28 August 2014

so, you want to move to LA and become an actor...

I interviewed a potential barista today who I convinced to go after her dreams instead of pursue a job in my coffee shop. So, if you're also itching to try your hand at acting in LA, here's the same unsolicited advice I offered her:
Good for you. It takes a lot of courage to go after one's dreams, and I wish you luck and joy as you bravely venture forth to pursue acting in LA.
Here's some unsolicited advice from someone who was there and what I wish I knew when I arrived, naive and idealistic. (Note: these are just my opinions, and I don't benefit from any of these recommendations.)
- Find good people. They are out there. Spend time with people who make you feel good and who make you better.
- Don't ever pay anyone until they make you money-- that goes for agents, managers, etc.
- Don't go into debt. It's tempting to run after the superficial labels of success, to dine in the fancy restaurants, to blow money on expensive nights out. But don't fall for it! Live beneath your means, and you'll never be a slave to money.
- Stay focused on your goals, but also remember to take care of your soul and your body. Go to the beach. Take a hike. LA is a dry, concrete city, but it is also full of beautiful nature if you look for it.
- There are many acting schools in the city, and one I loved was the Joanne Baron/DW Brown Studio, which offers a respected two-year acting program and is an amazing place to hone your craft and meet other like-minded (i.e., crazy) aspiring actors. Seriously, though, you can't be late, you can't miss class, you're not supposed to date your classmates, and there's no nudity in class. Instead, you'll work hard and connect with others who are serious about their craft.
- Samuel French is a little bookstore that will be a great place to start researching everything related to acting.
- There are also a million (approximately) headshot photographers in LA, and my favorite was David LaPorte. I liked him so much, I even hired him to take my wedding photos (which he never does... but was nice enough to do for me anyway). He is also a great resource for all things related to the industry, and I trust him completely.
- Be grateful and say thank you for the smallest of favors. It's a town built on relationships, so be nice, humble and gracious to everyone at all times. As they say, the foot you step on today may be connected to the ass you're supposed to kiss tomorrow.
- Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy the struggle. Follow your heart. And put yourself out there.
Feel free to ask for help or advice as you move forward. I'm always happy to help.

19 August 2014

what happy families have in common

Eric Barker does great research. Here's yet another insightful one.

6 Things The Happiest Families All Have In Common AUGUST 17, 2014 by 

Family life is hectic. Most of us play it by ear and hope it works out well.
Or maybe you haven’t started a family yet but when you do you want to do itright.
Aren’t there some legit answers out there about what creates the happiest families? Yes, there are.
To get the facts I called Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestseller,The Secrets of Happy Families.
When writing his book, Bruce knew there were answers already out there — but not necessarily where we’d expect.
He found solutions to common family problems in business theory, Harvard negotiation techniques, and even by talking to Green Berets.
Below you’ll learn:
  1. The #1 predictor of your child’s emotional well-being.
  2. The #1 predictor of their academic achievement — and behavior problems.
  3. And the simple thing that steers kids away from drugs, toward better grades and even improves their self-esteem. And more.
Here’s what makes strong, happy families:

1) Create A Family Mission Statement

I asked Bruce what he would recommend if he could only give one piece of advice.
He said: “Set aside time to talk about what it means to be a part of your family.”
Ask: “What are your family values?” In business-speak: Develop a mission statement for your family.

16 August 2014

what money cannot buy

I love this story from quora. Enjoy.

Life: What's the thing that money cannot buy?
James AltucherJames AltucherBlogger, author...
Joseph Heller wrote the massive bestseller, Catch-22 about World War II. I recommend anyone read the book but that's not what this answer is about. 

Later in his life Heller went to a party in the Hamptons. Mostly young hedge fund guys at the party. 

While he was at the party, someone came up to him and pointed out some 25 year old guy. "You see that guy over there?" the someone said. "That guy made more money last year than all of your books will make in your entire lifetime, times ten." 

Joseph Heller looked at the 25 year old guy then said. "But I have one thing that that man will never have." 

His friend gave a sort of scoff and said, "What could that possibly be?" 

And Joseph Heller said, "Enough."

14 August 2014

daily routines of highly productive people

This is a great response I came across on quora, and I hope you also gain some insight from it.

James AltucherJames AltucherBlogger, author, social media,... (more) 
I don't know if I'm very productive. I take naps during the day. Sometimes I start businesses that fail. I often go down paths that lead to dead ends. 

At the same time, I'm on the board of some very successful companies. I'm a successful investor. I write a lot. I have a top podcast. 

I look at my calendar for next week and everything I'm doing is something I love doing. It took me a long time to build up to this level of productivity but that's because I wasn't doing so well the things I list below. 

Most important: I love my wife and I think she loves me. Sometimes I don't know if she loves me. Perhaps my most unproductive time is when I am wondering if she loves me. 

I also get annoyed at my kids sometimes. This is very unproductive. Like, if one is late and I'm just sitting in the car. But I have a trick for making that time in my life productive as long as I'm not yelling at her or getting angry. 

Anger is never productive. Some people are foolish and think that anger drives them forward but it doesn't. Anger stabs at your heart and then your heart closes. You need your heart to be open. 

How come? Because neurons transmit messages from your gut to your heart to your head. Everything needs to be open so your neurochemicals transmit messages effeciently.

So the first question is: what is productive? 

I like to be in love with people and my favorite hobbies. Then I like to be successful at those things. And all other times I like to be sleeping or thinking of nothing. 

That is success for me. 

What are side effects of success? Kissing and sex and smiling. Some laughing. Talking to people who make me think. Reading about interesting things. 

Feeling that fire-like feeling in my chest when I'm doing something I'm proud of. And money is a side-effect. Note that money is not a goal. 

Having money as a goal makes it very hard to make money. Money is a side effect of the daily routine I am about to tell you. 

These are all just side effects. And they are all happening in my life right now. 


First off, I'm going to love you today. I picture you, the reader, and I'm in love with you. I'm grateful you are reading this. This makes a flood of oxytocin trigger in my brain so I can keep writing this and I'm happy doing it. 

12 August 2014

5 easy ways to help others (and give yourself a happiness boost)

Even though research says helping others is one of the main ways to achieve happiness, it seems too easy to say "I'm too busy to help others." So, here are a few suggestions from happify on how to help others without much effort or time.

The 5 Easiest Ways to Give Others (and Yourself) a Happiness Boost

By Jessica Cassity
Little things matter: even the smallest gestures add up to big happiness gains.

give others happiness
Hundreds of studies have found that actively helping people does good things for the psyches of all involved. By going out of your way to bring dinner to an overworked friend, pay for someone else's highway toll, or otherwise lend a hand, you get a positive brain boost and so does the person you helped.
But Paul Zak, PhD, a neuroeconomist and a professor at Claremont Graduate University, says even less tangible acts of kindness can make the giver—and especially the recipient—feel good. These small deeds require minimal effort on your part but are often experienced just as deeply—or even more so—than many of the run-of-the-mill things people do to be good to one another.
Here are five of Dr. Zak's favorite ways to give the people in his life a little happiness boost (while reaping some of those same feel-good benefits for himself!). See which ones work best for you.

1. Ask “How can I be of service to you?”

Zak repeats this phrase in just about every meeting he attends. Doing so makes your collaborators feel supported and heard, which is especially important around the workplace. This also gives your colleagues a chance to air concerns and ask for any additional help they might need. Of course, this phrase can be used with anyone at any time. If a friend or family member is going through a transition or a busier than usual period—such as welcoming a new baby—a check-in like this will be much appreciated.

11 August 2014

how to get more done

As a mom, business owner, wife and someone who likes to do a few things for myself (writing and blogging come to mind), I'm always looking for ways to be more efficient.  Here's another good reminder on how to structure our lives better.  From Eric Barker:

How to Stop Being Lazy and Get More Done - 5 Expert Tips

Some days the to-do list seems bottomless. Just looking at it is exhausting.
We all want to know how to stop being lazy and get more done. I certainly want the answer.
So I decided to call a friend who manages to do this — and more.
Cal Newport impresses the heck out of me. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked. He’sinsanely productive:
  1. He has a full-time job as a professor at Georgetown University, teaching classes and meeting with students.
  2. He writes 6 (or more) peer-reviewed academic journal papers per year.
  3. He’s the author of 4 books including the wonderful “So Good They Can’t Ignore You.” And he’s at work on a fifth.
  4. He’s married with a young child and handles all the responsibilities that come with being a husband and dad.
  5. He blogs regularly about productivity and expert performance.
And yet he finishes work at 5:30PM every day and rarely works weekends. 
No, he does not have superpowers or a staff of 15. Okay, let’s you and I both stop being jealous of his productivity for a second and learn something.
Below you’ll get Cal’s secrets on how you can better manage your time, stop being lazy, get more done — and be finished by 5:30. Let’s get to work.

1) To-Do Lists Are Evil. Schedule Everything.

To-do lists by themselves are useless. They’re just the first step. You have to assign them time on your schedule.6 Why?
It makes you be realistic about what you can get done. It allows you to do tasks when it’s efficient, not just because it’s #4.
Until it’s on your calendar and assigned an hour, it’s just a list of wishful thinking.

10 August 2014

spaces after periods

Am I the only person who is still using two spaces after a period? I just learned that that way of doing things became outmoded, oh, a decade ago. What?! I knew I lived under a rock, but gosh, am I the only one who still thought two spaces after a period were A-OK?

So, here we go, transitioning to a sentence followed by just one space. It seems like such a minor detail, but as this article from Slate (from three years ago!) points out, the people who are used to using two spaces feel it is very correct. Yup.

So, in with the not-so-new and out with the super-old. We're getting rid of clutter at home and extra spaces in our writing. Rock on.

03 August 2014

a little inspiration for you

Here's a post from design*sponge to inspire you:



Everyone finds motivation in different places. Some people prefer it in the form of one-on-one conversations, some enjoy books and others like to see something that combines the power of in-person talks with the ease of a play-on-demand video. I’m working on my own speech for this year’s Weapons of Mass Creation Fest in Ohio, so I decided to round up 5 of the talks (available to watch instantly in video form) that have inspired me the most. From talks on creativity and motivation to opening your mind to new solutions, these people had not only the great ideas and advice to share with all of us, they had the guts to do it on a BIG stage. Thank you to all of these incredible artists, makers and creatives for sharing these inspiring talks, speeches and moments with us online. I will be watching a few of these over and over for years to come. You never know when you’ll need a little pick-me-up or pep talk. xo, grace
“Don’t allow yourself to be tricked into thinking that the way things are is the way the world must work.” -Charlie Kaufman

01 August 2014

crappy pictures

For every mom who has been up all night nursing a little one, enjoy!


INTRO: Here is installment #2 in my “real life parenting” series.  I draw crappy pictures because I don’t have actual photos of these experiences.  Here goes…
I’ve always been jealous of my husband’s ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. It isn’t his fault that he is a deep sleeper.  But I can’t help it.  It totally pisses me off.
We climb in bed at 9:00PM…
By 9:03 my husband is completely asleep.
I’m nursing my youngest and haven’t even begun to think about sleeping yet.  I lay there motionless, pretending to be calm and relaxed so he’ll fall asleep. Anyway, I’m cold since the blankets aren’t on my top half.