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Meet the Flip Fam: Jen Glantz

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Meet the Flip Fam: Jen Glantz

Happy Flip Fam Friday! On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, we’ll meet Jen Glantz, author, creator of Bridesmaid for Hire, and founder of the podcast You’re Not Getting Any Younger.

Her adventurous spirit has sparked an experiment to live in a different city every month. Check out how Jen infuses discovery into her daily life, the power of pizza, and why adventure is good for romance.

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Your favorite nickname: Jenny

Where were you born? Deerfield Beach, Florida

Where do you live now? In a new city every month!

What’s your profession or calling? The founder of the viral business, Bridesmaid for Hire, the creator of the blog, The Things I Learned From, the voice of the podcast, You're Not Getting Any Younger, and the author of the Amazon-bestselling books, All My Friends are Engaged, &  Always a Bridesmaid for Hire, published by Simon and Schuster. 

What’s your go-to local zen spot? The nearest pizza place. I like to head take myself out for a slice, put some good music in my ears, and take some soothing breaths.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Venice Beach, CA.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? Long walks with no destination in mind. I try to head outside for 45 minutes and see where my feet take me.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? Never give up. I repeat it again and again! When I went to publish my second book, it was denied 20-something times before a publisher finally said yes. I just keep pushing forward and not giving up!

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? Loud music and dancing around my apartment.

What's an experience in your life that changed who you thought you were? Last August, I sold 90% of my belongings and began living in a new city every month. I only travel with one suitcase. This adventure has changed who I thought I was and made me more of a down to earth and "go with the flow" kind of person!

Has Serenflipity played a role in your life? It's the greatest thing to do for date night. I've been dating my boyfriend for 2.5 years and Serenflipity helps keep our time together fresh and fun.  

Follow Jen’s adventures: @jenglantz

 

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Meet the Flip Fam: Janette Valenzo

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Meet the Flip Fam: Janette Valenzo

Happy Flip Fam Friday! On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, we’ll meet Janette Valenzo an adventurer extraordinaire in Los Angeles. Check out how Janette infuses discovery into her daily life, how she tackles tough emotions, and why adventure makes life worth living.... 

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Name: Janette Valenzo

Your favorite nickname: Jan or JanJan the Peanut Butter Man

Where were you born? Los Angeles

Where do you live now? Rancho Cucamonga

What’s your profession or calling? Actor/Teaching Artist

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us!): I have as close as possible to a photographic memory without actually having a photographic memory, so I guess just a really good memory, especially with faces.

I tell people my memory isn't that good only because this secret power gets me in awkward situations when I remember people, but they don't remember me... oh well!

What’s your go-to local zen spot? James Turrell's "Skyspace" in Claremont, while drinking a matcha latte from this local coffee shop called, "Sanctuary Coffee" coincidentally.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? There was something about Belgium that I loved. From walking around until my feet could not take another step to eating waffles for every meal, I would drop everything to go back. I loved it and felt truly alive there with no one knowing me and me knowing nothing.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? Since I can remember finding a way to make my life almost movie-like has kept me interested in life. As someone who has depression, adventure has been the only way I can get myself going. It can be small by checking out a new restaurant nearby or taking a new path to walk in the evenings. I try to give myself little adventures to tackle, because it makes my life worth living.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "It's okay to not be okay." I don't know who told me that, or where I heard it, but the minute I did, it gave me the permission to stop trying to be perfect all the time and to accept when things seem impossible. When my father passed, I did my best to hold everything in (as the oldest child, I had to majorly step up). I didn't allow myself to be anything but perfect, and then one day, about two months later, I was on my bathroom floor and couldn't move. I had been smoking cigarettes and feeling super guilty (my father died from cancer), and I had been telling my sister that it was okay for HER to not be okay. Hypocrisy at its finest. I started crying and crying, until I fell asleep (no worries! the cigarette was out!). I woke up and accepted that I was only human and grieving was a part of that experience. It's okay to not be okay.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? I travel. Whether it is one hour away or in a different time zone, I get moving. I force myself to get lost. Being physically lost gets my mind working again.

Has Serenflipity played a role in your life? So, being that travel is my go-to thing to get unstuck, I couldn't get unstuck for some of the summer since work kept me near home for the majority of the month of July. I had bought the game for my birthday a while back, but was saving it for a time that I needed some shaking up.

Despite most folks thinking I am an extrovert, I am pretty quiet and shy when it comes to speaking to people. Some of the cards had me asking people about their likes, the beliefs, and really I felt like nothing was off limits. I even went to Disneyland alone! I had always wanted to do that, but also felt it would be weird and I would just be on my phone the whole time. Thankfully, halfway through, my family showed up!

Still, to be at Disneyland for at least seven hours alone and not losing myself in my phone but actually speaking to strangers? Well, that was amazing to conquer. I also learned to how embrace my awkwardness and give myself a bit of love in the process. 

Follow Janette’s adventures on Instagram: @janettevalenzo, and check out her 30 days of getting out of her comfort zone!  

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Meet the FlipFam: Angelina Zeppieri

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Meet the FlipFam: Angelina Zeppieri

On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, meet Angelina Zeppieri. Angelina is a publicist and entrepreneur who uses her creative talents to write, blog and produce podcasts. She's also avid traveler who loves spending time near the ocean. Read on for more about this wonderful woman and her enviable, surprising secret power!

Name: Angelina Zeppieri

Where were you born? New York

Where do you live now? Still here, reppin' NYC.

What’s your profession or calling? Publicist by day, entrepreneur by night (aka writer, podcaster, blogger, traveler + more!)

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us?)  I can name and identify over 20 types of pastries, easy. My family owns an Italian bakery in the Bronx, Zeppieri & Sons, so I basically grew up on these delicacies. My grandfather was a baker, my father is a baker, my brother is a baker-in-training... you can imagine the creations I've seen and tasted!

What’s your go-to local zen spot? Anywhere near the ocean!

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Greece! It sparked my love for travel, and I haven't looked back since.  have an incurable case of wanderlust, so I'm always looking for adventure. Planning my next venture helps provide me with something to look forward to. Even if it doesn't involve visiting a foreign country or traveling to a distant city, I find a local adventure to immerse myself in... it could be as simple as visiting a museum exhibit, going on a hike, or brunching at a new spot downtown. 

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? I have an incurable case of wanderlust, so I'm always looking for adventure. Planning my next venture helps provide me with something to look forward to. Even if it doesn't involve visiting a foreign country or traveling to a distant city, I find a local adventure to immerse myself in... it could be as simple as visiting a museum exhibit, going on a hike, or brunching at a new spot downtown. 

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What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "Let the space between where I am, and where I want to be, inspire me." I'm constantly thinking, "What's next? where's next?" (I even named my blog after this notion!) and sometimes that can get overwhelming. It's been important for me to realize that even if I don't know for certain what's coming next in my life, it will be great.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? I need to move around and get outside. I like to run, bike, even go for a walk when I need to rejuvenate myself. It's more than just physically "unsticking" myself, it helps clear my mind.

Has Serenflipity played a role in your life? Serenflipity reminded me how important it is to connect with people, whether they're lifelong friends or strangers. From reaching out to old friends I hadn't spoke to in a while, I was reminded to take care of these relationships that are important to me. It's so easy today to get stuck in our own routines or get lost in our phones!


Connect with Angelina

Instagram, Twitter, Pinterestwhereisnext.com

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Meet the Flip Fam: Tyler Gage

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Meet the Flip Fam: Tyler Gage

On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, Meet Tyler Gage, a Forbes '30-under-30' entrepreneur, Amazonian explorer and the author of Fully Alive: Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life. Tyler has spent the last 12 years studying with indigenous elders in the Amazon rainforest, venturing far from his suburban roots at the age of 20. After graduating from Brown University, Tyler turned down a Fulbright grant to start RUNA, a social enterprise that makes energizing beverages with guayusa, a rare Amazonian leaf, and improves livelihoods for 3,000 indigenous farming families in Ecuador. Since we love his work so much, we asked Tyler to fill us in on where he finds inspiration, where exploring fits into his life, and how serendipity can make a difference in situations big and small.

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Your favorite nickname: "Mr CEO" — my friends call me this when I'm being an idiot to (not so) gently remind me that titles often mean little ;)

Where were you born? Berkeley, CA

Where do you live now? Bellingham, WA

What’s your profession or calling? I'm an entrepreneur, author and speaker who uses wisdom from the Amazon and start-up success to bring innovation and inspiration to growing organizations.

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us?) Riding unicycles: When I was growing up, my dad was also a bit of a clown — literally. His hobby was riding unicycles, juggling, cracking eggs on his head, you know, the usual clown stuff. He taught me to ride his eight-foot-high unicycle, which he called “Gerry the Giraffe,” when I was too young for Mom to be in even mild agreement.

In the business world, my ability to balance different perspectives and balance an exceptionally high degree of variables would the most useful translation of this skill. :)

What’s your go-to local zen spot? The woods behind my house. I made the big move from Brooklyn, NY to Bellingham, Washington to get clean air and be amidst the cedar trees here. 20 steps out my door and I'm there. Something about the majesty of northwest forests speaks to my heart in a beautiful way.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Kauai. I know I should say Ecuador or Peru given why infatuation with the Amazon, but in terms of sheer relaxation and rejuvenation it doesn't get any better.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? In the word of business, I actually love cold calling and reaching out to people I just want to know or talk to. It's mostly rejection but the adventure of not knowing who will respond, and having that 1 person out of 10 get back to me, brings a healthy amount of adventure to my work.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "Thank you." Learning to relate to obstacles as teachers has been at the very core of my study in shamanic traditions in the Amazon.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? It depends how stuck I am. It's a mix of boxing or running, followed by meditation. If I'm really stuck, I turn to a special tobacco pipe I have for prayers and connecting to that medicine has gotten me through some major ruts and chaotic situations (internally and externally).

What do you think about adventure potentially being the next meditation? What could the benefits be? I think the two go hand in hand. I'm a huge fan of supporting young people in particular to know other places and cultures in immersive ways — the value of learning to thrive in foreign environments is one of the greatest gifts I think you can give someone.


Connect with Tyler

Instagram, Twitter, tylergage.com

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Meet the Flip Fam: Colin O'Brady

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Meet the Flip Fam: Colin O'Brady

Each week, we profile members of the Serenflipity community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, meet Colin O'Brady, an inspiring endurance athlete and speaker who calls Portland, Oregon home. Scroll on to learn more about his record-setting achievements, why he believes that stepping outside of your comfort zone is critical, and the mantra he uses to get unstuck (he tells us it works every time).

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Name: Colin O’Brady

Your favorite nickname? CTOB (my initials)

Where were you born? Olympia, WA

Where do you live now? Portland, OR

What’s your profession or calling? I'm a Professional Endurance Athlete (2xWorld Record Holder)

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us)? I can hold my breath underwater for 4 minutes.  

What’s your go-to local zen spot? Mt. Hood... being in the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest grounds me.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Mallorca, Spain. I used to live there...it’s the best.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? I make it a point to say 'yes'. The more you say yes, the more adventures you're bound to have!

Why do you get out of your comfort zone? There's no better way to grow (in my opinion) than to adventure outside of your comfort zone. I love what I do for "work" because put simply, adventuring is my job. The happiest times in my life are when I push my body beyond its perceived limits — I come back out on the other side renewed and inspired by the experience.

 Photo courtesy of Colin O'Brady

Photo courtesy of Colin O'Brady

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? "This too will change." I learned this during a 10-day silent meditation retreat. You sit for so long that your body aches, but you realize that everything is impermanent. Remembering this has taken me through a lot of tough moments.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? Slow down to speed up. In the past, I used to think I needed to work harder when I'm lacking creatively, spiritually or just having a hard time. But I've found that taking a deep breath, meditating, or going for a walk helps me to get unstuck. Do less to do more.  

How has Serenflipity played a role in your life? I was at a conference in Atlanta with Cara Thomas. I didn't know any of the people there. She opened up the decks and let the games begin. Before I knew it I was dancing the night away with a pack of new friends! This reminded me of the days backpacking around the world post college; I love it.


Connect with Colin:

Instagram, TwitterTED Talk

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Meet the Flip Fam: Venetia

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Meet the Flip Fam: Venetia

On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, meet Venetia. A multi-talented powerhouse who just released her first electronic album GLO, this creative musician and writer was also one of the first 10 employees at Airbnb. There, she told video stories about the company's earliest hosts, traveling from Barcelona to Copenhagen to Istanbul to Hong Kong to Rio. No stranger to using her voice, she tells us more about how she lives her most expressive life.

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Name: Venetia

Your favorite nickname: V

Where were you born? Schaumburg, IL

Where do you live now? San Francisco, CA

What’s your profession or calling? Musician & Writer

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us?) My sensitivity. It helps me read people and understand situations quickly because I feel all the feels. Of course sometimes it causes me to uncontrollably sob for no reason but that's just par for the sensitive course.

What’s your go-to local zen spot? Golden Gate park, walking through the mighty trees.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Greece!

Why is adventure important to you, and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? The brain gets bored of doing the same thing all the time. It's full of chemicals that are just aching to ooze into that bloodstream of ours. When we have adventures we get all sorts of yummy feelings. Sure, sometimes adventures aren't always perfect, but often you find yourself achieving lots which makes you feel good. I like to take friends on full day surprise adventures where I just pick them up and then go from place to place I have chosen for a special day just for them.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times?  "We made it!". It's a gratitude practice that keeps things in perspective no matter how tough things get. My boyfriend and I say "We made it!" each morning when we wake up and night before bed. It's inspired by watching my aunt take her last breath on this planet after losing a battle with cancer. I couldn't believe how it happened. I realized there's either this "in" breath or "out" last breath and then, well, silence. That moment really changed me. So then I realized that just by breathing in and out I was alive each day and that was everything. Now I get excited when a whole day or night goes by and I've still made it. If you're reading this YOU MADE IT! Isn't that great?

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? Nature. I have a theory that nature has all the wisdom I ever need to know if I just watch, ask and sit with her. If I am stuck, I go for a walk, breathe and observe.

How has  Serenflipity played a role in your life? Serenflipity helps me with travel, adventure, empowerment, knowledge and the tools to live my boldest and most expressive life. In that way, Serenflipity always has something to teach me or encourage me with — and I am grateful for it.


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Why Choosing Your Path Should Be Exciting

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Why Choosing Your Path Should Be Exciting

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
~Mary Oliver

You have one shot at the current moment, and one shot at the next; so why not make each count? Why not choose to show up in a way that expresses who you are at your core? Why not make the contributions that only you can make?

Here’s the thing: no one else can do you.

Imagine for a moment that we're all cells in the same body. For the body to function properly, we must each do our unique work. Picture a single cell looking over at another cell and thinking, "Ah, what they're doing looks interesting, maybe I should give that a try", or spotting a cell who’s speeding along and thinking, "She’s really got it made so I might as well just give up." This would basically be like a cell for the eye wanting to be a cell of the brain, or deciding to just sit this one out. Yikes!

When you think your contribution doesn’t really matter or have a positive impact on the whole, you’re lost. When you ignore the impulses and intuitive nudges to move in your own way, looking instead to others for answers, you're also lost. This is why choosing what you do each day should be exciting and mean something to you — the positive sentiments will spill over into every facet of your life. 

Today, decide that your piece of the puzzle does matter and intentionally choose to pursue what excites you and lights you up. Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas for you to consider as you begin to serve yourself and the world.

Take baby steps

There’s this great scene in the movie What About Bob?, when the obsessive-compulsive Bob (played by Bill Murray) discovers baby steps. “Baby steps to the elevator....Baby steps onto the elevator...". It might sound silly, but you should take the same approach to creating a path that keeps you feeling inspired and fulfilled. Once you pinpoint what excites you, find a way to give it more space so it can take shape. 

What you can do with a 20 extra minutes each morning is astounding. Can you wake up earlier to accomplish something you'd like to eventually turn into your career? For example, if you want to become a content creator or writer, can you carve out a mini-session each day before or after you finish work? With baby steps, there’s really no need to fearfully leap and hope for a net. What a relief!

Say goodbye to your distractions

In a keynote speech about the third metric, Arianna Huffington discusses the dangers of multi-tasking: “You think you’re being efficient, but actually, you’re being stupid.” As Huffington wisely points out, we now have scientific evidence that actually proves we can't successfully multi-task. Can you eliminate distractions during the time you've set aside in order to show up for what you're most excited to create? 

When I tell people that I habitually turn data off on my phone while I’m focusing on a project, they think I’m crazy. However, I'm convinced that it’s one of the smartest things I do! The other option — the constant interruption of e-mail/Facebook/[insert your favorite distraction here] — just doesn’t support my growth and happiness.

Unfortunately, it can be nearly impossible to avoid the lure of those pings. Protect yourself and your time by consciously deciding when you want to let your attention wander, instead of letting those distractions decide for you.

Let your feelings lead you

As you continue to move in the direction of work that excites you, remember to check in with yourself and your gut reactions; they'll tell you that you're on the right track. My clients describe their positive feelings in different ways, such as a floating, expansive feeling, a sense of effortless ease, and even something inside that says "YES!".

All of these are your brain sending feel-good chemicals to your body, like messages to go for it. A friend of mine recently decided to take what she’s calling her 'leap-of-faith tour.”' She left behind a life and choices that were making her unhappy to follow her lifelong dream of being a dancer. She’s choosing to follow the fuzzy, bubbling, warm feelings this choice gives her, and loving every minute of it.

To paraphrase from motivational author Napoleon Hill’s work: "Knowledge is not power. It’s potential power."

Knowledge without action is completely useless. Taking action is the only way to test drive the feelings you’re after in your work. It’s also the single greatest differentiating factor between getting where you’re meant to be or not.

Action has magic in it. Begin today by choosing a path that excites you.


About the Author

Cortney McDermott is an award-winning writer, speaker, and strategist to Fortune 500 executives, entrepreneurial leaders, and think tanks around the world. She writes for a number of international publications, including She Owns It and The Huffington Post. Her debut book, Change Starts Within You is “soulful, sassy, and full of practical insights,” as best-selling author and Harvard Valedictorian Monika Lutz puts it. “If Eat, Pray, Love married The 4-Hour Workweek, Cortney’s book would be their firstborn child.”

Connect with Cortney: Instagramcortneymcdermott.com

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Here's What Happened When I Flipped My Way Through the Work Week

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Here's What Happened When I Flipped My Way Through the Work Week

I was super inspired by the idea of Serenflipity cards since the first time I heard about them. While I’m a person who loves to try new things, I find myself stuck in ruts from time to time. Sometimes, my creativity suffers; other times, I find myself caught up in a comfortable routine and naturally stop pushing myself to grow. 

Though I’m nearly two years into my journey as a small business owner and try to take advantage of my freedom I have to design my life each day, the ability to work from anywhere can be oddly paralyzing — both locally and globally. In an effort to add some pizazz back into my daily patterns, I decided to put my deck to the test by flipping a new card each day of the work week. Here’s how it went.

Day 1:Cancel as much on your calendar as you can. Then, sneak out and say YES to at least one random thing that comes your way.

This card couldn’t have come at a more perfect time; I’ve been feeling super stressed and in need of downtime, something I'm still learning to treat myself to. While I couldn’t cancel my morning client calls, I shuffled around some of my project work and took the afternoon off of work. A friend stopped by and we ended up catching up for hours over cocktails on my back patio. I laughed so hard my abs hurt, and went to bed with a big smile on my face that night instead of stressing about the next day. Carving out time to have fun with friends is important, and I need to make myself more available to do it!

Day 2: "Identify a big fear and see if you can take one action to confront it.

One of my biggest fears is that something will happen to someone I love who lives far away. I moved to California almost a decade ago, but still feel guilty about missing out on precious time with my family and friends on the east coast. Though I can’t control what might happen to someone I care about or always visit on a whim, I can definitely connect with them in meaningful ways. Today, I called my Mom and Dad and caught up with two close friends over text. Just taking the time to check in on each person and hear about what's been happening in their lives made me feel really good.

Day 3:Ask a stranger for a mantra and live by it for a day.”

I work from coffee shops often and usually chat with people I don’t know during the course of a day. Today, I decided to ask the barista for her mantra, which was “we are what we repeatedly do.” Though I’d heard this before, I found that having a reason to actually apply forced me to put it into practice and think about each action I took.  It's fascinating how small things that can subtly transform into habits have the ability to shape who we are and how we live. Little things can define us, so we should consider them carefully.

Day 4: “Wear something unexpected or outside of your usual style today, whether it’s an accessory or a full ensemble.”

This card was so much fun for me! I recently bought a pair of futuristic-looking, all white sneakers from an Aldo shoe sale but felt self-conscious about wearing them as they’re pretty far outside of my standard style. Today, I whipped them out proudly. I got a couple of compliments and a couple of questions (my neighbor thought they looked like space shoes!) but wore them all afternoon around San Francisco. I felt like I was drawing attention to myself, which was uncomfortable, but it felt good to try something new and different. Why not?

Day 5:Keep a smile on your face all day long. Take note of how people respond and how this makes you feel."

I actually smiled when I flipped this card (how fitting!) because I've been focused on being more joyful and genuinely positive for a few years. This card reminded me that smiling often comes from a place of gratitude — and that finding things to feel happy about makes it easier to connect with other people in a truly authentic way. Though this card is a perfect nudge to uncover even more positive stuff, it also reminded me that it's not always easy for people to see what's great about themselves or their lives. While staying upbeat per usual, I found that I felt extra patient with others, noting that struggles aren't always visible on the surface. I also felt extra lucky that I have so much to smile about!

Though I can’t tie a transformational moment or specific life change to my experiment using the cards this week, I feel refreshed and inspired after having tackled a mini-challenge during each work day. I started to really look forward to my flip each morning and trying to accomplish whatever the card said. Small shifts can inspire big waves, and sometimes all it takes is a sentence to get started.


About the Author

Krista Gray is a web producer and freelance writer who lives in San Francisco. When she's not working with clients through her company GoldSquare, she loves reading, traveling and learning new things.

Connect with Krista: Instagram, Twitter, goldsquare.co
 

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Meet the Flip Fam: Sean Elliott

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Meet the Flip Fam: Sean Elliott

Happy Flip Fam Friday! On Fridays, we profile members of our community who artfully build the spirit of serendipity into their daily lives.

This week, we’ll meet Sean Elliott of @moohahvanadventures, a talent manager, vanlifer and Dad extraordinaire based in Los Angeles. Check out how Sean and his daughters infuse creativity and discovery into their quests on the open road and raise the stakes on adventure.... 

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Name: Sean Elliott

Your favorite nickname: Well lately, I am loving when my daughters think it is sooo, SO hilarious to call me “Sean" instead of “Dad”.  Lots of mileage out of that one, and it is zero funny.

Where were you born? St. Cloud, MN

Where do you live now? Pacific Palisades, CA

What’s your profession or calling? I represent actors, celebrities, and creators. I run the West Coast office of Authentic Talent Management.  

What’s a secret power that you have (that may surprise us!): I can hold my nose and blow air out of my tear duct. Pretty sweet. 

What’s your go-to local zen spot? I paddleboard, way out there. I point my SUP towards the open ocean. And also do simple yoga and stretches while pretending I am the only human on the planet.  

What’s your most beloved travel destination? My daughters and I are designing a 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter together.  We will be making memories every weekend in Southern California, and beyond.  Already, the creativity of the design process has been so rewarding as they are really making it their own (including naming her MOOHAH). I’m just kind of there to facilitate things and keep it all moving along (and also pay for it).

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life? I have an old 1970 LIFE magazine cover in my office featuring skier, Billy The Kid with the words “ON THE ICY EDGE OF WIN AND LOSE”.  I think that sums it up.  The unknown, the uncomfortable, and the unknowable all are important ways of getting unstuck and truly being open to new experiences.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? The Kundalini yoga chant Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.  I don’t know Kundalini or yoga well at all.  I think I like it because it is not in English and I have no clue what it means.  My brain doesn’t try to out-think the meaning of it or over-evaluate it.  

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? My move is to ghost out of the office and go for a 10-15 minute walk.  

How do you (and your kiddos) Serenflip? Well, the Sprinter Van design + build with my daughters is way outside of my comfort zone, but I love every second of it.  We are creating a one-of-a-kind adventure van, plus a lifetime of memories. I love how they are taking control of the project, and I love what crazy and creative ideas they come up with — it’s non-stop.  

I pictured something much more rugged and masculine, but it’s becoming so light and beachy, boho cool - and it’s really all them. So far, Paige’s favorite adventure idea for Moohah is to drive in the direction that Quinn says for 30 minutes or so, and then I ask Quinn where to go next and essentially just listen to her and go where she says!

And when I think about one instance watching my girls Serenflip, it has to be when Paige and Quinn picked cards to conquer their fears one day. I saw Paige coaxing Quinn to jump off rocks to overcome her fear of heights. It was so organic, and quite sweet and inspiring for me to witness. The ease of it just being a simple, straight-forward card spelling out exactly what to do made it effortless for them. They just picked the deck up and went with it.

What do you think about adventure potentially being the next meditation (and what could the benefits be)? Meditation is about going into the stillness of your inner space. Adventure is about the unpredictable unknown. When we allow ourselves to go into the unknown, into the world of instability, we truly open ourselves to becoming unstuck.  There can be a lot of unknowns and realizations in meditation, but there is never the fear of embarrassment, ridicule, bodily injury, etc. Adventure raises the stakes in both the psychological and the physical realms.

 

Follow my girls and me as we create our adventure van + our own adventures!

IG: @moohahvanadventures


 

 

 

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4 Fun Things to Do With Your Friends When You're Bored With Brunch

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4 Fun Things to Do With Your Friends When You're Bored With Brunch

I have an unpopular opinion: I hate brunch. I always end up hangry from having to wait too long. The restaurants are usually too crowded and rushed, making it hard for me to properly catch up with people. And, let’s be honest, I want way more champagne in my mimosa than I ever get. But I get the appeal. It’s nice to have a relaxing way to spend a weekend morning, an excuse to spend time a little more luxuriously with people you love. I just think there has to be a better way to do it than over a $20 plate of dry eggs.

Here are a few activities you might try swapping out brunch with to shake up your weekend mornings (er, afternoons).

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1. Go on a Mystery Day Trip. Unlike going to happy hour, when you meet your friends for brunch you have a whole day ahead of you. So, instead of getting toasted, why not get out of town? Try swapping off which of your friends chooses the place and plans the trip so it’s not too much of a burden for anyone (and a bit of a fun surprise for the rest of you). Bring some breakfast sandwiches or granola bars for the car, and get your normal gabbing done while playing tunes on the ride. If you don’t have a car, have your friends pool their normal brunch budget to rent one for the day.

Then, spend the rest of your day exploring. Nearby hikes, quirky small towns; there are likely plenty of cool places within an hour or two of where you live that you haven’t experienced yet. Don’t be afraid to get sidetracked on the way and enjoy the journey, and get excited to come back with more memories than just what was on the menu.

2. Start a Spiritual Get Together. You don’t have to be a churchgoer to benefit from having a regular spiritual community. If you haven’t found a formal congregation that fits your needs, why not create your own group of spiritual misfits who are trying to figure it out together? What this looks like will really depend on the interests of your group, but it’s a great place to try out practices of different religions or new ways of opening your mind and seeing what sticks. Maybe one week it’s a group sound meditation and the next you’re having a solstice celebration, or every month you read a book by a different spiritual leader and discuss.

Gather some friends regularly with the intention of exploring the spiritual world and see what sort of growth and conversation it leads to.

3. Have a Learning Party. I bet you have loads of badass friends who know how to do cool things that you could only dream of doing, so why not use a chunk of weekend hours to teach each other some new tricks? This can be super low-key—you don’t need to create lesson plans or anything—and definitely doesn’t have to feel like you’re going to school on a Saturday. You should think of fun skills that everyone’s jazzed to learn!

Your artsy friend can teach everyone a bit of hand lettering and then you can sit around writing Insta-worthy inspirational quotes. The audiophile in the group can teach about podcasting by making a fun podcast of all your normal brunch chatter. Your international playgirl friend can share her tips for traveling on the cheap, and you can all sit around musing about your next trip and booking flights together. You’ll get closer to your friends by learning more about what they love and pick up some great new skills for yourself.

4. Do Brunch, but DIY Style. Okay, maybe this is cheating, but I think cooking together is such a powerful way to spend time with people that it deserves to be said. Just because I avoid going out to brunch, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate mealtime with people I love. I’d just prefer to do it at home where I can make my mimosas as strong as I like.

So try out moving your weekly brunch into your home, and see how you can make it a little playful and fun! You could pick a theme every week—from childhood throwback to international flair—and have people bring something to contribute. You could go explore a farmers market and scrounge together a picnic brunch. You can do brunch 'Chopt-style' and have everyone bring what’s left in their fridge from the week to whip up something inventive together. By doing this, you get to make the meal an adventure in and of itself. 


About the Author

Erin Greenawald is a freelance writer, editor, and content maker who is passionate about elevating the standard of writing on the web and helping people share their message with the world. Erin never says no to tea and a croissant with a friend—old or new!—and she loves any flip that encourages her to find some serenity in the crazy world around her.

Connect with Erin: Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Medium

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Meet the Flip Fam: Ashley Sumner

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Meet the Flip Fam: Ashley Sumner

Welcome to our Flip Fam blog series, where we interview members of our community who artfully build the spirit of adventure and serendipity into their daily lives!

This week, we’ll meet Ashley Sumner, an entrepreneur and femme-empowered connector based in Los Angeles, and gather inspiration around how she infuses intuition and fresh ideas into the every day.

Ashley

Name: Ashley Sumner

Your favorite nickname: Smashster

Where were you born? The Poconos, Pennsylvania

Where do you live now? Los Angeles, California 

What’s your profession or calling? Co-Founder of Quilt (*Read more below!)

What’s a secret power that you have? Intuitive connector

What’s your go-to local zen spot? The Raven Spa in Santa Monica. Massage therapist, Da Da is life changing!

What is your most beloved travel destination? Florence, Italy. I had the opportunity to live there in my early twenties and I felt the most at home. I now understand what nostalgia feels like and what it is to seek beauty in every moment.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to blend that into your daily life? My greatest ideas have come from taking adventures. Breaking free from my comfort zone, learning about different cultures and meeting people I wouldn’t otherwise meet are all high on my list for ways to be creatively inspired. On a daily basis, I try not to get stuck in too much routine. Even if it’s just walking a different direction...or fighting Waze to take a more scenic route (and turning the volume off so I don’t go crazy).

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? I remind myself of what I’ve already been through and very simply remember that I’m still here and doing great, better than great. Something has weight only if we allow it to.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? I'm a cliché yoga-fiend. And I recently learned primordial sound (mantra-based meditation) with the lovely Megan Monahan.

How has Serenflipity played a role in your life? I remember flipping a card randomly when I was at Cara’s house. It was “do something nice for the oldest person you see today” (or something very similar). I picked up the tab of a woman nearby at lunch and left without saying anything. I gave that card to my friend, who gave it to another friend in NYC on her travels...and that same card found its way back to me a month later! It’s now off in the wild yet again - let’s see what happens:)

What do you think about adventure potentially being the next meditation (and what could the benefits be)? In my meditation I’ve learned to be more light-hearted and less judgmental. In my Serenflipity adventures I often walk away feeling just that way. With adventure, I think it’s about having a new perspective and realizing you’re just a small, measly dot on a large spinning blue and green globe and no matter what… you’ll get through it, whatever it is. 

 

Be sure to trail Ashley's adventures here!

IG: ashleyjsumner + we_quilt 

 

*And what is Quilt, you ask?

QUILT is the evolution of what was once One Roof US. After two years running co-working space out of homes, Ashley and her partner, Gianna Wurzl figured out a way to make it more flexible and accessible for all of their entrepreneurial lady peers.

Quilt is an online platform that empowers women to open their homes to other women for co-working, and get paid for it.

Hosts can list their homes on a daily basis to no more than 15 women for co-working sessions. Guests then have the opportunity to book on-the-go for $20. It's a wonderful way to build your network in a safe and intimate setting where you can truly connect with one another.

Quilt is launching July 24, 2017 on the westside of LA! Head here to sign up.

#unlockwomanmade

 

 

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10 Fun Ways to Express Your Adventurous Side With Style

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10 Fun Ways to Express Your Adventurous Side With Style

"Wear something unexpected or outside of your usual style today, weather an accessory or full ensemble."


A quote from one of our favorite Serenflipity Spark cards, exploring your closet for things you haven't worn in years might be just what you need to switch up your style and boost your confidence. Elizabeth Entin, the Founder of Runway Passport agrees. To take your flip even further, follow her 10 tried and true tips for a fun refresh.

Try a line you’ve never heard of

Everyone has their favorite designers and brands; chances are that you know what works for you. But instead of playing it safe, try something you've never heard of before. It's fun to be the first to discover something great before it becomes the next hot name or trend.

Add a statement piece

Wear a standout piece of jewelry (or even layers of jewelry) when you're casual and comfy. Go for a dramatic necklace, big hat, or a group of chunky and quirky bracelets that cover half your arm. Pair your pick with jeans and t-shirt for a fun twist during your normal day.

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Be bold and show off

It's easy to get caught up in thinking, "I won’t wear a crop-top until I do 100 sit-ups a day for 6 months”, but you shouldn't let a misconception of having a perfect body stop you from wearing something you love. Instead, embrace what you think is a flaw, and you'll notice that the rest of the world doesn’t see it that way. 

Mix prints

Wear a floral top with a striped skirt—or put any other two creative patterns together. Not sure where to start? Try gingham, plaid, or polka dots. Go for it!

Do the fashion “don’t”

Magazines always feature trends and knock styles from previous years. Instead of following along, wear a look you love despite the fact that it's a "don't". You'll feel (and look) awesome doing it anyway.

Try an unusual combo

Why not put on your sexiest pair of heels with a casual pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt? Balenciaga did it on the runway, and style bloggers do it daily. You can too.

 How many ways can you style your favorite skirt? 

Dress it up on a casual day

Put on your favorite dress, a pair of heels, do up your makeup (hello, bright lip!) and meet a friend in a casual coffee shop or a hole in the wall bar for a beer. Heck, go do some errands! You'll enjoy the “I’m going to a special occasion” feeling during an otherwise ordinary day. What an inspiring way to live.

Style the same piece as many ways as you can

Here's a challenge: How many different outfits can you make with a single dress or skirt? I have a cute little black dress that I've worn as a top with jeans, to formal black tie event with stockings and heels, and with high boots and a mini jacket to an investor meeting. Your turn.

Wear the “wrong” color

That color that's just not you? Try it anyway. I was always convinced that green looked awful on me; but I tried it one day just for fun and I got so many compliments. Now I wear green often. Turns out, we don't always know what looks great on us!

Reach for the back of your closet

If you've saved clothes for years, reach into the dark, deep corners of your closet to round up outfits you used to love and have hung onto. Try them on again, and incorporate pieces that fit well into your wardrobe again. You might be surprised at how easy it is to mix and match, creating a brand new look.


About the Author

Elizabeth Entin founded Runway Passport, a platform that sells clothing by emerging and fashion-forward designers from around the world. She loves traveling and discovering new and creative designers. Elizabeth is also passionate about animal rescue.

Connect with Liz: Instagram, Twitter, runwaypassport.com

 

 

 

 

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Advice That'll Help You Feel Confident in Your Most Bad Ass Bathing Suit This Summer

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Advice That'll Help You Feel Confident in Your Most Bad Ass Bathing Suit This Summer

According to the Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, a whopping 76% of American women don’t feel good about their bodies. Sound familiar? If so, don’t let your insecurities cloud some of the most beautiful days of the year—instead, give your confidence a big boost while wearing your most bad ass bathing suit this summer.  Here's how to do it.

Nail the basics

Kick up your beauty routine by focusing on your hair, skin, teeth and nails to feel and look healthier. When you feel great about yourself, you'll think less about the things you're insecure about. Treat yourself to a regular deep hydration for your hair to give it extra vitality and use a moisturizing mask once a week, especially around your eyes. Try an illuminating foundation to give your face a natural glow, and exfoliate and moisturize to plump up and smooth out your skin all over.  

Interestingly, research shows that having pearly white teeth makes you more likable instantly—and it can make you look younger. Luckily, all it takes is a few minutes with whitening strips to make a noticeable difference. A manicure or pedicure can also help you feel well-groomed and confident. Booked solid this week? Try a quick buff or cuticle trim at home; it really helps.

Work it out

Did you know that supermodels are known to exercise just before a photoshoot so they can flex their muscles to look more toned? You can definitely do the same before you hit the beach.

Keep it simple and effective with a plank, some lunges and squats or couple of minutes of jumping jacks. The increased circulation and deeper breathing from your quick workout will help your skin glow and improve your posture while muscle contractions help give you a firmer look. Remember to stay hydrated and keep healthy snacks on hand so you feel great after your sweat session on a hot summer day.

Enhance the shape you have

A healthy alternative to spending too much time in the sun, spray tans are a go-to secret for confident celebrities around the world. Why not treat yourself to one as a way to accentuate curves in all the right places as well?

Make your spray tan work for you by choosing a formula that works for you and exfoliating your entire body first, focusing on any areas where you have rough or dry skin (like your elbows and knees). Once you're done, apply self-tanner and let it set. You can go over areas you're self-conscious about twice to accentuate them, whether it's your waist, thighs or booty. To get it just right, subtly blend the tanner to create a gradually darker area.

If you''re working with self tanning products for the first time, try a test run at home before planning to rock your darker, summer shade at an event or on vacation. When short on time or in doubt, leave it to a pro and treat yourself to a professional tan with contouring. You'll love the result!

Straighten up

Good posture can be a game-changer when it comes to your appearance—so while it might sound unusual, you should practice your most upright posture before you hit the beach in your bathing suit. Use a mirror to scope out how you look when you walk, sit and stand. Are there positions that look more flattering than others?

You can also practice 'power posing'. Try putting your hands on your hips or behind your neck or pushing your chest out to feel more confident about how you look. Find the pose that makes you feel the best and know you can rock it anytime you're feeling self-conscious. 

Adopt an “I’m hot” mindset

Confidence is captivating and beautiful, so it's no surprise that people admire and flock to those who have it. Confident women have a few things in common too: They hold themselves straighter, stand taller, make more eye contact, and are naturally more playful. The best part? When you exude confidence, no one notices the things you might not like so much about yourself!

Before you get ready to step out in your badass bathing suit, spend a few minutes in front of the mirror. Repeat some empowering positive affirmations to boost your self-esteem, such as “I’m beautiful” or “I rock this bikini”. Focus on your best attributes and remember the times people have complimented you on them. You can even think back to a situation where you felt super-confident, like when you had a successful presentation at work or when you finished a 10-mile run.  

Loving yourself unconditionally and feeling good about taking care of your body is the best strategy for finding confidence while rocking a bathing suit. Once you start actively loving yourself, there will be nothing that can hold you back from making this the best summer ever. 


About the Author

A social scientist and holistic health coach, Franziska Alesso-Bendisch, MBA, PhD helps busy women create sustainable and healthy habits based on their personality type. She's the founder of The Well Space and passionate about putting women into the driver’s seat when it comes to their own health and the health of the planet. Franziska is based in Miami, FL, a mom of 3 under 3, and enjoys the little time she has with a glass of wine, cooking (something healthy), yoga and connecting with the startup scene in Miami.

Connect with Franziska: Instagram, Twitter, thewellspace.co

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Meet the Flip Fam: Gregorio Braga

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Meet the Flip Fam: Gregorio Braga

Welcome to our Flip Fam blog series, where we interview members of our community who artfully build the spirit of adventure and serendipity into their everyday lives!

This week, we’ll meet Gregorio Santiago Braga, an entrepreneur and mentor based in Topanga Canyon, CA and gather inspiration around how he infuses adventure, dancing and lots of smiles into the every day.

 

Your favorite nickname: G

Secret super-power (that may surprise us!): I can blind taste wines and guess their varietal with high accuracy.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to bring that into your daily life? Adventure is part of living. If I don’t go on adventures, then I find my life is missing a sense of connection. Funny enough, I keep the first Serenflipity card I was given with me and use it to spark a bit of adventure every so often. The card reads: Keep a smile on yourself all day long. Surprisingly, that simple act of keeping a smile on even when you don't feel happy or joyful creates a better environment. That environment allows people to be more open and inviting.

 What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? Sometimes, when I embrace people, I will take three breaths and repeat to myself: I see you for you, I thank you for you, I’m glad you are you.

 What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck? Fasting and/or dancing usually do the trick.

How do you Serenflip? I’m a regular at the Serenflipity brunches here in LA. People really get out of their comfort zones...it’s a refreshing place to spend a Saturday.

What’s your local go-to zen spot? One of my go-to Zen spots is the Torrey Pine Gliderport in San Diego. Even though it isn't local, it's one of my favorite places to catch the sunset.

What’s your most beloved travel destination? Florianopolis, BR and Ubud, Bali. There is something about these island cities that make them so magical to me.

 

Be sure to follow Gregorio’s adventures here!

FB: facebook.com/gregorio.braga

IG: @gs_braga

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5 Ways to Bring Adventure to Your Work Day (and Still Get Your Stuff Done)

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5 Ways to Bring Adventure to Your Work Day (and Still Get Your Stuff Done)

Zip lining through a jungle...
Renting a moped in Thailand...
Trying an exotic local cultural delicacy that looks downright crazy...
Leaving your work life behind and running away to Morocco with a one-way ticket...

When we think about what adventure could look like, the sky's really the limit. Often though, it’s hard to see what’s possible when staring at the computer within the confines of a workspace or our loud open office. When we aren’t feeling stimulated in an adventurous way in these sorts of situations, we don't feel creative—and if we don't feel creative, it's easy to get stuck at work and fall into a negative head space. So let's nip it in the bud and get to a place where you’re naturally infusing adventure into your day with without affecting your work performance, shall we?

Here are five of my favorite ways to bring adventure into the work day:

1. Indulge in cuisine from around the world. If you work in a major metro you're likely surrounded by a culinary mecca for different types of food, some of which you’ve never tried before. One day a week, commit to finding a new place for lunch and a goal to try something new on the menu. Begin to invite people to do it with you, starting a de facto club of sorts where you learn about the food and comment on it over the lunch hour. Far from where all of the different cultural delights are? Try using UberEats, which delivers outside of normal Seamless and Caviar zones. Do this just once a week as something to look forward to; it'll be easy to stick to your budget and healthy eating goals too.

2. Feel great on food truck Friday. Back when I lived for the weekend and dreaded Monday on Sunday morning, some co-workers of mine and I instituted 'Food Truck Friday' There was a line of different trucks outside the office and a nice space to eat outside and get fresh air. We’d all get different things and create a mish-mash of food. A bonus, we also got to sit outside in the sun for an hour. Figure out what your 'Food Truck Friday' is and make an adventure of it too!

3. Learn while you lunch. I promise to stop talking about lunch in a second, but food really does bring people together. For this adventure tactic, I’ve found that starting a lunch club (where everyone just brings their own thing, so the focus isn’t actually the food) around a shared interest is a ton of fun. That interest could be professional development or something more personal like your love for photography; either way, plan to talk shop for the full hour. Link up with your HR department for added engagement. This adventure will be a win-win for you and the company you work for.

4. Style (and re-style!) your desk. Love a little visual stimulation? Make over your desk to keep it looking fresh each quarter or season. I got this idea from a store in New York City called Story, where the owner completely reinvents the look and feel of the shop (and what they sell) every four to eight weeks. Bringing this cool concept to your desk will work especially well at creative companies, design firms and startups. So fun!

5. Chat up a stranger. Ultimately, you're responsible for creating your own adventure by designing each moment of your day. Take advantage of the people around you by talking to them when you might normally stay quiet. This could be when you're sitting at the park at your lunch break, or picking up a snack during an afternoon slump. It might even be a co-worker in a different department that you haven't spoken to before. Be bold and ask them to join you on a walk or your next trip to the coffee shop. You'll probably learn something new, and you never know where conversations can lead. I personally like to keep this random as possible and go without an agenda—that way, there's a lot of adventure in it.

If one thing's for sure, it's that there's no shortage of good ideas that can help you infuse adventure into each day you're stuck at your desk. Switching it up doesn’t have to be time consuming or disruptive, and it sure as heck doesn’t have to cost much. Start with these ideas, and I have no doubt you’ll be coming up with your own in no time at all.


About the Author

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Jill Ozovek (CPC, ACC) is a Career Development Advisor based in New York City. She is the host of the Career Passport, not your typical career podcast for thirty-something women hosted on iTunes and has a personal coaching and retreat business, where she takes women to far-flung places both domestic and exotic to consider new career possibilities for themselves. Look out for the first one in Austin, January 2018. In her free time, she enjoys cooking all sorts of crazy things from scratch, traveling without an itinerary, photographer and hanging out with her husband, Aidan.

Connect With Jill: Twitter, Instagram, Facebookjillozovek.com

 

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From the Archives: Pay It Forward Friday

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From the Archives: Pay It Forward Friday

Happy Flashback Friday! We go back to four years ago this week, when Cara met honeymooners, Theresa and Stephen through a flip challenge. As fate (or serendipity!) would have it, their paths continue to cross, and the couple interviewed Cara for their podcast Ownstream

Check out the original story that brought their paths together. Who can you pay it forward to today? 

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Meet the Flip Fam: Fern Olivia

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Meet the Flip Fam: Fern Olivia

Welcome to our Flip Fam blog series, where we interview members of our community who artfully build the spirit of adventure and serendipity into their everyday lives!

This week, we’ll meet Fern Olivia Langham of Venice, CA, Founder of Thyroid Yoga® and Ajai Alchemy, and gather inspiration around how to infuse adventure into the every day, plus her creative tips for getting unstuck from a creative rut.

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Your favorite nickname: ‘The Thyroid Whisperer’ - it’s my calling in life so I feel pretty blessed to have been donned with it!

Secret super-power (that may surprise us!):

Hmmm, it’s the secret power that we all possess - but I’d have to say my intuition! Every single day ‘freaky’ or ‘spooky’ things can happen that make me catch my breath. From getting hints on clients’ diagnoses, only to then get later confirmation through tests + results to thinking about a person and turning the corner only to bump into them. Life is magic! Small intuitive whims amongst the humdrum of everyday activities keep things zesty, that’s for sure.

Why is adventure important to you and what do you do to infuse that into your daily life?

I think for me, I apply adventure to my everyday life by saying yes. Yes to things that maybe I’m a little scared of...or where I don't know all of the outcomes. Yes to things that I may have absolutely no control over. But behind it all there’s a gut feeling, and a non-logical excitement, and I’ve come to trust that.

What's your mantra for getting through challenges or tough times? (And can you give us an example of how that's come to life for you?)

“What you hold back from life, life will hold back from you.”

If I shy away - quake in my boots - don’t face up to things / it / LIFE, then life will shy away from me, and will hold all back from me. I do truly believe that the Universe is an abundant, all-loving, all-giving force, and that love is at the core of everything.

What's your go-to 'thing' to get unstuck?

Moving energy helps me get unstuck. Dependent upon moment and mood, this might entail lying on my yoga mat, stretching and moving my limbs. Or for something more fiery I might put on a pumped-up playlist and throw my arms around in the air and dance. The physical movement of my body is a surefire way to blast away any blockages.

I also love sweating it out in the infrared sauna or booking a flotation pod session at Pause Float Studio. Becoming buoyant in 1000 pounds of magnesium salts and drifting into a deep meditative state has me emerging 60 minutes later feeling a completely different person.


Has Serenflipity played a role in your life? If you have any examples or stories to expand on, please share!

Serenflipity inspires me to keep travelling, to stay curious, and to fall even more in love with this world and all the beautiful humans in it.

 

Follow Fern’s adventures here!

IG @fernolivia

FB www.facebook.com/yogawithfern

Ajai Alchemy http://www.ajaialchemy.com

 

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Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Talking and Start Doing

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Here's What Happens to Your Brain When You Stop Talking and Start Doing

We were somewhere in the middle of the Grand Tetons, far from any trail, with a backpacking leader who’d suddenly become ill, and who we realized had led us far from our intended route in her gradually-building delirium.

Suddenly, the theory behind wilderness survival became a reality for myself and the three hikers with me. I mustered my best topographic map-reading skills, hiked up to a ridge, and attempted to establish just how far we’d run off course. Turns out, it was really far. With no cell signal and a sick leader, we weren’t going to be able to make it to the next rendezvous point to meet up with the rest of our group by the time the sun went down.

So after making a plan, we started doing. I can’t think of a time when I was more motivated to bring theory to life: we had to make sure our leader’s condition didn’t get worse; construct a temporary shelter; find and purify water; cook a meal using the limited supplies we had; and get to the rendezvous point, stat, the next morning. The story ends positively: we did make it back to did make it back, with our sick colleague back in good health after a night of rest—and I learned that the version of “doing” I had been thrust into would be a huge help to problem solving in my daily life. Here's what I remember each day and how you can apply the same style of thinking to whatever you're working on, be it a new business, personal goal or goal setting.

Motivation follows action (not the other way around)

We often think that mustering enough motivation to accomplish a task is our biggest hurdle. This was certainly the case for a friend of mine in law school. She was a talented student, who’d had a previous career before coming to law school. She often understood complicated concepts that others didn’t. But when it came time to tackle a big task—especially preparing for a final exam—this friend spent a great deal of energy working up the motivation to start. She’d address household tasks, help others, or run errands. All things that needed to be done, but none of which got her closer to her goal.

Getting stuck thinking and talking about a big goal, while not taking any concrete steps towards it, almost guarantees that motivation will falter, not grow. On the other hand, any “small win”—something that gets us incrementally closer to our goal—can have a positive effect, opening the path for more small pieces of progress that will help us reach a larger goal.

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Motivation can be triggered by our surroundings

Our brains love patterns, and our environment is one pattern that we respond to almost unknowingly. Imagine that you’ve set a goal to watch less TV in the evenings so that you can focus on a passion project or side business. Yet, each day when you come home, you’re so exhausted that you head for your favorite spot on the couch, which happens to be near your TV. Willpower is a finite resource, and we don’t have much of it left at the end of the day, so it’s no surprise that you end up flicking on the TV more nights than not.

So how can you move closer to your goal of changing a habit, if talking to yourself about change isn’t enough?

According to author James Clear, making small changes to your environment can have a powerful impact on what you’re able to accomplish. For example, moving that favorite couch so that the most comfortable place to sit is near your computer, desk, or whatever tools you need to get started on that project could have a bigger impact than all the pep-talks you can muster. You've got this!

Talking too much about your intentions can get in the way of action

It might seem counterintuitive, but talking about your big goals and dreams can get in the way of accomplishing them. Though it’s important to have a network of support when striving towards your goals, it turns out that if you come up with a solution or plan of action and discuss it with a trusted friend, that can have the same satisfying effect on your brain as actually doing the task and the hard work it entails.

In other words, your brain reaps a reward from simply making the announcement that you’ve decided on an approach or on a big goal—and sometimes that means you can lose motivation to strive towards that goal.

This definitely doesn’t mean you should silently toil away, never announcing your ambitions to others. Instead, it means you may want to make sure you’re capitalizing on small wins, or concrete steps forward, instead of only relying on the momentum from announcing your goal, to make concrete progress.

Rumination can ruin forward progress

Reflecting on an experience and what you can learn from it is helpful. Ruminating, though, can send you into a downward spiral that doesn’t solve the problem you’re thinking about, instead making you feel worse. 

In order to break away from this destructive self-talk habit, and help our brains refocus, Nicholas Petrie suggests drawing a visual of all the things you can control, along with those you can’t. He advises writing the items you can control within a circle, while placing major stressors you can’t control outside the circle. This act of “doing” can help calm your mind if it’s in an endless cycle you can't seem to stop.

You can also try another concept called 'grounding'. This means making physical contact with an object in order to bring you into the present moment. It can be anything (like a favorite object) that connects you to the world as it is right now. You can even place both of your feet flat on the ground, sit up straight, and take a deep breath as a grounding practice. 


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About the Author

Katie Crank is an attorney, social worker, and writer. She helps communities address decarceration, trauma, and the paths that lead women to justice system involvement. Katie also writes on the topics of health, productivity, and dog foster & adoption.

Connect with Katie: Linkedin, Instagram, Contently, Medium

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