So, Tell me What you Want, What you Really Really Want


Do you “wannabe” famous like the Spice Girls? Or just have cool shoes?

You want something so, so bad. You visualize it, take action steps to get it,  you talk about it –  live it and breathe it. But the thing you want never seems to come. Or there’s this scenario: You want something for so, so  long and once you have it, you don’t want it anymore – now you want something else.

Do either of these sound familiar?

In my coaching practice we do a lot of work on living a life based on your own personal value system. Discovering what you value most and living a value based life creates meaning, purpose and happiness every single day! I have come up with a quick exercise to break down the things that we want into the value hidden underneath. This can give you the clarity to know if it’s something you still really want (then keep on trucking!) or if there is something else that can assist you in honoring the value and give you the feelings that you are looking for.

Think of one thing that you really want in your life right now. Maybe it’s to be in shape, have your own flourishing business or to find your soul mate. After you have brought this desire to the forefront of your mind ask yourself  “Why is this important?” After you ask that question, ask that same question again in response to your answer until you come up with the hidden value underneath that want.


Here are two examples of what I mean:


I really want to lose 20 pounds.

Why is this important? I want to knock ’em dead at my high school reunion.

Why is this important? I want everyone to see how happy I am.

Why is this important? Everyone made fun of me in high school.

Why is this important? I never fit in.

Hidden Value: Acceptance


Another Example:

I want to be a world traveler.

Why is that important? I have been stuck in this town my whole life.

Why is that important? My job only gives me three weeks off a year and I usually spend that time doing what my wife wants to do.

Why is that important? I am a grown person and I should get to do what I want to do sometimes.

Hidden Value: Freedom


Once you have broken down your wants into values, you don’t have to wait until you have lost the weight or have the resources to travel the world to feel the feelings that you are longing for. You now can find alternative ways to have the feelings of acceptance and freedom. You may still want the original things, however,  you may also realize that you can start enjoying the feelings behind them right away. The next thing you can ask yourself once you know what value you want to honor is:


How can I honor my value of _______ right now

How can I add this feeling of _______ into my every day life?

In order to feel this way and honor this value, what things in my life do I have to say no to?

What do I have to say yes to?


You may realize that if you are looking for a feeling of acceptance, you may need to say “No” to comparing yourself to others on Social Media. You may have to say “Yes” to spending time doing self-love activities or with people that love you unconditionally.  You can also ask yourself who you need to be in order to get the value and feelings of acceptance in your life. More accepting towards others? More patient?


Having this level of self-discovery and awareness can help you clearly see why you want the things you want and what lies underneath your desires. After doing this exercise with each of the things that you want, you may find yourself tweaking your goals a little bit, or creating some new goals to really honor the values you have hidden underneath all of your longings.


My challenge for you is to come up with your top three goals or desires and try this for yourself. You may find that you are happier and more fulfilled on your journey towards your destiny if you start honoring these values – and yourself – RIGHT NOW!!

What were Veruca Salt’s values behind what she wanted?





I’ve Been Doing Small, Now it’s Time to do Some Big!

I have been slowing down on my blog posts, not because of my lack of Passion. I have given myself permission to only do things that I believe are essential. As much as I love this blog, I need time to dedicate to something even more meaningful right now. My Mission.

My Logo thanks to my friend Meghan Lucas-Maguire

My Logo thanks to my friend Meghan Lucas-Maguire 

The definition of Mission I am using here is calling, something even bigger than Passion. After many years of trying to create meaningful work, I finally have the confidence to turn my Passion for Living Big and Small into something really Big –

Live Big and Small Coaching and Consulting!

I am enrolled in a Professional Coaching Institute, working towards becoming certified as a Professional Coach. During my training, I have been going through extensive transformation in my own life. In the courses I am taking in Ft. Lauderdale we coach each other. It is intense and enlightening. I am uncovering my true values and how to honor them in everything that I do. I am discovering what is most important to me. I am learning how be and what to do to create and maintain the life of my dreams. I am finding out that perception can be changed into a positive outlook in just a moment. Most importantly, I have certainty that I will be able to help my clients become the most magnificent versions of themselves. I have never enjoyed learning anything so much. It’s exceptional. I am giddy, excited, dedicated, and focused. I believe that the simple task of decluttering my home has transcended into finding my Mission. I am eternally grateful for finding this path, and for being able to share what I learn with others.

I have many things brewing and I have tons of work to do. This means you may hear from infrequently over the next several months. I am committed to this blog because I love it, and you so much. I intend to intertwine all of it, but for now I have to learn, plan, practice, strategize, and market. I also have to learn some new technical skills to get my virtual office set up. I have to say “no” to lots of things right now so I can say “yes” for some Big things to come. I am also making it a priority not to become “crazy busy.” I intend to work hard on my actions while still taking care of my other values. (I will post about my condensed version of self-care I call my “wee-treats” soon)!

I am currently creating the services I am going to offer and working with several people. I will let you know when I am officially taking on new clients! And a special thanks to those who have allowed me to practice on you! I will not forget your openness and vulnerability.

I hope you stay tuned as I continue to provide my insight, experiments and opinions when I feel compelled to share. Thank you for being here for me. You have given me more than you will ever know. My true desire is for everyone to find their Mission, and I will do whatever I can to help make it as true for you as it is for me.


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Letting Go With Flames and Grace

Several months ago my husband and I drove four hours south to beautiful Virginia Key Beach to attend an art and music festival. Upon arrival, I found myself connecting with someone new. We quickly began discussing our passions and she told me that she was a Live Big and Small reader and it was making a difference in her life. She was moved by my story and inspired by my message. I was beaming with pride. We spent a long time talking and sharing our stories and I found her fascinating. She had taken her simplifying much further than I had and loved the results. I went to sleep that night knowing that I had met a new forever friend.

The next day I heard that there was an accident and my new friend’s camper caught on fire and everything was lost. I found out that it was filled with almost everything she owned, comfortably decorated for living and travel. As I approached to see how she was doing I did not see what I expected to see at all. Nobody was  running around frantically angrily cursing. Nobody was even sad! What I found was  my friend and her boyfriend smiling and celebrating that the break light on the trailer was fixed so that they could get the camper home safely. I was unexpectedly met with a huge hug and a thank-you for helping her deal with this experience. We held each other and I cried and she said amazing things into my ear. She told me that people are much more important than things. She told me how this experience has brought her closer to her partner and to her community as they all came together to offer support, camping gear and love. She was so calm, kind and together. She was so grateful that nobody was hurt. She had lost so many of her belongings – she had already done her downsizing and all of her favorite things were there in her camper and it was all gone. They managed to save their camera, which is great because her boyfriend is a photographer. I told her that I was so impressed with her attitude. I can’t imagine having no negativity through something so difficult. Then her boyfriend came over and they told me their plans. They were going to buy a boat. They were taking something that could have been a tragedy and turned it into an opportunity.

As much as my new friend said that I had helped her, she is the one who has helped me more than she could ever know. I am  going to remember to think of her demeanor the next time I face something unpleasant. I am never going to forget her grace in her time of loss. I have always chosen what I was going to give away. I can’t imagine watching it all go up in a burst of flames.
My journey so far has been incredible. Realizing that simplicity is a stepping stone to a happy, meaningful, stress(less) and carefree life full of love and experience has been an incredible discovery.  The more that goes, the better it gets. And my friend is right. People are far more important than all the things!

Core Value Living Series – Relationships

What are core values?

I have decided that I want to make sure that the activities and tasks that I choose to do align with my beliefs and values. I had been getting off-track a lot lately and finding that I was doing things that were not really important to me. Basically, I was doing the wrong things. I learned about these five core values during my work with Tony Robbins. Having a clear sense of what I truly value has helped me to stop wasting time on things that do not really matter and to manage my time so that I can do what I really want to do. I have adopted these values as my own as everything that is important to me falls under one of these values. I intend to write a post about my experiences in each of these areas over time and I am calling it my Core Value Living Series.

Here are my core values based on the teachings of Tony Robbins:

  • Relationships
  • Health
  • Growth
  • Passion
  • Contribution



Nature vs. nurture

One of the core values in my life are my relationships. I tend to spend more time on other values like my health and personal growth and run out of time for the people I have chosen to be a part of my life. Neglecting my relationships or taking for granted that they will take care of themselves has made it difficult for me to become intimate with anyone. Deciding to be intentional with my activities gives me the opportunity to allot time for nurturing my relationships. I used to look at time with friends and family as frivolous and non-productive. I came to realize that this is out of line with my belief system and changes needed to be made. I am slowly starting to do things like scheduling a walk with a dear friend, a date with my husband or an outing with a group of friends. I put these activities on my to-do list and make sure I allot the time for these activities.  I also intend to continue to create balance between my core values so that I may lead a well-rounded life including all of the things I value.

You can’t buy relationships

Sometimes, purchasing a material possession as a gift for someone is appropriate and brings them joy or value. The problem can be that sometimes that’s all we do and gifts are given in lieu of spending time together. Creating memories and having experiences with the people you care about is what it’s all about. Making space for people and feeling that they have made the space in their lives for you is the best present money cannot buy. In this hectic world it’s a downright precious commodity.

Don’t let anyone take your sparkle

I started this process slow, first figuring out who was the most important to me, who I wanted to be closer with and who I needed to move out of my life. I know it sounds harsh, but this is my life and my time and I intend to spend it with people who add value to it.  I want my relationships to be a two way street. I want to be around people who have similar values. I want to spend time with people who want to grow. I want to be around people who uplift me and want to be uplifted. After I figured out who I wanted to be closer with, I simply made visits, dates, phone calls, cards and text messages a priority and started slowly scheduling them into my days. I even have a pen pal!

Getting to know me, getting to know all about me

There was one more relationship that needed attention, my relationship with myself! I know that I told you that I spend a lot of time on my personal development, however my relationship with myself is not the same thing. So I decided to take myself on a date! Many years ago I did a process called “The Artist’s Way” and I took myself on several “Artist Dates”. The dates were so much fun and I remember exactly what I did and how I felt on the date… and that was over ten years ago! These dates served to nurture my relationship with myself. They allowed me to create memories and have experiences. They even allowed me to get to know myself better! Giving myself permission to take myself out gave me a lighter feeling about everything else I had to do that day. Even that week! Even now! It was hard to block out the time. I felt guilty at first, but now I feel refreshed and happy and light. I intend to schedule more dates with myself as often as I can. The relationship I have with myself needs to be nurtured too. It will help me be more grounded and ready to nurture the other relationships in my life. I also get to pick all of my favorite things to do without compromising. Bonus!

Make room for what matters to you

Sometimes we can get caught up in our lives doing things that do not align with the values we have created for ourselves. Some of us have not even identified our core values, but know in our hearts what we are really passionate about. I feel safe to say that as humans we all need to make our relationships a core value in our lives. Giving the gift of our time, being fully present when we do spend that time (my advice – turn off your device) and being grateful for having that person in your life should align with everybody’s priorities.

Exercise in prioritizing your priorities

Make a list of your core values. Use Tony’s five if you like. Now take your daily or weekly to-do list and compare the list to your core values. How many of the things on your list align with your values? How can you stop adding so many things to your list and your life that do not match up with who you want to be? What kinds of things can you begin to take away so that you can add what matters most to you? Remember, if you don’t know what your priorities are, just look at what you did this week. There is your list of priorities. If you said “yikes” it’s time to start being true to yourself and doing what matters most to you.


You have read “Core Value Living Series – Relationships” here first on Live Big and Small. Please leave your comments, suggestions or ideas about your core values in the comments. Thank you so much for being a part of this amazing community of like-minded people who want to live a more meaningful life with less.



Needing Less Instead of Making More

Instead of focusing on your income, why not focus on your outcome?

Me, stuck working on Cinco de Mayo.

Me, stuck working on Cinco de Mayo.

Working as hard as we can to make as much money as possible to buy the nicest things we can is the way that most people live. I have lived most of my life above my means. I have worked too long at a job that I did not like because of the money I made there, not because it was meaningful work. I worked paycheck to paycheck just to pay off debt that I had accrued because I wanted more things than I could afford to pay for. I have desired material belongings only to find that once I owned them they still did not make me happy. I have run in the rat race and lived a life that revolved around making and spending money, only to feel a false sense of fulfillment. I also worked so hard that I did not have time to enjoy my family and friends or take care of myself properly. I had a very unhealthy relationship with money. My goals and dreams consisted of wealth. To me money equaled happiness. When I decided to become less materialistic and put people and experiences over possessions, I had a great revelation. Instead of making more, I thought I would try to need less. Needing less money gave me the opportunity to leave the job that I did not like, to work part time at a meaningful job that I did like and focus on my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I would not have been able to work part time if I did not have a supportive husband. We are still trying to work out the kinks and I will be flexible to working more to make money for things like travel and savings. My ultimate goal is to run my own business helping people and being paid for doing meaningful work that I love. Working is a part of life. Being able to have meaningful work can make life so much more fulfilling. Everyone has a different situation. I am not suggesting for everyone to quit your jobs without being prepared. What I am suggesting is to take this information and try a new way of thinking to see if needing less money instead of working so hard to make more money could add value to your lives. The benefits can range from taking an extra vacation a year to accepting a dream job that you love that pays less money than you used to need.

Here are some ways that I have found to need less money

Cancel the cable: This not only saves on your monthly bill, but it will give you much more time to do other things. You will get over missing your favorite shows within weeks and you will never have to watch an unwanted commercial again. When I cancelled my cable I signed up for Netflix. The cost is only $8.00 a month and I can watch documentaries or an occasional movie on the weekend.

Work out, outside: Cancel your gym membership and walk, jog or bike outside. Spending time in nature (even if your nature is a city street, pigeons count!) instead of a smelly gym is great for your well-being and your physique. When the weather is kind of frightful I find jumping on my mini trampoline is delightful. It’s a fun way to do cardio indoors. My trampoline was only $25.00 brand new at a thrift store. You can also find used exercise equipment like a treadmill or stair climber for a one-time investment and save those monthly gym fees.

Stop comfort shopping: In the past I used shopping to feel better about myself. A new dress and strappy sandals would boost my self-esteem and lift my spirits. But this was only a temporary fix. As soon as the new digs came off I was deeper in debt, my closet was even more unmanageable and I would soon be looking for my next score. This cycle was unhealthy and expensive. Since I have been a “mad minimizer” I no longer feel a buzz from shopping. I know that shopping leads to debt and eventually having to get rid of the things anyway. Nowadays I buy things that I really need. I have also learned other ways to feel better about myself and keep my spirits high, without the crash.

Buy quality: When shopping for things that you need, buy things that you will not have to replace. Investing more money on quality items when you need them will help you need less money in the future because they will not wear out. This popular website sells things that are supposed to last a lifetime.

Do the chores: When I was working very hard at a draining job, my husband and I decided to hire people to do things that we did not have time to do. We had someone to run errands, do housework and mow the lawn so that we would have more quality time together. When I decided to quit the job that made me unhappy we were back to doing all of our chores SAM_0155ourselves. The strange thing that happened is I now actually enjoy the chores that I used to dread. I find cleaning and taking care of the house brings me pleasure. Part of the reason is that I am not rushing through the tasks like I used to do when I was in such a time crunch. I am taking my time, taking pride in my work and using cleaning as a meditation. I even enjoy washing the dishes! I recommend this great book about being mindful while doing chores. I have also read about people making their chores into games. By making my chores enjoyable I am able to move through my day doing things I enjoy instead of things that I dislike. I am taking this practice into other areas as well such as running errands and packing for a trip. Doing these things myself instead of paying someone to do them can be a great way to need less money.

Try a trade: Trading a service is another way to keep your money in your pocket. Find things that you spend money on but could trade something for. How about offering to color your friend’s roots for a massage or exchanging pedicures with a friend? Let your little sister do laundry at your house in exchange for pet sitting. Make a list of things that you can do and a list of things you pay money for. Get creative! Some people hate to cook and would love a pot of soup in exchange for taking you out for Happy Hour. These all sound like win-win’s to me!


Here are some other tips for lifelong success to need less money

Pay off all debt: Pay off all of your credit cards. Pay off your car, or better yet, live without a car Learn why Dave Ramsey believes that buying a new car is a bad investment.  Take good care of the one you have and plan on keeping it.


Pay premiums in full: Most companies give you a size-able discount if you pay your full premiums instead of making monthly payments. We save almost $300 per year on our auto insurance if we make a big payment bi-annually instead of making smaller payments monthly.

Figure out how much money is needed: Studies about happiness say again and again that money can bring you closer to happiness if you are poor and do not have your basic needs met. The same studies also say that after a certain dollar amount, more money does not mean happier people. People who run in the rat race seem to spend more time at work, have more stress and live above their means by buying things that they believe will bring them happiness. This article offers suggestions on how much money per household people need to be happy. I like this article because it goes by state. I only need half the money that I needed in California to be happy here in Florida! Figure out your magic number. Do your budget and include things like saving for retirement and vacations. Also keep in mind that if you are on a path of needing less, this number should drop.

You have read “Needing Less Instead of Making More” here first on Live Big and Small. Please leave your comments, suggestions or ideas on how you need less money in the comments. Thank you so much for being a part of this amazing community of like-minded people who want to live a more meaningful life.

Simply Yours,


My Big and Small One Year Minimalist Message


Happy Birthday Live Big and Small! 

It’s the first anniversary of Live Big and Small so I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of my experiences of this past year with you. When I started my minimalism journey about two years ago I had my eye on the prize. I wanted to be a minimalist! At the time, to me, minimalism meant getting rid of most of our belongings and moving into a tiny place. My husband Smiley was not keen on that idea per se, however he did get into getting rid of our stuff pretty quickly. He was a rock star at starting an eBay business and clearing out our cluttered shed, garage and outside areas as well as doing at least three passes through each room, getting rid of anything he thought he would not use. As we started unloading truckloads of stuff and our home was becoming less and less cluttered I got more and more into it. Getting rid of stuff was as addictive to me as shopping ever was! I had a new zest for life and I really believe that I was the last person anyone would have ever pegged as a minimalist in the making!

The more progress we made, the more progress I wanted to make. I started to become frustrated because things were not moving fast enough for me. Because I decided to quit my good paying sales job and take a lower paying but more meaningful job, it was important to Smiley that we tried to sell as much as we could to help with the missing income. He also had a good point that it was an opportunity to learn how to do an online business in hopes that we could find a mobile source of income. He was right about both of these things, so I worked hard to maintain patience throughout our minimizing process. Meanwhile, I was working on my blog with the hopes of making it into a business and relentlessly working on myself to create a new lifestyle that meant less attention on material things and more attention on simple joys. The problem was that I could not be satisfied with how far we had come. Instead of celebrating how much space we had in our cupboards I would sigh and think to myself, “I will never be a minimalist”.

Suddenly life happened to us. We were served with a No Fault eviction notice! We were renting a wonderful house that we loved for the past five years and did not want to move until we had scaled down enough to be able to fit into a small place and decided whether we wanted to buy or continue to rent. We also wanted to have the time to choose a neighborhood that was right for us with either nature nearby or the benefits of “city” life. Still obsessed with being a minimalist, I tried to see the bright side and suggested that we look for a small apartment or little house. I also thought this was a great opportunity to find a place with lower rent. That would put us right in line with “needing less money” which was my newest and biggest belief. We had to consider Bongo, our aging Jack Russell Terrier, and the fact that we still had tons of things we were trying to sell. We could not settle on a new home within the six weeks that they gave us, so we desperately put most of our belongings in storage and moved into a furnished beach cottage. With the options being (A) living in a hotel or (B) being homeless, I was very proud of finding such an adorable temporary place to live (and did I mention the part that it was on the beach?). I learned so much living in that beach cottage. I learned that 500 square feet was not enough for us at the time. I also learned that having a tiny kitchen cramped our style as we both have hobbies that revolve around the kitchen. I learned that Bongo really appreciates having her own private fenced in yard. I also learned that I loved living on the beach and being surrounded by all of that beautiful nature every day! I enjoyed not having to do so much cleaning and not having any projects to do, living with a minimal wardrobe and not much space for a lot of food choices. There were far less chores and more time to enjoy life. I called it my “Salt Life” and I even got one of those stickers for my car (I know, it’s a brand name, but I really like the saying!). During this beach-loving time there was always something over our heads. This was only temporary and we still needed to find a permanent home for ourselves. The cottage was only available until December 22nd so that gave us about four months to test out Small living and find a new home that we would hopefully have Big love for.



We looked at many beach cottages that were so charming but did not have a yard for Bongo, or had too many stairs for her, or had no room for us to have all of the stuff that we still owned and were still trying to unload from our lives. We considered all sorts of things like keeping a storage unit (yuck!), buying a storage shed or building a fence at a rental for Bongo. None of these things were going to work and we ended up, at the last minute (whew!), finding a place to call home. The home was a two-bedroom house with a garage and a pool with a serene and beautiful back yard. The neighborhood was quirky, gorgeous and right near the water. This was not a large house but it was almost as big as our old house. This was not the home my minimalist-self wanted. But when I walked inside my heart sang. Smiley and I looked at each other, held hands and smiled. We could feel it in our hearts. This was our new home.

I went back and forth between having feelings of joy, excitement and relief (we really had no place to go!), and feelings of defeat, disappointment, hypocrisy, guilt and shame. I was no kind of minimalist! I felt so torn up that I did not even feel like writing for my blog anymore. I felt like an outright fraud. I really wanted to take that life impediment and magically, through my wondrous talents, turn it into a gift. Then I wanted to turn that gift into a story that would end happily ever after. A minimalist tale that would inspire thousands! The story ends with Pippy, Smiley and Bongo living in a tiny beach shack with nothing but love keeping them happy. I wanted to tell the story of how I took an eviction notice and turned it into a dream come true. I was trying to live my life so that I could tell a good story. These desires to become this master minimalist were not coming from my heart. I had a timeline. I wanted my story to be perfect. I wanted to be the one who was able to go down to 100 items or to be able to live off of “no money“. I was trying to make life happen for us without considering my marriage, my lifestyle or reality.


IMG_1194 IMG_1196 IMG_1197 IMG_1199 IMG_1202

I had made the decision to move into the “Harmony House” and my only choice was to make the best of it. This was not hard considering we had moved into the prettiest house ever in a magical forest-like neighborhood. We started unpacking and we put more and more into the “get rid of” pile in the garage. We hung our favorite things on the walls. We put in the furniture that we had but we left out several pieces. We filled up our garage with everything that we did not want in the house for now. Our house started looking like home (we still need curtains) and I did not stop writing blogs. I was so happy in our new home and having so much fun exploring the new neighborhood that I did not feel like a fraud anymore! I gave it a lot of thought and realized that being a minimalist is not a badge of honor. There is no clear description of what it actually means and I would rather be happy than call myself a minimalist. I also realized that I could do both.







What I have learned this year while trying to become a minimalist

  • To be able to wait without doing anything and not be bored
  • To live with a wardrobe of 50 pieces (including shoes!)
  • To slow down and enjoy simple tasks (even housework!)
  • To practice more patience
  • To say no to things I don’t want to do
  • To shop So. Much. Less.
  • To travel with less
  • To need less money
  • I do not need a membership card to be a minimalist
  • That being a minimalist is so much more than just getting rid of stuff
  • It’s not the size of your house, it’s the size of your heart that matters
  • To stop being so hard on myself and enjoy the process
  • That minimalism is not a means to an end. Minimalism is just the beginning!
  • That surrounding myself with things, people and activities that I love is all I 
  • That the more I let go of, the more room there is in my heart for what really 


“Love people, use things.” ~ Joshua Fields Millburn


Where I will go?

We are all on our own journey. Trying to push us (and all of our crap) into a tiny space when we were just not ready was not realistic, not fair to my husband or to my dog. Some people can do it really quickly and have awesome stories to inspire others. They are the ones who continue to inspire me! Pushing hard to be a minimalist is not going to be my way to a meaningful life anymore. Instead of feeling bad about how far I have to go I have decided that I am already there! I do not dream of being a minimalist anymore. I dream to be a person who lives for people and experiences instead of material belongings. I strive to think hard before I spend my money 
because I know how much power there is in money. I will continue to see where this journey takes me and to keep my eye on the prize. The prize is a life full of meaning and love. And knowing that I have been a minimalist the whole time is icing on the cake.

You have read: “My Big and Small One Year Minimalist Message” here first on Live Big and Small. I appreciate your continued support as we go through this journey of simplicity and love together. I value your comments and questions. You can also sign up to receive my posts via email. Cheers to a great Big and Small year!

Living a Creative Life, Simply


Living a Creative Life

Everyone is a creative being. Living a creative life simply means expressing yourself by doing things that you love to do. You do not have to be an artist or a writer to live a creative life. Creativity can be expressed in many forms. Finding ways to be creative every day can lead to a more fun, colorful and enriched life. You will notice that people are drawn to you for more than just your intelligence or your sense of humor. Being creative in your life makes the world more beautiful and interesting for everyone around you.

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Benefits of Creativity

  • Improves health
  • Reduces stress
  • Boosts self-confidence
  • Stimulates the brain
  • Makes life more enjoyable


Creative Confidence

Being a perfectionist when it comes to your creativity can be stifling. Being afraid or unwilling to create because you are worrying about what someone will think or you just don’t think you are good enough can stunt creative growth. Even though you are not a natural at the creative endeavor that interests you does not mean that you cannot enjoy the activity. Finding ways to be creative in your everyday life can also help build creative confidence. Allowing yourself to try new things, even though you are not the best, gives you the opportunity to do more in your life. Just sticking with what you excel at limits your creative possibilities. Going out of the box with your creativity, without the expectation that you will be good, can be fun if taken with a sense of humor. When you remove the expectations you may even surprise yourself at how good you are at those things.


All the Things

I’ve always been a “Jack of all Trades” type of person trying a little of this and a little of that. I have never had any problems with being interested in things. To me, there is so much to learn and do that I want to do all the things! The problem with doing all the things is you need all the things. Creative supplies take up a lot of space in my home. I have had many whims and each time a whole slew of supplies to go along with them. During my downsizing journey I had a lot of trouble letting go of anything that I considered a hobby. Eventually I decided to start choosing what my favorite hobbies were. I let go of the supplies that I had never used and the ones I decided that it was time to move on from. There were a few crafts that did not serve my purposes (like candy making) so I got rid of that stuff to make room for my beauty product making supplies. I also chose two new creative endeavors to try in 2016. By streamlining my creative activities I was able to make space in my home and in my life to focus on the things that I really love. By no means am I going to be any less creative. I am just going to focus more on the things I love most and make space for those things. The best part about this is that I can always change my mind. Creativity is supposed to be fun! I now feel less bogged down by all the stuff, less guilty for housing it all and not using it and less responsibility for having to do projects or crafts.


Squeeze It In

It is a constant struggle for me to become un-busy. That is a subject for another post because being too busy for creativity can really zap the zest out of life. For those of us who have not been able to wash the busy out of our lives just yet, there are still ways to squeeze in a creative life. You just have to be creative about it!


Creative Ways to be Creative

  • Cooking
  • Dressing with flair
  • Bling your things
  • Singing while you drive
  • Doodle while you are on hold on the phone
  • Taking pictures
  • Giftwrap
  • Nail art
  • Cut flowers for your home
  • Adult coloring books
  • Journaling


Go For It

No one can do it exactly like you. No one has the same perspective as you. No one has your voice or creates exactly the way you do. We are all unique, creative creatures and the world deserves to see what we’ve got! We all have our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to creativity. Getting to know your creative self is key in getting the most enjoyment out of your creative life. It has taken me a long while to be ok with my strengths and weaknesses and not let my weaknesses stand in the way of things that I love to do. I have always loved to draw and make signs, but never felt confident that they were good enough. Instead of not doing it I decided to enroll in a 40-day online doodle school. I am doing this for me and I am really enjoying my little improvements. I am even using my own doodles for my blog now. IMG_1242


Taking Creativity to a New Level

Being able to do your passion for work is the dream of many people. Some people make a living with their passions. Some people are passionate about what they do for a living. The key is keeping the fun and spark alive in the creative things you do so that it does not become mundane. I’ve always loved being an entertainer. I followed my heart to Hollywood only to find out that I was much happier playing drums and percussion instruments than being an actor. You never know where your passions will take you. The important thing to remember is that your creative life is there for you to enjoy. If you do not enjoy it then it’s probably time to find another way to express yourself. Currently, playing music and writing are my favorite ways to express myself. If I end up making a living from these things and still love doing them – I will take that as a bonus! I know I am going to enjoy doing whatever it is that makes me feel fulfilled creatively because being creative is simply what I love to do.









Thanks for reading “Living a Creative Life, Simply” here first on Live Big and Small. As always I welcome your comments and encourage you to contact me with your questions or ideas. Love ~ Pippy

All You Need is Love


What’s Love Got to do With It?

What if everything you ate was delicious, everything you wore looked great on you and everything you did made you happy? What if everyone in your life was an amazing person who made you feel special and wonderful? What if your work was extremely meaningful? What if stress and anxiety was replaced with peace and tranquility?

Sounds great but unrealistic, right? It would not be believable if I told you that you would love getting a tooth pulled or paying your taxes. It would not be believable that the World would find peace and there would be no more violence, hunger or crime. What is believable is that you can create a life that includes more love. How? Simple. By removing everything that you do not love, leaving only what you do love.

Love it or Leave It
Do you keep things in your home that you do not love? Here are some reasons that people keep something that they do not love.

  • They invested a lot of money on it
  • They don’t have the money to replace it
  • Maybe it will grow on them

Do you have relationships in your life that you do not love? Here are some reasons that people keep a relationship in their lives that they do not love.

  • They invested a lot of time on the relationship
  • They do not want to be lonely
  • They are obligated to have this person in their lives
  • They are used to them

Do you spend your time doing things that you do not love?  Here are some reasons that people spend time doing something that they do not love.

  • They have to pay the bills
  • They have family obligations
  • They want to stay busy

If you keep things in your home, people in your life and do things that you do not enjoy doing then you are not surrounding yourself with love.

Surrounding yourself with love means that you love your belongings, you love the people in your life and you love the activities that you do. If you do not love these things, then these things no longer serve you and therefore you will be better off getting these things out of your life to make room for the love you deserve.

If you shed the things, activities and people from your life, your life may seem empty at first, however having free space in your life or your home can be liberating. You can take the time that you need to decide what you let back into the space you have created. Wouldn’t you rather have free space than have all your space filled up with things, people and activities that you do not love?

All You Need is Love

I know it sounds easier than it looks. Getting rid of belongings that you do not love but are used to having around or are not able to replace may be difficult. Even more difficult is deciding to remove people from your life. It’s not easy to quit a job you dislike when you have bills to pay. Removing the things from your life that you do not love takes courage. It may take some time and planning. You will never be able to love everything, everybody and everything you do. What you can strive for is to omit as many of the things that you do not love as you can, to create space for as much love as possible.

Your HomeIMG_1225
Look around your house. Do you have things that you do not love? You may even have things that you do not like. Ask yourself why you keep these items. If you feel obligated to keep something because it was a gift or for sentimental value, don’t let it become a burden. Let it go to make room in your home for something that you will truly enjoy.

Your Heart
Breaking up is hard to do. But if you surround yourself with people who bring you down, take your sparkle or stunt your growth, you owe it to yourself to move on from those relationships. It’s your life and life is short. Spend time nurturing loving relationships that are a two-way street. Let go of the relationships that do not serve you without guilt. Be thankful for the invaluable life lessons they have taught you. Allow yourself to heal from any pain they have caused you and make room in your heart for loving people.

Your Time
Clock Doodle (1)Your time is your greatest gift. You deserve to enjoy every minute on this Earth. We are not here to suffer. We are not here to do meaningless work, pay taxes and die. Why not figure out what you love to do and do it? Saying yes to something that you really do not want to do takes you away from things that you may really love. Why not hold out for things that you love? Doing meaningful work would be ideal, however that may not be a possibility for you right now. Finding activities in your daily life that are meaningful to you will make your existence fulfilling and joyful.

Your Home, Your Heart and Your Time

Start taking small steps to create surroundings that give you comfort and peace. Begin to open your heart to accept love from people around you. Try some new things that give your life meaning and purpose. Take away what you don’t love to allow space for things that you do love to find a place in your life. Fill your home, your heart and your time with as much love as possible.


You have read “All You Need is Love” here first on Live Big and Small.  I encourage comments and questions so please comment here!  Also subscribe to receive my current post via e-mail.  Thank you so much for being a part of my simple living community.  With Love ~ Pippy

Here’s to a Lean Green & Mean Two Thousand and Sixteen!


Instead of making resolutions this year, I’ve decided to make some intentions instead. This year I intend to live a leaner life by giving out more than I take in and learning to live with less. I intend to live a greener life by being better to the environment. I also intend my life to have more meaning than ever before. Here’s to a lean, green and mean 2016!


A Leaner Life


No Impulse Shopping

When I feel the urge to purchase something that I did not intend to purchase, instead of buying it on the spot and thinking I can just return it later if I don’t use it, I will take a picture of it with my phone’s camera and leave the store. This will give me time to evaluate the purchase and decide outside of the store if this is something that I should return for. If it’s an online item, I will put the item in my wish basket for at least 24 hours before my one-click purchase.


One in-One Out

When I buy new things I will try to find something to give or throw away, right away (This does not include consumables).


Clean Surfaces

I intend to keep my tabletops and countertops as clutter free as possible. This will make it easier to clean and will bring me a more peaceful state of mind.


Empty Space

Just because there are drawers in a dresser, or a built-in with shelves does not mean that they all need to be full. I will aspire to have some empty space in my cabinets.


No Junk Drawer

I don’t want a junk drawer anymore! I am working on a “landing strip” area for keys and mail. I will try to find a home for everything else, like tools in the toolbox and the office supplies in their own drawer. I don’t want to own junk so I should not need a drawer for it.


A Greener Footprint


No More Plastic Bags

I have a bad habit of forgetting to bring my re-usable bags into stores with me. I intend to bring in my own re-usable bags into stores with me from now on. One product that looks interesting is the Grommet. I also purchased recycled doggie bags to use when I walk Bongo instead of using the big plastic grocery bags. I am happy to take suggestions to help me remember this seemingly simple action that makes such a difference.


Use Vinegar for Everything

Vinegar is much better for the environment than chemicals and I keep finding more and more uses for it, externally and internally. I just used it to clean my engagement ring and it looks just as shiny as it would using a chemical jewelry cleaner. Here is a great article about 95 uses for vinegar.


A More Meaningful Existence


No More Hangovers

If I had the symptoms of a hangover, but knew that I had not had a drop of alcohol the night before, I would admit myself to the E.R. thinking that I was on my deathbed. But, it’s just a hangover, so I can’t complain about it. Putting my body through this kind of suffering because of drinking is immature and irresponsible. I work very hard to take care of myself and I do not want to put my body through this anymore. Drinking in moderation and having a glass of water between alcoholic beverages is my plan to stay hangover free this year.


No More Sunburn

We all know by now that overexposure to the sun can cause pre-mature aging and the “C” word. I love, love, love being in the sun, especially with my new fondness of the Salt Life here in Florida. To keep myself from burning I will use and reapply my homemade sunscreen often, wear a large visor (Smiley thinks they are dorky, but I love them!) and promise myself a visit to the Dermatologist for an overall skin check-up.










Learn My Programs

Instead of being frustrated that my camera does not work properly, or complaining that my photos are out of order on my laptop, I intend to learn how to use my programs and devices. Modern technology allows me to do the things that I love to do and I am so thankful for that. I am going to put time aside and learn the features so that I can take full advantage of these wonderful additions to my life.


Do What I Love to Do

DSCN2246I have really narrowed down things that I love to do. I love to play music with my new band (The Screaming J’s!). I love writing this blog. I love being a part of a community of people who want to live a more simple life. I love having a meaningful job. I love going to the beach and I love watching sunsets. I want to try some new things this year like becoming an excellent doodler and learning the harmonica.






Give More

I have been saying it and saying it and I am going to put my words into actions in 2016. I am going to spend more time doing charity this year. Giving is such a win/win. The feelings achieved by helping others is better than anything you can treat yourself to at the mall. I will be writing more about what I decide to do in future posts.


You have read “Here’s to a Lean, Green &  Mean Two Thousand and Sixteen!” here first on Live Big and Small.  As always, thank you so much for reading and I welcome your comments.  You can always contact me personally at with any questions or to discuss simple living!

My Results are in. I Saved 62 Days by Simplifying!

Less Choice Equals More Time

The more you have the more you have to choose from. The more you have to choose from the longer it takes to make a choice. Weighing the options about everything in life takes a lot of time. By simplifying everyday life you can actually give yourself more time. Everybody wishes they had more time. Let me tell you exactly how I have given myself 62 extra days a year.


How I Gave Myself 62 Days a Year

I knew simplifying was going to save me time but I had no idea that my Big and Small lifestyle would add up to literally 62 days a year. This is time shaved off of my daily routine simply by giving myself less to choose from. I have not, even once, regretted my decision to make parts of my life Small, because the rewards have been bigger than Big. Here are my personal tangible time saving results from living Big and Small.


Wardrobe Function

The smaller I make my wardrobe the less time it takes to get ready. I know this because I started with an extremely large wardrobe and it took me forever to get ready and now I live with much less and I can get dressed in a fraction of the time. I currently have about 50 items in my closet including shoes. I also have one small dresser with three medium sized drawers that include my pajamas, t-shirts, workout stuff, shorts, bathing suits, lingerie and socks. It is wonderful to open my closet or my drawers and be able to see everything I have. When my laundry is all done, everything can be put away without stuffing it in (I used to have to keep some of my laundry dirty because it would not fit). My wardrobe is still a work in progress and I intend to write a lot more on this subject in the future as I know this is a big issue for many people. I did not sacrifice style for convenience as everything I own I love and feel good in. I started to take control of my wardrobe by doing Project 333. This micro-course is fun, easy to follow and changed my life more than anything else. I was able to modify it to fit my lifestyle as there are no strict rules (as you can see I chose to keep 50 items and not 33). I went even further by finding a job where I could wear a uniform. Wearing scrubs to work makes getting dressed in the morning a no brainer. I work two days out of the house wearing my scrubs and the rest of the time I work from home, so basically every day is casual Friday. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend per year picking out my wardrobe verses how much time it currently takes. I included workdays, weekends and time it takes to get ready for travel. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my wardrobe choices smaller.

IMG_2264 IMG_1804 IMG_1776











260 weekdays per year x 14 minutes per day = 60.66 hours

104 weekend days per year x 20 minutes per day = 34.66 hours

10 trips per year x 60 minutes per trip = 10 hours

Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 105.33 hours or 4.39 days


104 weekdays per year wearing scrubs x 1 minute per day = 1.73 hours

156 weekdays per year working at home x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours

104 weekend days per year x 5 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

10 trips per year x 20 minutes per trip = 3.33 hours

Total time spent in one year picking out my wardrobe = 26.73 hours or 1.11 days






Planning meals, food shopping, cooking and clean-up takes hours a day for most people. I love preparing and eating delicious and healthy foods, I just don’t like all of the time it consumes on a daily basis. We have been buying our weekday meals from Fitlife Foods. We order the meals online and I just pick them up, bring them home and we just heat and eat. They have tons of meals to choose from and we can choose small, medium or large sizes. The best part is the food is healthy and delicious. We do lunches and dinners and I make smoothies or oatmeal for weekday breakfasts. On the weekends we either cook or we go out to eat. Our grocery bill is a little bit higher than it was but it’s consistent and we would never get the variety of foods that we get with Fitlife Foods for the same price. Another bonus is we never have to throw out spoiled food. I am in love with this new program. If you can’t imagine not cooking your own meals, I highly recommend checking out the blog Stone Soup, which has wonderful five ingredient healthy meals. It is my go-to when I want to make something healthy and delicious. I especially love that most of the recipes have options for different diets like vegetarian, nut allergies, etc.. Saving time in the kitchen doing everyday cooking has allowed me to spend more time doing something that I really love – baking! I have tried and loved many recipes from The Minimalist Baker. The recipes are simple, healthy and amazingly delicious. Here is the breakdown of the time I used to spend on meals and how much time I spend now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my meal choices smaller.








Cook dinner 260 weeknights per year x 40 minutes per day = 173.33 hours

Plan meals per week = 1 hour

Shop for meals per week = 1 hour

Clean up after cooking 260 weeknights per year x 30 minutes per day = 130 hours 

Prepare lunch 260 weekdays per year x 10 minutes per day = 43.33 hours 

Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 450.66 hours or 18.77 days 


Warm dinner 260 weeknights per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

Plan meals per week = 10 minutes

Warm lunch 260 weekdays per year x 2 minutes per day = 8.66 hours

Picking up prepared meals per week = 30 minutes

Clean-up after warming up meals 260 weeknights per year x 5 minutes per day = 21.66 hours

Total time spent in one year planning, procuring, preparing and cleaning up after meals = 73.66 hours or 3.07 days


ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MEALS: 15.7 days per year




We decided to cancel our cable for multiple reasons. We wanted to make our bills smaller and besides the Macy’s Day Parade we never really watched network television anyway. We enjoy movies so we bought an Apple TV and kept our Netflix subscription so we could watch our television with intention. Now we watch documentaries, nature shows, movies and highly rated television series’. We watch what we want, when we want. Having fewer channels to choose from stopped the mindless channel surfing. I am no longer pulled into things that I really don’t want to watch. I listen to NPR in the car and my Mother calls me any time we expecting weather. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to sit in front of the television when I had cable and how much time I spend watching television now. Then you will see how much time I have saved making my television choices smaller.



260 weekdays per year x 4 hours of television per day = 1040 hours

52 weekend days per year x 4 hours of television per day = 208 hours

Total time spent in one year watching television = 1248 hours or 52 days


156 days per year x 1 hour of Netflix per day = 156 hours

52 days per year x 2 hours of Netflix per day = 104 hours

Total time spent in one year intentionally watching television = 260 hours or 10.83 days






My make-up bag used to be as large as a carry-on suitcase. It even had wheels! My make-up was the last thing that I simplified because I loved it and wanted to keep it all. I knew from my past experiments in the kitchen and in the closet that the more I tossed out the easier my life was, so I trusted myself and threw most of it away. I kept a nice selection of natural colors and most of my wonderful make-up brushes and tossed the rest. I now have a manageable amount of make-up that all fits in a 12×5 (inches not feet) zipper case. Now it takes me a fraction of the time to put on my make-up because I use the same things every day. I also save time when I travel because I can just grab my small make-up bag instead of separating out what I think I will need on that trip. The other way I save time is that I don’t wear make-up every day. I have designed my life so that I work out of the house two days a week and I only wear make-up occasionally on weekends. I don’t have to spend as much time going through and cleaning out my make-up either, but I will just consider that a bonus. Here is the breakdown of how much time I used to spend putting on my make-up and how much time I spend on it now. Then you will see how much time I have saved by making my make-up choices smaller.




312 days per year x 15 minutes per day = 78 hours


156 days per year x 5 minutes per day = 13 hours


ANNUAL TIME SAVINGS ON MAKE-UP: 2.71 days per year


Grand Total Days I Saved from Simplifying = 62.86

That’s Two Full Months!


Trimming the Fat

Here are some additional things that I have done or suggest doing to save even more time:

  • Commuting: Design your life so that you work in the same neighborhood or part of town that you live in. The difference between a 15 minute drive each way and a 30minute drive each way adds up to 30 minutes a day that you would be sitting in your car. Saving money on gas is a nice bonus!
  • Adjust Your Work Schedule: See if your company would be ok with working four days a week instead of five. The difference between driving to work four days verses five can add up to an hour per week (based on a 30 minute drive each way). The additional time it takes to get ready, unwind, pack a lunch and do the extra laundry will also save you time each week. Having three-day weekends is also a great perk!
  • Get Ready Faster: Keep the same jewelry on every day.  I choose special pieces that were gifts and change them once every two or three months, or for a special outfit only.  Choosing a low maintenance hairstyle can save  hours a week.  The unique style that I have chosen not only saves me hours a week but gives me flair so I don’t have to spend so much time choosing interesting clothes and jewelry. Using multi-purpose beauty products like my moisturizing body wash allows me to skip a step in the shower without skimping on my daily pampering.


Analysis paralysis is an anti-pattern, the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome.

Which one do I choose?

Which one do I choose?








Simple, Not Boring

As you can see, if you design a life with less variety on a daily basis you will create more space and time to do a variety of activities that will make your life much more exciting than changing your earrings three times a week or searching through your stuffed cabinets looking for something to eat. Keeping your drawers light, your cabinets lean and your choices Small will give you the time you have been looking for, with little sacrifice, to live the Big life you deserve.  At first, taking away the excess from your daily life may seem like you are giving away a part of your individuality. Personally, giving up my clothes, jewelry, make-up, creative cooking and television has given me the time to grow, learn, and expand my horizons.  I have given myself the permission to choose life instead of choosing a bunch of stuff that just doesn’t matter to me anymore.


What in the Heck Do I Do With All This Extra Time?

It would be lovely if you could just have all the time at once and go on a trip around the world (you might even save enough money to do that if you stop buying so much!), however the time you get back may not be noticeable at first since it will happen in small doses. Instead of letting that time just absorb into more chores or useless tasks I use this extra time intentionally. Here are some of the things that I do with my extra time that I have created.

  • Up to three walks a day with Bongo
  • Bongo massages and “doga” (dog yoga, she’s 13 now and loves to stretch)
  • More time for my Morning Routine and taking care of myself
  • Explore my new neighborhoodIMG_0426
  • Develop more intimate relationships
  • Take photographs
  • Work on my new business
  • Read
  • Long daily walks on the beach
  • Watch the sunset
  • Playing in my new band!



The possibilities are endless. What would YOU do with 62 extra days? Please let me know in the comments!

You have read My Results are in. I Saved Over 62 Days by Simplifying! Here first on Live Big and Small. Please subscribe to receive notifications each time I post something new.