by the time the holidays are here, you will start to notice how the increased activity is making you look and feel. You will sparkle at all your holiday functions!  You smile more. All that positive energy motivates you to continue the fitness program into the New Year.

By the time Winter rolls around, if you stick with it, you’ll start to look forward to being physically active. Winter is much more enjoyable when are more active.  Instead of hibernating for the winter and gaining additional weight, you are working out and feeling good.  Too cold to go outside?  Create an indoor exercise routine. It can be something you are doing already or something that is fun and a bit outrageous. You are now dancing while cleaning now. Why? It makes you happy and keeps you physically active.

 Why make physical activity a part of your everyday life?

Physical activity makes you feel good. When you feel good, you look good and are more confident.

sea buckthornWhen you work out, you will find that you take better care of yourself and eating healthy will probably become part of your routine too. Bonus! Your lifestyle will be healthier.  All because you made a few small changes.

How do you start a fitness routine?

It’s easy to start. Start slow and have realistic goals.  Walking a few days a week is an easy way to get started. No fancy equipment required, you can walk anywhere.  Plus, walking is a great stress reliever.  All you need to do is take a 15 minute walk 4 days a week. 15 minutes is manageable too – no matter how crazy your schedule, you can spare 15 minutes.  Soon enough, you will look forward to “your 15 minutes”.

I recommend listening to positive fun happy music while walking or working out. The type that makes you dance! It’s ok to walk and dance. It’s your time, make it fun…Don’t forget to smile!

IMG_2228 So, get started, get active….

I promise by spring,

you’ll be thankful you started now!

 

Setting Goals and Achieving Success Series

In the comments section I welcome you to share: what has been your most rewarding achievement.

Part 3: Reaching your Goal & Feeling Good About It

Baby Steps

Everyone loves instant gratification, especially me!  But that is simply not how goals are achieved. If you start slow and keep it simple, you will make small but incremental strides towards your goal.  You will be surprised how the little successes will make you smile. When you smile it will make you feel better about yourself and your progress. You’ll find yourself wanting to set more goals to make you feel even better.  In no time at all you will be setting harder goals.

Some of your aspirations may take longer. Yes, you will have too many moments that you doubt yourself. However, there are the rare, but fulfilling, times where you are reminded why you are on the path you chose.  I often surprise myself that I have been able to achieve some of my most challenging goals. Those moments are wonderful and made me feel super special and outweigh all of my bouts of insecurity. What I’m most proud of is, I haven’t given up; nor should you.

How will that End Result Make you Feel IMG_1314

It doesn’t matter if your goals are big or small, it’s more important that at the end you feel like you have achieved something. Visualize what you think that moment will feel like when you achieve your goal- reflect on this when you are in a negative space, it will help get you through some tantrums.

IMG_1259Whether your goal is a weekend away, because you need a timeout, or that dress that went on sale that you will look amazing in… It’s important to know the end result will make you feel good. When you feel good you become more confident.  Confidence has a way of making you glow from within. Trust me, you will achieve your goals; the world is yours!

Setting Goals and Achieving Success Series

In the comments section I welcome you to share what gets you stuck when reaching towards a goal and how you get unstuck or refocused on success?

Part 2: Creating a Plan of Action/ Asking for Help

 Now that you’ve assessed the plausibility of achieving your goal and the outside variables that may affect your success (Part 1: Set Yourself up to Succeed), it’s time to put your goal into action. Developing a plan of action is the first active step towards making your goal a reality, and it is my favorite part.IMG_1209

When I set action plans for my goals, I think about what I need to do to make it a reality. I list my goals and a detailed action plan and post them on the back of my closet door.  I post them so everyday when I go into my closet it reminds me of my targets.  As I achieve a goal, I check it off.  You would be surprised how fast things get crossed of the list and your list will get small with time.

Asking for HelpIMG_1096

In the last year I have had to ask friends for favors. What is the worst that can happen, they say no?  Well, at least you learn who your real friends are.  I’ve never been good at asking for help; I used to feel strange about asking for anything.   I have learned an important lesson, that’s what friendship is all about; helping each other and being there for each other.  When working towards a goal become comfortable asking for help.  Asking for help is not a form of weakness; it is a sign of strength and self-awareness.

In the comments section don’t forget to share what gets you stuck when reaching towards a goal and how you get unstuck or refocused on success?

Stay tuned for Setting Goals and Achieving Success Part 3…

 

Check this out

Recently read Miles and Jo Love story in Blue…

Really enjoyed it!

“From an early age I’d been groomed to be a perfect wife instead of an independent thinker, so consequently I became insecure and had very little expectations concerning my options, but as Miles pushed me toward new challenges, my confidence increased both mentally and physically.”

– Jo Gelbard, Miles and Jo: Love Story in BlueScreen shot 2013-05-31 at 1.48.44 PM

Amazing job Jo!  Thank you for sharing your journey!

From one “groomed to be a perfect wife” to another, change is hard.   Liking who you are is a good place to be… I admire your courage!

Below is a link with more information about Jo’s work (Thanks Jo)

    MILES DAVIS & JO GELBARD – The Artwork

http://www.jazzviews.net/miles-davis–jo-gelbard-the-artwork.html

 

 

 

Setting Goals and Achieving Success

There are goals in my life I would like to achieve. Some of my goals are small and others require a bit of a leap. The Setting Goals and Achieving Success series will offer my approach towards achieving goals and show support to other goal setters.  I hope you enjoy. Stay tuned for Setting Goals and Achieving Success Part 2…

 Setting Goals and Achieving Success

 What goals you are working on right now? Sharing is an important part of goals setting.  Somehow, when you share with others, it becomes real.  In the comments section I welcome you to share  the goals you are working and your strategies for success.

Part 1: Set Yourself up to Succeed

It doesn’t matter what you want: asking your boss for a raise, asking someone for a favor, or figuring out how to buy that something you have been wanting. When you set goals you need to know what you want in the end and if you can achieve it.  Make sure your goals are tangible, attainable and realistic.IMG_0339

Too often we set goals that we know will never happen or we are not willing to put the needed effort to make it a reality. Then you spend too much time focusing on what you couldn’t do rather than what you can achieve. It changes the playing field. Don’t set yourself up for failure, set realistic and attainable goals.  This doesn’t mean you should set your sights low and let negativity shape your goals.  Instead, rationally assess your skill set, network of support and available time you can dedicate to your goals.

Go into it with Eyes Wide Open.  

Asking your boss for a raise when your company just laid off 10 employees, is bad timing. But, in the interim, you can, take the lead and show what a real asset you are to the company.  In six months, after your help gets the company back on track, you will not have to ask for that raise. Your company may even give you more than you were initially thinking because you rolled up your sleeves and did what was needed. By going into goal setting with eyes wide open, I am referring to assessing all the outside elements that may inhibit your success.  After looking into these variables further, you can adjust your goal and proceed accordingly.

In the comments section don’t forget to share your goals and strategies for success.

 Stay tuned for Setting Goals and Achieving Success Part 2…