I'll let you all in on something I've learned over the years - and it took a lot of 'em. NO is a great word; NO is not a negative word. It is, in fact, one of the most empowering words in the English language.
While the literal definition of "no" is to reject, deny and turn down, I prefer to think of it as a means to opening yourself up to MORE. Too often we say YES to things we can't afford -- either with our finances or out time. When you stop saying no, you risk taking on more than you can handle. What happens then? You might get everything done but it won't be at a high standard of execution or effort. Or, you might not get everything done at all. You let people down. You let yourself down. And sometimes, frankly, it leads to more work upon work, when in your guilt you feel like you have to make up for what's happened.
At a base level, consider that when you over-commit yourself, you're also often depriving yourself of rest and sleep. Even meals. You end up sick more often.
You're never home. This makes you feel restless. And, in a way, isolated. Home is where you go to recharge. Home is sanctuary.
You become a terminable people-pleaser. Your personal projects and goals fall by the wayside. (And you should never feel like making time for your own stuff is selfish!)
Passion also falls by the wayside. How can you be passionate about a million things? We'd all spontaneously combust. You become the person just trying to stay afloat instead of the person kicking ass. I argue that it's better to find a just a few things you're excited and passionate about and do them really well. From a business perspective, you want to be an expert in a niche. No one can be an expert at everything. (And hey, no one likes that guy anyway, right?)
The word NO takes courage. It means owning who you are and what you want and need. It shields us from being taken advantage of. Sometimes, it's all there is to protect us from our own kindness. YES is good, too. Yes supports opening yourself up to new things and being helpful but there's a time and a place for it. I completely understand everyone out there having their years of yes but in 2017, I'll be over here having a Year of NO. Because I think saying NO sets us free.
If you'd like to join me in the Year of NO, I've set up a private Facebook group where we can all hold each other up as we learn to acknowledge that NO is power. Please leave a comment below and include your email address.
I was really fond of my 2016 mantra, "Alright, alright, alright," and plan to keep that in the back of my mind moving forward because that Matthew McConaughey was really onto something when he came up with that.
Also, in 2017, you'll find me living in "The Year of 'NO'." More on that later.
I set quite a precedent in 2016, completing every task on my "16 in 2016" list. So even though I'm saying "NO" more, I'm ambitiously after some new ideas and goals, and trying to be consistent with some oldies-but-goodies.
1. Go to The Getty and/or The Broad
2. Get into the habit of meal planning my weeks.
3. Visit Whimsic Alley.
4. Send cards and post cards for no reason. 2-3/month at least.
5. Movies I always wanted to see but never got around to: Some Like it Hot, It Happened One Night, Indiscreet
6. Spend a day in high heels.
7. Volunteer with animals or people in need.
8. Ice Skate next Winter.
9. Visit friends and family in Northern California.
10. Clean out my closet.
11. Exercise more. Much, much more.
12. Buy/wear tall boots. (Translation: this means I have to shed weight and inches of my calves!)
13. Wear less black. (This is the longest shot on the list but I included it for a couple friends who requested it and will do what I can.)
14. Take a vacation - preferably across the country, definitely to a city I've never been to.
15. Have friends over for a homemade brunch.
16. Raise money for a charity. (I have a new website launching for this!)
* * *
Completed items are highlighted in yellow.
Big list this year! And what a year it was...
Last year, this post opened with: "This list will absolutely not include anything uttered by Donald Trump." I think back to that time, a time when some of us did not yet understand what was about to happen; when some believed wholeheartedly that he could never win a Presidential election... Those were the good times, America.
Yet still, in this year's look back at the best quips and sound bytes, I will keep to that deal. This list will absolutely not include anything uttered by Donald Trump. (I can't say some of the quotes won't be about him, though.)
In no particular order...
"Anthony Michael Hall is facing 7 years in prison for assaulting his neighbor. If you don't think 2016 is the weirdest, I don't what to say." -Jensen Karp
"America! WHAT THE HELL???" -UK Talk Show Host, Graham Norton
“We aren’t born woke. Something wakes us up.” -Activist DeRay Mckesson
"Jesus fucking Christ, Donald Trump. You are the president-elect. Pick your fucking battles, man. You're embarrassing yourself." -Activist Danielle Muscato
"Here's The Deal, I Am Chris Pratt." -Jaden Smith
"Mark Zuckerberg I know it’s your bday but can you please call me by 2mrw…" -Kanye West
"I am not the only athlete up here. As you all know, earlier this year, Ann Coulter won the Kentucky Derby." -Peyton Manning at the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe
"Oooooober." -Kurt in "Gilmore Girls, A Year in the Life"
"It's always going to be about the weight for me, Toby. It's been my story ever since I was a little girl. And every moment that I'm not thinking about it, I'm thinking about it. Like will this chair hold me, will this dress fit me. And if I ever get pregnant, will anyone ever notice? It's just at the core of who I am, it's just deep inside, and eight tequila shots can only mask that for a couple hours." -Kate on NBC's "This is Us"
"So what if I like drawing little hearts around Hugh Jackman's name? I can't be gangsta every second of the day." -Ryan Reynolds
“If Michael Jackson did the moonwalk for the first time now, and it debuted on Twitter, the third comment would probably be: ‘He’s just walking backwards.’ That’s why there’s no real rock stars anymore. Everything’s immediately diminished.” -Matt Healy of The 1975
"Always keep something just for yourself." -Dolly Parton
"What if immaterial tabloid stories, judgments and misconceptions remained confined to the candy jar of low-brow entertainment and were replaced in mainstream media by far more important, necessary conversations?" -Renee Zellweger
“And love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love cannot be killed or swept aside.” -Lin Manuel Miranda
“Have you even read the United States Constitution? … You have sacrificed nothing and no one.” -Khizr Khan
"Vine is dead." -Wired Magazine
"How VIP do we gotta get?" -Paul McCartney (after being turned away from a VIP Grammy After-Party)
"I'M DAVID PUMPKINS!" -Tom Hanks, SNL
"You voice does count and it can change the world." -Lee Daniels
"Emma Watson wrote a note urging Americans to vote. She didn't spend her childhood fighting a dark lord so we could elect one." -Stephen Colbert
"He said if you wallow in suffering it wins... if you use it, humanity wins... His first thought was never for himself, or to tell you how he was feeling, it was always: what is going on in your life? And he really meant it. It wasn’t perfunctory. His kindness was never for show, it was who he was." -Menachem Z. Rosensaft, Founding Chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Survivors on the late Elie Wiesel
"That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight — how we urge them to ignore those who question their father's citizenship or faith. How we insist that the hateful language they hear from public figures on TV does not represent the true spirit of this country. How we explain that when someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level — no, our motto is, when they go low, we go high." -Michelle Obama
"I'm not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I'm the first Simone Biles." -Simone Biles
"To all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams." -Hillary Clinton
"How dare anyone question a woman’s ability? Every person on this planet was brought into this world by a woman." -Pharrell Williams
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Think about this: How much is a good night's sleep worth to you? What about a few nights? A week? A month?
There are a few things I always recommend one NEVER cheap out on:
And frankly, ANYTHING that contributes to a good night's sleep. Sleep is IMPORTANT. There is no price too high for a good night's sleep.
I've been at war with sleep for a very long time. When I moved into my current apartment, I set some new rules for my bedroom to get a leg up on the battle. My bedroom would be a sanctuary. So first of all, no work in the bedroom. No desk and no laptop in bed unless it was to play a mindless game to lull myself into sleep. I've kept to that with very few exceptions. Second, grown-up furniture. That was an exciting purchase for me. My beautiful, "new" bedroom set is almost a year old and sometimes I just sit in bed and look at it because it adds a level of comfort and confidence to my home. The third rule was better bed linens. Like, SUPREMELY better bed linens. I considered this all a down payment on my sanity.
But I fouled. I found a set of sheets on sale at Macy's and felt more like I was getting away with something, less like I was investing in my improved mental health (which is what I believe sleep does). And no sooner than I put those sheets on my bed did I find myself waking up to this nonsense almost daily:
DEEP POCKETS? I think not, discount bed linens. You are lying liars who lie.
But a stroke of good fortune found me at BlogHer, where I ran into a representative from BELLA NOTTE. Their brand represents a lifestyle that is chic, comfortable and inspiring. They offer vintage-inspired bedding, baby, and tabletop products that are crafted locally with attention to fashion forward details—from piping and pintucking, to ruffles, ruching, and laces—and then custom dyed to order. It's not a product line I ever dreamed I would actually own but now, my lying sheets be damned, I suddenly felt like I not only could, but SHOULD own them.
Their website sucked me in. Everything looks exquisite. I wanted to sleep here:
I was flattered and ecstatic when they offered me a set of BELLISSIMA sheets. They even let me pick out my color so that I could be sure to have a gray tone that would match the rest of my room. The end result is the softest, most luxurious sheets I've ever owned.
A couple things have happened since I put my new, fabulous sheets on my bed. I find myself even more excited to go to bed because now, it feels like a true treat to climb in! ALSO, I wake up every day not needing to remake the bed, feeling exasperated and annoyed and even stressed out about it. My bedroom is more welcoming overall and I do actually sleep better. Today, I was so happy and content, I had to force myself up. It's truly been a joy to sleep on my new Bella Notte sheets!!!
The best thing you can do for yourself to improve your sleeping situation is shop Bella Notte. It's a worthy investment and you'll thank me later. From either one of the lovely boutiques who sell their brand or their online shop (the outlet), you can't go wrong!
This morning I woke up and flipped on my light. I'm still getting out of the habit of immediately checking my corners to refit the sheet to the bed.... I smile every time I realized I don't have to do that anymore. REAL DEEP POCKETS FOR THE WIN!
So what about you? Do you love your bedding? And what are your must-have investment-worthy items?