#26 Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

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.


Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

In the spirit of treating yourself as mentioned in yesterday’s post by making opportunities to enjoy some of the ‘finer’ things in life, why not drive something a little different? Remember when you rented a limo for prom or a wedding? It was a special occasion that called for a special vehicle. Your birthday, anniversary or the third Tuesday of May can also be considered a special day if you want it to be. Allow yourself to consider for a moment, would it be a sporty convertible or a luxurious sedan?

Go Sporty

If you live in a cool damp environment, perhaps sporty is the way to go. You might consider a weekend in a warm and dry region where you can rent a convertible coupe and spend the weekend exploring the region with the top down and the wind in your face. If you normally drive a SUV or truck and rarely get the opportunity to sit close to the road – consider something small that can take a turn tightly.

In the few markets that I investigated, you can rent a Porsche or a Maserati for under $300 a day. While that may seem like a lot of money, it’s about the same many spend on a fancy dinner with a great bottle of wine. I know a few men who would be downright giddy to get on the road behind the wheel of that dream car. What a great gift idea for a big birthday!

Go Luxury

Likewise, if you’ve been fiscally conservative in your vehicle choices through the years, it may be nice to go luxury. There’s a certain kind of pleasure when your body sinks into temperature controlled leather seats that conform to you body shape in a car offering more than necessary legroom as you absorb sunshine through the edge to edge sunroof over your head.

A Cadillac Escalade ESV or a Mercedes S450 may be the perfect ride if you’re in the mountains or exploring a cold city; especially if you need those great features of four wheel drive and traction control. There’s something comforting about having the girth of a large vehicle protecting you when the road conditions are less than supreme. What’s more luxurious than driving to the slopes in the comfort of a roomy, temperature controlled ride filled with all the mind comforting safety features one can wish for?

If you’re scheduled to take a vacation or if you have a special occasion coming up, why not treat yourself and …

Rent a sports or luxury car.


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#59 Ride a Horse

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.


Ride a Horse

I’ve spent a little time this winter watching a period drama on television where the only method of transportation was horseback and I have a client whose passion it is to ride; she trains year round. It reminds me of the couple of times my grandfather pulled me up onto his saddle and pranced me around his farm and a single trip down a Caribbean beach later in early adulthood. Both times, I recall feeling the horse beneath me and being amazed at the sense of power there.

Good for You

Horseback riding is actually good for you. Sitting on a horse, whether you know ‘how’ to ride, or not will challenge you physically. First, you’ll experience body awareness as you need to sit on the horse in a specific way in order stay balanced. As you do so, it’s likely that you’ll use muscles that aren’t used to being used – also, good for you (and those muscles). There’s an element of coordination required of riders that is also good for your body and posture.

The mental aspect of riding is also quite beneficial. If you are a recreational rider that only occasionally takes a trail ride – at the very least you are outdoors. Indeed, you are most likely in a beautiful location where there are endless opportunities for appreciation and gratitude.

If riding is a full blown hobby for you, the additional benefit is the connection and ultimately the relationship you have with your horse. Very different from that of a house pet, the energy shared with a horse takes trust to a whole new level when you are the rider. Often, that horse is five to ten times your size and while you are communicating through body movement and reign management, that horse can still do darn well do what it wants. When you work together, the symbiotic energy of the relationship is evident and can be quite lovely.

Grab the Chance

Obviously, we don’t all have the ability to step out and hop on a horse after we finish our morning coffee but if not, the next time you are on vacation and have the chance to take an excursion that involves a horseback ride along the beach, through the forest, or around the foothills, I hope you have the courage to…

Ride a Horse

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

#206 Take a Mental Day Off

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.


Take a mental health day off

When was the last time you took a day off for no reason other than to stay home and binge watch T.V., go on a hike, or picnic by a waterfall? All too often we save our vacation days for purposeful tasks or family vacations where the only thing that is different – is the scenery. Sometimes, we just need to have a mental health day.

Use sick days

All too often I find that people accumulate sick days in anticipation of having a major illness. I’ve known people to sell back more than six months of time that was accrued. While that was a nice ‘bonus’, most of us would have been better off taking one or two of those for no other reason than we wanted to have a champagne lunch with a friend.

Taking a Break

Everything is easier when we take a break. When we exhaust ourselves physically, we take a break. When we sit too long, we take a break, and when we’ve worked our fannies off – we deserve a break. Even taking a half day can make a difference. Leaving work at noon – grabbing a pedicure without waiting and getting into the house before anyone else can shift an entire perspective from raunchy to rested.

New Perspective

The little break you take with a mental health day can help you get a new perspective or at the very least, it can give you the metaphorical deep breath you need from work and the people there; stepping back from stress, controversy, or uncertainty. If we are seeking clarity or solutions, it may be the break that offers it to us.

Take a look at your work schedule as soon as you can and identify a time when you can…

Take a mental health day off.

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

#221 Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

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.


Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Are you someone who goes to the same beach town each year? Do you have a timeshare that you visit every vacation? Do you have a mountain cabin, lake house, or beach bungalow that is your home away from home? Does that mean that you rarely see other parts of the country or of the world?? Perhaps it’s time for you to explore a little and schedule a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

Ready for change

What type of landscape attracts you? What city have you always dreamed of visiting? Is there a place of solitude that has been tugging at your interest? If you weren’t tied to your family’s choice, where would you go? Are you bored to tears at the lake, looking for more nightlife than the crickets and fireflies offer or are you fed up with the traffic and city lights?

Where to go

Take a look at your calendar and a good hard look at a map… what part of the world is calling you? Maybe it’s just around the corner and is easily attainable. For destinations halfway around the world, it may take a bit more planning and saving but with dedication to the goal – still attainable. If you can’t decide then write down the top five and draw from a jar or close your eyes and point. If all else fails, try the old fashioned dart throw. After a destination is decided upon, investigate and plan. Take a look at all your options and put together a budget.

Pleasurable anticipation

Allow the anticipation to build as you imagine yourself in a new vacation spot. It will be new and exciting… perhaps a bit strange if you’ve been used to a particular location but discovering new things is responsible for pleasure more often than  not. A fresh location to experience rest and relaxation may be just the thing you need this year so go ahead and…

Plan a vacation to somewhere you’ve never been.

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

#286 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.


Explore Google Earth

I’ve always been a map lover. My dad taught me to read a map when I was young and ever since, I’ve studied maps for fun. I enjoy knowing how to get from here to there more efficiently, with more scenery, or with a specific stop in-between. It’s no surprise then that I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being able to tap into Google Earth.

For anyone who doesn’t know – Google Earth is Google’s effort of bringing the world to our fingertips – at least visually.  Almost anywhere the Google car – with all of its virtual cameras – has traveled across the globe – you can see and explore with internet access.

Google Earth Capture

Google Earth

When a family member moved to Europe, I was able to type in the address and virtually explore the street they lived on, the park nearby, and landmarks they were excited to visit. Since I couldn’t get there right away, it was a way to feel connected to their new experience.

I’ve sat with my children and explored the town where I grew up, the schools I’ve attended, and had a virtual ‘drive by’ of some of my favorite childhood haunts. I loved seeing where my parents were raised and places they’ve talked about.

When I’m planning a vacation, I explore the area ‘virtually’ a little just to get my bearings and bolster the anticipation.  When I want to go somewhere that isn’t in my budget or when I don’t have time available but want to simulate a little vacation experience – I get on Google Earth and ‘take a little vacation’ by visiting places that seem fun to see. What does it look like from the top of Mount Olympus in Washington state? Google Earth will take you there.

Beware: you can lost in the wonders of the planet and spend far too much time exploring … but it’s amazing and fun and interesting; some would say downright educational. So, the next time you want to take a little trip but don’t have the time or money – grab a cup of coffee, a cold beer, or a glass of wine and sit down to …

Explore Google Earth.

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


Deep Disappointment = Yuck!

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”  – Unknown

I wasn’t working for the first time since I was a teen. Francis had a couple of neighborhood buddies and would ‘go out to play’ with Matthew and/or Andrew almost every summer day it was an option. Hubby went to work. Usually we would have our morning together and then he would leave to see clients. He often didn’t return until late evening. My days were long and rather lonely. We were just keeping our chin up financially so there wasn’t much flexibility in the budget for exploration or home improvement although I was really good at making something from nothing and by all measures, we had a lovely home.

I was restless. There was a significant period of time where the realization that I had turned 30 and had not yet effected the world in a profound or meaningful way was depressing me.

Hubby and I were often in sync when we were dreaming about building something – the dream, the prep, and the implementation – they were the glue that spurred and motivated us to work together effectively. He moved to another company, which generated a tremendous amount of work that we agreed to do together. I maintained my licenses so I was able to contribute / help in a sizable way. I essentially became his assistant and I now had a purpose beyond being a house sitter while Francis went out to play.

Our days were fairly typical for a small family of three. We did the best we could – day by day – and settled into a fairly symbiotic routine.

Fast forward a year to the summer of 1991. We had some financial successes that year and we made the decision to take Francis to Walt Disney World for vacation. My twin (half) sisters were turning 15 that summer and we invited them to join us. I missed being physically close to my family and being a part of their day to day lives so it was great to be with them for an extended period.

I’m a spendthrift when necessary. Especially back then, I was able to stretch a dollar further than your average rubber band. We were going to camp in WDW so we had to drive – allowing for transportation of all the camping equipment. We drove to Virginia and took the Auto Train from Lorton to Sanford, FL.

I had worked on the Amtrak trains for several years while I was in California going to college and I was excited to share some of the experience with my family. When I booked our ‘coach’ tickets on an overnight train, I really hadn’t given it any thought because I knew that the seats reclined to an almost prone position. I hadn’t though, considered the impact of sleeping out-in-the-open for the rest of us. Really, those kids were able to sleep almost anywhere – it was us, as adults that had a more difficult time. I had the upper hand as I knew what to expect but Hubby wasn’t happy. He wasn’t comfortable and he didn’t really sleep. Deep breath Leslyn – you are on vacation.

After a rough evening, we at least woke to find ourselves in Florida. The beauty of the Auto Train is that upon arrival in FL, you just get in your own car and continue the trip. It was a tight squeeze for the 5 of us but we made it to the campground that I had found on our VERY new internet. It was the prudent alternative and we discovered why when we arrived to find that the only trees on the property were babies, barely 5 feet tall. For any of you who may have ever gone tent camping, you’ll realize immediately that tent’ers rely on trees to tie off their tents. To make it more insane, the tent we were using was a borrowed CANVAS army tent that slept 8 – I thought it would all be easy. Well, except that I never took the summer Floridian weather into account. Apparently, it will often rain every afternoon in the manner of gusty, fast moving thunderstorms.

The first one we experienced was the day of our arrival and it rolled in while one of the girls and I were at the grocery store. We returned to the campground to find Hubby attempting to yell directions over thunderclaps, in between lightning strikes while Francis tried to hold a tent line (he was actually flapping in the wind) and sister #2 in tears. Everything that had not been in the car (which was with us at the store) was soaking wet and the tent looked like a pool float with a broken air stem – completely deflated – flat on the ground. This vacation wasn’t starting well.

The other thing we didn’t know about Florida weather is that by 9 am it was 90 degrees outside. Our canvas tent soaked that summer sun like a dry sponge and so my grand plan to save money by eating breakfast at camp and packing lunches went right down the sewer. Within an hour after waking, we were mostly huddled in the air conditioned bathhouses, attempting to muster enough courage to spend the day waiting in line while we were either bathed in our own perspiration or completely soaked by a drenching downpour. My advice to all of you reading this… don’t go tent camping in Florida in the month of July. Ever.

The bulk of our vacation was good. The twins quarreled from time to time; Hubby’s patience was challenged a fair amount; and I played mediator a time or two. We were there for two solid weeks over the 4th of July (which, as a note – WDW offered the most amazing fireworks display I’ve ever waited 6 hours to see). It continued to be agonizingly hot. The last weekend we were there, an air conditioned cabin became available at the campground and we instantly agreed to rent it. I’m not sure I ever again slept as good as I did that first night in air conditioning after 11 days of hot tent resting.

We were exhausted when we got on that train to go home; not only from heat distress and sleep deprivation but because as most people who’ve had a WDW vacation would agree – you need a vacation from that vacation. It’s go, go, go… each day. It’s great; but it’s tiring. So, by the time evening fell and we were well on the way home, it was apparent that sleeping in the coach train seats was going to be challenging once again. Hubby, feeling frustrated and wealthy, approached the conductor to see if there were any sleeping car accommodations open. “Yes, there is one – it sleeps two” he said. “I’ll take it” says Hubby.

I turned my head, not really sure if I had heard that exchange correctly. “It only sleeps two?” I asked? “Yea, you and I can get a good night’s sleep. The kids will be fine here” replies Hubby.

Um… It took a moment for this idea to sink into my head. He was willing to let twin 15-year-old girls and a 7-year-old boy hang out alone, on a train full of strangers. Hmm. I wasn’t sure if that was just ignorance about parenting / caring for children or if it was a chilling example of a selfish disposition. In either case, it didn’t set well with my personal value structure nor did it fit inside my definition of responsible behavior. He went anyway – I slept in the coach section with the kids.

I recall feeling deeply disappointed that night. I was unable to relate with the decision he had made. I felt disconnected and distant. In my mind, that experience provided me with important information but it didn’t fit into my vision. It wasn’t in accord with what I wanted my world to look like. I filed it away – or perhaps a better description is that I stuffed it deep into the back of the filing cabinet in a folder that was labeled… ‘YUCK’.

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