2016 Yearly Check-In

I know it’s been a hard year with all the bad news in the news. We lost Bowie and Prince; Brexit, the US Election, and the endless coverage of both were very draining. But I hope if you take a moment to look at your own life you’ll see all the good news that 2016 brought.


275275 Hours – Most of these hours were spent on Crisis Text Line helping people cope with all the bad news in the news. But I also got to experience my first Invictus Games, I volunteered hours giving blood and platelets, I made blankets and scarves, and a few hours here and there doing whatever I could. I can’t believe I spent an average of 45 minutes a day volunteering.



Charitable Giving


  • I’d have to go back and add up all the small donations I made this year. It wasn’t much because of the financial struggles in my life but when I gave I gave with all my heart.





Personal Kindness


  • This year I really noticed as I sat down to write the nice things I’d done for others the first things that would always pop into my mind were the nice things others had done for me. It just showed me how these easy nice things you can sneak into your week make a huge difference in people’s lives.



Self Care

  • handI ran a marathon! And I have trained for another one in the beginning of January. The challenges of running long distances and committing to myself has been endlessly rewarding. It makes me feel like I can do anything.
  • I traveled. This year marked my first volunteering vacation and also my first time back in Europe in a decade. And I followed the Dalai Lama instructions to “Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before,” with a trip to Austin.
  • I took time to be calm and quiet and pamper myself when needed.


How’d you do this year? Are you ready for 2017?

I have big plans for 2017 that I will be announcing here on January 16th. I’m excited for the new opportunities and the new lessons that the new year will bring. Thank you for reading. Happy New Year!

Exercise as Self-Care

So one of the self-care topics that is really important to me is exercise. I feel like it’s an under used and under rated resource.


One of the reasons that January posts have been a little scattered is because I took time to take a vacation. My first one in years! I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon and took a week to enjoy Walt Disney World with my friends. It was wonderful. It was my first marathon and I finished (not very fast)!! I wore a princess costume and took a ton of pictures. It was such an amazing feeling to accomplish such a big goal and wear a nice big medal to match!


I started running over a year ago. I ran a couple of half marathons, a 5k, and a 10k. I really enjoyed it and my dog really really enjoyed the training. I plan on doing a couple more half marathons, 5ks, and 10ks this year and haven’t really ruled out doing a marathon again.


I view my running as a self-care project from start to finish. I’m not trying to set any speed records (which is good because I’m slow) or beat anyone or even really to lose weight. I run to clear my head and get into my body. I run because it makes my dog happy and that makes me happy. I run because I live right by one of the most beautiful parks in the US. I run Disney races so I can dress up and see the parks with other happy people. I run to feel accomplished. I run for an excuse to travel. I run to leave stress in the dust.


I grew up dancing and doing gymnastics and I’ve practiced yoga most of my adult life. I got into running because the races came up and it was something I could do pretty easily. Exercise is one of the easiest and fastest self-care activities. You can sweat out your problems so easily. I understand it gets hard to get started when you’re feeling down or stressed or just lazy but I’ve seen for myself the benefits.


I went to see Temple Grandin speak at the LA Library. She took a question from the audience and a teenage girl with autism asked her for advice. “Exercise, everyday even if you don’t want to.” Exercise heals our brain as much as it improves our body. I’ve seen it working at the Special Olympics World Games. Sport can have such a positive impact no matter what level you are.


What is your exercise routine? Do you have a physical resolution? Do you feel the same way about exercise as self care?

Year in Review

This weekend I was looking back on my little New Years Resolution post-it for 2015. Overall I was pretty happy but it was a mixed bag. Some went in the opposite direction, some I did okay on and some I blew out of the water.

Let’s focus on the one I blew out of the water. I had resolved to volunteer 75 hours in 2015. This year I volunteered just over 200 hours. That’s more than a half hour per day on average. It also doesn’t feel like I’ve spent that much time volunteering, it hasn’t felt like a struggle to get those hours in.

Over the year I volunteered for –

  • Special Olympics World Games
    • The Special Olympics World Games was a life changing experience. It was wonderful to be a part of something so big and wonderful and overwhelming!
  • Crisis Text Line
    • I started volunteering for Crisis Text Line because of an article I read in a fashion magazine. It has also been life changing and I’ve learned so much about how to be a better helper, how to deal with crisis’ in my own life, and how to put empathy first. #SuperHero
  • 826 LA – SAT Prep, College Application & Scholarship Essay writing
    • I’ve been volunteering for 826 National for a few years now and always enjoy it. This year reminded me how nice it is to be older and not have to take the SATs. It was also fun to share the excitement with these young women and men as they embark on the college adventure and the rest of their lives.
  • Homeboy Industries
    • Homeboy Industries is something that I wish I could support more but I suppose everything helps.
  • American Red Cross
    • More on this a little later in this post
  • Hand-knit donations to various organizations (we have a knitting/sewing group at work that finds homes for whatever you make)
    • I only got to knit a couple of things this year but I always enjoy doing it. I have recently been tapped as a sewer since there aren’t many in the group and we have some projects on our horizon.


The other very exciting thing that happened this year didn’t start on my resolution post-it – starting this blog. The idea actually started from a job I was passed over for. I didn’t get the job but the job got to me and  I decided to make it happen for myself. The job was to think about how the company can give in a more organized and meaningful way. To take the good already being done and focus it. And after just a couple of months I feel like it’s working. I’ve been able to stick to a writing schedule and really think about how and why I give back.


It’s just a couple more days before it’s 2016 so it’s time to reset the resolutions.


  • 200 Volunteer Hours
  • Give Blood/Platelets/Plasma on a regular basis
    • I gave blood this year and other than the prick on your finger that hurts really bad for days it’s easy and painless. But so far I’ve taken a very passive approach to donating blood, waiting for drives to come my way.
  • Read 12 books a year (last year this was 24 and I missed it by kind of a lot).
    • I was an English major in college and have always loved reading. It’s just been so hard to find time for it in recent years so I really need to make the time.
  • Keep and grow this blog and reach more people.
    • I’m planning on focusing on each of my four giving facets quarterly. Q1 Self Care. Q2 Traditional Volunteering. Q3 Personal Kindness. Q4 Charitable Giving.

I hope you’ll join me in my resolutions or share your own here. 2016 is going to be amazing, I can feel it!!!


Happy New Year!