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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Have the Best Halloween Night without Leaving Home!

 

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So this year Halloween is on a Monday – which is absolutely no fun. However, it also means that the celebrations start tonight (Saturday)! Therefore, before I embark on my own adventures this weekend, I thought I would share some of my better ideas with you.

Maybe you want to have a low-key Halloween celebration at home on Saturday night, or maybe you just want a good way to celebrate Halloween on Monday. Either way, I’ve got some great ideas for you!

How to Have the Best Halloween Night without Leaving Home!

1. Decide who is sharing this wonderful night with you.

Invite some friends over, snuggle up with your significant other, or just relish in the quiet  of having the house to yourself. Whatever you choose, first decide who you are spending your night with.

2. Pick out some movies!

There are lots of options when it comes to Halloween movies, but they generally fall into two categories. Either you want to go the scary movie route or you want to watch some heartwarming movies instead. Whatever you prefer (or if you want to do a mix of the two, check out my short lists below!

Scary!

*Disclaimer – I don’t actually enjoy horror movies. Therefore, I bugged my husband until he gave me the best scary movies to watch this weekend – I hope the suffice!
  • Scream: A high school girl receives a flirty phone call that quickly escalates and leads to her boyfriend being murdered and then her being murdered as well. The story-line continues and more people are stalked and then murdered. The town starts to suspect an urban legend come back to life and don’t discover the true culprit until the closing scene.
  • Child’s Play: This is the original Chucky movie. A well-known serial killer is killed in a toy shop and manages to transfer his soul into a doll. This doll is then purchased for a young boy. The movie follows the boy and the doll as Chucky tries to continue living his life by killing his ex-henchman among other people. The family of the boy spends much of the movie trying to kill Chucky.
  • Friday the 13th: This is a classic 1980’s horror movie. Ultimately, this movie is about a summer camp where, when camp counselors have sex, they are murdered. Ultimately, the characters (who have not been killed) discover the killer as well as the motive behind the murders.
  • Nightmare on Elm Street: A teenage girl, has a mysterious dreams about a disfigured man named Freddy Krueger chasing and killing her. When she awakes, she realizes slashes on her nightgown. When she falls asleep a second time, she is killed. The story then follows the girls best friend who also begins having these dreams. The movie then follows this second girl and her mother as they attempt to bring Freddy Krueger into the real world and kill him.

Heartwarming!

  • Halloweentown: This is actually a series of 4 Disney Channel movies that came out between 1998 and 2006. Now don’t be deterred by their “made for TV” status – these are actually wonderful movies. In this series, all of the magical creatures that are known for scaring little kids on Halloween actually exist, but have separated themselves from the human world. The series follows two siblings as they become part of both worlds.
  • Bedknobs & Broomsticks: This is a classic Disney movie that takes place during WWII. A witch in England is forced to take in 3 children who have been evacuated from London. The story follows the witch and the children as they attempt to learn the spell that will help win the war. They even enter a magical (animated) world where the animals talk.
  • Hocus Pocus: Another classic. Three humerus witches are inadvertently resurrected by two children who are exploring an abandoned house. These witches are determined to steal the souls of each child in town and it is up to the two main characters to save everyone.
  • Casper the Friendly Ghost: A wonderful story, and if you haven’t seen the live-action movie, you need to. A father and daughter move into an abandoned mansion in an effort to evacuate it’s ghostly guests. In the process the daughter meets and befriends Casper while her father gets turned into a ghost himself.

3. Find some festive snacks.

Pick out some good movie snacks, maybe some Halloween candy, caramel apples, hot apple cider, popcorn, or pumpkin spice anything! You really can’t go wrong – just pick something you will enjoy.

4. Curl up on the couch and enjoy your night!

Have a happy Halloween!

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Never Waste the Opportunity of a GOOD Crisis

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Happy Friday everyone!

Today I thought that I would just write a short post about the above quote.

“Never waste the opportunity of a good crisis.”

– Darrell Gurney

Crisis. It’s a word we avoid at all costs. After all, if we are having a crisis then we are in trouble. If we are having a crisis, things are bad.

But are they really? I was inspired by another quote earlier today:

“The midlife crisis is just those times when you’re not so into the things you were when you were younger.”

– Jay Kay

And it got me thinking. Why is a crisis always considered a bad thing? Why can’t we think of crises as opportunities instead of terrible misfortunes? After all, if midlife crises are caused by a change in your personality, that’s a good thing. That means that as you age you are still growing and becoming who you are truly meant to be.

What “crisis” in your life can you transform into an opportunity? Or looking back, what previous “crisis” turned out to be an amazing opportunity?

Special thanks to Encore Voyage for giving me the inspiration to write this!

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Divorce and Friendships

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Playing guitar on the beach

I’ve gotten divorced twice…and twice found myself facing the same curious situation.

All of a sudden, many of the people I’ve been friends with for years just drop off. We didn’t get into a fight or disagree.  We just stopped spending time together.  I have wondered ‘why’ for years, and I think I may have finally figured it out for myself.  Can you relate to my own answer?

Part of the reason for my second and more recent divorce, in particular, was that my then husband and I had grown and changed in ways incompatible or inconsistent with continuing the marriage.  Sometimes society calls it “growing apart.”  Even the path itself, leading to the difficult and final decision of divorce, was for me a path of massive growth and change.   I looked the same, but I was not the person I used to be – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. My evolvement in becoming more and more of who “I” am — as an individual — was afoot, and probably became pronounced in my ways of being in the world.

I realize now that it must have been very challenging for my longtime friends to have found, all of a sudden, that the person they used to be friends with (the married Alexandra) didn’t live here anymore.  I look the same, but something was significantly different, and they can’t quite put a finger on it.  This must be tough…to see somewhat of a stranger inhabiting your once-known-friend’s body.

So, it gives me peace-of-mind to now understand that it isn’t like my friends no longer want to spend time with me: it’s simply that the Alexandra they used to hang with left town and there is a new and evolved “me” they have the opportunity (choice) to now meet and know.  Like a very real budding friendship with someone new, they probably simply feel a bit apprehensive and in heightened-alert.

Thank God for those willing — after many years of what, in the first half of life, can become same o’ same o’ relationships — to explore a Back Forty of getting to know and grow with the new beings we all have the opportunity to become.  Some have come around, and some (God bless them) may not.  Using words from an unknown author, whether old friends or new, “let the friends be the friends of your deliberate choice.”

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Undercover Talents

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“Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible with talent is genius.”

-Henri Frederic Amiel

We’re often far too close to the forest for the trees in our own lives to know all that we do or be that makes life work around us.

It’s too bad that companies often only utilize outside consultants such as myself to do a 360 degree assessment for their “problem” executives…to wake them up to what they’re doing that doesn’t work.

Yes, it begins a wonderful process of transformation when one becomes aware of their blind spots of unworkability…and yet I believe it is just as important for folks to become similarly aware of their blind spots of workability.

But we don’t often look there, because those oh-so-natural-that-we-don’t-think-about-them gifts and talents simply blend into the wallpaper.

In our work with individuals in both career and Back Forty bigger Self-expressions, we help folks explore their so-easy-it’s-unnoticeable gifts and talents picked up along the road of life.

For example, I was recently acknowledged by a minister for whom I write a weekly promotional blurb, used to advertise his congregational talk each week. For me, it takes 30 seconds to a minute to pop it out once he emails me his general topic. For him, he says it would take hours and be like shoving needles in his eyes.

Just as we take time – when it really matters in terms of keeping a job or relationship – to examine where we might be missing the mark, I believe we owe it to our Self to do some quick double-takes on ourselves and see what we do so amazingly, albeit unnoticeably, well.

Discerning and acknowledging your own closer-than-your-breath and nearer-than-your-hands-and-feet aptitudes can be a great boost to Self-esteem…and possibly even point you in directions of fulfillment you’ve heretofore been blind to.

Beware of what is beneath the covers waiting for you to discover.  The talents lying there may amaze you.

“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”

-Leo Buscaglia

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Midlife + Instagram + Style = Chic?

Instagram. That crazy social media platform that is nothing but pictures. Not many people in midlife use it, after all – it’s for kids.

59 percent of all 18 to 24-year-olds use the app. Meanwhile only 11 percent of all 50 to 64-year-olds and only 4 percent of people over the age of 64 use the app.

Well, now there is someone trying to change that.

Meet Nikki Garnett.

She is a 48-year-old woman in England who is trying to change how women in midlife see themselves. As she aged, other aspects of life got in the way of her style. Between family, work (or the lack there of), and wanting to fit in with other people her age, she lost her “style mojo”.

Many women in midlife can relate to this. After all, who has the time to go shopping for the perfect outfit when there is so much going on in our lives?

This is why Nikki created the Instagram profile midlifechic. She wanted to prove that you can “get your groove back” in your 40s or your 50s or even your 60s!

If you still aren’t ready to jump on the Instagram bandwagon, don’t worry. Nikki also has a great website where you can learn more about her, get your own fashion inspiration, and follow her own mission to become happier.

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An Interview with Alexandra Levin

If you read our posts regularly, you know that last Saturday I created a post where I interviewed Darrell Gurney.

Now it is only fair that since I did an interview with one co-founder, that I should interview the other! If you are familiar with The Back Forty, you know that Alexandra is also a Co-Founder of the INFUSE Program. If you have attended a Back Forty event, you’ve probably even met her. But, now it’s time to really get to know her!

I sat down with Alexandra and asked her a few questions, including her most profound memories, her motto, and her favorite color (purple).

Read below to find out more about Alexandra!

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As we bravely pursue a Back Forty Big Game Future full of possibility, it’s critical that we empower ourselves every step of the way.

When we’re toddlers, we are encouraged in taking those first steps.  Then, in adolescence – if we’re lucky – we are supported to try new things and “stick with it” until we get better.  Also, in early adulthood – if we’re lucky – we gain mentors and folks far more experienced than us guiding us on paths to learn skills and become competent in our abilities to contribute.

Yet, as we get older, there’s this below-the-radar assumption that “we should know by now”.  There’s rarely the rah-rah fanfare, as folks move into their second half of life, saying “Hey, you can do or be ANYTHING!”  It’s taken for granted that you’ve probably made the most of yourself that you’re ever going to make.

Add to that external-voice cultural mindset the internal voices which say “this is just the way I am” or “that’s not me” or “I’ve never been good at that” and you have the makings of what I call The Incredible All-Things-Possible Shrinking World…where very little is possible.

Acknowledging ourselves and even creating communities which are all about advocating an all-things-possible mentality at any age best prepares us – as our Back Forty mantra claims – “to do what we came here to do.”

On a daily, weekly, monthly, annual…hell, HOURLY basis, we want to be planting flags on the territory we’ve claimed in moving our Big Games forward.

It’s way easy to minimize our progress – in starting a new initiative, business, hobby, relationship, fitness routine – when it’s not perfect.

Harder perhaps, but building the muscle of acknowledging our progress short of perfection is one to bulk up for The Back Forty Big Game Future we came to express.

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The Top 12 Apps Everyone in Midlife Needs (+5 Bonus Apps)

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In our busy world, apps make everything easier. After all, the phrase “there’s an app for that” wasn’t coined for nothing. Especially when you are in midlife, things can get hectic. Between family and work, sometimes it’s hard to keep everything straight. That’s why I came up with this list. These apps are guaranteed to make your life simpler. Don’t believe me? Check them out for yourself!

To Avoid Traffic

wazeWaze

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Other Waze users share real-time traffic and road information to make everyone’s drive better. Getting alerts on traffic is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this app. Waze can also tell you if there is debris in the road, how bad that accident ahead really is, if there is a cop hiding out around the corner, and so much more. Ultimately, Waze makes it possible to outsmart traffic, together.

To Get (and Stay) Fit

FitnessBuilder.PNGFitnessBuilder

The free version of this app offers plenty for anyone looking to start a fitness routine. At the free level you have access to 16 different multi-week fitness plans, 200 videos and pictures explaining how to do different exercises, and over 400 individual workouts. You also have the ability to pick your specific workout goal, your current fitness level, and specify which equipment you have available to make sure that your workouts are perfect for you. If you choose to pay for the Plus membership ($6.99/month or $59.99/year), you have access to over 1,000 different workouts, over 7,000 videos and pictures, and 22 different fitness plans. You also gain the ability to ask a trainer questions about your workout and create your own exercises. Regardless of the option that works for you, you have the ability to track and log all of your workouts, record your body measurements, and chart your progress.

c25kC25K

C25K literally stands for “Couch to 5K” and I feel that title says it all. If you want to train for a 5K or even just learn how to become a runner, this app is for you. This app is an 8-week program where you schedule 3 times a week to go running. Each session includes a warm-up and a cool-down and lasts less than 45 minutes. C25K has you start slow by alternating walking for 90 seconds and then jogging for 60 seconds. As the weeks progress, you begin running more and more. It also gives you the ability to have music play through the app so that you can listen to your music and the cues to start walking or jogging at the same time. The best part, it’s all free!

To Be Productive

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This app syncs your personal tasks, work projects, and shared lists so you have a clear path moving forward. With any.do you can create the most comprehensive to do lists you have ever made. You can separate your tasks into sections like work, school, or home. Then within those sections you can break down tasks by day and even have sub-tasks for each of your tasks. You can also create team tasks. For example, if you are working on a group project at work you can create a team of your co-workers where everyone can see, edit, and add to the list. And the teams aren’t limited to your work life. Make a team of two with you and your spouse. Need your spouse to pick up groceries on their way home? Just send them a group list with what you need. These are just some of the features that set any.do apart from it’s competiton. Check it out for yourself to see what else you can accomplish.

To Find the Best Deals

retailmenotTo Find Coupons: RetailMeNot

RetailMeNot has just about every online and in-store coupon at your fingertips. When you are out shopping, just pull up this app while you are in the checkout line and by the time you reach the cashier you can have a 25% off coupon in your hand. This app also can notify you of nearby sales and deals as you drive around town and give you access to discounted gift cards. If you’re always looking for a deal, this app is for you.

key-ringTo Declutter Your Key Ring: Key Ring

Between the loyalty cards on your key ring and the loyalty cards in your wallet how many do you have? Chances are, you have enough that you feel like you are always searching for the right on. Well this app was created to solve that problem, as well as help clean out your wallet and key ring. You can scan any of your loyalty cards into this app and then those cards will be available through the app! No more carrying around endless loyalty cards or searching for the right one. But that isn’t all Key Ring can do. You can also scan the weekly ads from the stores where you have loyalty cards and make shopping lists based on what you find.

SnipSnap.PNGTo Never Forget a Physical Coupon Again: SnipSnap

If you are anything like me, you have a pile of coupons sitting at home and that pile stays there until you’re at the store and find yourself thinking, “I had a coupon for that!”. SnipSnap was created to fix that problem. When you get a coupon, just scan it into the app and then it will be waiting on your phone when you’re ready for it. The other awesome feature of this app is that you can snap a picture of an item you want to purchase and SnipSnap will search for deals on that item! If you’re bad at couponing, this app can change your life.

To Find Books to Read (& To Find Time to Read Them)

goodreads.PNGGoodreads

If you are a reading enthusiast, this app is for you. Goodreads is the world’s largest social network for readers. You can find thousands of book reviews by Goodreads members, keep a virtual bookshelf of what you’ve read, and build your to-read list as you discover great books on the app. This app makes it possible for you to search, rate, and review virtually any book. It also has a handy barcode scanner where you can scan your books onto your virtual bookshelf and scan books into your “to read” list.

audibleAudible

This is the app for someone who enjoys reading but can’t seem to find the time to actually read. Audible is the worlds largest provider of premium audiobooks, with over 150 thousand titles to choose from. The best part is that, because it’s an app, you can listen to your books anywhere and anytime. Plus, right now you can get your first audiobook free when you sign up.

To Become a Master Budgeter

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Mint is a money manager, personal finance tracker, and budgeter all rolled into one. First it puts all of your financial information into one location so you can see the big picture. It also has budgeting tools, free credit score tools, alerts and advice based on your spending habits, automatic categorization (so you know exactly how much you spend where), and investment tracking (so you can compare your portfolio compared to the market and more). Mint knows that putting all of your financial information can be scary so it takes your security very seriously. Beyond it’s own security measures, it also is analyzed and certified by multiple third party security providers.

To Sleep Well

sleep-cycleSleep Cycle

Everyone knows that getting a good nights sleep is important, but how many of us actually get the sleep we need? That’s where Sleep Cycle comes in. Set your phone next to you while you sleep and this app will measure just how much sleep you’re really getting. It tracks your sleep cycle so that you know how much of your night is spent in a deep sleep versus a light sleep. While tracking your sleep is interesting, the coolest feature of this app is it’s alarm clock. You can set an alarm and sleep cycle will wake you up when you are naturally sleeping the lightest. This makes it easier for you to get up and get going while feeling refreshed.

To Wake Up On Time

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This is an app that I use religiously – and not just to wake up in the morning. If you are someone that absolutely hates getting out of bed in the morning, this app is perfect. You can set a series of alarms to get you up and moving. The alarm slowly gets louder to gently nudge you awake (plus you can pick whichever alarm you wish), but that’s just the beginning. To turn off your alarm you can choose to either push a button, scan a barcode, scan a specific barcode, or any combination of those options. For example, I start with pushing a button. Ten minutes later I have to scan a barcode in the bathroom. This way I can force myself to actually start my day. The best part (or the worst part depending on your opinion) is that you cannot turn off the alarm until you scan the correct barcode. You also can make the alarm a series of tasks so you don’t just wake up, you actually go through your entire morning routine.

walk-upWalk Up (iPhone)

Walk Up is the closest option to Morning Routine that I could find for iPhones. Unlike Morning Routine, it doesn’t have you scan specific items. Instead, you have to walk a certain distance to turn off the alarm (you can pick anywhere between 10 and 100 steps). The alarms tend to be more urgent and dramatic than Morning Routine, simply to help force you up quickly. There are also themes, “doomsday” countdowns, and the “evil mode” where you can’t snooze the alarm. If you need to get up and get up fast – this is your answer.

To Get Your Groove On

iheartradioiHeartRadio

iHeartRadio is another app that I use regularly. Not only can you listen to your favorite radio stations anywhere, but you can also pick out playlists based on specific artists, listen to podcasts, and pick playlists based on your current activities (work, cleaning the house, exercising, etc.). iHearRadio also keeps track of your favorite stations and recent stations so you never forget what you’ve been listening to. As an added bonus, it also has alarm clocks and sleep timers that you can have open to a specific station.

To Send & Receive Payments

Venmo.PNGVenmo

In a world where physical dollar bills are becoming more and more obsolete, Venmo has created a way to exchange money as easily as handing someone cash. With a Venmo account you can transfer money from your bank account to your friend’s account with a click of a button. Do you owe someone money for coffee? No problem, just send it to them with Venmo. Never worry about running to an ATM again.

To Get Rid of Unwanted Junk Mail

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This app is the high-tech answer to your low-tech problems. You know the junk mail that  plagues your actual mailbox? PaperKarma is the answer to your woes. When you receive junk mail, simply snap a picture of it and submit it on PaperKarma. The app will then contact the organization sending the junk mail and get you removed from their list. Ultimately, PaperKarma is the end of your junk mail as you know it!

To Know Who’s Calling

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With landlines disappearing and cellphones taking over, telemarketers are calling cellphones more and more. That is where Truecaller comes in. By installing this app, you can know exactly who is calling you, regardless of if they are in your contacts. You will not only see the name of who is calling you, but also a picture of them. With Truecaller you can also block spam callers and telemarketers, search for someone who isn’t in your contacts, see when your friends are free to talk, and back trace phone numbers from anywhere.

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An Interview with Darrell Gurney

Happy Saturday everyone!

If you are familiar with The Back Forty, you know that Darrell is a Co-Founder of the INFUSE Program as well and the movement as a whole. If you have attended a Back Forty event, you’ve probably met him. But, do you really know him?

I sat down with Darrell and asked him a few questions, including his most profound memories, his motto, and his favorite color (forest green).

Read below to find out more about Darrell!

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