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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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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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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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From the Archives: The Tao of Steven Tyler

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From the Archives: The Tao of Steven Tyler

Happy Flashback Friday! We're going back to the original travel stories and experiences that led to the creation of Serenflipity. 

Below is the story of a serendipitous celebrity encounter with Steven Tyler — what could have been a simple sighting turned into a moment filled with life changing advice. 

Enjoy!

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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.

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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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From the Archives: The Best Travel Advice I've Ever Received

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From the Archives: The Best Travel Advice I've Ever Received

Happy Flashback Friday! We're going back to the original travel stories and experiences that led to the creation of Serenflipity. 

Below is the story of the first flip she received from friend, Eric Gertler. He encouraged her to write to the ambassador of every country she visited — surprisingly, almost every office responded, and she ended up at the US Embassy in Bangkok, chatting with the Counselor of Economic Affairs, and gleaning some great advice in the process. 

Where are you traveling next, and to whom could you write?

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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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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. 


katie-crank

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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Meet The Flip Fam: Nonee Kay

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Meet The Flip Fam: Nonee Kay

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!


Kicking off our series is the magical Nonee Kay of Glendale, CA, a special events pro with Kay12 Catering and community gathering guru. We had the pleasure of interviewing Nonee in her family-run artist compound called “Theatre13”, where she shared nuggets of inspiration, adventure, and creative tips for getting unstuck.

Nonee

Your favorite nickname:

Well, my name is short for Antigone, the storybook princess said to be one of the first activists of love (she’s a character from a Sophocles novel). So, technically, I was born with a nickname.

 

What’s your role in the Kay sibling business?

My position is all about bringing people together and building community, and I get to orchestrate celebrations for people and feed them delicious things! My brother and I say “what we do is the anti-war”. We use events as an outlet to remind everyone that life is meant to be lived, and that the best moments of your life should be celebrated.

(Fun fact: When I was younger, I never thought I would be working with my family...I actually thought I’d be a nun to ensure my seat in Heaven! Not sure if I’m still getting one of those!)

 

What’s your go-to zen spot in LA?

I started a hiking group called “The Air Humping Hikers”. Every Wednesday (HUMP day) morning, we’ll pick a trail (I like them all!), start off with a meditation and set an intention, and at the top, dance our asses off to a new song. We tape it to broadcast to others that even Wednesdays can become the best day of the week, as long as you do something incredible with it.

 

What’s your most beloved travel destination?

Anywhere I’ve never been!

 

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

For me, adventure is anything that gets my adrenaline pumping, and more often than not, something I haven’t done before. I do my best to put myself out there, jump out of my comfort zone, and maybe even surprise myself. Especially any time I can meet someone new, that’s always going to spark a new experience for me.

 

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

If I’m having a day that feels too “normal”, I will get back to a book that I haven’t finished (usually non-fiction that’s going to give me new tools and skills) or listen to a TED talk that I’ve had bookmarked for months.

Doing either of those things always makes me think of other people who I then want to reach out to — sometimes it’s direct, as in the writer of an article I’ve read, the consulate general of a country I really want to visit, or, in the case of Serenflipity, reaching out to Cara when I first bought the deck of cards (when she was still in beta!).

In essence, I get unstuck when I realize that the life I’m living isn’t just the city I’m in and the community I have - I can to reach out to anyone, wherever they live and whoever they are. Then, the planet feels a whole lot smaller and far more accessible.  

 

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?)

“I am healthy, I am well, I am here and I am now”. We have to remember: we all came into the world already as winners - we started as sperm, we swam the fastest through a tube, we held on the strongest to an egg, we managed to survive in a little room shooting foreign objects our way, and then we were born. We’re walking on a planet amongst winners. It’s that reminder that humbles me and helps me realize that no matter how much I screw up in one day, I started as a winner and I can always go back to being one.

 

What’s a piece advice you have to someone who is resistant to adventure or to doing something different?

There’s really no reason not to go out and try something new. We create these comfort zones in our heads — if we step too far away, we know our way back. Once we become aware that these places could put a halt to our soul’s growth, we are more inclined to step out of them. Everyone gets a little nervous to try something new at first, but isn't that feeling of nerves even a little bit exhilarating?

 

How do you Serenflip?

I use the cards not only to instigate adventure on my own, but for others, as well. I love that moment when you surprise a stranger by buying them a cup of coffee and watching them get taken aback by a random act of kindness. We all have lost a bit of faith in humanity, so I Serenflip to bring that trust back and do more good for people. We all want to feel loved, so why don’t we spread some more of that good s**t?

And, it doesn’t even need to be about flipping a card every day, but rather shifting my awareness and thinking on a much bigger level...to be open, willing and curious.

 

What do you think about adventure potentially being the next meditation (and what could the benefits be)?

Look, we all do things to help us feel better. Some of us meditate to reduce stress and anxiety, others go for a run, some of us crazies go out into the street and silly string strangers because a (Serenflipity) card told us to “instigate fun”. Whatever you can do to become the best version of yourself, while hopefully helping others do the same, should be the “new great thing” to do to feel amazing. :]

 

Follow Nonee’s adventures here! 

@noneekay + @airhumpinghikers + @vertigoeventvenue

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How to make magic happen anywhere...

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How to make magic happen anywhere...

Over the past few months, we've been experimenting with a new idea -- a brunch adventure series called Serenflipity Saturdays. While getting out of your comfort zone is fun solo, we think it can be more fun together. 

Our most recent event was themed around March Magic, and our thirty attendees had 30 minutes to make magic happen for someone. So out we went, in groups of three, onto the streets of Venice to connect with each other and strangers and to see what we could create. 

One group started a game of "Trade Up" with a measuring tape they found on the ground; they met a group of women who had just come from an eating disorder walk and traded their measuring tape for affirmation cards. This group of women definitely took note of the symbolism of the trade, and the power of personal affirmation and positive self-work to trump physical measurement metrics. (A serenflipitous encounter indeed!) The trading up continued, and the artifacts that the team returned (Gjusta jam for one!) which were definitely envy-inducing! 

Another group treated a child to ice cream, and shared back that even more than the act of purchasing a gift for someone, the connection that was created with the boy and his father was most impactful. "I felt like I showed this little boy something positive -- and hopefully he'll remember that and want to do that for others. Small acts can lead to big, positive impacts," Tara shared. 

And yet another group spent time in the homeless encampment a block down. They received a note that says "stay positive," a stone that represents the magic of nature, a dollar, and a special, legal-in-LA surprise. "The big lesson for me today is that the magic I received from real connection from acknowledging others as humans and the power of love and acknowledgement," Aviva shared. 

Another group shared about the simple power of a smile in creating magic for another. "We walked by a cafe filled with people eating together and see this guy sitting all alone with his phone in front of him — and I knew I had to make magic for him. I decided I had to make him smile — so I walked straight up to him and did it! He was so grateful and mentioned how simple it can be to brighten someone up. So I asked him, 'are you gonna do it for someone else?' and he said, 'yes, of course!'" 

There are so many more stories, and the impact that compounds after these experiences continues to remind me that at the end of the day, we all want to connect and meet each other on a real level — beyond titles and formalities, but down to the human essence of who we are. And it can be as simple as a smile, words of acknowledgement, or purchasing a treat for someone. 

As we discovered together, kindness is magic. 

Enjoy some of the photos below! 

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Check Us Out At The White House!

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Check Us Out At The White House!

Can you spot the SERENFLIPITY? Super psyched to have been a part of these amazing gift bags for the White House Correspondents Dinner and the Time 100 Gala.

It boggles my mind to think that just a few years ago this was a crazy personal project to get unstuck.

Then it was a side hustle that I dreamed about becoming a full time thing, and chiseled away at, at all hours while living in Asia. Then I had some serious personal setbacks, as many of you know.

Now, it's in places I would never have imagined (even a few months ago), and growing into a real business, day by day.

My dad shared this gem yesterday: "All I can say is: pursue the path you have chosen with ever-increasing confidence, and conviction that the outcomes will not only be surprising but lead you to people and places you never dreamed of. Life is a voyage of discovery so set full sail to savor its delights."

Thank you guys for the fantastic support!

With love,

Cara

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How 7 Strangers Got SERENFLIPITY Into Beyonce's Hands

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How 7 Strangers Got SERENFLIPITY Into Beyonce's Hands

Last week, 850 SERENFLIPITIES got shipped to some serious A-list galas. A few challenges ensued -- to say the least! But with the help of strangers on platforms like Facebook, Uber and SHYP, it takes a little resilience, vulnerability and creativity to make almost anything happen. (And some good snacks!)

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Dude Looks Like A Lama: Getting A Mantra From An Unexpected Rockstar

Elizabeth Real challenged me to ask a stranger for a mantra, and what better stranger than an inspiring rock-n-roll hero.

In my hotel lobby, I saw a familiar face, long tousled hair and layers of distressed denim that only a famous rocker could wear as effortlessly as I wear my Lululemons. Unflanked by guards or an air of celebrity, he was perusing the shop windows, admiring sumptuous fabrics and sparkling gems just like any other well-heeled tourist. With my challenge in my wallet, I knew he would be the ideal person to ask. I back-and-forthed over whether to approach a lime-lighter clearly enjoying an off-stage moment, and how to acknowledge his celebrity, as I admired the showcases just a few feet away.

I overheard his familiar rasp, and figured he was put in my path for a reason.

“That’s a familiar voice!” I exclaimed, just as I might have to any other American thousands of miles from home. He smiled and turned and we began to chat about where each of us had lived.

“You lived in Aspen? Well, how’s your ass been?” He joked.

“Well it’s been great,” I responded with an exaggerated hip slap. “I’m on sabbatical for three months traveling the world.”

We chatted and laughed about travel and my three months off as we sauntered down the hall admiring jewelry, and picking up a few onlooking Americans in conversation.

“I have a strange request for you.” I summoned, after a deep breath. He looked at me, perhaps expecting an ask for an autograph or a large donation. “My friends are giving me challenges to do over my 90 days away, and today I have to ask a stranger for a mantra… Would you be up for giving me one?”

He smiled and crossed his arms in thought. “Wow, that’s a good challenge.” More pauses, an elbow to the wall and hand to the back of his head, and through his tousled hair. He paced and furrowed his brow.

“I’m sorry to ask you such a difficult question on your vacation,” I backtracked. “It’s completely fine if you can’t think of one.”

“No, no… This is good.” More pausing and thinking. “A mantra… Just one word?”

“Well, it can be a phrase, a word of advice, a flash of inspiration… Whatever comes to mind.” I was feeling like I had overstepped my bounds.

As he kept thinking and pacing, his friend assured me that I had indeed asked the right person. A few other hotel guests started to look on. More pauses. My brain quickly sidled up to gawk at the scene of one of the world’s most famous rockers pacing and thinking, and a trepidatious American fumbling and glancing around the marble hall: I can’t believe you asked this man for a mantra… And then, he had it.

The only way to get to the other shore is to lose sight of the one you’re on.

“This is amazing,” I beamed. “It’s perfect and so applicable to where I am right now.”

“Me too,” he smiled. “Me too.” Status and circumstance washed away, and we continued to chat as we walked down the hall, a small group of us connected by the desire to look to new shores. The type of shore we were each aiming for, fancy and famous or small and simple, seemed superfluous. Just knowing others, even the most celebrated, sought new shores and a little inspiration for the swim was a strong enough current to push me farther away from the fears of that familiar, footprinted sand I’ve treaded for so long.

Much of my travel has been about letting go of old ideas, whether my need to control and plan or my ability to turn a simple decision into a detailed drama. Over the past few months, I’ve had to let the current pull me farther from the plans I’ve pre-meditated and closer to the possibilities I can’t yet fathom. And what a laughably-perfect way to practice floating with the flow than to be presented with the need for a mantra and a superstar stranger.

I still hadn’t given nod to the fact that I knew how famous he was, and at this point in the conversation, it seemed odd to throw in how much I admired his work, how enthralled I was at age 9 by “Janie’s Got A Gun,” or to call him by name.

As we parted ways, we wished each other well on our respective shore-hopping journeys. I was reminded that lamas come in many forms and that we all can teach from our experiences. Anyone can be a lama, often unintentionally and sometimes just for a moment. You just have to ask.

Originally published on yestoexcess.com.

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