Perspective: White Out...

We don't get a blanket of white powder in the south very often. While we're unlikely to see a blanket of snowy accumulation today, it's drizzling and a chilly 30 degrees out there this morning. It's a dream, of course, but we're all silently thinking, "let it snow, let it snow, let it snow" inside our hearts. What better way to begin the new year than with a blank canvas both mentally and visually. Even a fine dusting of snowflakes does the trick. It seems to cover all manner of detail and leaves the view outside your frosted window looking absolutely gorgeous. Pristine. Pure. Snow obscures most of the detail you normally see and highlights textures you hadn't noticed before. It plays tricks on the mind, simplifying things... beautifying things. 

For the start of this fresh page of the calendar I wish for a blank canvas for each of us. A new beginning. A pure start. A new awakening. A clear line drawn on the timeline of your life to actively leave the past behind you and step boldly into a new you, a better you, a more high achieving you. 

This is when I'm craving my annual "mind cleanse" and life adjustment kickstart. It's time to fully assess my life goals and determine how to create maximum results to get where I know I'm destined to arrive. It's time to plan trips and book vacations. It's time to reach out to friends old and new and spark up flames of friendship you cherish. It's time to rethink your outlook, your mental roadmap and your life course. It's time to recalibrate and get back on track if you've drifted - or move your target further away if you're achieving your goals like a boss. 

Use today wisely. Cherish it. Relish it. Enjoy the completely blank page on your calendar and leverage the freedom that it extends to you. I challenge you to fill that journal with delirious, delicious, ridiculous goals that frighten you. Use your pen and articulate your thoughts in a way that feels a bit uncomfortable. Write out things as you truly wish in your heart of hearts they were in reality. Do this even if your present situation seems blah and uninspiring. Do this even if your wildest dreams are already coming true. Reach higher. Much higher. Strive to live a life of excellence and awe. It's time you stepped up your game and you know it. Stop settling. Stop coasting. Stop waiting for someone else to make your dreams come true. That person is you and only you. 

Write down your goals, your plans, your wishes, your aspirations and your deepest longings. Write them down in incredible detail. What perfume will you wear when you are the woman you've always wanted to be? How will you walk? What will you wear? Where does this version of you you shop? What does she buy? How does she enter a room? Is she regal like Grace Kelly or sultry like Angelina? Does she do yoga or is she a runner? Where does she go to get her sweat on? Find that place. Drive to that place. See yourself there. See yourself fit and fabulous. Visualize this new version of you happening.

Make "your life: the remix" your new reality by penning it in great detail in a journal, a book, on a napkin, on a scrap of paper, on the floor, on your wall - SOMEWHERE. But do it in pen and don't do it on a laptop. Write that out old school with a pen and look at it. Design the life you want, and design it in the finest of detail. It needn't be in a fancy leather bound book, but it needs to be written down. Get those ideas out and don't stop writing until you feel you've gushed and gushed. Word of wisdom: If your inner longings don't scare you you are not thinking boldly enough! 

NEED MORE INSPIRATION? READ ON...

Musings: On Harnessing the Power of Personal Organization...

 {Photos via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

{Photos via yours truly, Franki Durbin}

Once upon a time I had a manager I adored. She led rather than managed, she empowered each of us, she handled challenges with grace and certainty and she served as great inspiration to me then and now. One evening as we were readying ourselves to leave she shared a bit of wisdom that changed my life. I'm not exaggerating. Unsolicited, she offered this bit of genius: 

"I'm not any more skilled than anyone else, I'm simply more organized."

And was she. Weekly manicured, consistently trimmed hair, flawless outfits, and she ran that boutique like a well oiled machine. I never once saw her tackle an obstacle with anything other than ease. It was a sense of calm and confidence that she exuded because she was, indeed, organized. From her personal body, wardrobe and routines to how she handled her business.

Lest you think she was tightly wound, rest assured she wasn't. Freed from the stress of disorganization she was perpetually at ease, laughed easily and radiated positive energy. The few times I saw her even slightly ruffled, it was akin to watching a camera lens focus on a subject. It was a purposeful response to a real life situation. She possessed an admirable fluidity to her being that was enviable and magnetic. Her simple yet profound personal observation about her "secret leadership weapon" left a lasting mark on my psyche.

Her humble statement still lingers in my mind like a soft guiding beam. offering a firm reminder to stay on top of life's loose ends. The mere existence of a to-do list can drum up feelings of anxiety and tension. Yet, left unattended or undone, our required tasks overwhelm us and govern our lives. We'e all no doubt lived to tell that decisions not made are typically made for you by external forces. Loose ends left untied always result in something becoming unraveled - often with unwanted ramifications. 

To me there are layers of chaos. There is the overflow of the physical: laundry, mail, closets, storage, paperwork. There are calendar items or tasks: meetings, reports, projects due, calls to make, parcels to mail, appointments to be made etc. Think of those as "must manage" layers. With those out of control you're doomed. Once you've whipped your physical and mental realm into shape you can then begin (successfully) achieving your goals, tackling your larger life objectives, fulfilling your personal destiny. 

Think of this as a parallel on Maslow's Hierarchy (remember that?) of needs. Handle your business starting from the physical layer and moving to the more abstract to succeed. Without a firm (and orderly) foundation you can't achieve greatness. It makes sense, doesn't it? I doubt great leaders and innovators of the world have piles of clutter and overflowing garages. Even if they personally aren't sorting files on the weekend, they've delegated that task to someone who knocks it out of the park. 

Knowing this, I've just finished going through every possession I own, piece by piece. Much was tossed, much is being sold, much is to be donated. By touching and making decisions on everything (and I do mean everything) I feel empowered, in control and completely freed. It's amazing how much mental energy your "things" pull from you when left unedited. With my physical world in order, my brain is functioning at a much higher level. I am not reacting to life's surprises, I'm responding. I am crushing my to-do list like a beast (level two of the "rise above" plan). I am filled with a surreal feeling of confidence and my creative output has skyrocketed. 

It's hard to believe that a few boxes of receipts, an overflowing closet (or two) and more than a few disorganized drawers could have held my productivity hostage. Yet they did. And I've now been freed to live a better more purpose filled life. I've learned a very powerful lesson and can only hope this post imparts some of the same wisdom and inspiration upon you. 

Organize your surroundings to organize your thoughts. Work from the outside in.  Frankly, it's easier this way. Perhaps lightening your inventory of shoes and sweaters will make you a corner office superhero. Be ruthless. Leave nothing untouched or undone. Take care of every single detail and edit, edit, edit. The resulting emotional, creative and mental freedom will astound you and energize you. You'll be on fire and unbelievably energized about life. I promise! 

Good luck! 

xoxo,
Franki

Perspective: Success + Unrelenting Focus = Match Made in Heaven

this is the path to success
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life... think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
— Swami Vivekananda

This quote is one of my favorites. The passion, intensity and complete commitment to your goals is so intertwined with your chances of true success. Imagine a would-be winemaker with only a casual interest in grapes. It's easy to see that the deck would be stacked against he or she ever bottling an award-winning vintage from a vineyard of their own.

While this example might be obvious, many of us are dabbling at success rather than going all in on our pursuits. Longtime reader know I love being "all in" because it means that failure is NOT optional for you. It means you are ONLY looking at a successful outcome. It means you won't entertain Plan B. It means you have passion in your heart, a sparkle in your eyes and fire in your veins as you pursue your goals.

What goals and aspirations are you tied and tethered to? What are you obsessing over day and night? What vision are you clinging to? Can you feel it? Can you taste it? Can you SEE it? Remember, faith is believing in things unseen. Full, flat-out belief in things that have not yet happened. Harness the power of your mind and focus all of your thoughts, all of your energies on succeeding at something very specific . Be as detailed as you can and (you know what's coming) write it down!

Yes, grab that pretty notebook and flesh out that idea in as much detail as you can imagine. Who will you be when this dreamy goal finally happens? What would he or she wear? How will you walk? How will you feel? What will your emotional state be when this happens? Will you be radiant? Confident? Happy? Calm? Will you be energetic or relieved? Can you feel that mood? Can you imagine that inner emotion?

Here's the thing... once you can "feel" the inner emotions of "you" on the other side of achievement, you're halfway there! Truly. So tap into those feelings and visualize with your heart and not your head. And focus on it daily, nightly, always. And then... let the vision of achievement become such an integral part of you that you have no option other than allow it to become your reality. THIS... is the path to success.

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Perspective: What You Focus On Expands...

Life holds a few simple truths. One is that what you dwell upon, what you focus on, what you think about grows. You'll get MORE of that in your life. This is why you must guard your mind and control that mass between your ears. Your thoughts truly become things.

This is one of the many reasons why I seek out beautiful things, high quality that make me happy. I seek out thought leaders that speak on personal growth and achievement. I seek out others who lift me up and avoid those who strive to pull us down.

What are you focused on this year, friends? Take some time to be strategic with your intentions. Surround yourself with joyful people, uplifting people, happy people. Move towards exactly what you want and make bold moves away from that which no longer serves you. Seek out joy. Seek out growth. Seek out expansion. Seek out beauty. Seek out life enhancing experiences. Seek out simple things that bring a big smile to your soul. What you focus on expands... so focus on GREAT things.

Have a terrific week, everyone!

MY WEEKLY OBSESSIONS

Things I Love: Instagram + Chanel Archives...

This discovery led to an entirely new series title: Things I Love. Item one? The Chanel Archives which have appeared on Instagram and are worthy of your time. Naomi, Claudia, Christy, Linda... the OG's of supermodels are all there and you simply need to check them out.

MORE CHANEL ADORATION


Perspective: Beautify the Small Moments of Life via Glamorous Details...

From my morning coffee to my nightly beauty routine, I've made it a point this year to infuse the smallest of moments with exceptionally glamorous details. Fine china espresso cups, gold leather journals, dreamy moisturizing creams... it's the details in our lives that make all the difference. These outward shifts are the shortcut to the coveted state of being "present" in your daily routine. Surprisingly luxe details wake up the mind and and make what could be a mundane ritual a transcendent experience. How can you enliven your life and shake up your habits? Only you truly know. But below I'm sharing a few of the elements I love infusing in my daily rituals. Join me on my quest to make life magical and the smallest of moments more magnificent.

SHOP THE POST

1. Simple to-do lists become plans for world domination in my Christian Lacroix Paseo Leather Journal // 2. Wedgwood Arris Cup & Saucer makes sipping any morning beverage a special affair (also here) // 3. Why simply shower when you can give your body an at-home skin perfecting treatment? Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish smooths, hydrates & perfects. (also here) // 4. Slip Silk Eye Mask in the prettiest of colors is the key to a blissful night of sleep, regardless of what time zone you wake up in (also here)

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Musings: Love Above All Else...

Thank heaven for little girls. I'm feeling like a total boss as I achieve personal goals, but my sweet, sweet little girls are giving me the emotional rewards I've always craved. They are reminding me every moment of the day that it's all about love. I hope you're enjoying this sweet slide into the weekend and will embrace it with open arms. {image credits 1 // 2 // 3 // 4}

CURRENTLY LOVING


Musings: On Starting the Week off Right...

Sundays are a mix of ultra relaxing and anxious. It's that unique day that has us savoring the last juicy bits of our weekend while gearing up mentally for the busy days ahead. Yesterday, as I stopped by my favorite cafe for espresso I was smitten by how gorgeous it was outside. Immediately I opted to skip my normal hot yoga class in favour of a lakeside walk and time with my girls. So worth it. It wasn't the intense sweat session I've come to know and love, but in lieu of my strenuous vinyasa routine I was greeted with giggles from my daughters, beautiful views and pitch perfect weather.

How do you Sunday? How does it set you up for success on Mondays?

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Buon Weekend: Embracing The New and Releasing the Old...

The past few weeks I've been diving in to Skillshare almost daily taking a wide range of online classes. With merely my MacBook and my cup of tea I'm learning everything I can possibly learn about...well, everything. In addition to some pretty incredible new tech & art skills , the most beneficial side effect has been a renewed sense of excitement and passion for life. That feeling of being unstoppable, sharp-minded and highly charged is beyond fabulous. It's healthy. It's welcomed. It's refreshing. it's empowering.

It prompts me to ask... what are you learning? What new things are you reaching for? What old beliefs are you discarding? Are you evolving and growing? Are you stretching your mind and body. It's not optional, you know. Life requires change. Personal happiness requires growth. 

Now that I've tapped into this tingly excitement of fresh ideas I can't help but want you to feel the same renewed (or new) sense of excitement. This isn't so much a post about Skillshare, it's a post about growth. I hope you are pushing yourself and training your body to do new things and expanding your knowledge in some area. Grow. Change. Discover new things. Do new things. Experience new things. See new places. Meet new people. And don't be afraid to let go of what no longer works for you. 

And did I mention it's somehow changing from a blistering summer into a cozy fall? Is anything more joy inducing than that sudden and very necessary season shift? It is absolutely perfect for the internal mental shift I'm experiencing. I hope you'll join me in my confident step forward into the new. It's much more fun here. 

If you're curious, you can enjoy three free months of the premium membership at Skillshare for just 99 cents! Not only could you learn to watercolor like a pro, you might also discover ways to make a chef-worthy grilled cheese sandwich. Not kidding. :) 

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Perspective: Decide...

plans.png

One of the best gifts you can give yourself is the gift of a firm decision. Make a choice, a thought, a declaration to DO something... then go do that very thing.

The only thing standing in the way of what you want is your thinking. Change your beliefs and your current thought process and you can change your world. Break out of that rut you're in. Break out of those invisible (and likely nonexistent) bonds holding you back. Wake up and live the life you dream of... because dreams without specific plans to achieve them are just pretty thoughts.

Make detailed written PLANS. Then go ACHIEVE them.

{via}

Perspective: As a Man Thinketh...

 
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
— Mahatma Gandhi
 

There's no question that your physical reality is the result of thoughts you brought to life. Everything in your existence was born of your inner thinking and your focus. Isn't it true then, that we need to better harness those private moments and the inner workings of our mind? If our thoughts - all of them - join together to become the sum total of our lives, we'd better get a grip on our intentions. And fast. 

What are you focusing on these days? What are you bringing into your life? Are you channeling radiant health, vibrant relationships and abundance? Or are you focusing on the negative? If you've ever ridden a bike, you'll agree that you begin heading in the direction of your gaze. I encourage you to be more deliberate with your inner thoughts. What you're thinking and saying to yourself right now will soon become the life you're living. 

Let me ask you this. Would you want to board a plane with a pilot that wasn't terribly sure where he was flying? Would you accept a full time job with little indication of what the role entailed? Would you agree to let someone design your life for you without ever revealing their plan? Quite frankly, if you're not designing your life you are relinquishing complete control of your existence to circumstances and people around you. Not planning at all is in fact planning to just "let it ride" and let whatever happens happen. That's a pretty big gamble to take with your relatively short life. 

The good news? You can stop the spinning right now and get a grip on things. Today's thoughts become tomorrow's reality. So take some time to pull out a journal and plan - deliberately - the type of life you wish to live, the kind of person you want to be and the variety of relationships you intend to enjoy. Write it out. Plan it out. Make it happen. Describe it in such detail that you can't help but move toward that vision of yourself. Sounds a bit funny, and I know very few of you will perform this exercise. For the few who do, the results will be remarkable. 

It's your life's story. Decide how you want it to play out, how you want to live each day and how you want to feel. Yes, believe it or not this is all within your control. So grab a journal, baby, and write a life story so good, so juicy and so satisfying you can't help but begin to make it your reality. 

{illustrations by MySoulFly}

INSPIRING TOOLS TO GET YOU STARTED


For some, the advice above may seem abstract and difficult to take seriously. There are other sites you can read for further inspiration and maybe a bit more encouragement.

Do What You Love is a great help with an option to receive inspiring emails or sign up for online courses.

Tim Ferriss of the 4-Hour Workweek & 4-Hour Body fame interviews the best and brightest of our time to open your mind to new possibilities. I highly recommend his podcasts for eye-opening discussions and cutting edge scoop.

I was fortunate to grow up with parents who were deeply curious about how to better their life experience and ways to maximize their health, their mental game and their lives through studying human performance. I know... right? They introduced me to Tony Robbins and I've always considered him a terrific life coach. If the "informercial" side of his business turns you off, rest assured, this guy is the real deal. Check out his many free videos, books and blog posts and take a listen or read what he's churning out. If you're interested in maximum personal performance, this guy has the lock on living your best life. 

Joel Osteen is another excellent resource. I've enjoyed Break Out find his podcasts to be so on point with life lessons based on scriptural truths. He offers a very simple, approachable system for breaking barriers and living an optimized life. 

Regardless of where you draw inspiration, the idea is to get started and become more intentional with your thinking and your life. This isn't a one time fix, though. Think of this like detailing your car. You'll need to tidy it up each day to keep it perfect and at some not too distant point you'll want to detail it again. Life planning is much the same (but far less frequently necessary). I find that a thorough examination and planning session once a year is absolutely critical, and every 6 months is perhaps an even better strategy to make sure I'm on course. 

So... start journaling. Start strategizing. Begin enjoying the life you're intentionally creating. Don't waste another precious moment because you'll NEVER ever get another NOW.

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Buon Weekend: Sunday Dreaming...

Sundays are for daydreaming and soaking in the moment. In my case it's also an opportunity for wanderlust to overtake the mind and a deep longing for "elsewhere" to begin. Here where I'd love to be today... Paris. Watching the world wake up from the balcony, sipping coffee at a cafe, enjoying gelato while exploring the city and finishing wth a rich bubble bath with a spectacular view of the la tour Eiffel. How do you dream of spending your Sunday?

{credits 1 // 2 // 3 // 4}

Perspective: Stay the Course...

I'll be candid. I feel a little like that third little piggy in the nursery rhyme lately. That big bad wolf is out there huffing and puffing and trying to blow my house down. Little does he know it's a fruitless pursuit. My focus, my confidence, my path, my plans, my integrity cannot be detoured by the force of his hot air. My structure (in this case, my very being) is built so solidly that eventually he'll come to know that any attempts to fluster & bluster are a waste of time and effort

Can you relate? Do you ever feel like life is testing you? And you're passing the test with flying colors because your resolve cannot be shaken? I hope you can relate on some level. Because it feels really, truly satisfying to know deep down in your core that this everything is going to be all right. It feels extremely comforting to have a vision in mind so clear and so positively fabulous that no forces (visible or invisible) can shake me.

The inner resolve feels so good, that I feel compelled to share my methods with you (all of which are easily replicable). Here's the method I know works for me...

GET CLEAR. REALLY CLEAR.

The age old question... what do you want? Well, it's easy to say you want more financial wealth or improved fitness. But can you be more specific? Dig deeper. What exactly do you want? Imagine the legs you want to have, the ripped abs and the toned arms. Come up with an exact number you'd like to see in your savings account. Be specific. Very specific. And... WRITE IT ALL DOWN.

GET CURIOUS & PERSONAL

Now that you know you want a particular goal answer this... WHY? Why do you want it? Let's say you want more funds in the bank Okay... now look at that answer and go deeper. Why? Well, because I'll have more freedom, more security. Ah-ha. That's the real answer. It's not the thing... it's the feeling the thing will give you. Drill deep on every goal on your list and determine the real WHY behind the goal. And really feel those feelings. Allow yourself to connect to those deep desires. That's the key. You don't want things just to want things... you want them to feel beautiful, to feel connected, to feel secure... whatever your feelings are - own them and identify them. They are the fuel to drive you to make those goals reality.

GET VISUAL

Pinterest is great & magazines are wonderful, but I'm a big fan of adding images to the pinboard behind my desk. Fergie's legs in one image, my dream house in another, a Saint Laurent bag here, images of the Côte d'Azur there. Find photos, print them out, cut them out, hang them up. Silly? Not really. In fact it's pretty gorgeous when you get done and it provides constant daily reminders of the important WHY'S behind your pretty WHAT'S. If you skip this step (and most of you will) you lose out on the power of visualization. Which brings me to step four...

PICTURE PERFECT

The reason the metaphorical big bad wolf can't blow my house in? It's because my future is all locked up, baby. I have seen myself and my family in the exact house, I've smelled the flowers in the breeze, I've heard the splashing fountains, I've felt the sun and the wind on my face. In my mind I am already there living in my dream house experiencing that life. You can't shake me because it's not a dream. I spend time daily putting myself there, feeling happy in this place, experiencing perfect health and the love of my family & friends.

Call it meditation, call it daydreaming... it's perhaps one of the most underutilized tools out there. Athletes do this, performers do this, winners or all walks of life do this. You visualize the result you want. You do this again and again so many times that your brain begins to believe the imagined reality is indeed the present.

And you know what...? It works. Gymnasts nail that dismount, quarterbacks catch that ball, pianists nail that performance. Visualization is a powerful, powerful tool that many of us aren't incorporating into our lives. Try it. Model the top athletes and talents out there, and try this mental practice.

See yourself happy. REALLY happy. See yourself healthy. Mentally attend the celebration of your success. Daydream about your housewarming party. Feel the feeling of accomplishment after the marathon. Imagine yourself graduating. Visualize the signed contract in your hands. Master your mind, or your mind masters you. (Trust me on that last not of wisdom.)


So... are you willing to try it? Do you dare believe in a life better or just different than your current life? Are you bold enough to dream? Are you willing to spend a tiny amount of time and very little physical energy to give those dreams a fighting chance of becoming your reality? I'll walk out in faith here and believe you will. 

Bottom line, don't let anyone blow you off course. Your dreams, your plans, your vision of the perfect future are just that: YOURS. It is impossible for anyone else to have the same drive and desire to achieve them. They do not have the same WHY'S to achieve your WHAT'S. It is for this reason that you must make them of supreme importance and never ever lose sight of that vision your hold so near.

Be different. Put up images of your dream house, your dream body, your dream life. Photoshop yourself on a sweet yacht and pin that image right over your desk. Place photos of Venice or Ibiza or Angkor Wat all over the house if that's where you want to be. Make it REAL and make it happen. FEEL that as a reality. Imagine yourself there doing that very thing experiencing that reality. Make it happen. I believe in you! 

{image credits 1 // 2 // 3 // 4}


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Perspective: It's Time to Awaken the Beast Within...

If you've ever worked very hard to reawaken your inner lioness you'll know where I'm at right now. I'm excited. I'm brimming with enthusiasm. I'm reclaiming my inner beast. She has not been dormant, she's simply been chilling for a bit. The priorities and needs of others so often come to the forefront. Clients, children, projects... But you can't subdue your own needs and wants forever. She may lie back and wait, but she doesn't go away. And she shouldn't suffer for long. But now? She is focused. She is fabulous. She is ready to leap and jump and flex her muscular frame again. May Thursday greet you like a gorgeous lioness eager to take on the world. Let's forge some new paths in the jungle, everyone. The time is now. Enjoy your marvelous day! 

{all images via Office to #GirlBoss Community}

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Musings On: Connecting & Creating...

Have you ever stopped to consider what it is you do? Not how you spend your time, but what you DO with your focus and how you fulfill yourself. For me, creation is a huge part of who I am. I consider myself a mega-producer, creating things constantly. It's what makes me a great designer and fuels me. I love the act of creating something from nothing and ensuring it is beautiful. It is my passion. Like every other human on the planet, connecting with others is also an enormous emotional driver. Not just talking and filling time, but actually connecting with them more deeply. Also of key importance, connecting with nature and with myself. I do this typically through outdoor exercise, which I crave and can't really function without. It is integral to who I am. In fact, the connecting with nature, self and others is what fuels my ability to create beautiful spaces and things. What about you? What drives you? What fills you up? What recharges you? What propels you?

{images via my Instagram feed}

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Buon Weekend: Making Moments Matter...

 {image  via Nordstrom }

Sunday isn't over but I can happily say I've been "present" all weekend. Fully engaged with every activity, every interaction, every conversation. Attentiveness allows you to capture moments, and moments will be the sum total of your life. Chase them, embrace them, seek them, enjoy them. I can only hope your days have had some taste of this and the sunny season to come and more than one or two special moments that made you smile. May the rest of your day be exquisite and may you bask in the sunlight of those around you. Happy weekend, loves! 

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Buon Weekend: Sundays Are For...

Sundays (especially those of the torrential rainstorm variety) are exquisite treats in my world. This rare gift from the weather gods gives me the excuses I need to stay in and fully indulge myself. No driving to hot yoga class today (even tough my absolute fave teacher is leading the sweat session this morning). No errands. No goals more lofty than enjoying the perfect cappuccino and reading this stack of books staring back at me on the nightstand. In bed. All day. Thank you, lovely spring storm, for the day of rest I truly needed.  If you can, sleep in a bit today. Laze around a bit today. Recharge yourself. Consider an at-home pedicure an achievement. Strive for indulgent bliss. Finally read those pretty books you collect. See what Bravo has to offer. Dive into those glossy magazines you receive but rarely read. Wear your most cherished perfume. Meditate while wearing a hydrating sheet mask. Drink lemon water. Appreciate the heady fragrance of a bouquet of fresh roses. Take a midday nap. Delight yourself. Enjoy yourself. Pamper yourself. Finally reward yourself with a day of much needed "you" time. I promise this: you absolutely deserve it. 

{images via here & here & here & here}

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Musings: On The Importance of Thinking Big & Dreaming Bold Dreams...

 {background image  via Anthropologie , list my own}

{background image via Anthropologie, list my own}

Do you take time to dream? I mean really, truly dream big. To think beyond your current situation and imagine a better reality. To dream in this way it the precursor to all achievement. You need to allow your imagination to run free. You need to give it permission to fearlessly come up with amazing things to achieve, terrific places to see, incredible experiences to enjoy, crazy moments to experience. This is dreaming big and the beginnings of living out bold dreams.  

Is this happening for you? If not, ask yourself ... How healthy is your appetite for life itself? Are you thirsting for more? Aching for a bigger bite of opportunity? The enemy of success isn't failure - it's apathy. Failure is awesome, as it means you DID something and put your heart into it. Failure means you can fall down and get back up. Failure is progress. Apathy? A silent killer. Killer of dreams. Killer of relationships. Killer of ideas and potential. 

RELAX. WE CAN FIX THIS...

By now you might be squirming in your seat. If this is you and you feel the dead stare of apathy looking back at you in the mirror, it's time to wake up & shake up. Let's do a little dreaming. Let's do a little dancing. Let's do a little growing.

YOU'RE NEVER TOO YOUNG FOR A BUCKET LIST

Do you even have a bucket list? A real one. A list of extraordinary achievements or experiences you really need to do? Have you planned out your life with any intention? Do you have things you MUST cross off a list before you toss off this spinning rock we call Earth? I'm going to ask you to do this. Not for me... but for yourself. Are you ready? I mean really ready? This will change your life, friends. This one activity if you'll do it will alter your life.  I'll answer for you. YES. You're ready and willing. 

HOW? HERE'S HOW

I highly suggest you read this post, as it sums up this task in a potent way. This will encourage you to block off some time and MAKE A LIST of MUSTS for your life. It's time to stop drifting and start driving. Tomorrow, sweet friends. But if you can map out a list of items you are genuinely thrilled about doing, experiencing, feeling and achieving then each day will be a gift. Each day will get you one step (or one trans-Atlantic flight) closer to living the life you dream to live. Do this for yourself. 

Although it suggests a digital app for notes, studies have proven that writing things down on physical paper has far more power to deliver results. Part of the exercise will involve shuffling those listed goals around, so for this one exercise it makes sense to begin digitally. But after this, commit to writing the edited lists in a fresh new notebook. Try this. I challenge you to carve out an hour or two of time this weekend (more if you have it) and perform this simple exercise. It will motivate you. Propel you. Focus  you. It will also likely surprise you. 

Butterfly Journal & Spiral "Notes" Notebook (Anthro has lovely ones as well!) // Parker "Jotter" ballpoint Pen (I require blue ink myself) // Fabulously Fagranced Candle (take this experience to the next level with a mood-elevating luxury candle to inspire you!)

One thing I know for sure: if YOU don't design your life, circumstances will. Others will. Your days will be driven by meaningless (read: not goal-oriented) tasks. Your years will blur together. You might end up with a pleasant life, but without identifying (and making plans to accomplish) those unique things that ONLY YOU hope to do in your lifetime - they simply won't come to pass. Your partner's goals are not your goals. Your children's passions are not your passions. Your family's accomplishments are not your accomplishments. It's important to honor your unique yearnings. 

What are some of mine? A small smattering, in no particular order:

  • See the Great Pyramids of Giza up close. Touch them. 
  • Experience an open-vehicle drive through the Sahara
  • Rent a flat in Paris and "live there" for a period of time
  • View the Amalfi coast by luxury boat, stopping periodically in those idyllic towns
  • Stay at Le Sireneuse in Positano
  • Experience the Hungarian flagship spa of Omorovicza 
  • Train with professional chefs to master knife skills and other specialty food preparations
  • Shop at (not browse, s-h-o-p) at the flagship Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon
  • Enjoy ridiculously fresh sashimi in Japan
  • Dine on a rooftop at night in Shanghai
  • Live overlooking the Pacific in a gorgeous house

There are many, many more. I hope you'll do this exercise. I hope you'll feel inspired. I hope you'll click this link to see the process to which I'm referring. Your life will change!

Musings: On Clearing Out the Unnecessary to Make Room for the Excellent...

 {This photo is property of & taken by yours truly,  Franki Durbin }

{This photo is property of & taken by yours truly, Franki Durbin}

This topic isn't new on this blog, but I hear feedback from many of you on this topic: how do you make room or time in your life for XYZ. The answer is simple. Say no thank you to more things. And by things I might mean a so-so black dress or a calendar commitment you'd rather not keep. Time is far too precious to spend it unwisely. Guard it jealously and selfishly. You will NEVER get today back. This moment is *poof* gone and the next one is here. Time, as a concept, is marching on whether we invest it or waste it. So let's talk about conserving our most precious resource. How exactly do you do it? 

  • RESPECT: Respect your time AND the time of others. Don't offer a half-hearted yes to someone unless you're passionate about them or the reason for getting together.
  • PAUSE: Wait half a beat before adding another activity to your schedule. Are you filling time, killing time or seizing the moment to do something terrific? Evaluate each new piece of your life to be certain you're really excited about it. For each class, each group, each project, each date, each outing you are making an exchange. You are giving away a parcel of your time and attention to be present. Be positive it's driving you towards your goal OR pays dividends in other ways. 
  • STRATEGIZE: You know what's coming. Plain old pen & paper. No digital to-do list will ever sway me from the bliss of scratching off my "done" items on a physical list. It WORKS. Run the day or it runs you is so true. So map out a simple plan and stick to you. You'll be surprised how much more "free" time you have when you knock out all of your essential tasks right away. 
  • UPSIDE DOWN: On the above note: schedule your day upside down. Most intimidating task first. That dreaded call, the important email, the overly long form, the overdue project - just do it. Knock it out and move on down the line. The endorphin lift you'll get from knocking down your biggest challenge first will throttle you through your other tasks with ease. Test this approach and I promise it works. Hardest & most intimidating task FIRST. All other to-do's after. By lunch you'll be singing my praises. 

The bottom line is this... simplify. Life isn't meant to be so complicated. Simplify where you can and learn to value yourself, your loved ones, your friends and your time. Attack your uphill marches in the morning like a marine and enjoy the downhill cruise the rest of the day. Say yes to what inspires you and be comfortable saying no to those things which don't stir the fire within. Days are precious and so is your limited attention. Manage them wisely.  

Musings: On Being Proud of Yourself...

Love this. Motivation to keep going. To keep pushing. To keep reaching. Motivation to outdo yourself, to strive for YOUR best. Encouragement to push beyond your (imagined) boundaries to see what talent lives within. You, dear friend, are more powerful than you will ever know. Why not tap into a little of that magic today? Yesterday's limits are gone. Today is a fresh start. A new moment. A new opportunity to see what your personal best is all about. Don't stop until you're proud!