Posts Tagged ‘passion’


Happy Life Trick: Pick a New Year’s Theme Word

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

Successful companies know a little something about branding. They decide how they want us to view their company, and they run with it. Looking to “save money” on your car insurance? You think Geico. Looking to “think different” about your technology? You might pick Apple. A company can’t be considered a master in comfort, price and innovation. It’s better to pick one element and aim right for it.

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

Beauty? Peace? Gratitude? Choose a word or phrase for the year that speaks to how you want to live. (Image: Ken Spencer, Hummingbird)

And the same goes with branding our own lives. To achieve our dreams, we have to know how we want to live, in order to make the choices that get us there.

That’s why, a few years ago, I started giving my life a theme word. One year it was “Authenticity” and another was all about “Passion.” This past year was about “Freedom and Abundance.” So for me this past year, I ran every opportunity past my theme to see if the choice was right for me. Hmm, some extra paying work that also fed my curiosity about a topic I wanted to research? That was an abundant yes.

For 2014, I’m playing around with the ideas of “Fortify” and “Family,” and I want to give you a chance to think about whatyou want from your next year, too.

Try this: Instead of making New Year’s resolutions about little goals in your health or habits, think bigger: Think about how you want to feel in your body, among your friends, as you walk through the world. The come up with an adjective or phrase that best describes that feeling. To make it easy, picture this: You run into an old friend on the street and talk for a bit. Then, she suddenly stops and says, “It’s funny. But looking at you, I see such ______________.” What do you want her to see? What feeling do you want oozing out of your pores? Strength? Contentment? Joy?

Here are some other ideas to get you thinking:

 Brave/Bravery. Perhaps you want to feel more bold with your work choices, your travels, your heart.

• Persistence. One of my friends has said she’s through being told “Maybe” by potential clients, and she’s determined to make her company a success by trying again and again and again until she makes it. And when she’s walked out of another maybe meeting, she’ll think, ‘Persistence, baby,” and throw her shoulders back and schedule another one.

• Love & Tenderness. Maybe you’ve been a bulldog go-getter all year, and you could use a reminder to soften up and make more loving choices in the months ahead.

 Light/Lightness. If this year has been particularly grave and serious, maybe your new year could be about lifting the weights, breathing, letting loose, and letting go.

Take your time. Think about how you want to feel strolling down the sidewalk of life this next year. Go deep. Brand your heart’s choices. And aim for a truly new year.

Big love,


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10 Reasons You Should Never Settle in Love!

Friday, May 14th, 2010

Trust me, all singles get to that place. Oh, you know the one…

Stand strong for the love you deserve! (Illo by: Amy Spencer)

You’ve been single for a while, and since you really really want to be in a relationship, you start to bargain with yourself. You think, “Maybe I could just settle for someone I like just enough” instead of waiting for one who will truly make your heart floweth over. Well, here’s the sign I’d post in that puddle of pessimism: No settling allowed!

As anyone who’s already read the preface to Meeting Your Half-Orange knows, I’m all about being picky.

(If you haven’t read it, click to read the excerpted pages “Are You Being Too Picky?” straight out of the book!)

To make it clear why I don’t think you should settle for “eh” when it comes to a lifetime love partner, here are 10 reasons why settling works against you. Don’t settle for love, because…

#1: …settling is a choice made from fear. Don’t choose a relationship because you’re afraid to be alone. Or because you’re afraid you won’t find someone better. Or because you’re afraid you’re not good enough to attract someone who’s nuts about the real, true you. Be strong, not scared! You’re a tough cookie and you know you’re meant for more, so don’t let fear make decisions for you. Trust in the good life can bring you.

#2: … passion is like a hot pepper in a good soup. In other words, it changes in flavor, but it doesn’t diminish. If you choose a relationship with a passion and attraction to the whole person (not just their looks), the rewards of that emotional attraction can still be there decades later. But choose a relationship without that emotional passion? You could end up with a soup with no flavor at all.

#3: …friendship marriages are different than deep, romantic ones. Yes, some people can commit to an arranged marriage and still stay together for the long run. But it can take years to develop any emotional zing—if ever they do at all. Relationships can offer so much more than someone who cleans the toilet or puts gas in the car every other time. You can have more if you want it.

#4: …love isn’t a business contract! I read a quote from a woman who says she feels okay that she settled for her partner since marriage, after all, is like “a mundane non-profit business.” A mundane non-profit business? Goodness, what kind of marriage is that? Personally, I prefer to be alone than spend time with people who don’t speak in some way to my heart. Don’t you? Marriage or your big relationship should be the same way! Let your heart have a say.

#5: …When the novelty of coupledom wears off, you’re stuck with each other! All day. All night. All weekend. All the time. Watching not just your favorite shows but theirs. Withstanding not just their acceptable habits, but their annoying ones, too. Do you want to spend all your quality time with someone you wouldn’t give your high-quality stamp of approval?

#6: …settling is a sign you’re pessimistic about your future. It says you think you’ll never meet someone who adores you, who’s healthy and right for you, and who you love wholeheartedly in return. Be a dating optimist! If you want to feel happy, challenged, smart, pretty, safe and attracted to your partner, you can. You first have to believe the right partner is out there for you, and then begin asking for him or her to come rolling on into your life.

#7: …you deserve more! If you want to feel amazing about yourself and feed your healthy self-esteem, you should partner with a wonderful, respectable person you’re madly attracted to in some special way. Settling with someone you don’t respect and adore is a way of diminishing yourself. You deserve someone as great in heart and soul as you are.

#8: …if you settle, there may come a day later in your life when you feel you’re missing something. Are you prepared to battle with that? Someday, when you see couples who seem to care deeply for each other in palm-sweating, butterfly-churning ways, do you want to think, “What have I done? I never had that…” or do you want to smile, hug your honey and say, “Love is amazing. We have that, too.”

#9: …you deserve a big, bad, wonderful love! Long-term commitments are marathons, not sprints. If you’re going to go the distance, you want someone next to you that makes the run worth doing—through the highs, the lows, the effort and the exhaustion. Give yourself the gift of a wonderful life for the whole long run.

#10: …if you’ve settled with a so-so someone, you won’t be open when your half-orange comes along! Your other half is so desperately hoping you’ll be open. Do yourself the favor of making sure you are. Don’t lie down into a relationship if it’s not going to make you stand up and shine. Celebrate yourself and the love you’re meant to have, and don’t settle for anything less!

While you’re at it, you should also read:
10 Reasons to Be Thankful for Being Single!
10 Things All Singles Must Do
8 Reasons to Go Out Tonight!

Big love,

Your Life’s NOT in Ruins!

Monday, October 19th, 2009

The other day, I caught the Nia Vardalos movie My Life in Ruins. Not only did it make me salivate for Greece (sigh), but I recognized what a lot of us go through in life and love in Nia’s character, Georgia, who was feeling frustrated by her life as a travel guide through the country. Picture 2Instead of being open to all that life had to offer, Georgia was trudging through the motions of her job, feeling hopeless about her love life, and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. Sound familiar?

If it does, maybe you’d appreciate the same message Georgia got in the film from the character Irv (played by Richard Dreyfuss), who acted as the movie’s wise “oracle.” His finest moment came, I think, when Georgia was giving Irv reasons why she felt she wasn’t close to the love or life of her dreams. When she was finished, Irv had this to say:

“You’re looking for obstacles rather than looking for magic.”

What a genius line. And what a great thing to challenge yourself with, too, when the walls of difficulty seem too high to climb over. When you look to the future love you want to have, are you looking at the obstacles, or are you open to the magic?

Love is not rational, remember. It’s the one thing in life that whisks away even the most practical, organized, type-A. Love is all about magic. And if you want to invite it into your life, start getting good at believing in it! If you focus on the obstacles to having love (“I work too hard to date,” “No one I like likes me back,” “What’s the point, everyone’s a jerk anyway.”), then obstacles are all you will hit. Look, instead, further along the horizon. Look for the magic.

You might also like:
Oh, Sherri: Her Lessons in Love

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Steal This Love Trick from Rachel Zoe!

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Oh, how I love The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo. (Duh.) But my love for the show about this ultimate fashion stylist is about so much more than watching her, Brad and Taylor dress stars for an awards show. The fact is, Rachel Zoe has a quality that would benefit each and every one of us in both life and love: The girl’s got passion!

She's dying. Die-ing. (from

She's dying. Die-ing. (from

I admit that when I first watched the show last season, I thought her passion for fashion went a bit too far—clothes being something that, when measured against the grand scheme of life and death and health, didn’t seem worthy of such gasping to me.

But I’ve since changed my tune about Rachel and her Project. Why? Because (more…)

Julie & Julia: Your Optimism Gurus!

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

I finally saw Julia & Julia. I actually caught a late-afternoon show, which felt more like I’d hit an early bird special. And I don’t know about you, but I found it perfectly satisfying. (I also found it made me really hungry, but that’s what the supersize popcorn special was for.) And, as a dating optimist, I realized that both characters are an inspiration for how to embrace optimism—whether you’re feeding your belly to feeding your heart.

Here’s how to get what they had:

A woman determined

A woman determined

1. Have passion for your goal. It’s hard to succeed in something you don’t care two shakes about. They both loved food and writing, and used the passion in their guts to keep them motivated.

Daters should do the same: If you’ve lost the passion to find love itself (“What’s the freaking point?”) it’s time to get it back. Want it. Live it. Breathe it. Believe it.

2. See success at the end of the long road. Julia Child knew it wasn’t going to be easy to gain respect or success as a woman in her field. And Julie Powell knew that cooking and blogging on an insane schedule wasn’t going to be cake either. But both saw the light at the end of the tunnel and decided they were going to succeed.

You can do that in love too: Decide you are going to get the love you want. It may be a tough, bumpy road, but if you see yourself succeeding at the end, you’ll have more fun along the way.

Persevering when she wanted to quit...

Persevering when she wanted to quit

3. Don’t let set-backs stop you. Both Julie and Julia had some missteps in the film: Some dropped chickens, some rejected cookbooks, some mis-flipped food, some missed appointments. Yes they got mad. Yes they got sad. But then they got their eyes back on the prize and carried on.

Same with love: You will have bad dates and lonely nights and will want to give up. But if you stay strong and positive, you can end up with a happy ending…and maybe even a movie deal!

Suffice it to say, the characters’ love lives were an inspiration, too: Everyone deserves a partner as supportive and proud of their strong, spunky wife.

In any case, the next time you’re feeling like you want to ball up and cry on the kitchen floor, remember Julie & Julia and what they can teach us: We’ve all been there. (Oh, have I been there…) This too shall pass. And someday, I swear, when you’re settled into your happy relationship, you’ll find your former breakdowns really funny. In the meantime, keep smiling and eat well.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4