Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Vacation Rental Sites

I know many of you out there are expert travelers, so this may not be news to you.  I usually stay in hotels, but I thought I would try a rental off one of the new websites that are available. Unlike CraigsList, there are reviews by people who have stayed there before and a great deal of standardized information.  In addition, you can take out insurance in case you are afraid of losing your money.

Anyway, I tried it for the first time in Manhattan Beach and I may never stay at a hotel again. You can rent by the night, week, or month just about anywhere in the world. even has the site set up by community groups (such as college alumni groups).

I have listed the various sites below.  The first two are the ones with which I am most familiar.  If you want to add to the list or let the group know what kinds of experiences you have had, let me know and I will post the comment.


Monday, September 27, 2010

At Peace with Confusion

I have been very fortunate over the last year or so in that some new people have come into my life and I have learned some wonderful lessons from them.

One of them is Dr. Lisa Chu.  She writes a blog called "The Music Within Us" and I really love one of the last pieces she wrote.  Here is "At Peace with Confusion".  

If you want to read it on her blog, it's at:  


At Peace with Confusion | The Music Within Us

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding that I’m easily hooked by the idea that I need expert advice in order to do something “right”, and that I need a formula to follow in order to be successful.
With all of my inner work over the past year and a half, you’d think I’d be over it. You’d think I’d have found Nirvana, bliss, equanimity, access to Buddha nature.
Yeah, I thought so too.
What I’m really finding is that life keeps challenging me to keep a sense of humor as I learn to trust myself. I veer off the path (or am I merely on a twisty part of it?) and find myself enrolled in another program, following dutifully along like the great student I’ve always been. But then I look at the pile of assignments I’ve given myself, and I wonder, “What test am I studying for? Whose grade am I trying to earn here?”
Lately, life has been challenging me to keep stepping back into observer mode, as I charge forward with every opportunity life serves me. I step into my own power, and then my mind leads me back into the weeds, as if to test my own abilities and force me to validate what I say that I believe in.
It’s all part of building confidence, becoming clear, and feeling real in this new incarnation I’ve been given.
That’s what I tell myself as I sort through what feels like confusion.
Today I read a Self-Care card that said, “Peace” on one side, and “Embrace your confusion” on the other. I smiled, because it seemed perfect for me on this day to read that message.
I am confused. There, I said it. And I haven’t been able to admit that to myself for awhile. I can tell I’m confused because I’m looking outside myself for answers. I’m asking other people for their advice, opinions, inputs, and when I hear the answers I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I want to do.
Correction: I do know what I want to do, but I have not freed myself to just do that one thing in front of me right now – the very thing I know will take me one step closer to where I want to go. I am caught in a feeling of needing to do Something Else, or More, than what I’m doing right in this moment.
Breathing, hiking in nature, and reading the affirmation, “My full attention is always enough” have helped. But my “full” attention is too often spread diffusely across a list of Something Else or More to do, rather than just this one task in front of me right now. I know I need to say to myself, “Never mind whether or not it will sell, never mind if it’s “too late” to start marketing it, never mind if I don’t know what to call it yet.”
“Just do the one thing in front of me right now.”
Just this.
Right now.
Using that mantra, I finished a whole blog post from beginning to end in less than one hour. Including finding a photo, uploading a related video, and composing all the written words.
How did I do it? I didn’t worry about anything else that I could be, or should be, doing. I just wrote the damn blog post. I didn’t worry about whether it would fit, who would like it or even read it, or more importantly, who would get pissed off about my being totally honest. I didn’t worry about the Rules that say what you should write about, and whether keywords would match search engine optimization for my site.
I just wrote from my heart about what I’m experiencing right now in my life. Not what I think I “should” be experiencing, not trying to be a “role model” for anything, not putting pressure on myself to be “put together” and perfect. But being all of me, who right now is a little confused, a little challenged, a little faced with conflicting messages, a full schedule, a juggling act of balancing personal, professional, and just plain fun in my life.
That’s what life is for me right now. And if I’m really calling myself a life coach, it’s only fair for me to talk about what’s really happening in my life. Right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Do You Like Food?

I know, stupid question, but one of our Oxygen members sent me this and I couldn't wait to pass it on to you!  This show will be filmed in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For those of you outside of the Bay Area, you will eventually be able to watch it on the website.


Studio Gourmet is up and running and ready for you all to come check it out!

If you are not quite sure what Studio Gourmet is – here is the short version!
Studio Gourmet is a live Reality Talk show that is all about the Chef!  The format is going to be similar to the TV Show “Inside the Actor Studio” but instead in interviewing Actors, we are going to interview Chefs!  But it's going to be much more then that! Studio Gourmet is being hosted at Cellar360 in Ghirardelli Square! After 4 months of chats, they finally agreed to be the host and sponsor for Studio Gourmet!  So, along with the great interview, you are also going to get a 45 minute cocktail reception hosted at Cellar360 with food and wine before the show starts!
To read more about Studio Gourmet and to see all the goodies you are going to get with every ticket purchase please go here:
Tickets are $65.00 and available for purchase today!
When: Every show will begin at 12:30pm
Where: Cellar360 Ghirardelli Square

November 11, 2010: Executive Chef David Barzigan: Chez Papa Resto

Dec 12, 2010: Chef De Cuisine Martin Brock: Gary Danko

January 16 2011: Executive Chef Hoss Zare: Zare at Fly Trap

February 20, 2011: Executive Chef Loretta Keller: Moss Room & Coco500

March 13, 2011: Executive Chef Jen Biesty: Scala’s Bistro
 To get even more specials and discounts from all our partners please become a fan on Facebook

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Following Your Bliss

I am not sure that you have noticed (I hope that you have), but I have not been posting on my blog and writing to you as much lately.

I am now a true empty nester and it’s time to figure how what I want to be “when I grow up”.

Hmmm, sounds like an opportunity.  It’s also overwhelming because I really want to do something that I love.  As I have mentioned before, practicing law did not bring me any joy.

Actually, that’s what scared me.  The other day, I thought about going back to law.  That’s when I knew I was in trouble (apologies to those lawyers out there who love what they do).

Anyway, I feel like I have spent the last two decades preaching to my children that I didn’t care what they did as long as they loved it.  I can’t really think of anything that I said more often than “do what you love, please”.

In the last couple of months, as my empty nesting time was approaching, I found myself more disheartened in trying to figure out which direction I should go to find what it is that I am passionate about.  I started thinking maybe you just can’t do what you love.

And, then, in the way life just seems to work, I started living vicariously through my oldest son.  In the last year, he just kept following his passion and before he (or I) knew it, so many doors had opened, it was hard for him to decide which way to go.  Naturally, he has chosen them all.  I say this, not so much to boast, but because he taught me the lesson that I had forgotten.  In watching him follow his bliss (as Joseph Campbell would say), he is on the journey that I had hoped he would follow and he has reminded me that it truly is possible. 

That is a lesson that I really need to see again and I was beginning to give up hope.

It’s strange how we think that parenting is all about teaching our children lessons.  My son doesn’t know it, but he has returned the gift many times over and I am very grateful.

Now, with more enthusiasm and my core belief reinstated, I can go follow my bliss.  

Joseph Campbell, the wonderful mythologist, said, “If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you are living is the life you ought to be living.  When you see that, you begin to meet people that are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be”.


Friday, September 10, 2010

On Perfect Timing: When Things Aren't Happening Fast Enough

Sometimes, it seems like things are just moving too fast and you can't keep up.  Other times, it's frustrating because it feels like things aren't happening fast enough.  Here is an article that can help you put that feeling into perspective.


“After winter comes the summer. After night comes the dawn. And after every storm, there comes clear, open skies.” ~Samuel Rutherford

I was talking to someone this week about his feeling that things weren’t happening fast enough. That with all he was doing, intending and putting out there, that more should be happening—and faster.
My question to him was, “Really? Should things really be happening faster? Or are you exactly where you’re supposed to be?”
There is a tendency, sometimes, to think we have it all figured out. When it should happen, how it should happen, who it should happen with—and before it’s “too late.”
We are powerful creators in life, but the truth is, we’re not in this alone. There are other forces at play, and for the most part, to our benefit.
Have you ever had something occur in your life that you had wished for years earlier, only to realize that now was the perfect timing? That in fact, you wouldn’t have been ready for it any earlier? That in retrospect, everything was leading up to the perfect moment of this unfolding?
We want to feel in charge of our lives. It makes us feel safe knowing that we have control. And to some extent, we have complete control in dictating our desires, in stating our ambitions, and in following our well laid plans.
But sometimes life has a way of throwing us curve balls. There is a delay in an outcome we are hoping to produce, or the timing doesn’t work out as we planned. We’re not where we think we should be, financially, socially, professionally, creatively, or romantically.
And yet even in this, there is perfection.
In other words, for those of you who think your time has passed, or it’s too late, or there is not enough time, I ask you: How do you know this? How do you know that in this moment, right now, you are not exactly where you are supposed to be?
That things are not working out for you, despite appearances?
I had a teacher who used to pose the question: “If everything is perfect exactly as it is, what is it that you are not seeing?”
In other words, what are you gaining from this situation that is perfect for your unfolding, right now; and how is this preparing you for the thing you desire?
We are always afraid our ship is not going to come in, or if it does, it did already and left without us. Our ship may come and go, but there will be another one and another one and another one. And another one.
We are coming into our own in the timing we need. For each of us it will be different, but for each of us, it will also be perfect.
Inspirational leader Mary Morrissey talks about Chinese Bamboo and how it is a very slow-growing and fragile plant. She says that if the bamboo is cared for, watched over and nurtured, in one year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, in the next year it grows two inches, and then in the fifth year, it grows 80 feet!
This is how it is with our development. We intend. We make incremental changes. We show up for our success in whatever way we can. Over time, everything comes to fruition, harmonizing all aspects in such a creative way that if we were to look back on it, we would marvel at the perfection of it all.
We would know that we were making strides all along.
Trust in the perfection of your life and let yourself be fully where you are in the moment. Trust that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Know that what you have to look forward to is greater than what you are leaving behind.
And trust that you will “arrive” in time and on time, not a minute sooner.
by Sonya Derian

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Entre Nous Reader Suggestions

I would like to periodically pass on suggestions from Entre Nous readers. Here is a book suggestion and a note about a start-up that another reader is in the process of launching.

Both items have an underlying motivation to make the world a better place...

Thanks, Denise

1) From a Southern California reader:

"Half The Sky", by Nicholas Kristof & Sheryl Wu Dunn, might be a life-changing book.  It is a global call to help empower women around the world. Whatever your personal challenges might be, this book is a jolting reminder of what most of us take for granted every single day: our freedom to create any life we want.  This book is truly inspirational!  Good for George Washington University for considering it important enough to require it for incoming freshman.

Here is the website for the book and the organization behind it:

2)  From a SF Bay Area member:

Stacey Horowitz, an Entre Nous reader, has founded a site called Shopping for Change, a non profit corporation, which works with talented artisans throughout the developing world, delivering extraordinary, handmade contemporary designs created using age-old artisanal traditions.  Her site helps lift these artisans and their communities out of poverty and hunger, thereby improving their standards of living in an economically sustainable way.  Shopping for Change will partner with public charities for fundraising purposes.

She is holding a beta launch/focus group and sale of merchandise on September 19th at 4:00.  If you are interested in helping her with feedback or seeing the merchandise, go to this link to get more information:

or contact Stacey at

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Learning to Trust Life

From the author, James Baraz:

“Learning to trust life is like learning to swim. First you flail, convinced you're going to drown. Then you notice that if you calm down, it's possible to tread water. Finally, as your movements slow, you realize something much more profound. When you let go completely and just relax, you find that you are magically held up by the water, it was ready to support you all the time."