Friday, December 30, 2011

Photo Friday: Peter Lik's Tree of Life

Do you know Peter Lik?  He's this amazing adventurer that kind of reminds me of a cross between Crocodile Dundee, McGyver and the Marlboro Man.

He's best known for his incredible panoramic landscape photography.  He currently has 13 galleries, has sold over $200 million of his work and now has his own TV show, "From the Edge."

If you are lucky enough to have a Peter Lik Gallery in your area, I highly recommend checking it out.  His images are so saturated and alive, they're look like they're illuminated from within.  They radiate.  I'm serious.

I must warn you, if you go, and especially if the sales associates let you see his work in the viewing rooms where they adjust the lighting, you will want to purchase one.

Here's the piece I'm crazy in love with.  It's called "Tree of Life."
It costs a mere $250,000.
Tree of Life by Peter Lik

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Finish Strong!

As this week and this year are winding to a close, here's a great Simple Truths video, reminding us all to Finish Strong!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

TED Talk Tuesday: Living Beyond Limits

There's no other way to say it, Amy Purdy is a Bad-Ass.
Capital B.
Capital A.

Despite losing both her legs to meningitis, she became a world-class pro-snowboarder.  Her ten-minute talk is an inspiration on how to deal with setbacks and how to live beyond our limits.

Amy says our borders and our obstacles can only do two things:  1. stop us in our tracks, or 2. force us to get creative.  She goes on to say that borders are where the actual ends, but also where our imagination and our story begins.

"If my life were a book and I were the author, how would I want the story to go?"


How do you want your story to go?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Motivation Monday: Don't Wait

Hope you all had an amazing Christmas surrounded by those you love!

Today's Motivation Monday is a simple thought.  In order to live the life you deserve, you have to do more than just sit back and wait.  Sometimes you have to break out of your comfortable habits and make it happen
Photo courtesy of


Happy Monday!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Photo Friday: Splashing

The 2011 National Geographic Photo Contest winners were just announced.

Shikhei Goh's amazing image, "Splashing" won both the nature category and the grand prize.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Layaway Angels and 25 Ways to Pay it Forward

In a holiday season filled with mace-weilding Black Friday crazed shoppers, there has been a refreshing and inspiring trend sweeping the nation.

In a random acts of generosity, people have been anonymously paying off strangers' layaway bills at Kmart and other departments stores.  It started when a 30-something woman walked into a Kmart in Michigan and told the cashier she wanted to pay the bills of "a few unsuspecting customers."

Her generosity has sparked a trend.  Kmart officials say that over 1000 "layaway angels" have paid off strangers' bills in their stores this year in states throughout the country, Michigan, Las Vegas, Colorado, and even here in Hawaii.  One donor in California paid off the layaway bills of 260 families, totaling almost $16,000.

This wave of Christmas generosity is inspiring.  However, you don't have to spend $16,000 to make a difference.  You don't have to spend anything, actually.  There are so many ways to give to others, and often the smallest token of generosity can have a ripple effect.  So I came up with this list of:

25 Low-Cost or No-Cost Ways to Pay it Forward

1.            Put quarters in almost-expired parking meters.
2.            Leave an extra generous tip for a waiter/waitress/cab driver/valet.
3.            While going through the drive through lane at a fast food restaurant, pay for the next person's order (I got this idea from a good friend and amazingly altruistic person, Tom Persico).  Similarly, you could do this at a movie theater, parking garage or toll booth.
4.            Buy or make a meal and give it to a homeless person (or give him or her your to-go bag).
5.            Pick up the phone and call someone you haven't spoken to in a long time. 
6.            Give a stranger a genuine compliment.
7.            Smile.
8.            Stop and help a tourist with directions.
9.            Hold the door open for someone.
10.       The next time you are returning home form a foreign country, leave the rest of your foreign currency to someone from that country.
11.       Praise someone for something they do well.  In person or in hand-written note.  Even better, also tell their boss or spouse what a great job they do.
12.       Buy a bunch of umbrellas and hand them out to strangers on a rainy day (this is a perfect idea in Hilo.  I can't tell you the number of times I get stuck in the rain there because I forgot my umbrella).
13.       If you travel often and like me, hoard hotel soap and shampoo, clean out your closet and donate all those bottles of shampoo and conditioner to a homeless shelter.
14.       Volunteer your time at a battered women's shelter or another worthy cause.
15.       Give up your seat to someone on a bus or a train.
16.       Shovel your neighbor's sidewalk and driveway when you shovel yours.  Growing up, we had the kindest neighbor, Mr. Andrews that always shoveled ours.
17.       Offer to take someone to the airport.
18.       Invite someone who isn't going home for the holidays to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.  My husband actually invited me to his parent's home for Christmas the very first night we met and I accepted.  It was this act of generosity and courage that endeared me to him from the start.
19.       Donate blood.
20.       Mow someone's lawn or rake someone's leaves.
21.       Bring in a neighbor's trash can after garbage pick up.  We have the sweetest neighbor, Mrs. Sora, who does this for us every week.
22.       Let someone cut ahead of you in line.
23.       Tell a soldier you appreciate their service.
24.       Visit an elderly person.
25.       Donate money or your time to a good cause (or person).

How can you pay it forward today?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TED Talk Tuesday: Nature. Beauty. Gratitude.

Louie Schwartzberg has been shooting time-lapse photography 24/7 for the past 30 years.
His unfolding and evolving images are breathtaking.

His message is equally as inspiring.
In this TED Talk, he draws the connections between nature, beauty and gratitude.
"Beauty and seduction is nature's tools for survival, because we protect what we fall in love with.  It opens our hearts and makes us realize we are a part of nature and we are not separate from it.  When we see ourselves in nature, it also connects us to every one of us because it is clear that it is all connected and one."
 The second part of his video introduces his new project, Happiness Revealed.  It is a moving short film on gratitude and happiness, told through the point of view of a child and an elderly man.
"You think this is just another day in your life, it's not just another day.  It's the one day that is given to you today.  It's given to you.  It's a gift.  It's the only gift that you have right now, and the only appropriate response is gratefulness." 

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, December 16, 2011

Photo Friday: Frozen Forest

Here's today's photo of the day:

Beech Forest, Germany
Photograph by Martin Hertel, Your Shot
Beech forest in wintertime. Fichtelgebirge, Bavaria, Germany.

I moved away from the cold to a place where winter consists of 70 degree weather and non-stop rainbows, but this photo reminds me just how beautiful cold can be.


Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rainbow Season!

It is no secret how much I love rainbows.  Lately, it's has been like a rainbow bonanza!  I've seriously seen at least 4-5 rainbows every single day this week!

Here are a handful of the rainbows I've seen.

Oh, how I love living in Hawaii!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Quote of the Day: Let go!

Continuing with yesterday's theme, here's today's inspirational quote of the day.


Trust me, there something amazing waiting for you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

TED Talk Tuesday: SARK and How I Almost Became a Lawyer

Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, I just found out that SARK, one of my favorite artists/muses/inspirations/women in the whole world just did a TED Talk!  And I am Snoopy-dance happy to share it (and her) with you.

For those of you who haven't been introduced to SARK yet, SARK stands for Susan Arial Rainbow Kennedy.  She is a best-selling author who has published a whopping 16 books, she is the CEO and founder of Planet Sark, this amazing website that supports empowered living, and most importantly, a huge role model that encourages living creatively and authentically.
SARK's website is - you MUST check it out!
I can't even remember who first introduced me to SARK.  All I know is that she was a HUGE influence on my life.  I got her book, Inspiration Sandwich right around the time I was leaving Michigan to move to Hawaii.  Have you ever read one of those books that speaks so perfectly to you at the exact time you needed to hear what it has to say? That's what her book was to me.
SARK makes awesome posters like this.  How can you not love her?
You see, a year before that, my entire life was "set."  I had graduated college and was getting ready to head off to a prestigious law school.  I was well on my way to becoming that high-powered corporate attorney in New York City that I knew I was going to be since the fifth grade.  Things were working out as planned, and life was good.

Except, underneath all that puffed-up bravado, there was my little nagging voice that whispered that law school wasn't what I really wanted to do.  I pushed aside that voice, drowning it out with thoughts of how powerful I was going to be, how important, how rich.  I  pushed the fear aside with images of my corner office overlooking Manhattan skyscrapers.

But then my little voice turned into a roar.

The day I was supposed to mail in my non-refundable deposit to law school, I decided to walk to the post office and drop it off.  Half-way there, I started hyperventilating.  I broke out into a cold sweat, and started feeling like I was going to pass out.  I thought I was going to die.  I must have looked insane as I crumpled down on the lawn of someone's house and stared at the clouds through a big tree.

I now realize that was a panic attack, but at the time, I totally thought I was having a stroke.  Regardless of the label, that incident was my body telling, screaming at me, what my mind was not willing to hear.  I did NOT want to go to law school.

The next year was a really dark one for me.  I had to tell my parents I wasn't going to law school, and worse, I didn't have a clue of what I  wanted to do.  I had to shed all those labels that I hid behind for so long.  I was lost, and I felt like a total failure.

And then I found SARK.  Her writing was like a colorful, bright light that illuminated my bleak gray outlook.  She wrote about living juicy and being true to your authentic self, and her writing helped me not only accept, but celebrate my choice to be true to myself, no matter how scary it was.  Months later, I made the decision to move to Hawaii, which was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  And my life just started to fall into place.  My authentic life, this time.

Needless to say, I adore SARK.  Here is her recent TED Talk.  I totally hope you enjoy it!

Here are more awesome SARK posters:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Motivation Monday: Life = Risk

Happy Monday!  Today's Motivation Monday is a short video (1:17) about some of the most successful people in their fields, and the failures they've experienced along the way.

How often do we hit a roadblock and just give up?  I've definitely done that.  Worse, as a former perfectionist-junkie, I tend to avoid failure at all costs.  I used to think that perfection was what made me succeed, but the truth is my fear of failure made me so afraid to of trying things I didn't know I'm would be immediately successful at, that I missed out on so much.

One of the hardest lessons I'm trying to learn is that  failure can actually be a good thing.  Winston Churchill said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts."

"If you've never failed, you've never lived."


Happy Monday!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Photo of the Day: Be Unique

In a sea of mediocrity and sameness, sometimes it's good to be unique.

Today's photo of the day was shot by Alex Tattersall, and was a winner of the 2009 National Geographic International Photo Contest.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shara's Journey

Yesterday's quote of the day on courage inspired me to share the story about one person and her courageous journey.

Shara Enay had a pretty close to a perfect life here in Hawaii.  She had a blossoming career in news as a writer for Hawaii Business.  She had a weekly segment on the KHON morning news.  She kicked my butt every week in kickboxing and weightlifting class at Honolulu Club.  And she just got engaged.

And then she went on a trip and everything changed.

Shara's company offers this incredible program that sends some of their employees throughout the world  to volunteer and experience different cultures (How cool is that? I think if more companies offered programs like that, the world would be a better place).  She spent two weeks in Ethiopia with the non-government organization, Global Health Network International and had a "life-changing" experience.

Here's the story of her first adventure in Ethiopia (in two parts):

So what is Shara doing now?

This, to me, is the incredible part of the story.  Three months after returning home from Ethiopia, Shara resigned from her job, packed up her safe, comfortable life in Hawaii and moved to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.  She's volunteering with an orphanage for children with HIV or who have lost parents to HIV.

I am blown away by Shara's courage on so many levels.  I think it's easy to say we want to do something, go someplace, change something.  Shara actually did it.  Twice.
I am also inspired by how she listened to her heart and to her calling.  How often do we quiet that little voice because what it's whispering "isn't practical" or "isn't safe" or "isn't something anyone would understand"?  Shara honored her spirit.  That is true courage.

Shara, you are my hero!

Please check out her blog and follow her courageous journey in Ethiopia.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TED Talk Tuesday: Creativity, Fulfillment and Flow

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced "chick-sent-me-high-ee") is the founder and co-director of the Quality of Life Research Center, a non-profit research institute that studies positive psychology.  He wrote the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.  

 In his TED talk, Csikszentmihalyi describes the flow state, or the effortless, spontaneous feeling that you get when you enter into an ecstatic space.

How Does it Feel to be in Flow?  

Csikszentmihalyi says there are seven conditions that exist when we are in flow:
  1. Completely involved, focused, concentrating - with this either due to innate curiosity or as the result of training
  2. Sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality
  3. Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and how well it is going
  4. Knowing the activity is doable - that the skills are adequate, and neither anxious or bored
  5. Sense of serenity - no worries about self, feeling of growing beyond the boundaries of ego - afterwards feeling of transcending ego in ways not thought possible
  6. Timeliness - thoroughly focused on present, don't notice time passing
  7. Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces "flow" becomes its own reward

When Are We in Flow?

Csikszentmihalyi says flow happens when we your challenges are higher than average, and your skills are higher than average.

One of the most important components to flow is that it happens when we are doing what we really like to do.

When was the last time you were in flow?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Motivation Monday: Protect Your Dreams

Today's Motivation Monday is about your dreams, more specifically, how you need to protect them.  

It is a sad fact of life that there will always be haters.  People see you going after a goal and tell you that you can't do it.  People that doubt you and tell you to "be realistic" or to "grow up."  It is an even more unfortunate thing that a lot of the time, those that doubt us the most can often be those that are the closest to us.

What can we do?  Create a Hater-Free World?  
I wish...  
While you can't control the thoughts of those around you, one of the most important things you can do is to protect your dreams.

I love this scene in the movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness"

If you have a dream, whether it’s: 
     "I’m going to run a marathon." or
          "I’m going to start my own company." or
               "I’m going to sing on Broadway
Whatever it is, do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. 
Including yourself.  


Happy Motivation Monday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Free - Take One!

Saw this sign in an office in Hilo:

The world needs more signs like this!


Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

365 Day Project

I just stumbled on this awesome site today.  Julian Bialowas is a graphic designer from Canada.  He just completed a project where he posted one of his photos everyday for a year.  His pictures are stunning, but the really cool part was that he overlaid them with inspiring quotes and phrases.  His images make me want to go on another adventure.

Here are some of my favorites:

Check out the rest of his images here.  Which ones do you like?