On Love…

As social as I am online or in a local coffee shop, I tend to keep my personal life to a select few. I don’t write blog posts and tweet about my relationship, the details of my family or health concerns.

I like to share articles and tips about business and entrepreneurship, photos from my travels, juice recipes and fitness routines. I love posting pictures of my dog and moments from everyday life, without including too much of the mushy stuff because I feel like those intimate details are more important when shared with the ones I love.

But as I sit in our rented Paris flat, with a constant smile on my face, butterflies in my stomach and my head in the clouds, I want to share a personal story.

I’ve always been in love with love. As a little girl I would watch Princess Bride, The Little Mermaid and Dirty Dancing over and over again. I dreamed of the day I would have someone to share my life with. As I got a little older, that started to fade. There were times, that I truly wondered if love was even real. It was a weird feeling, but one I’m sure that others question every day. I tossed the idea of a fairy tale life out the window and focused on just living in the moment, not expecting too much, not dreaming of something I had seen in movies and read about in books. It was easier for me to think like this, because if it wasn’t real, it couldn’t hurt. With those thoughts, I took a few years to live alone and discover myself. It was a difficult challenge but one I’m so glad I managed to do before I began a life with someone else.

When John came into my life, we were both in a place to take things slow but as we began spending more and more time together and I found myself falling for him. With every late night ice cream date or early morning trip giggling through the grocery store, I fell more and more in love. It was two years after we started dating when I moved in with him and shortly after after that, we picked out a puppy together. Now, almost five years after John and I first met, he proposed.

And in that moment, the wave of emotions was stronger than anything I had ever felt in my life. I instantly began laughing and buried my head in his chest smiling so big that the tight pinch in my jaw was tingling. My hands were trembling intensely, stomach fluttering away, my feet were floating off the ground and just like that, time stopped. The bridge that was once full of people was now a vortex of spinning colors as we stood in the center looking into each other’s eyes. In the distance, a street band was playing a familiar song: “You’re just too good to be true… can’t take my eyes off of you…” and it was just like the movies; just like those moments that are described with such emotion and heart pounding love, that you find yourself completely entranced and full of excitement from head to toe.

I am quite positive that there’s nothing in this world more amazing then the day you realize where you are meant to be.

For me, that is in his arms as his bride-to-be.

Yoga + Meditation Videos

Everyone faces stress and anxiety in their own way. I have always been one to take a holistic approach and in doing so, I’ve learned a lot about my personality, my mind and my emotions. Yoga and meditation have been a huge help in this discovery. Here are a few videos that I have included in my weekly routine of becoming free.

Morning Yoga: 15 minutes to wake up for a beautiful day

This is a great to start your morning. It only takes 15 minutes and it will warm up your muscles and your mind in preparation for a wonderful day.

Yoga Flow: 50 Minutes

Since this video is a bit longer, I enjoy using it for evening yoga sessions at home or if I need a break in the middle of a long work day.

Yoga Cardio Burn Workout with Denise Austin

Sometimes you need to work your yoga in with a little cardio. In this case, Denise Austin offers a great way to include both yoga and full cardio burn.
Jillian Michaels finds a way to push you to the edge in her videos. In this yoga meltdown video, she incorporates very difficult moves with cardio to keep you sweating to the end.

Guided Meditation: Blissful Deep Relaxation 

When I have trouble getting to sleep, I like to use a guided meditation video such as this to help calm my mind and thoughts.

Relief from Anxiety: A Guided Visualization 

In this guided visualization, they find a way to melt your worries and take you on a journey to peaceful relaxation.

Time to Unplug

I find that one of the only ways to keep balance in the life of being an entrepreneur is to make time to unplug. In a world of laptops, mobile devices, apps and wearable technology, it’s almost hard to escape being connected but if you can find time to completely unplug, you will find clarity.

Traveling is one of the best times to disconnect. It’s a time to completely free yourself from the overflowing inbox and clutter of files on your desk. It’s a time to reconnect with life, with others and sometimes with nature.

Here is a short list of disconnected getaway ideas in the states:

  1. Go Hiking: Grab a walking stick, backpack and hit the trails for a weekend away on a completely tech-free terrain. Peaks of Interest: Mount Si (Washington), Adirondacks (New York), Grand Teton (Wyoming)
  2. Get Grounded: A new wave of young professionals are reconnecting with their childhood with adult summer camps such as Campgrounded and Digital Detox.
  3. Find Zen: An alternative to the traditional hiking or camping escape is to achieve complete relaxation in a wellness retreat. A few in the North America region include the popular Kripalu in Massachusetts and all-women center, Big Sky Yoga in Montana.

Did you get a chance to unplug this summer? What would be your ideal digital detox getaway?

Operation: Simplify

As a visual person, I often turn to Pinterest when I’m conjuring up a plan for an upcoming vacation, a project at home or even business ideas. So when I first began Operation: Simplify, I did the same. “Simplifying my life”, and here’s what I got:


Oh the irony…. Pages and pages of boards in which people pinned ideas for de-cluttering, organizing their belongings, finances, decisions, etc.

There are articles like this one by Paul Stamatio that made me want to take on this task to simplify my online life. And even Gretchen Rubin begins The Happiness Project with eliminating unnecessary clutter in your house. But I think it was this article in the New York Times last spring, which really resonated with me and helped me appreciate that having less, can make you feel more. So after thinking about this for a while, I turned off my computer, grabbed my notebook and pencil and found a cozy spot outside to get creative the old fashioned way. Here’s what I came up with.


  1. Email: Clean up your inbox with Unroll.me. This service helps you regain control of your subscription emails by rolling them into a single daily digest.
  2. Bookmark Bar: I add all of my most visited sites to my bookmark bar using only the favicon as a guide. This saves me time and decision energy by not sifting through a long bookmark folder or typing each address into Google search.
  3. Online Privacy: Every six months I go through what I call a “personal reputation search” in which I will request personal data to be deleted from the public record databases. This is quite a task so consider paying $129 to have DeleteMe take care of it for you. Or follow their guide to opting-out of these sites yourself. I’ve also installed DoNotTrackMe Chrome app to block spammers and identity thieves from tracking my internet browsing.
  4. Blogs and Social: It took me a while to organize all of my favorite blogs but now I have the perfect formula. I use Feedly for RSS and Buffer to post to my social networks. The Awesome Plan is only $10/month and everything I could ask for in managing my social media accounts.
  5. FOCUS: As an entrepreneur, sometimes it is very tricky to manage your time wisely but one way to simplify your focus time is to eliminate distractions. If you use a Mac, consider downloading the application, SelfControl as a way to block sites that could tempt you into losing focus.


  1. Eliminate Clutter: Buy organizers for your junk drawers, get rid of old magazines and papers laying around. When you can say sayonara to useless clutter, you immediately begin to feel lighter.
  2. Beauty Products: On a quest to use non-toxic, all natural beauty products, I trashed all of my old makeup and began investing in beauty supplies that will keep me healthy and vibrant for years to come. This is something that will take a little time and money but it’ll be well worth it in the long run. Here are some great natural beauty tips from my friends at Considering You.  
  3. Clothing:  Although selling your clothes can take even more time than it’s worth, there are a few apps that could help you get the job done without much hassle. Try posting pictures of your clothes to Threadflip or PoshMark to allow people to shop your closet. If you want to choose a quicker route, donate.
  4. Cleaning: Something I did a couple years ago was hiring a cleaner. She charges $100 with tip to clean everything from the bathroom to my balcony and totally worth it.
  5. Life & Business Documents: Go paperless. Who needs folders of bills from your first car? Get real. Scan or trash all of them.


  1. Eliminate decisions: The reason President Obama only has blue and gray suits is so that he doesn’t have to suffer decision fatigue when deciding what to wear in the morning. Fewer options you have to make a decision on, the better.
  2. Schedules: I plan my workout schedule on Sundays and include physical activity every single day of the week. This holds me accountable and reminds me that fitness is part of my life just like working and eating. I also plan a basic dinner schedule for the week. Thus, eliminating decisions and costs associated with dining out. It’s not a strict schedule but rather a suggestion or guide so that I don’t have to make decisions. Another great part of my daily routine is to make sure juice replaces one of my meals. This cuts out bad eating habits and helps with decision fatigue.
  3. Amazon: I order everything on Amazon: dog food, notebooks, paper towels, everything. This eliminates a trip to the black hole that is Target.
  4. Groceries: The things that I can’t buy on Amazon, I get at my local market. I create one grocery shopping list and alter it each week to only the important items that I need.
  5. Transit: If you live a big city with great public transit, consider getting rid of your car all together. This could save boat loads of money that you would spend on insurance and car payments, as well as time that you could be doing work or reading on the bus rather than waiting in traffic during your commute. Columbus just got CoGo bike share which is a great alternative to driving.

Now that I have extra time…

Since Operation: Simplify, I’ve had a lot more time to myself not worrying about the things I need to de-clutter or organize. I now have time to focus on meaningful things.

  • Learning a new language with Duolingo
  • Treehouse lessons to keep coding in my life
  • Working smarter on NextChapter
  • Practicing Yoga & Meditation
  • Cooking healthy meals at home
  • Reading and listening to audio books

Did you take some time this summer to simplify? What was your experience like? I’d love to hear any tips or hacks in the comments.

The Importance of Customer Happiness

As a SaaS business owner, I understand that focusing on customer service and reducing churn can have dramatic effects on lifetime value of a customer and return on investment.

There are several companies that I admire for their dedication to customer experience and MailChimp is one of them. Here are a few ways that MailChimp has turned me into a chimp fan.

1.) Trust. This beautifully constructed piece of software that they allow me to use for free always works. I trust MailChimp to be everything that I need it to be and it’s always more.

2.) Personality. It’s the little details that make me smile. After I send my campaign, the chimp gives me a high five – how rad!

3.) Creativity. The company culture embraces creativity and it shines through their products. Check out the coloring book they made Love What You Do and this awesome 2012 Annual Review.

4.) Customer Happiness. After I tweeted about the chimp giving me a high five, MailChimp mailed me a high five surprise: an awesome shirt, a chimp sticker and felt stuffed animal. And just like that, they earned me as a lifelong customer.