#33 Have a Photo Shoot

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.


Have a Photo Shoot

You may be part of the population that has an annual family photo shoot for the purpose of sending Christmas cards or you’ve hired a photographer to take generation photographs when the family is all together but have you ever just had a photo shoot for fun? A professional photographer is not required. All you need is a great location, a willing subject, and a smartphone or nice camera. The new iPhones take better photographs than the $1000 camera that is only a couple of years old.

Silly Fun

If you’re a professional model, this may not sound fun at all but if not – this could be an activity full of fun and laughter; especially with a bunch of friends or someone special. You can take turns using the camera to capture funny faces, funny poses, and action shots of all that silliness. After all, sometimes, the best photos are the ones that are completely spontaneous.

Boudoir Shoot

How about a sexy shoot with class? – that’s the idea behind the Boudoir shoot. It’s definitely NOT pornography and definitely DOES capture the inner sultry of whomever is the subject. They make wonderful gifts for both men and women.  And, you don’t have to be in a relationship to justify having the shoot – it can build confidence for people of all shapes and sizes. This may be an area where hiring a professional is best, their ability to position and light you to maximize your best features will pay off.

Natural and Candid

You could fashion a backdrop and ‘stage’ a session for your shoot but a natural environment where your camera operator is able to capture candid images is often much nicer. Find a playground, a creek bed, or another favorite outdoor place to take your pictures. You might even have a friend follow you while you engage in your typical daily activities so they can seize any moments that find you immersed in your truest self.

Glam Shots

If you can’t get the shot you’re going for, try Glamour Shots, a franchised photography studio that specializes in ‘glamming’ you up and posing you in an effort to capture your best features. They offer props and backdrops of all kinds to ‘set the stage’ for dramatic and beautiful photography. In some cases, they offer makeup, wardrobe, and styling services. Think one-stop-shop for professional photography.

It doesn’t matter if you take this suggestion and go professional or if you grab a friend, your smartphone, and get out of the house, you’re apt to have a lot of fun and permanent memories if you take the time to…

Have a photo shoot.

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

#60 Start a Collection

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.


Start a Collection

Today’s suggestion may seem counter-intuitive or even contradictory to yesterday’s position of ‘Keep It Simple’, yet having a collection of something has been demonstrated to promote happiness for some people and it doesn’t seem to matter ‘what’ is collected.


From Coca Cola paraphernalia to cars and beanie babies to rare tins, a collection is generally something that has emotional rather than monetary value to the collector. Perhaps it’s representative of a hobby (cars), a fond memory (beanie babies) or time spent with a loved one (Coca Cola). It may also be something that stimulates our winning reflex – the thrill of the hunt (finding rare tins). Other’s still may be inclined to collect based solely on the social aspect, a shared interest either with a friend or a larger group (Boy Scout or Military items).

Meeting Needs

A collection can meet many of our psychological needs. It can be comforting and relieve anxiety. It can help us feel a sense of belonging. It can induce fond memories. Moreover, it may function as a hobby which, is important from the perspective of broadening our interests and offering distraction from daily stressors. A collection can be a statement of who we are; introducing us to the world in a non-verbal manner.


Collecting things with intent and purpose is generally a healthy activity. It becomes unhealthy when either of those elements disappears. When we accumulate things out of a fear of letting go or a fear of not having enough, we may be approaching or experiencing unhealthy behavior. Hoarding is a good example of what people may describe as a collection but without intent or purpose. Also potentially dysfunctional is when we become ‘too’ attached to the ‘things’ that we’ve collected; if/when we identify through the material elements. These are the ‘dark side’ conditions of collecting but are much more often the exception rather than the norm.

In most cases, having a collection of something meaningful is a rational, healthy, and potentially helpful past time. What would you collect if you were to …

Start a Collection

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

#62 Make a Collage

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.


Make a Collage

As I organized the last of the holiday ‘piles’ I noticed that I have quite the collection of Christmas cards – some of which are quite beautiful. Normally, I cut them up to make gift tags but either I am getting a lot of cards lately or I am giving less gifts because they are starting to pile up.

It made me think of a craft project that I had my girls do one year – in an effort to keep them busy while I was sidetracked with executor responsibilities after the death of my grandparents. I gave them a pile of  condolence cards and asked them each to make a collage from the cards. They turned out to be a beautiful collection and ultimately, a keepsake of the sentiments from people who had once known them.


A collage is cleaner and less complicated than a scrapbook as it is usually just one page or piece – as big or as small as you choose. It can be neatly organized into squares, rectangles, or circles or it can be haphazard and random.

It can be a kind of word cloud – cut outs of sentiments or words grouped together in a way that has meaning or conveys a meaning.

Mixed Media

A collage can be made from most anything or a combination of several things. I’ve seen beautiful picture collages that have included brooches and hatpins as well as a more simple design using only white paper with black text in a variety of fonts and sizes. It can be decoupaged, glued, or epoxied. It can be under or on top of glass; in a frame or not.

Gift Giving

Along the lines of memory boxes; those deep frames that contain a collection of mementos from a specific year or occasion, a collage makes a wonderful gift. It can be comprised of all the little yellow sticky notes that helped you reach a goal. Or, perhaps it is a collection of the poetry that your father wrote your mother while you were dating – a phenomenal gift for a significant wedding anniversary or commemorating a life well lived.

Yes, a collage with take a little time and perhaps a lot of thought as you move through the memories and decide what goes where… remember there are no rules and creativity is not that important. It’s more about composing something meaningful in the way that you give it value. Others opinions are unimportant.

As you move through your year cleaning out drawers, purses, and pockets – consider items that may be memorable in some way and put them in a jar for that rainy day when you can finally sit down and…

Make a collage.

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

#65 Digitize Your Old Photos

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.


Digitize Your Old Photos

Every time I think of this task – one that remains always on my ‘to do’ list – I find something else that has a much higher priority; often watching reruns of Game of Thrones. It seems that anything would be better than attempting the gargantuan job of digitizing my collection of photographs. The fact that I have a huge collection certainly dates me as anyone in their twenties or younger barely remembers the challenge of buying film, taking a photo, and then remembering to drop it off to be developed. For those of you still thinking about the money you spent to print all those film shots, here are the reasons you’ll want to and a couple of ideas of how to go about it.

Physical photos

Keeping all those photographs takes up space and forces you to be protective of them because paper prints are easily damaged. If you eventually get them out of shoe boxes and into albums, the amount of space they require quadruples. In reality, only a fraction of the photos that we have are keepers. Many of them are random scene shots from a location we visited a decade ago and/or of people we barely knew. As you go through them, if you can’t remember who is in the photo or where it was, discard it.


The best part of having the photos is the ability to share the memory years later. My children loved sitting down and looking at photos of me growing up and they like to reminisce about their own childhood now yet a paper photo is difficult to share unless you are side by side. Digitizing them allows you each to have a copy with ease and the ability to share them with a couple of digital clicks.


Perhaps this is the very best part about digitizing your photo library, it’s available to you at any time and with very little effort. Whether you opt to store them on a flash drive, a hard drive, or the cloud – digital photos only have to be a swipe or click away. While there are varying opinions of cloud storage, I use Google photos and absolutely love it. I know I can’t lose it, it’s available on my phone at all times and it does some pretty cool things like grouping similar faces together so that I can access only photos of the person I want to see.


Now here’s the hard part. Getting all those paper photos into digital format… There are several options if you have the time, it’s probably better to do it yourself. That way you can ‘clean out’ the ones you don’t want and/or send along paper copies to those who may love them the most. You can do it with a scanner designed exclusively for photos (the easiest way), with a regular scanner [the one incorporated with your printer] or you can use a smartphone app. All of these methods will take some time and dedication.

Or… you can pay someone else to do it. A service like GoPhoto.com or ScanCafe.com will do it for you if you send them your photos/slides/negatives and there are local brick and mortar services in most areas as well. Some allow you to bring whole photo albums in and will do the tedious work for you!

No matter the direction you opt to take, the benefit will be great as you realize the joy of being able to stroke the keyboard a couple of times or swipe a couple directions on your phone and access all of your life memories because you made the effort to …

Digitize your photos.

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

#78 Revisit Your Childhood Home

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.


Revisit Your Childhood Home

Many of us go ‘home’ during the holiday’s and are reminded of childhood memories and the places they represent. Often, just driving past a movie theater or a diner will elicit fond memories of times past. Those places where we giggled over infatuations and had our first dates. The place we caught our first fish and the location of our our first kiss; all of the ‘firsts’ of childhood are there to induce one memory after another.

A trip down the memory lane of childhood can be beneficial on many fronts. It reminds us of where we came from. Sometimes, a little humility feels good. It can refresh our minds of a simpler time and allow us to reflect without all of the complications that have settled upon us since. When we are reminded where we came from we can make the effort to reconnect to that younger self; to remember our purest beginning.

Sharing the place it all started is fun. Children are humored by the stories we tell about a time they can only imagine. The enjoy getting to know the person behind mom, dad, aunt, or uncle. Our significant other can garner a better understanding of us if we are open to giving them a tour of our early selves. Often, moving through our childhood habitat allows them to gain insight about how we came to be who we are.

Going ‘home’ may ignite more memories than would be typical to have. It’s common for people, places, and things to stimulate a deeper memory bank and one often begets another. Before long, a flood of visions of your younger self will be moving through your mind.

Often, knocking on the door of the home you grew up in will introduce you to others who are sharing many of the same kind of memories. People have been known to offer tours of the house in its current state and are frequently quite curious about the history of those who came before them!

Some people don’t have great memories of home and may avoid going there. The benefit of closure is considerable if you can visit without reliving the pain or discomfort that may have been a part of your childhood. I recommend to clients that you prepare to watch the memories as if they were a movie with an arbitrary actor instead of personalizing the memory. This technique can be very healing, especially if you are with someone safe and supportive as you move through the recollections.

If you are going ‘home’ for the holidays, consider taking a significant other or a dear friend and …

Revisit your childhood home.

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

#119 Get Hypnotized

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.


Get Hypnotized

My mother delivered me under hypnosis and without drugs or an epidural, she remembers only one labor pain. Hypnosis is widely misunderstood; people have a sense that while hypnotized they are unable to have any control. I frequently hear resistance that includes a fear of “not knowing what’s going on”. In actuality, hypnosis is nothing more than a hyper-focused state of concentration.

Hypnotic State

While ‘under hypnosis’, the hypnotized individual is in a heightened state of awareness, temporarily rendering the person fully susceptible to suggestion [but only to the extent that the individual is willing]. It is during this state that the individual is able to zero into the subconscious, mostly due to the absence of  environmental chatter – eliminated by suggestion. Some people call this state a ‘trance’ and is easily recognized by the state we all commonly experience when we arrive at a destination but have no memory of actually taking the route there.

Purpose of Hypnosis

Sometimes, there is so much internal or environmental ‘chatter’ that it is extremely difficult to get to the data stored in our brain. Hypnosis helps us dive through the noise. At other times, we are so consciously resistant to going ‘there’ that hypnosis allows us to bypass the auto-diverters that our psyche has created; allowing us to get ‘there’ [a memory or a feeling]. In other cases, hypnosis allows us to get underneath the ego or established defenses and to the place where we are vulnerable and receptive to new ways of thinking.


When we can reach the deepest part of our psyche, we are able to touch the truest power of our brain. There, we can divert pain, established beliefs, and dysfunctional thinking. Hypnosis can attack phobias (irrational beliefs), sleep, depression, stress, and other mental health struggles. It can help us visualize, remember, and concentrate.


Some people question the validity of the ‘memories’ that are reportedly recalled while in a trance. Since these memories are often unable to be substantiated, it is helpful to consider the ‘point’ of the memory, what is the ‘meaning’ that may be attributed to what the brain has created, regardless of the truth or fiction. I find that under some circumstances, a fictional ‘memory’ may be just as valid a message as a literal recollection – similar to a dream.

If you are challenged with an addiction, an unidentified nagging feeling, or a curiosity about childhood – consider finding a therapist qualified to practice hypnosis and take the step to…

Get Hypnotized.

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

#136 Eat Dessert First

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.


Eat dessert first

This suggestion is the reason that my mother’s mother was by far – the best grandparent in the universe. Most of the days that I was there for dinner – days that were not family events – I was encouraged to have dessert before dinner was placed on the table. She used to preface it that we had to eat what we could before ‘Granddad’ got a hold of any available sweets. It was also her strategy to defy my parents in a small way – maybe giving them a taste of their own adolescent medicine.

Occasional treats are necessary for our sense of well-being – to prevent a sense of deprivation. If dessert fits that bill – why not? There’s a sense of defiance associated with the idea of reversing the order of what is considered the norm. If this is the depth of one’s rebellion, it’s more than manageable. It’s also just downright fun. It’s a harmless deviation from typically acceptable behavior and yet it is completely innocent. It’s a great treat for kids especially.

It’s a simple thought but stimulating nonetheless. Go ahead and treat yourself tonight…

Eat dessert first.

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

#143 Plant Your Mother’s Favorite Flower

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 your mother’s favorite flower

I cannot see a yellow rose without thinking of my mother – it was her favorite flower. I would buy a birthday card months in advance if I saw one with a yellow rose so that I was acknowledging her with perhaps a little more intent. There is a yellow rose bush planted in the corner of my flower garden in her memory and each time a bud pops up, I am reminded of the comfort she provided in my lifetime.

Cop a Glance

It’s nice to glance out my window and capture a quick glance at those roses. In that split second my mind automatically moves to thoughts of my mom, even if for a nano-second. It’s similar to what happens when I brush past a person and catch the aroma of Old Spice… a flash of my father’s arms embracing me in support is instantaneous.

It’s often tradition to plant a tree in memory of someone we’ve lost which, is a wonderful tribute and long lasting for sure. There were two amazing Willow trees in the rear of the yard at a home I lived in when my step-dad passed. He directed the planting of those trees and frankly, it was the one thing that I regretted leaving when I left that house. If the idea of leaving the plant behind is uncomfortable, it may be better to use a large container. Certainly, that may be the only option if you don’t have a yard in which to plant.

Someone you Love

If your mom isn’t available to ask about her favorite flower, think of one that reminds you of her. Fall is a good time to plant bulbs so that they will bloom next year. Certainly, you can plant something and start it indoors, transferring it outside when the weather is warmer. If, you don’t necessarily want to be thinking of your mother on a regular basis (acknowledging that some people have distant or no relationships there), think of someone who inspires you or reminds you of love (grandmom, a friend’s mother, an aunt, or mentor).

Happy Feelings

Flowers are generally beautiful. Sometimes they smell good. As such, they ignite endorphins in our brain that connect to happiness and overall feelings of good. They do this even if we have allergies as long as we’re admiring them at a distance. When we couple those good feelings with thoughts of someone that reminds us of love – it’s a double happy.

Today is a good day to do something that has the potential to bring a smile to your face. Why not…

Plant your mother’s favorite flower.

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

#161 Make bread from Scratch

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.


Make bread from scratch

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh making bread? One of my favorite childhood memories is coming home from school and entering a house filled with the aroma of bread in the oven. This is considered an “odor-cued memory” – a smell that, in an instant, propels us back to a fond childhood memory.

Pass it Down

For this reason – although not the only reason – the suggestion to make bread from scratch and fill your home with the aroma is meant to induce those pleasant memories and instil them in the brains of your own children or those around you. It’s a two-fer… you’re bond to recall wonderful memories AND eat some hot, fresh bread.

Simplify It

Bread doesn’t have to complicated. The invention of the bread machine simplified the process and eliminated the need to knead, rise, knead, rise… it’s automatically achieved inside the machine. No machine? No worries… there are great breads that don’t need all that attention. Indeed, some of the no-knead recipes resemble more organic and unprocessed (basically, because they are…) loaves that are more popular and tasty these days.

The Whole Meal

Of course with a hot loaf of crusty bread to look forward to, there begs a question as to what you’ll serve with it; a hot bowl of homemade soup? A big bowl of chili? A large pot of marinara covered pasta? Regardless of the choice, you’ll need a stick of ‘real’ butter (preferably salted – because everything is a little better with a tad of salt), and potentially some jam or honey for the desert portion of the meal. Freshly baked bed with a little dollop of sweet makes a great follow up if you have any belly space left!

Here’s a list of 40 Insanely Delicious Yeast Bread recipes for you to browse. After selecting one, gather the ingredients and treat yourself to the pleasure of …

Making bread from scratch.

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