Sale! Yay for Leap Day!

For one day only!  Save 25% on your entire shopping cart of awesomeness!

Plan ahead and you'll have your Teacher Appreciation gifts for May :)

Code:  leap2016


Life Updated: Winter's here

It's been a while since I did a Life Updated post.  Shall we do one together?  

Jen Lara Life Updated Blog Collage

It finally feels like winter here in Maryland and as you can see from a few of the photos above, Jedi and I are quite pleased with the snow.  And no, I haven't been to our condo in Colorado once this winter, which may explain why I've been a little crabbier than normal.  Forgive me, won't you? However, I've been pretty distracted and fulfilled with....
  • Totally loving on sweet babies.  Miss O loves little babies, too.  And no, Mr. UpCyclist and I do not plan on having more kids.  We are a two kid family - one with two human legs and one with four furry legs is how we roll.
  • I am loving all the cool Kickstarter and GoFundMe projects out there like this cool coffee project and a relative who is chasing a dream.  I'm all about dream chasing.  Amen to dreams.
  • Did you see the graduation subway art I created for 2016?  It is ready-to-print and use in your DIY projects.  I'm a sucker for subway art and PicMonkey, my go-to.
  • Mr. UpCyclist had a birthday!  What do you think of the Superman-bicycling cake his uber-talented mom made him?  He is king of the mountain, for sure, and such a superstar husband, dad, and best friend.
  • My word for the year, Savor, sometimes speaks to me and sometimes doesn't.  I can't quite decide if that word is serving me this year or not.  Do you have a word?  Any advice on this mixed-feeling-of-resonance I'm in with Savor?
  • Did I tell you I'm completing my Co-Active coaching certification?  I am and wow, do I love learning and getting to use my coaching skills right away with coachees.  My coach training is hands-down the best training or degree I've earned to date.  Sorry, Michigan State, University of Colorado and Johns Hopkins.  Y'all are lovely, but for impact, coach training rules.
  • I am loving your Hello, Strategies purchases - thank you!  It means so much to Jackie + my hard work.  For you nickel lovers, we have another 1,000 nickels arriving next week!  Have you purchased yours yet?  Oh, you must!! (insert peer pressure emoji here)
In closing (to sound super official and grown-up), I'm having an eclectically great time this winter with only a splash of crabbiness thanks to no-Colorado.  How are you, friend?  


3 Best Tips for Talking with Kids & Teens

Guest post with Bite Size Biggie today

Hello!  I'm over at Bite Sized Biggie today sharing my three best tips for talking with kids and teens.

Join me!  

SPOILER ALERT:  The same three tips apply to talking with adults.  

Go see if you do all three tips or need to ramp some up.  No shame if you need some ramping. We all do :)



Intuition Challenge Wrap-up

A week ago, I challenged myself to (another) 7-day intuition challenge.  You can read more about what-the-heck an intuition challenge is here, but in the meantime, I wanted to share my learning burnings about my second, 7-days of Operation Intuition Over-ride.

Which is exactly what listening to your intuition provides.  It overrides any of the noise you have going on in your head & mind.  All of those stories you spin for yourself and think others are thinking are gone when your intuition speaks.

7-day Intuition Challenge Wrap-Up

Learning Burning #1:  My interpretation of my intuition speaking is like the photo above.  That photo is made up of thousands of little thumbnails of photos taken on my iPhone over a year.  Of course, you can't really see the individual photos as they are blurred.  Just one area is clear.  That's intuition.  It is clear and exacting.  Intuition doesn't mess around.  It speaks the truth without clouding or sugar-coating anything.  No beating around the bush with intuition.

Learning Burning #2:  The dictionary definition of intuition often includes a phrase like this, "...the power of knowing even without proof or evidence."  Intuition doesn't care about data or evidence. If you are one of those people who likes to measure what's going on around you - in hard numbers - intuition will be your nemesis.  Unless, of course, you embrace intuition and the power of knowing without a single shred of evidence why that knowing is 100% true.  Intuition is like those perfect SAT scores you read about.  No mistakes are made; every answer it gives is accurate and true.

Learning Burning #3:  You can't boss intuition around.  So many times during the week, I would ask my intuition a question and instead of answering my question, it answered its own.  For example I asked one night, "What should I do about that new product I want to develop with Jackie for Hello, Strategies?" Instead of answering my question, intuition told me to pet Jedi.

Yep.  You heard me.  Go pet my dog.  It's almost as if intuition knows that there is a time and place for everything.  After a long day - so much thinking & creating - my intuition knew it was time to stop and take care of me and connect with the ones I love.  No more "new product" thoughts, but instead, go be with your dog.  So simple.  And so I did because of this challenge. 

Learning Burning #4:  I'm certain social media - Instagram and Facebook specifically - don't impact my life deeply, but instead deplete my time-on-task.  Every single time I asked my intuition a question when I was on social media, it would say, "Go do XYZ."  Never once did it tell me to stay on any social media platform and cruise around.  In fact, I just asked my intuition what it thinks of social media in general.  It answered, time waster.  Ha!  As I type this, I am now thinking about how to enjoy the inspiration and connection I find through social media yet balance that with the other areas of my life I want to nurture, but do so less when my time is depleted on social media.

My intuition just told me to just do it.  Less time on social media, more time with the people I love and the projects that I am passionate about.

Wise intuition....

How did your 7-day #intuition challenge go?



Getting Stuff Done from Another Perspective

Once again, the topic came up in my life, how do I get so much done?  You know my thoughts about this from this blog post, but let's have another perspective, my co-author + friend + colleague, Dr. Jackie Gambone.  I knew so much about Jackie before we wrote Hello, Teaching Strategies together and launched our brand, but OMG!  I am so amazed at how quickly Jackie gets stuff done.  It's insane how quickly.  She makes me look like a snail.

Get Stuff Done with Dr. Jackie Gambone

When I asked Jackie her secret, here are a few tips to get stuff done she shared with me:
  1. Make a list of things that need to get done during a certain time period (i.e. for that week or that month).  Stick to your list and don't fall for shiny objects or activities that attempt to lure you away.
  2. Review your list and ask yourself how much time each task will actually take.   Plan ahead and use small (or large) pockets of time accordingly.
  3. Why put off until tomorrow what you can easily do today?  If a task isn’t too time consuming, just do it immediately! Then you can cross it off your list and move on. For example, you might put off calling to make an appointment, when in reality, it will only take a few moments to call and complete. Instead of putting it off, it could be checked off. Task done, easy peasy! - Jen: I must say, I've been doing this one lately a lot and wow, the small things aren't even making it to my to-do list.  They are done!
  4. Find the things on your list that are a bit more time-consuming and schedule in a few steps -baby steps - towards completion of that task each day. This helps the task remain manageable and might even make doing the task more fun. Imagine that!  

Bottom-line, we, as humans, tend to procrastinate (see more about procrastination here). However, imagine how much more accomplished we would feel to bang out a lengthy to-do list in a shorter amount of time. So gratifying! 

Jackie, I couldn't agree with you more!  Thanks for the tips!

What are your tips to get things done, fabulous blog reader?  

Jen (+ special, amazing, co-author, awesome Dr. Jackie Gambone)

Intuition Challenge

Join me. I am just about to start a second, 7-day intuition challenge.  What is such a thing?  It is 7-full days of tapping into your intuition.  You know, your gut.  What it thinks?  Says?  Knows?

Our intuition is very wise and often holds all the answers we need if we'd just take a moment to trust and listen to it.

Intuition challenge

I started my first intuition challenge a week ago with my friend, CM, and was so pleased with the results.  Each day - several times a day - I have been doing a gut check.  I ask my intuition what it is telling me at that exact moment in time.  For example, I just asked my intuition, what's going on? And it told me to write this blog post.  Don't delay.

Our intuition is like that.  It knows what we need at every moment of the day and doesn't sugarcoat anything.  In fact, one lesson I learned about intuition this past week is that it speaks in very, very short sentences - sometimes it will answer in one word or a concise sentence.  Last night, for example, I asked my intuition, what do I need?  It answered, sleep.  So simple and I was dreadfully tired, so my intuition was - once again - spot on.

What I also noticed about my intuition is it doesn't spend time worrying at all.  Not even for a split second!  It also doesn't spin stories about what other people are thinking or plotting.  For example, I just asked my intuition what Mr. UpCyclist needs from me and it answered, love.  See how straight-forward and wise it is?

Let's try a harder one.  A friend is going through a tough time, let's see what my intuition says about that.  Intuition, what's up with this tough time for my friend?  My intuition just told me, she needs to learn some bigger life lessons (which I translate to mean, my friend isn't being open to all the new learning that comes through struggle and challenge).  Now, that I'm writing this blog post and reflecting on the last week, intuition reminds me of one of those shakable magic 8 balls from the 70s, but with real meaning.  You can literally ask your intuition any question and it has the answer.

I have loved tapping into my intuition and trusting it knows so much this past week that I'm going to do another 7-day intuition challenge.  Want to join me?  Just commit to asking your intuition questions throughout the day and see what it has to say.  Oh, and one more tip.  Intuition is compassionate.  It is so wise it doesn't need to be catty.  If you do hear shades of cattiness, that's you speaking or another part of you not your wise intuition.

I'll check back in a week and on social media to see how you are doing.  Let's use the hashtag #intuitionchallenge to peek in on each other.