#249 Nurture a Houseplant

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Nurture a houseplant

Do you have a green thumb? I know some people who have such a prolific way with plants that their home resembles a greenhouse. However, I often find myself talking to people who profess that they can’t grow anything at all. In truth, the whole concept of a ‘green thumb’ is a myth. Growing plants is simple science and with the internet at our fingertips – information on how to keep anything alive is right at our fingertips.

Why houseplants?

The presence of houseplants in our home increases the amount of oxygen available for us to breathe. Plants use the carbon-dioxide we exhale and create oxygen for us to use. Additionally, they produce a bit of humidity, making the air we breathe soothing on our airways.

Plants clean air of toxins and make a home ‘homier’. In research studies, people in hospitals healed faster when plants were part of their environment. In another, workers in office environments that included plants demonstrated higher levels of concentration and proficiency. Plants, it seems, are good for our health in more ways than one.

Easy Options

Time published an article this spring detailing the 15 most common houseplants and easy care tips. Watering too much or too little is really the key and keeping track of which plant takes how much and how often.

Look through the list and pick a few that require similar care. I’ve made the mistake of having some that need water weekly and others that need to dry out completely in between waterings. I would walk around and water them all at the same time not paying attention to what they really needed. There was a bit of self selection… those that didn’t get what they needed – or too much of it… died off.

Start Small

Instead of investing a lot of money of large mature plants, start small and enjoy the satisfaction of watching them grow. If a plant starts to drop leaves, use the internet to determine an appropriate course of action. Experiment a little with water and sunlight based on the conditions in your own home. There’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction in keeping something alive for an extended period. Some of the plants listed in the Time article will send off ‘baby’ plants (as in the Spider plant) when mature; offering you the opportunity to have grandbaby plants. ; )

Go ahead and get your hands dirty; grab a pot, fill it with dirt, and …

Nurture a houseplant.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Amanda Mocci on Unsplash

#350 Go to an Auction

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Go to an Auction

Have you ever been to an auction? You’ve probably at least seen a dramatic version on television. Someone unintentionally raises a hand and winds up having purchased an expensive, unwanted item. In reality, that doesn’t happen – at least not in an average auction. It may be that way at Christie’s in New York with items that cost tens of thousands of dollars but not at your typical local auction house.

An auction can be great fun. It’s bargain shopping at it finest. Generally speaking you get there a little early and browse through the items to see if there is anything that you want. Once you decide you’ll bid on something, check it out. Usually, when you buy something at auction – you buy it ‘as is’. Consider a top range budget for your item but always, always start as low as possible. In a lot of local auctions that means $1.00. I can’t tell you how many chairs I’ve bought over time for a single dollar because they were basically ugly and no one else wanted them. They were great additions to my basement teen den and a simple slipcover handled the ugly.

Perhaps the most important note about bidding on items at an auction is to honor your top price limit. From time to time you may find yourself in a bidding war with someone else who has decided to take home the one thing you wanted. Since you don’t know their limit – honor yours. It’s super frustrating to get home and realize you completely overpaid for something just because you wanted to ‘win’. A little internet research prior to the bidding for your item is helpful.

Sometimes, time is an drawback at auctions. You may get there in time to browse the offering but then wait all morning for the item you want to come up for bid. Take a book and settle in. Most of the time there are dining areas or at least coffee and donuts so that you’ve not starve.

My favorite auctions are estate sales on premises. An auctioneer moves around the property selling boxes of items collected from the home. You bid on the entire box of ‘smalls’ even though you may only want one thing in the box. You take it all if you win. Many of my yard sales were for the ‘other things’ that I inadvertently obtained by bidding on a box lot. It may be everything that came out from under the kitchen sink – a box filled with cleaning supplies and I start the bidding at $1. Most people are not there for the cleaning supplies and so I win the box… grab a bargain… and end up with random items that may or may not end up in the trash.

Auction house also sell box lots. They tend to be more organized and related, meaning that there are less ‘random’ elements. If you are bidding on a box because there is a vase you like… chances are the whole box is related to flowers or decorating. Prices may go higher at auction houses as well because resale dealers ten to get merchandise there. If there are antiques, you can be sure people with retail space are there supplying their inventory.

It’s an experience though and can be an adventure that reaps rewards. Hop online and find out when and where an estate sale is being conducted to you and…

Go to an auction.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.


#251 Share a Secret

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Share a secret

Rational thought needs to be utilized here as we don’t want to share a secret that belongs to ‘someone else’. The idea is to share one of OUR secrets… one of the things we’ve been keeping hidden for fear that someone will judge us harshly. Perhaps something that causes shame for us.

Sometimes, secrets hurt. When we hold on to a secret, we may be holding shame which, is a non-productive, harmful emotion known to be the culprit for many maladaptive behaviors. Shame can be cancerous… the longer it sits there, the more bigger it gets. Sharing the ‘thing’ that you are trying to keep hidden releases some of its power.

Be discriminate.

Letting the proverbial ‘cat out of the bag’ to the wrong person may not go well. If you are hesitant to share your secret with someone you know there are a couple of options…

  • Talk with clergy. Either your own pastor or another. Everyone in this position I’ve ever been acquainted with has an open door policy and will talk with anyone, regardless of faith.
  • Talk to someone on a ‘helpline’. There are National Helplines for almost any topic one can think of. Generally, the people there are trained to listen well and can direct you onward if you need additional support.
  • Talk with a Therapist. A psychotherapist that is… someone trained and licensed in mental health. Some therapists do not accept health insurance so ask before you schedule the appointment.

All of those professionals are guided by ethical guidelines and confidentiality unless you indicate you are going to hurt yourself or a child. They are secret keepers, dumpsters, vaults, etc…, dumping grounds for the things that we don’t want to hold on to any longer.

Live Lighter

Once you relieve yourself of the secret, chances are you will feel lighter almost immediately. A secret only has power when it exists inside. Once we share it – its power is reduced and we can seek resolution for any additional stress or negative emotions that arise. Sometimes, we just need a little perspective about the issue at hand and once gained, the energy of the secret is greatly diminished.

I once had a client who confessed during a session that their greatest shame was lust for a neighbor. She said that she had spent years fantasizing about him but had never behaved inappropriately – only in her thoughts. Unloading it from her head into the space in my office and hearing how normal it may have been gave her tremendous relief and in her words “changed my life”.  While not every shared secret will change a life, it will allow you to live more authentically. Think about it and then…

Share a secret.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#252 Be Adventurous

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Be adventurous

Are you willing to take risks? Try new things? Test new ideas?  Enjoy new experiences? If so… congrats, you are adventurous and I suspect your happiness level reflects as much.

Adventure is about curiosity. Happiness research indicates that when we are curious in our daily life, it may elevate our happy base line. This is great news for people who tend to be glass half empty type of people. Many of us operate from a state of fear and it keeps us locked into familiar positions. When we are curious… i.e., adventurous… we step out of that comfort zone and – in many cases – are pleasantly surprised.

Adventure is personal. For some, it may be bungee jumping. For others, it may be getting on an airplane. It’s the unknown, the uncertain, maybe even the mysterious which, of course is different for us all based on experience.

Taking risks is difficult for some. Start close to your comfort level. Increase by degrees and pay attention to your body which, is uniquely designed to warn you when you are approaching the boundary of risk tolerance. Push lightly – a little at a time – and before you know it, the benefits of being adventurous will be felt.

Adventure helps us grow. When we experiment a little (or a lot), we will have successes and successes grow confidence. Yes, some of those trials will not be as successful as we hope but trying again is being adventurous and each time we try, we open the door to success and the elation that comes with it. There’s a great surge of dopamine that travels with the words “I did it!”.

Stop for a minute and think of something that would feel just a little outside of your comfort zone, or a place you’ve never gone, or a thing you’ve always wanted to do and make plans to…

Be adventurous.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#253 Plant a Tree

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Plant a Tree

I can imagine how many of you have already planted a tree in your own yard and I am suggesting that you go ahead and plant another. This one is for no particular reason other than to do something great for the planet. One mature tree can produce enough oxygen for two people to breathe for a solid year.

This year, the maple trees dropped their seeds furiously onto a warm rain soaked ground and I have maple sprouts – everywhere! Seriously… everywhere. I dug up a couple and planted them in spare pots with the intention to care for them with my other seasonal flowers. The ultimate goal of course, is to grow this seedling until its mature enough to be transplanted into its forever spot.

I’m not suggesting that you undertake a maple seedling, but rather pick out a small tree that works with your landscape and give it a home. If you are an urban dweller, perhaps you can donate a tree via One Tree Planted – an organization that engages in reforestation of forested lands; one tree – one dollar. At the very least, your dollar contributes to the production of oxygen for the planet.

If you have the ability to plant a tree on your property, take a photo. For reference, ask one of your to stand next to it – grab a patio chair – or park your car close by. As the years go by, you can snap another photo and notice its growth. There is a deep sense of satisfaction watching a tree mature over time – particularly one that you planted by hand.

Next time you stroll around the yard pay attention to possible areas where you might…

Plant a tree.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#254 Go on a Date

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Go on a Date

This advice is particularly focused on those of you in a relationship of some nature although I’ll mention single folks too. As a marriage counselor, perhaps the single most common reason that people end up in my office is because they loose connection with one another due to lack of energy directed to their relationship.

Dating is how many of us got to know one another. It is how we built emotional intimacy, how we discovered our interests and commonalities. After a few years, we assume that we have nothing left to say and our conversations center on work, bills, and perhaps kids. Novelty, excitement, and interest begins to wain.

I recently discussed self care and it’s importance to our mental and ultimately, physical health. It’s message pertains to relationships as well. What is starved – hungers; what is not watered – dies.

What is a good date?

First and foremost, do something you consider fun. If we’re not enjoying ourselves, it will be challenging to engage positively.

Consider also to do something active. Engaging body and mind doubles our personal interaction and creates a broader dimension for conversation. From bowling, kayaking, a ropes course, or rock climbing… an active date will offer opportunities for conversation that goes beyond your day to day life.

Don’t use this time together to resolve issues. Step back from the struggles or challenges in your life and allow the date to be a mental vacation.

Find time to physically connect. Some people use a date night for an exclusive opportunity to spend time connecting sexually. While this is definitely an important element in any solid relationship – it is not the end all. Sex without an emotional connection is available anywhere. To keep a connection with your partner, it is imperative that both the emotional and physical are combined. It doesn’t matter which element comes first as long as both are present. To clarify, physical connection doesn’t ‘have’ to be sex… holding hands while strolling through a festival and staring into one another’s eyes for a few minutes can intensify a couple’s connection nicely.

Are you single?

Most of the same advice applies. I’m hearing more and more from clients and family how single people are dating less and ‘hanging’ more. The ‘Netflix and chill’ mentality has infiltrated the tradition of getting to know one another by getting out and ‘doing’. I see people who developed a relationship over movies and sex but are now wondering what they actually have in common outside those parameters.

When you’ve moved past the ‘swipe right’ stage, step out and do something fun! Find common interests and activities that you can get passionate about together. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage… “the family that plays together, stays together.

Do your relationship a favor and make it a point to…

Go on a date.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Spring Fed Images on Unsplash

#255 Try a New Food

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Try a new food

Is there a type of food that you’ve never tried? Have you had Thai food? Vietnamese? Lebanese? Sushi? Beef Tongue? Tripe? Escargot? Liver? Eggplant?

There’s a good chance that a few of you already incorporate one, two, or more of these into your regular diet and there’s a better chance that most of you have yet to try at least one or two of these edibles. As a child, I never developed a taste for Eggplant no matter how much tomato sauce smothered it and yet as an adult I was blown away by a Ratatouille recipe I found last summer and thoroughly enjoyed some fried eggplant my daughter made after we brought home a box full from our farm share.

My grandfather raised Black Angus cattle and tried to entice us with beef tongue a time or two… honestly – as children we were completely disgusted with the concept but one of my favorite Mexican restaurants serves tongue tacos and they are amazing!

I’ve ventured into Sushi in recent years and can’t quite get to the Shishimi level but most other parts of the menu – the cooked items – are new favorites and really – anything with Wasabi… Yum. (Try mixing a little into ranch dressing for a new kick).

Lots of foods that we turned our noses up to in our younger years may have a new lease in your diet but you have to give them another chance. I flat out refused to eat Asparagus as a teenager but it is a staple on my grocery list these days.

New foods shake up our taste buds and make meals more interesting. Trying something out of the ordinary addresses our sense of adventure and may meet part of our need for variety. If you’re going to go out to dinner – go someplace new. If nothing else, go someplace that is offering something you won’t eat at home (making Escargot may be more involved than a typical weeknight allows for).

Even if you can’t get motivated to change this dramatically and find yourself at your neighborhood Applebee’s for the second time this week… at least order something different from the menu!! The point is to shake it up a bit and …

Try a new food.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Jesse Hanley on Unsplash

#256 Spend a Day Nude

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Spend a day nude

The more modest of you may cringe at this idea and yet I am confident that most of you will find it liberating.

There are benefits to living some of your life (or occasionally part of your day at least) in the buff.

Better Skin

This suggestion is especially important for those of you who have skin problems. Clothing can exacerbate many of those issues because fabric can be abrasive and tight enough to compromise circulation. Air freely circulates when we don’t cover our bodies and perspiration evaporates more effectively.

Better Sex

Connecting skin to skin promotes the release of oxytocin – a chemical in our brain that helps us feel good. It’s the love hormone. Just the act of being naked for a prolonged period will entice you to want sex; you’ll feel sexier. Your libido will increase.

Reduce Shame

The more comfortable you become with your body, the better your self-esteem and the more quickly any accumulated / taught shame you may have been taught about your body, will dissipate.

Higher Vitamin D Levels

When you allow ALL your skin to capture sunlight, there is a vast increase in vitamin D absorption. Of course, that’s a happy vitamin. Higher levels of Vitamin D will contribute to higher feels of well-being.

Better Sleep

We all sleep better when we are cooler and so instead of lowering the air temp in your house by cranking up the AC… ditch the jammies and you’ll reduce your body temperature naturally.

These are just a few of the benefits of stripping down to your birthday suit for a bit of time. I’m not suggesting that you join a nudist colony but you may find a week’s vacation on a nude beach gives you the experience and benefits we’re talking about here.

Just one warning… on my first experience at a nude beach I lathered all exposed areas heavily with sunscreen with focus on those places that were not acquainted with sunshine. In all the preparations – I forgot my ears! Blistered earlobes are not any more comfortable than burned butt cheeks so lather freely with a high level sunscreen!

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#257 Activate for a day

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Activate for a day

How do you find purpose in life? One sure fire way is to become involved in a cause. Working to save the planet, animals, clean water, personal freedoms, borders, etc., will surely boost your sense of purpose. Thousands of animals are saved and replaced each year because of the love and support of people working to save them. Millions of gallons of clean water are provided to people in need because someone is dedicated to that initiative. Millions upon millions of people have marched over the years in support of a cause that they felt loyal toward.

It’s possible that activism is more prevalent today than at any other time since the Vietnam War. In part because of our current political climate but also because the need for sustainable support is significant around the globe.

What does it mean to be an activist? By definition, it is a “person who campaigns to bring about political or social change” and it can be accomplished in a myriad of ways.

  • Make a poster and walk with it; stand on a busy street corner with it; post it in your window or yard.
  • Spend a day calling the ‘powers that be’ – the president of a company, or your elected officials.
  • Engage in a letter writing campaign.
  • Find out what type of supplies your ‘cause’ uses and shop for /donate them in person.
  • Take to social media for a day and post articles and/or memes that demonstrate the needs or points of view of your ‘cause’.
  • Start a petition.
  • Start a blog about your ‘cause’.
  • Join a group invested in your ‘cause’.

These are but a few methods of involving yourself in an activity that serves something you care about and they are starting points. An argument I hear a lot is ‘one person can’t make a difference’ but truly… it only takes ONE person’s idea or love of something to get a ball rolling. In fact, most radical change is accomplished when a MINORITY of people get on the same bandwagon and make noise. What do you care about? What cause or group of people stimulate your values or moral beliefs? What are you outraged about? What breaks your heart?

Think what might change if every single one of us got up and became committed to ACT on a ‘cause’ close to our hearts. If you are not currently contributing any time or talent on behalf of someone other than yourself, I encourage you to…

Activate for a day.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash