Category Archives: 2013

wealth week is now wealth month

I’ve decided to extend Wealth Week into Wealth Month — how convenient that we’ve just begun a fresh new month! Coincidentally, November is my birth month, and I definitely feel my financial story looking up! (Overwhelmingly, November is also NaNoWriMo — National Novel Writing Month — so I’ve got tons to write these days.)

cha-ching! Gold coins


I’ve taken a few days off from writing because I’ve begun customer service training at Argentina Leyva Portrait Photography (Art of Seduction). This should take place on weekends during the day (Fridays and Saturdays), with the exception of this week as Argentina is shooting a wedding, and Anthony and I are going to Los Angeles for the stock trading seminar by the folks who put on the Millionaire Mind Intensive. Pardon my sudden radio silence, which was mostly due to the sudden influx of work (Art of Seduction and otherwise) . . . holiday season is indeed upon us! Part two of the spirituality/money conflict will be released shortly.

In other news, as tax laws have recently changed, I’ll be forming an LLC; it’ll be an umbrella company that encompasses both my Premier jewelry business, my freelance writing, as well as this customer service position at the studio. As of now, the LLC’s services will include marketing (writing, photography, social media) and customer service. I still have to meet with the CPAs I’m considering for taxes, so stay tuned for more details.

Speaking of taxes, Tony Robbins advises that in order to become financially successful, we must become intimately familiar with the tax system. Granted, it is very difficult to keep up with as a non-accountant, but you could potentially be cheating yourself every year by overpaying in taxes simply because you didn’t understand the rules.

I’m on my way to Los Angeles tomorrow morning, so I’ve got to run for now — wanted to check in so you knew I didn’t disappear. The day before a flight is always unchained chaos, so be very impressed I was able to post this. 😉

Catch you on the flipside!

Onwards and upwards,

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wealth week begins here

As promised, this week is Wealth Week. Like I said in my previous post, I’m not speaking about money as somebody who’s already made her millions and is rolling in it. However, I’d for certain say I’m well on my way to creating my financial freedom.

Think-and-Grow-RichI’d like to point out an interesting fact: Napoleon Hill, author of the bestselling book, Think & Grow Rich, was not himself a wealthy man when he set out to write the book. Rather, he was commissioned by Andrew Carnegie to discover the most important wealth practices by interviewing the biggest names of the time. To this day, Think & Grow Rich is regarded as one of the most influential books on financial success that there is out there, despite the fact that it was written in the 20s.

Anyway, my point is, before you can embark on a long-distance journey with a goal in mind (I’m hesitant to say “destination,” as the journey often is far more important), you have to clearly know what you want. In order to achieve levels of greatness, modeling is in order. What do I mean by modeling?

Most of us require a teacher to show us the correct techniques and encourage us to practice with said techniques — it’s the same with playing piano, learning to write or run. Before you write, you must first read, and before you run, you must walk. The teacher helps lower the learning curve. We model ourselves after the people who have accomplished what it is we want.

Breaking down the steps to mastery is what bridges the gap between where we are now and where we want to be.

So when it comes to money and our money habits, really the only difference between those who have it and those who don’t is the cumulative effect of daily money practices. Money is one of those seemingly taboo subjects that is a natural part of life, which people for whatever reason generally dislike bringing up. (At least, in a healthy way. Bitching about how much stuff costs — i.e., having a scarcity mindset — isn’t healthy money talk.)

But the problem is, though it’s something we avoid in daily conversation, it is something we have to address in daily life.

Unless you are a bazillionaire, don’t you think there’s something that the rich know about money that perhaps you don’t? If it really were just a matter of smarts, why were so many outrageously successful entrepreneurs (e.g., Bill Gates, Steve Jobs) university dropouts?

Why would someone who’s financially in the red take money advice from anyone who hadn’t at least done the work to figure out what will get them to financial freedom? Weirder yet, why would someone who has no solution to their own financial problems feel entitled to offering advice??

Last year, I attended a seminar that changed my life. I dragged Anthony to it, and neither of us regretted it. Not only did it lay bare to us our hidden beliefs about money, but it helped me transform them by the end of the weekend. And beliefs, if you haven’t spent the time to think about them, are exactly what fuels everything we do.

Millionaire Mind Intensive

Beliefs lead to our thoughts, which then lead to our actions — which lead to our results.

I ended up leaving the Millionaire Mind Intensive feeling as though my first million was inevitable.

Sometimes when I bring up the topic of improving finances, I get this scary response:

“I think I already have a good handle on my money.”

And it’s invariably people whom I personally know have issues with their finances who say this! These are always the individuals who at one time or another have admitted to me that they either couldn’t afford something they wanted/needed, had trouble with overspending, or didn’t have any savings.

The number one thing you must be able to do if you want to change something in your life is to recognize there is a problem. Don’t let your ego fool you into believing everything is perfectly fine as-is, that living paycheck-to-paycheck and answering to someone else for the rest of your life doing something you may not even enjoy is good enough. How many people in your exact situation (or better?) have ended up totally screwed financially because they didn’t get educated on how to improve their situation?

softening problem

Softening your problems (like saying, “Fast food isn’t so bad for you” when you’re supposedly on a mission to be healthier and lose weight, for example) gives you permission to stay where you are (or get worse). It’s pretty much a silent killer to any dream you may have, and unfortunately, you have to get real.

Don’t be afraid to say, even just to yourself, that you’d love to be able to splurge on that designer purse or on hiring a nanny to take care of the kids as you take a mini vacation over the weekend to recharge — and not have to give anything else up in order to do it.

As a recovering spender-avoider, I know that back when I was the type to just drop over $800 on a purse with the blink of an eye, I was sacrificing future financial security by just buying “things” rather than investing in something that would benefit me in the long run.

And as selfish as it may sound to pay a nanny to watch your children when you go on a weekend getaway, a lot of us forget that taking care of ourselves first allows us to become better parents, better friends, siblings, whatever. It’s the whole airplane practice of putting on your oxygen mask first — if you can’t even breathe, how can you effectively take care of someone else?

The point is, there is nothing wrong with feeding our souls with the occasional splurge or vacation, as long as we’ve already set up systems to ensure we can indeed afford to without it negatively impacting our long-term well being.

The so-easy-you-can-even-teach-your-kids-to-do-it money management system that the Millionaire Mind Intensive taught us is called the jar system. In putting this into practice, I’ve had some amazing aha moments, such as:

  • By prioritizing each important area of your life, you automatically take care of your future as well as your current needs/wants by divvying everything as soon as money comes in.
  • Not touching certain money that is yours is just as important as spending it. This sounds obvious to you savers out there, but the whole concept of having an account full of money that I’m only allowed to add to (rather than take away from) was as foreign to me as Greek.
  • There’s only abundance. If you ever hear me say “I only have $50 right now,” it’s a lie. What I really mean is I’m only budgeted currently to spend $50 on whatever it is in question. Because the money management system teaches you to divvy all your income into separate categories, you never find yourself at your last penny. Perhaps I only have $50 to spend on play, but my financial freedom account holds much, much more. I’m just not allowed to touch it!

So in this Wealth Week series, I will discuss the teachings to T. Harv Eker, author of Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (incidentally what the MMI is based on) — which I devoured recently. In my lengthy study of wealth creation, I also bring you advice from the likes of Tony Robbins, my friend and “light worker” Valerie Love, success author Brian Tracy, and probably other resources I’ve tapped into in this exploration.

If you’re a local Chicagoan, I highly recommend getting yourself registered for your own attendance at the upcoming Millionaire Mind Intensive Special Edition next month in Schaumburg. It’s three days that will drastically change your life (if you let it — more on that later).

I’ve signed up to volunteer at the event, so I hope to see you there! Next week, Anthony and I will board planes to Los Angeles to attend their stock trading intensive so we can begin investing our FFAs (financial freedom accounts) and diversifying our income. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a wealth empire. Tomorrow, I’ll address the three “wealth wounds” as described by Tony Robbins (whose approach to money mastery aligns very well with everything the MMI teaches, by the way). The guy came from practically nothing (more on his story tomorrow) and now owns an island, so he may have something to teach the rest of us!

Say you’re not necessarily looking to make millions or be financially free. Attending the seminar and/or reading Eker’s book will still teach you the tools you need to safeguard your future from being one of lack or of counting pennies. I’ll discuss the spirituality/money conflict this week, too, but for now, it’s something to think about.

To your financial freedom,


[love] in memory of matt ryd

When I was a senior in high school, I was involved in each of that year’s shows (fall play, spring musical, spring play). High school was kind of a lonely time for me, so by the last year I found a lot of solace in drama club. One of the most active members of drama was a guy named Matt Ryd, who was always a fun — and funny — guy. Really good guy.

After we all graduated (he was a year younger than me), I discovered that he was also a musician. He actively promoted his music, but because we weren’t close I never attended any performances. To my surprise, sometime last year (I believe), he came out with a video explaining that he had for a long time been struggling with an eating disorder. He checked himself into rehab of some sort to get better, and excused himself from social media, leaving us with the video to help spread awareness of what he had been living. Once he returned to society, I honestly thought things were going well for him.

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that I just found out he took his own life this past Sunday. Although I couldn’t have known, it makes me feel (hindsight being 20/20 or not) like I was partially responsible. Not because I was ever mean or nasty to him, but because I hadn’t gone out of my way to ask him how things were. I assumed they were fine. Plus, he always had no shortage of praise, recognition, or comaraderie, but quite obviously, he was still a tortured enough soul who desperately sought peace. Of course, I and anyone else who knew him wishes there were something we could have done to prevent what happened.

Ladies and gents, let’s walk away from this reminded that we must (not merely “should”) go out of our way to connect with people and remind them of how much love and support they have behind them. This applies to friends, family, significant others, children, the people who are estranged from us (probably most of all). Think about how bad it makes you feel when someone asks you how you are out of formality and not because they actually care.

I’m committing myself to looking at people in the eye when we speak, even if it is only a momentary exchange, and being the best friend/sister/daughter /writer/personal accessories stylist/me I can be. I call this divine interruption — the events that happen outside of our control that shake us up and give us a reality check.

Please keep Matt (and anyone who is suffering in silence) in your thoughts and prayers. What does his story inspire you to do differently? Share your ideas and revelations in the comments below.

Read Matt’s obituary here.

[love] my theme for 2013


From — one of my favorite quotes!

Earlier this year, the “matriarch” of my business team led an exercise for each of us to do on our own. It was a difficult exercise, but the end result was to come up with our own themes for 2013. Some people resolved to “Just say no [to overcommitting],” others to “love myself first,” and I’m sure a slew of many other things.

Basically, to produce our personal themes, we were to figure out which were our top values in life. There was a list of important things, such as “family” or “honesty” or “wealth,” etc. and we had to eliminate them frantically (we were timed) in order to figure out which were our top five, non-negotiable, number-one-priority values. Of course, this was a challenge, since no one can cross off, say, family, without feeling like they’re implying that it is somehow not important.

But if you’re an independent person who currently has no family to speak of, crossing it out by no means implies that if you do have a family one day, you don’t care about them. It’s important to remember also that values can change. Priorities do, too, and it’s key to review these things regularly to make sure you are living your life according to what you find most important. The point of the exercise is not to make yourself feel like a terrible person, but to acknowledge that while all the values listed are always important, we can still identify the ones that are truly at the forefront.

We didn’t share what we crossed out, but the complete list is here:

Tough, isn't it? To do it, give yourself 30 seconds to eliminate these to your top five, then list them in order of importance to you, and create a theme for yourself according to these.

Tough, isn’t it? To do it, give yourself 30 seconds to eliminate these to your top five, then list them in order of importance to you, and create a theme for yourself according to these.

Anyway, long story short, my theme for 2013 is “love over fear.” In my spiritual journey lately I’ve routinely come across this concept. I find that it is pretty all-encompassing, especially if you learn to view fear as “false evidence appearing real.” Fear is, in my opinion, the number one thing we allow ourselves to get caught up with to truly get in our own way.

only thing we have to fear

Think about it! What do you regret in your life? The things you were too scared to do for one reason or another, right?

Or what are you busy putting off today because of fear?

Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of judgment, of getting in trouble, of losing what you have . . . the list goes on.

Where there is fear, there is no love. Choosing love over fear is instead a choice to put yourself and your goals first, to love what you aspire to do, what you stand for. To get out of your own way and plunge forth anyway, even if you do get hurt. Because you either win, or you learn.

It lives next to my bed! To do first thing and last thing every day :)

It lives next to my bed! To do first thing and last thing every day :)

I am so thankful to also have a guide in making this shift in my life, the “Spiritual JunkieGabrielle Bernstein. I discovered her through Marie Forleo (whom many of you know that I adore), and although I’ve known of her for a long time, I didn’t fully start following her and her message until the release of her new book, May Cause Miracles. It’s a 40-day guide to creating miracles in your life (no voodoo — it’s all spiritual work like meditation and learning to see things through a different lens), and while I admit I haven’t been doing every single exercise to its full extent, I also know that I will refer to this guidebook time and time again. (Next time, I’ll be better about the journaling. This is actually one of my 2013 resolutions . . .)

A couple weeks ago, the mantra for the day was “I believe in miracles,” and this set the tone for the whole day! I had an amazing experience the entire day, and I believe it was thanks to Gabby’s advice.

I explain all this because I’m introducing a new category for this blog in 2013: pieces on love and pieces on fear. Why focus on fear, you ask? Doesn’t what we focus on expand?

Well, yes, but you also have to understand that simply because we ignore something doesn’t mean it goes away. If you don’t acknowledge the leopard chasing you, it is foolish to think you can just imagine it disappear and it will. I want to address stories of fear in 2013 because I think anyone will be able to relate, and then I will offer solutions to these stories by suggesting conscious acts of love. In order to shed these stories we tell ourselves, we must actively choose to believe something better,

That said, I suppose my series on networking can be the first of what I imagine to be many topics on love and fear. Stay tuned for part two, posting tomorrow at 8am! (Um, yeah, it’s been scheduled. I will still be sound asleep at that time. Still working on that becoming-a-morning-person thing.)

To love over fear,

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