Friday, June 26, 2009

The All American "Staycation"

Finally! They have created a name for how average folks spend their time off. I have to chuckle because Dave and I seem to be on the go a lot, but we're rarely far from home. We may be in Sonora, San Francisco, Truckee, Reno, maybe Las Vegas or Anaheim, and anyone I know would consider these trips vacations. I think the people who live in higher income brackets tend to really vacation, like in the form of a week or more at a time, getting on an airplane, needing a passport, and plenty of spending money along the way. We find so much joy in our little jaunts near home.

Not long ago, Dave had to leave for Millbrae, CA for a retention seminar for work. Since Mason is between preschool and kindergarten, we decided to tag along. For Mason, the hotel is the vacation! When I told him we were going with Dave, he immediately got excited, "Ma-ma, ma-ma, are we going to stay in a hotel?"
I nodded.
"Will the hotel have movies on the TV?" he went on.
"Yep." I replied.
"Will there be a bath tub in the bathroom?" He looked at me with big hopeful eyes.
"Ah, yeah..." That one was odd, we have two bath tubs at home.
"Yay!" he danced around the kitchen into the living room. "A bath tub! A bath tub!"
Whatever! I thought.
"Ma-ma, ma-ma, will there be a swimming pool at the hotel?" Mason continued.
"Yes." I answered.
"A bath tub and a swimming pool! Hooray! I love you ma-ma!" Mason crooned as he wrapped himself around my legs and squeezed and kissed with all his might. Yes, he kissed my legs. After all, why wouldn't he? We're treating him to a bath tub and a swimming pool!

What do you have in your life that you take for granted? I clearly have two bath tubs that seem like everyday fare. When in fact, from a child's point of view, a bath tub away from home ranks right up there with a swimming pool! I have to say, I agree with Mason, when I'm away from home, I like to have a bath tub, I don't have to clean before I use it!

For more really fun stuff, check out (@momcentral on twitter). Also visit for information on getting the cleanest bath tub possible at home!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"I'm A Yes Man!" - Guest Writer Amie Chilson

On my 32nd birthday I found myself stuck on the JFK tarmac for two extra hours due to a weather delay, en route to Madrid. After playing the, “It’s my birthday” card with the flight attendants, scoring a few free mini bottles of wine, I sat back and started the solo movie marathon on my way over the Atlantic: it was “Yes Man” starring Jim Carrey.

If you haven’t seen it yet…go rent it today! Through its silliness and moments of expected Jim Carey hilarity, the underlying message struck a chord with me. Carey plays a middle-aged, loan officer who leads an unextraordinary life and is accustomed to saying “no” to everything. He’s begun to alienate friends, never moves ahead in his career, and has developed a bad habit of closing himself off to life and all its opportunities. After attending a self-help seminar where attendees make a covenant to say “Yes” to everything…and anything, his life begins to transform in amazing and unexpected ways.

At face value, this flick is a predictably fun, brand of 90-minute, Jim Carey comedy. (And anyone who knows me knows I shy away from the Hollywood drool of endless, formulaic films!) Yet, I chose to watch the film 2.5 times and laughed like an idiot throughout–but why? Because I am “Yes Man” and have recently built my lifestyle around this value system.

2008 was a tough year for me in several ways; I buried two grandmothers, closed both my companies down, and nearly went bankrupt. I retreated into my metaphorical cave and shut down to most of the world. At the end of the year I vowed to make 2009 incredible and milk the most out of every day, while being open to the universe and all it had to offer. I created a “101 Things To Do in 2009” list, naming items as simple as: sampling more international cheeses, indulging in a house cleaner, and reading the Declaration of Independence, to more loftier goals such as visiting Thailand, completing my scuba certification and hiking the Grand Canyon. (The list was easier to develop than I thought…which means subconsciously lurking were all these things I’ve always wanted to experience, learn, and try!) Never again did I want to waste a year, and look back regretfully to say, “Damn, I didn’t do any of the things I wanted to accomplish! Where did the year go? And how utterly unremarkable it was…”

Since I made that covenant with myself at the end of 2008, my life has been purely magical! I recently took my husband on a wonderful month-long vacation to Spain where most of our lodging across the country was free; I’ve been invited to vacation in Fiji , Mexico , and India to study with a renowned Guru. Business opportunities have flooded my gates, I’ve met many new people and made wonderful friends, I find myself in great health and training for one of the hardest Triathlons nationwide, and I live each day with such zest and fascination. Sometimes it feels as if I’ve lived 3 days to the actual 1. As for the 101 List of To Do Items… I’ve been happily knocking them down by the dozens, and even created an ancillary 101 List!

What I’ve learned about myself during this 6-month experiment of saying “Yes to Life” is when I embrace being ‘open’, I expect something good to happen every time and it does. Being authentically ‘open’ also has forced me to become more empathic, less selfish, and more compassionate to others. It’s removed the ability to go through life ‘half-ass’ which is an easy to rut to fall into. We become busy, get comfortable, and even ease into laziness. (I know I did!) The good news is it is simple to pull ourselves out of the “No” coma. It’s as easy as saying “Yes” to little things, like smiling back at a stranger, answering an Unknown Caller ID phone call, or meeting your inbox of Evites with hopefulness vs. impatience.

In the movie, “Yes Man”, Carey changes his life in a matter of weeks and welcomes many new life experiences, people, and opportunities. In addition to falling in love, he gets promoted in his career, reconnects with his friends and inspires many different individuals. His unremarkable life has radically transformed, and he is a happier man for it. Carey also learns there is such a thing as ‘balance’ to strike in life with being constantly open to life and opportunities.

And that balance is important to keep in mind, as agreeing to all things is unreasonable and potentially dangerous. As I find myself mentally and verbally saying, “Yes” to most opportunities that flow my way, I still exercise instinct, fiscal prudence and my own version of life harmony. I will ignore the invite to pierce my nipples, not join a cult, and not invest all my money in what resembles a Ponzi scheme.

What I will do, is wake up tomorrow morning and breathe in the delicious moment of NOW, and energetically say “Yes” to what life has to offer me because I know it will be fantastic! I suggest you try it: who knows, the next “Yes” you say could lead to meeting the person of your dreams, making a new best friend, drop the next incredible business opportunity in your lap, or inspire your biggest idea ever.

Be a “Yes Man” with me.

Much Gratitude,
Amie Chilson

Monday, June 22, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

I know it's a day late, but Dad can use an extra day of appreciation. What did you do for your dad over the weekend? My dad passed a few years ago, but I have Dave's dad to honor. I don't know if he knows how much I appreciate him. He's been more like a father to me in the last eight years than my own dad was my whole life. I'm not putting my dad down, he did the best he could. He just didn't have great people skills and the best he had, he used on people who were not his family.

Dave's Dad has been a wonderful friend. We've talked about issues Dave and I went through, he was very supportive while Dave was in Iraq, and he's always putting forth a little extra effort when it comes to keeping in touch with Mason. I'm so lucky to have a father-in-law like Emil Partak. Happy Father's Day!

And for those of you who plan to comment, I know there's a boob-shot here. What better gift can we give the men in our lives? Laughing!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Look Good Feel Better

Look Good…Feel Better is a free, non-medical, brand-neutral, national public service program created to help individuals with cancer look good, improve their self-esteem, and manage their treatment and recovery with greater confidence.

Can you think of a better organization to align yourself with? When I learned about Look Good...Feel Better, I wanted to be a part of spreading the word to those I know who are currently battling this horrible illness. The good news is, as bad as cancer is, there are programs such as this one reaching out to help.

Look Good...Feel Better and the "Women of Hope is Beautiful" contest information is found on page:

Check out Look Good...Feel Better for yourself. See how you can get involved by donating or volunteering. Nothing feels as good as giving of yourself!

For more really great information, check out

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Don't Forget Dad!

Mom Central has their annual Father's Day Gift Guide out and wait until you see what they have! Great gifts under $25, $50, and over $100. There is something here for every budget!

What's especially cool is that you can click on each link and you are right there, shopping in the "Dad" section of the store! All the great things that guys like, are in one place and in your price range. Check it out and get dad something he's gonna really love!

Go to: Everything you need is right at your fingertips!

Find everything Mom Central at Twitter: @MomCentral Linkedin: Stacy DeBroff
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Monday, June 15, 2009

Isn't Time The Best?

Last week was a roller coaster of emotions. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say, I was exhausted by the time the weekend rolled around.

I take comfort knowing that a little bit of time will set my thinking right, take me out of my emotion filled angst, and let me get back to my faith that, everything is as it is suppose to be. I really do believe that, and I've come to be able to recognize what it is I need to learn from a difficult experience in a relatively short period of time. I also trust that as tough as things may get, in the big picture (long time), much of our day-to-day lives is not going to hold much weight in five years.

I won't go as far as to say that I believe time heals all wounds, but it sure provides a nice cushion from the pain, and reminds us that a new day is just that, new. Let go of the old and create today. You get to choose your thoughts, and your thoughts create your actions. Go, choose wisely and make today great!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yesterday Was Really Bad!

Laughing! Maybe I shouldn't have posted about being grateful when life gets tough! Did I attract that? I'm laughing because I finished crying and can now see that it really wasn't all that bad.

I can honestly say that even though I was in the troughs of despair....little melodrama...I was still able to be grateful that it wasn't worse. And even better, I was able to check with a friend who is battling cancer and if that doesn't put a crummy day in perspective, nothing will.

I am so very grateful for all that I have. I even went as far as to putting an e-mail out to my work associates offering my consulting services at a discounted rate to their clients. I really want to help in these tough times, so why not let the world know. This is just another way that I practice gratitude. How do you show your gratitude and put it into action when times get tough?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Can You Be Grateful When Life Is Really Bad?

Times are really tough right now for many of us. I know my family is not exempt from tight finances, things breaking, and difficult life circumstances in general. No matter what happens, I've found a solid space of gratitude.

Yesterday, while cleaning my very old stove top, it blew up. Literally! Fiery sparks, a puff of white smoke, and a pop! I don't have the money to replace it, but I won't take the chance that this is a fire waiting to happen. As soon as this happened, I found myself uttering, "Thank goodness it didn't catch on fire."

Can you practice gratitude when you are at your lowest? I hope so. The reality is, no matter how bad things get, they can always get worse. I learned a long time ago to never, ever challenge the universe with the words, "It can't get worse than this." I believe as long as I'm dressed in my right mind, no matter what circumstances present themselves, I can do something to better my condition. I usually start with acknowledging and accepting where I am. I try to learn if the lesson is obvious and then I look at what I can do, and I start.

That's my way. What's yours? Can you be grateful when life gets really bad?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Do You Dread Monday?

Are you one of those people who hates to see the new week begin? Not me! I love Monday! Not only do I love the opportunities that come with the new work week, but I love the structure of the weekdays.

Even though I don't go into an office, all the people I work with are doing exactly what I'm doing. We may not be in the same room, building, or even the same state, we're all working together; connecting via e-mail and telephone. Mason is in school and Dave is at his office. We all know where we need to be and what we need to be doing, and it feels good.

If you really really feel a deep disdain for the start of a new work week, maybe you need to ask yourself what you could be doing that you would look forward to. Dave doesn't love his work, but he loves his family, and the job he does provides for us. I look forward to the new week because what I'm doing is moving us one step closer to our dreams of working together in all of our philanthropic goals.

Yes, the new week takes the vehicle out of park and gets us back on the road to success. If you'd rather sit in the parking lot, than think about what you're attracting with a heavy sigh and dread of Monday. Is it what you really want your new week to shape up to be? Whatever you think, you're right!

Friday, June 5, 2009

For All Your Best Intentions

Have you ever worked really hard to make something happen only to find, it didn't go at all the way you planned? I have!

When this kind of thing has happened to me, It's made me really mad! I looked around and thought, what the heck? It's not until later that I realized that the way things turned out was exactly what I needed. Not necessarily what I'd envisioned or planned, but the best possible outcome.

If you can accept that you can only control so much, you can then see that every "not so great" turnout usually holds the door open for something far better. Next time you can't figure out how you landed where you are, turn around and look for the opportunity that is likely smiling a great big "WELCOME" your way!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I Set A Mantra This Week

You all know I'm a firm believer in getting back what you put out. This week I have made my mantra, "How can I help you?" I've been learning a lot about social media and spending some time on facebook and twitter (@kdpartak) and I have to say, I've met some really wonderful people.

My intention for investigating this medium was to see how I could promote my gloves, my blogs, and my self as a writer. Here's what's come to me. I've met several really great ladies with whom I've spent many a late evening on the phone. One of these ladies knows the president of a large retailer and she is not only willing, but excited to take him a pair of our ZipperBack Gloves for consideration ( Another of these wonderful women is the neighbor of a large grocery chain and she's planning to take a sample box of twist caps ( e-mail me to buy!) to introduce me. My new friend Tania added polish and pizazz to my sell sheet to send to above mentioned president. I've also connected with the editor of a military magazine and a mom who writes a successful blog who I may be guest writing for in the near future.

This sounds like there's so much that's come my way, what have I given to receive all this love? I don't think I've given enough if anything at all, but it seems the women I've become friends with will disagree. I've been told that I've inspired, enlightened, and in a few cases, really helped them work through a tough situation. Is that enough? Only the parties involved can answer that, but for me, I want to do more. How can I help you?

Monday, June 1, 2009

What Do You See?

Literally and figuratively, what do you see when you look at your future? Are you looking to your future or are you simply coping with today? Using the power of intention starts with changing the way you see your life right now, this very minute.

You absolutely have to change the way you think about circumstances, pending actions, and your past. It's impossible to attract the life you want to lead if you are still fretting about the past, the way things are now, and all the nonsense you have to deal with tomorrow. I feel heavier just writing the words! You are in charge of what you think. You get to choose to let go of past disappointments, and you can allow yourself to see your life in a whole new light. This change can happen in an instant, literally, a split second.

You're likely asking how you can let go of hurt you feel from a past betrayal, or how you can be excited when you know you haven't paid your property taxes and know you have to answer for that. My answer to you is that all the terrible things that happened in the past are done. It's like continually trying to drink a glass of water that you already finished. Choose to let it go. Answering for your unpaid taxes is the right thing to do. It doesn't matter that you still can't pay. Initiating a conversation is taking responsibility and that will make you feel great. Feeling great changes your physical vibration, and making that single change will send a positive message out, thus attracting a positive energy return.

The more you practice taking action (responsibility), the more you'll find yourself feeling good, and the more you feel good, the more good will come to you. The more you live this cycle, the easier it will be to see a prosperous, happy future. See? Easy!