Happy Birthday to Me…What I Know Now

A few years back, in honor of my 44th birthday, I decided to write an inspiring post about the 44 things I wanted to reflect on that year. Part bucket list, part trip down memory lane, my 44 memories had me waxing nostalgic about my life and looking forward to the future.
Enter 46.
Two years have passed and since that time, while I still have experienced some amazing memories – another fabulous Bar Mitzvah, a wonderful family vacation, a new business for my husband and work, work and more work, I honestly feel like the time that has passed has been a bit of a blur…partially because I desperately need glasses but haven’t had a chance to get my prescription filled. But despite my fuzzy vision, here’s the 46 things I’ve learned over the last two years.
1. It’s super hard to lose weight – especially as you get older.
2. Life is too short to care about the size of your butt.
3. People who you think are your friends will let you down.
4. Life is too short to care about those people.
5. The people who truly love and care about you will always be there for you.
6. Surround yourself with those people.
7. Things are going to break in your house and you are going to have to fix them.
8. Money is going to be tight but you will figure it out no matter what bill appears on your doorstep.
9. Still do what you love. If that means writing – then keep your blog going. If that means singing, take a long drive without anyone in the car and blast that Sirius XM. Or, take a long walk with your dog and sing out Louise.
10. Cleaning out your closets is super cathartic.
11. Buy yourself one good purse every year.
12. Sometimes all it takes is a great dress to make you feel better about yourself.
13. Never give up date night or else you are sunk.
14. Adopt a dog – if you aren’t allergic.
15. Accept that there are toxic people out there and make it your business to avoid them at all costs.
16. If you can’t avoid a toxic person because you have to work with them, then ignore them. Don’t feed into their negativity. They’ve chosen to be mean or negative. You don’t need to join their Bitter Party.
17. Have regular dinners with your family.
18. Especially as they get older, it’s super important to connect with your kids.
19. Be open and honest about your past with your kids so they can possibly learn from your mistakes.
20. Stay in on a rainy day and watch a movie marathon starring Drew Barrymore, Sally Field or Julia Roberts.
21. Take a break from technology…okay – not going to happen.
22. Reconnect with old friends and find ways to see them more often.
23. Try new things and open yourself up to the possibilities.
24. Volunteer your time to causes you feel strongly about.
25. Support good people.
26. Crack jokes and laugh often.
27. Life changes on a dime. Tell your family you love them every single night of the week.
28. Don’t let jerks rent space in your head.
29. Spend lots of time with your pets. If it wasn’t for our dog, I think I would be way more stressed than I am now.
30. Start looking at places you want to retire.
31. Try not to let college tuition sticker shock get you depressed.
32. Don’t try to be your teen’s best friend. Be their mom first, friend second.
33. Enjoy your weekends and try not to work.
34. Celebrate important milestones with your family and close friends.
35. Learn how to say “no” a lot more.
36. Read at least 10 books every year.
37. Have chocolate and wine every night.
38. Don’t take everything in your life so seriously.
39. Sleep at least 9-10 hours every night.
40. Encourage your kids to do what they love but don’t force your own dreams upon them.
41. Spend your life with a partner who makes you laugh, supports your dreams and is there for you during good times and bad.
42. Tell your parents if they are still around that you love and appreciate them.
43. Make sure your kids spend time with their grandparents as much as they can.
44. Never take anything in your life for granted.
45. Say please, thank you and tell perfect strangers to have a nice day.
46. Dress like a professional even when everyone around you are wearing hoodies.
So there you have it. My list of 46 for my birthday. I guess as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more practical. Sure I still have dreams but sometimes, I’d rather just collapse after a long day and start dreaming on my tempurpedic mattress.

Million Dollar Arm: Two Hours of Hope, Inspiration & Smiles

MillionDollarArm534f14f4d8af0.jpgI have to say, I was really looking forward to seeing “Million Dollar Arm,” the true story of sports agent JB Bernstein who convinced an investor to launch a search for the next baseball phenom in India. Truth be told, I initially was excited to see the film because ever since I’ve become hopelessly addicted to “Mad Men,” I’ve become a huge Jon Hamm fan. But after watching the movie with my husband and son, I realized that I am a total sap and love films that inspire and provide hope.
In “Million Dollar Arm,” Bernstein (played by Hamm) travels to India where he canvases the countryside to find two star cricket players who he can bring back to America to transform into pro baseball players. He manages to find Rinku and Danesh – two powerful pitchers who can throw pitches over 80 mph, but Bernstein doesn’t realize that they’ve never played cricket before — one is a javelin thrower and the other plays field hockey.
Taking the pair away from their families for the first time in their lives, the story unfolds as Rinku and Danesh attempt to learn to play the game and at first, fail miserably. Meanwhile, the pair receive advice from Bernstein’s tenant, Brenda, a medical school intern who makes Bernstein realize that there’s a much bigger win than landing a pro baseball contract – it’s about providing hope and helping two amazing kids achieve their dreams. Take a look…

As I sat next to my husband, who is about to launch a baseball camp for kids, I couldn’t help but smile. While he’s not heading to India, he has been canvasing the streets of Southern Westchester to find children who not only love baseball, but are in need of financial assistance in order to help them attend summer camp. Thanks to the generous support of several sponsors A-Game Sports will be providing several students in Westchester County with the opportunity to train with professionals while attending baseball games too.
There is something to be said about rewarding a child who is still at an age where dreams are totally within their reach if they practice hard and believe in their abilities. Working with a child who is willing to put in the time and effort required to advance their skills, is truly a rewarding experience. Providing hope to those who may not have the funds to achieve greatness is also an incredible gift and that is why I am so excited to see my husband and his partner’s dream turn to reality beginning this July.
Visit the A-Game Sports website to find out how you can sign up for baseball camp in Westchester County or find out more about their scholarship program. And make sure you take your kids to see “Million Dollar Arm” — it’s one of those films that will become a classic for anyone who could use a dose of inspiration…and hope!
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Tory Johnson Turns Business Dreams into Reality

I don’t know about you, but I am the ultimate dreamer. In fact, throughout my life, I’ve set several lofty goals for myself.
Land a leading role in a high school musical: Check.
Make the high school tennis team: Check.
Land a job as an advertising representative at the Massachusetts Daily Collegian: Check
Graduate Phi Beta Kappa: Check.
Receive a Masters Degree in Journalism from NYU: Check
Land a network TV PR job: Check
Find my soulmate and get married: Check
Give birth to two beautiful and fun loving children: Check
Publish two pretty funny books about motherhood: Check
Host inspring events for moms and launch an online parent blogger network: Check
Create an online magazine for parents: Check
Experience professional success beyond my wildest dreams…Still a work in progress.
While I’ve got the drive to succeed, I have to admit that I sometimes lack the direction. And that’s where Small Business Champion Tory Johnson comes in. Tory is a New York Times bestselling author whose new book Spark & Hustle: Launch and Grow Your Small Business Now is set to debut nationwide on June 5. Having worked closely with Tory over the past year, I have to say she is a force to be reckoned with. She’s driven, she’s a perfectionist and she’s the ultimate customer service cheerleader. I’ve never seen anyone more committed to small business owners and I’ve proudly watched as she has literally helped catapult many of them to overnight success.
Having attended Tory’s latest Spark & Hustle conference, I have to admit, I was totally in awe of her keynote speaker – Barbara Bradley — creator of my all time favorite summer handbags…Vera Bradley! Bradley shared the story of how she launched her multi-million dollar business without having a clue as to how to do it. She discovered the name of the fabric wholesaler that sold to the top department stores, walked right up to the owner and while he could have ignored her, he instead took her under his wing and helped her get Vera Bradley off the ground. What I love about Barbara Bradley is that she had guts and a bit of moxie. And that fearless attitude propelled her company to where it is today.
Check out an excerpt from Tory’s new book and then make sure you order a copy today.

Tory is currently touring the country as part of her nationwide Spark & Hustle conference tour. Bringing together successful entrepreneurs in each city, the conferences offer attendees a healthy dose of inspiration, motivation and real advice you can act upon right now so that you can turn your dream into reality. So what are you waiting for? Put a little Spark & Hustle in your step and there’s no telling what you can accomplish.

My Maternity Leave Fantasy

A good friend of mine is about to give birth to her third child and as she prepares to take a four month maternity leave and is armed with a fabulous nanny to help out while she’s home, I started to think about what it would be like to take a four month break from work – without the giving birth to a baby part.
If someone magically granted me the wish of an extended vacation where I could take several months off with no demands on my time, I don’t know what I would do first. Well actually, I’d probably hit the nail salon first and get that mani pedi I’ve been putting off since Memorial Day weekend. From there, I’d start taking tennis lessons again and actually play every single week instead of once every six months when I sub in a 65 and older group that gets mad at me when I can’t return their slower than molasses moon balls. If I played more regularly, I’d actually be placed in a group my own age, imagine that?
If I had four months off, I’d take a creative writing class and attempt to write a novel, or maybe a Judy Blume-esque book for tweens. My vocabulary is way too common for the literary world (I crapped out on the SAT’s many decades ago), so maybe if I stuck with kiddy novels, I’d make a killing.
And then I’d take up singing again – I’d find a local theater troupe, audition and land a sizable role in a musical comedy.
In between rehearsals, I’d sign up for a cooking and art class at the local JCC. Not cooking and art together – cooking on one day, art another. Or maybe I’d take a wine tasting class – wait – that sounds way more enticing than making flambe any day of the week.
On my off days, I’d either strap on my roller blades or hop on my bicycle and listen to my favorite 80’s tunes on my iPhone which hasn’t been re-charged in 3 months since I bought my BlackBerry Curve.
I would take a 4 month moratorium from my computer, my emails, my cell phone and would live life like I used to – going through my day without being distracted by messages, requests and minutia.
I would plan a fabulous family vacation to the Mediterranean where we’d take a cruise to Greece, Italy, France and Spain.
I would hang out with friends and family I love and forget about the people who drive me nuts.
I would read at least a dozen books and host fun parties with the authors at my home.
I would finally relax.
And that my friends in the blogosphere, would be a snapshot of my dream life. I guess I should stop thinking about maternity leave and start planning my retirement instead!