Reverb12 Prompt 5: Lushness


Prompt 5

What was your dream destination in 2012 and why?

It can be a town, city, country or region — real or imaginary — and doesn’t matter if you actually got there or not!

As I wrote in Prompt 3, I really wanted to go to Portugal and France, the countries of my heritage in 2012 before my body and mind told me no. While I hadn’t found a way to configure it in the trip I was planning, the place I really wanted to go was the Azores, an island of Portugal where I believe part of my mother’s family originates from, and where most people I grew up with can trace their families, also.


Image courtesy of Butterfly Diary.

A few years ago, my friend posted on my Facebook wall that Anthony Bourdain traveled to the Azores as part of his show No Reservations and I needed to watch it (video below). The episode starts out in the restaurants of the cities where I grew up, New Bedford and Fall River, Massachusetts, and Anthony talks about how specific Azorean food and culture is and how it’s different than mainland Portugal’s. He travels to the island, showing the world this green lush place that looks like paradise.

It was hard not to fall in love with this image. Plus, I just love islands. I feel like a clearer and calmer person the closer that I get to water. After watching that episode I imagined setting myself up at a café in the Azores, writing and eating glorious food in a sea of green.

Must have some Gaspar’s linguica shipped to Savannah and make some kale soup ASAP.



Reverb12 Prompt 13: Cheese!

Moving right along, Reverbers.



Prompt 13:

Please post your favourite picture of yourself from 2012, self-portrait or otherwise!

In February, I started using a social goals program called to work on my 2012 goals. It has a great interface and was developed by Brooklyn-based female entrepreneur, Jenn Vargas, who is completely lovely and an inspiration to anyone who wants to create something that is meaningful to the world and ship.

In addition to publicly declaring your goals on, you can accept challenges from the community and one of the challenges I accepted was to take a picture of myself every day in 2012.

I fell short. By a lot.

But if it wasn’t for the challenge, I wouldn’t have created a Dropbox folder for this project and taken 100 or so pictures of myself through the year and stored them. I learned a lot even in my half-ass attempt.

Taking pictures of myself over time has its pros and cons. On the benefit side… when I look at the pictures altogether, I feel more attractive than I often feel on a day-to-day basis. I’m not so bad on the eyes, world! On the negative side, I can physically see some of the health challenges I’ve had at different times this year etched on my face and it makes me wistful and also angry at myself for not taking better care of my body when I have had the opportunity to make better choices.

But enough of the reflection- here is the winner for my favorite picture. There were a few finalists, but most were private pictures that I took for specific reasons and I decided to keep them private even though they made my heart sing. My favorite picture is one I took of myself on Halloween as Effie Trinket of The Hunger Games. I hadn’t dressed up for Halloween since I was 12 and was worried about looking dumb, as well as wearing a short wig. So it represents a risk for me. But it also seemed to go over okay… ahem… especially with men.

Maybe more wigs are in my future for 2013?!?

October 31

Here is another shot with a flirty smile. Why helllllllooooooo Haymitch!


And my attempt at a serious look. Effie does send children to their death, you know.


Reverb12 Prompt 4: Celebrate

An unexpected family emergency brought me to Massachusetts for five days during the second week of December and left me behind in my work, among other things. I am finally resuming Reverb12. Lots of prompts to post, and most out of order. But let’s get restarted!



Prompt 4:

How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?

I’ve been fortunate to hit a lot of personal and professional milestones this year and celebrate each one. In Prompt 1, I summarized some of my big personal wins. On the business side, I exceeded my revenue goal, am publishing a new career guide this month, and finished a complete draft on my labor of love project, The Professional Badass Playbook, a guide on how to establish new career habits and meet your business goals for 2013 (coming out soon!).

I’ve recognized my milestones by recording them in my OhLife and Grateful160 journals, having wine with a friend, and in some cases, even going to the spa and getting a massage. This has been huge because celebrating for me has always been tough. First, I have high expectations for myself so I always think I should be doing more and question what is worth a celebration. Second, things that feel like a true reward, like giant cupcakes and mac and cheese, have negative consequences, or in the case of massages, cost some serious dollars. I wish I could be one of those people who feel rewarded by long walks in the park, but alas I am not one. Yet.

I do realize that I get enjoyment when I share my wins with people who make me smile. So during December, I plan to celebrate myself by spending time with people who do that, including my niece and nephew as much as possible.

Isn’t he  handsome?


Long Time Travellin’

How Far Have You Travelled This Year?

I heard this song last week while I was writing prompt 5 for #reverb12 “What’s your dream destination for 2012?”… talk about a ‘long time travelling’! 2012 has been an abundant space for movement and growth both personally for me and my time with The Opportunities Project.

What could be better than a chillingly beautiful song to start off your week and get you in reflective mode to finish off your year and prepare you for the next?




So what’s left on your professional agenda to reach your 2012 goals and tie off your year with a pretty bow? 



Investments of Self – Sera’s Reverb12, Prompt 2

Investing in Myself

I finally had to give in on Black Friday and invest in a new laptop. Back around May or June my 2006 Macbook decided to stop opening certain apps, including Evernote and Skype which I use plenty for work, as well as iTunes and the App Store! I had it looked at, but it was in pretty bad shape, and it was recommended I get an external hard drive to back everything up before anything is worked on.

While I was able to manage Skype via my phone if necessary, the speed issue just became to much to handle and I decided it was finally time to put that baby to rest as Black Friday crept in. I was hesitant to spend the money, and even waited until about 3pm the following day to go pick up my new Macbook Pro. If I didn’t have it in my possession I hadn’t truly spent the money, right?

I haven’t regretted that purchase once. I’m still working on getting all my files sorted on the old computer, the ones I need to transfer, and the ones I don’t need at all (sweet release!). But this has been a lifesaver, and a timesaver. I don’t dread working on my computer,  or fear it crashing mid-workday. I don’t have to test those apps that aren’t working ‘just to see’ if by some miracle they’ve decided to function again. My dad used to always talk about Festinger’s Theory of Dissonance kicking in after a big purchase, but I can honestly say the stress-free productivity has been priceless.

A Different Kind of Investment

Still… earlier in 2012, I made an even bigger expenditure. This one was more time than money, but turned out to be life-changing. I decided to pack up all my things and move back to Savannah after a temporary stint in Connecticut while trying to figure out where to go next in my life. I spent a few years in St. Louis after graduating with a BFA, but things just wouldn’t fall into place while I was there.

So, I had a friend offer me a place to stay back in Savannah, GA in exchange for my time grocery shopping, cooking, and being a role model for his daughter while she finished up her senior year in high school. On January 30th, 2012, I packed up my belongings in my car (a 15 year old car mind you!) and took what is probably that car’s final road trip along the east coast. I had no job lined up, just a whole lot of hope and a much better outlook than the one I’d had in Connecticut. I had nothing to lose.

Within a month and a half of my arrival: I reconnected with a good friend and adopted two younger ‘sisters-for-life’ in the meantime, won a spot in a 6-week course called ‘Maybe Baby’, I’d found my sangha, my relationship ended, I met a group of friends who call themselves ‘the Savannah family’, and last but certainly not least, I began my work with Tracy and The Opportunities Project. My 4 years spent underemployed and networking tirelessly after graduating were finally paying off. There were way too many things working in my favor for me to go against this change.

My word for 2012 is ‘Belong’. I’d never chosen a word-of-the-year before, but saw others talking about this on twitter and thought it was a powerful concept. I paid extra attention to the use of the word: in songs, quotes, and just everyday use. I had to learn what it meant to me, and part of that was learning (and accepting) where I do not belong. I’m already thinking on what word will guide me in 2013, and while I’ve had three words pop in my head so far… I’m not quite ready for the reveal.

But I can tell you this: I’m completely looking forward to seeing what I can make happen in 2013!






Reverb Prompt 3: Owning my Time

Prompt 3 of Reverb12 is a heavy one, developed by blogger Curlypops who has been on a transplant list for 457 days.

 Travel is a priority for 2013.

Prompt 3:

Living life on a transplant waiting list gives you lots of reasons to reflect on what you’ve achieved in your life, and what you wish for the future.

Imagine a scenario where you only had one year left to live. What is one thing that you really wish to do that you just haven’t had the chance to accomplish yet?

What steps could you take (however small) to ensure that you accomplish this thing in 2013?

I would travel, hopefully not alone. I’d sell my belongings and spend 50% of my time exploring the parts of the world and this country I’ve always wanted to see and never did. I’d spend the other 50% visiting the places I’d seen and loved the most, giving hugs to all the people who touched my life.

(Map courtesy of World Atlas)

I had planned to go to France and Portugal in October 2012 by myself after a big contract ended for me. As I was planning the trip in August, I became tired thinking about all the travel I had done for business this year and realized what I yearned for was time to nest with my new Savannah friends. As we enter December, I know that was the right decision even though I had the time and money to accomplish this goal. Now I have enough free miles for a free international trip and am ready to use them once I figure out a few questions about my professional life for 2013. I am also eager to convince a travel partner to come along (hint, hint…).

What’s your priority for next year?

Reverb Prompt 2: Vroom, Vroom

Here is prompt 2 of 31 in the Reverb12 campaign.

Empowerment takes various forms

Prompt 2:

What was your most significant expenditure in 2012?

It doesn’t have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact.

What difference has it made to your life?

Too easy!

On November 30th, I bought my first car, a 2012 Nissan Versa SL Hatchback. Yeah, my first car was a new one and I bought it at age 37. I got my drivers license less than three weeks ago.

Since age 16, I’ve struggled with a deep anxiety of driving. Nope, never been in a car accident (someone suggested that I must have been in a past life- yes, she was crazy). Lessons in various periods of my adult life and therapy made little dents, and a big challenge was living in New York City since I was 20 years old. Maybe it’s just me, but I found it difficult to get comfortable driving in a constant video game. It also became a crutch for years as a reason I couldn’t leave New York because I was afraid I would never be able to function anywhere else.

I felt stuck.

Moving to Savannah was a perfect place to take this on. Don’t get me wrong- it was still not easy. But I hired a wonderful retired drivers’ ed teacher who took me out driving four hours a week during October and helped me get better and most importantly, manage my anxiety. I also worked with my coach Thekla on limiting beliefs around my driving issues. With the encouragement of a small group of loved ones, I finally took the dreaded road test and passed.

Beyond the anxiety,  I felt guilt and shame about driving. Guilt came from having to ask people to give me rides, though Tina Fey’s Bossypants helped a little. Shame came from not seeming able to do something that even people who seemed 90% brain dead could accomplish. But the reality is that not driving didn’t matter as much as my fear led me to believe it did. I know lots of people who drive but they haven’t visited 28 states and 5 countries or flew 60,000 miles in a year. My biggest realization the day after I got my license is how little my life had truly changed, as well as people’s opinions of me.

I’ve lived in Savannah for almost a year and the resourceful NYer part of me finds it a place you can navigate fine without a car, but it was something I wanted for myself. The impact of owning this car is tangible for sure, including opening up more business opportunities in the Southeast. But the biggest impact of purchasing the car is probably the realization that stuck was a false emotion created by my brain and nothing more.

Wish me luck getting better at parking!

I bought my first car this year.

Ready or Not: Time For Some Fun…

Are You Really Ready?

Don’t know about you but we are on and poppin’ this December. We’ve got our second 30-day challenge lining up for you (and us!) very soon, our team is participating in #Reverb12 (you can find Tracy’s first post here), and we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that we’re getting ready to roll out. We’ll happily tap into all this holiday cheer and use the energy to help us take ourselves and our goals and productivity to the next level!

So what about you: Is your holiday spirit in full swing yet? We realize sometimes it’s easier just to embrace it, especially when very soon -if not already- the possibility of being boggled down by holiday songs, sales, and abundant ’cheer’ will be trying to keep you slaphappy. So… to Scrooge or not to Scrooge? That is the question!

Musical Musings: FUN

(We dig it.)

Happy Monday, everyone!



Get better with us:

What else do you find it easier to accept so you can spend your time and energy accomplishing bigger and better things? We’d love for you to tell us below in the comments!


Reverb12 Prompt1: The Pros and Cons of Being Present

It’s time for Reverb12! While I don’t get to blog as much anymore as I manage my business growth, I must make an exception for Reverb.

Reverb happens every December when bloggers reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest their dreams for the new year. If you’ve been around since the start of my journey into self-employment and small business ownership, you may have read my entries for Reverb10. My job is to help people reach their goals and maximize their personal and professional development. Not all coaches or “experts” agree, but I believe I’d be remiss if I didn’t share my own challenges and triumphs from my experiments with pursuing my own dreams.

I missed Reverb11 because I was in the midst of moving myself 900 miles from New York City to Savannah, GA, last December. Inspiration to move first came to me through the understandings about myself and my goals that I gained through Reverb10.

I can literally confirm that participating in Reverb changed my entire life.

If you want to sign up for Reverb yourself, you can sign up here to get the prompts. Also follow the hashtag #reverb12 on Twitter to read what other people are discovering.

So here we start with Prompt 1 of 31.

Reverb12 has me present.

Prompt 1:

How are you starting this last month of 2012?

Take a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself the question: how do you feel…

… in your body? in your mind? in your day job? in your creative life? in your heart?

One of my favorite songs in the world is As Is by Ani DiFranco and today I found myself singing one the lyrics at the top of my lungs: “…cause when I look down, I just miss all the good stuff. When I look up, I just trip over things.”

I feel that way and that is why I am starting December present in my life.

2012 has been a year of personal growth and change that started with relocating to Savannah on January 2nd after 15 years as a neurotic, overstretched and dissatisfied New Yorker. Today, December 2nd, I took a road trip to Tybee Island in the first car I have ever owned with my boyfriend who I met this summer, and a friend I met in an entrepreneurship incubator who happened to find herself in this corner of the country. I stood at the edge of the water in my sundress on a 76 degree day in December and breathed in deep and thought of the person I was three years ago. I wondered what her reaction would be to me right now.

Honestly? Probably “Who the f*ck are you?”

I have decided I am okay with that.

Enjoying the beach as part of Reverb

Being present also gives you a chance to recognize what’s NOT working in your life. That would be my health. Since August, I have not felt in control of my body- it has been throwing me unexpected and unwelcome surprises. Some of what I feel is a physical cost of having reached what I wanted in my professional life so quickly, some of it is my denial of changes that come with age, and some of it is “just because.” I don’t have any immediate solutions, but I know that this is something I need to focus on in 2013.

I am enjoying my present because I set big audacious goals for myself in 2010 and I met almost all of them. Enjoying my present so much has made it difficult to figure out what other big and audacious goals I want to pursue in 2013 beyond more of the same. “The same” is a temporary place and I can’t wait for the Reverb12 to steer me in the right direction.

Musical Musings: You Be Illin’

Savannah: It’s official; We’re on the Map! 

Happy Monday again, everyone!

We had our very first (fantastic!) event last week here in Savannah with the local Startup Chicks, and had a very inspirational crowd of women looking to make moves and make a difference in the world. We discussed goals, priorities, networks, mentors, fears, challenges… and a whole slew of other things as Tracy led the workshop The Art and Science of Reaching Your 2013 Business Goals.

I tweeted during the event and used our November Networking Challenge‘s hashtag #CYOO. Scroll back a bit to November 8th if you’d like to see some of the discussions!

Musical Musings: You Be Illin’

As a team, we’ve been taking turns being somewhat sick and having to take a step back to take care of ourselves. Funny how our physical bodies respond in such a way to over extending ourselves. It’s a great reminder to take a step back to lean into some self-care so we can continue moving forward offering our best selves (as opposed to our sick and distracted selves).

Now that it seems we’re all back on the mend, we’re going to celebrate with a little Run DMC for your Musical Musings. Enjoy… and make it a great week!