All Work, All Play.

I haven’t written in ages, and it’s actually been really nice because it became a job to me.   Don’t get me wrong.... I loved my job.  I just couldn’t write all day for work and then come home and write to relax.  It just doesn’t work that way no matter what profession you're in or how much you love what you do.

I have always been all work or all play.  I just can’t seem to achieve the two simultaneously for too long.  These past 3 months have gone by in a blur, and that is not how I want to live my life.  I know that there are times in life when you really just need to “buckle down” and “give it all that you’ve got,” but I am ready to learn to live again.  I don’t want to go crazy and leave my job behind or anything, but I am ready to regain a bit of control in my time and how I use it.

So, here's what I did:  I wrote two lists.

One list is all the things that I have to do.  On the other list is all the things that I want to do.

It’s actually surprising how many things were on both lists and the things I came up with when I wasn’t limited to the words “have to.”

It turns out I really do care about a lot of the things on my Have-to list, and that makes me feel happier already just knowing that.   Realizing a list item as something that is driven by desire and not only out of obligation is already a win for me.   Then, there were some really random things I came up with on my Want-to list.  It was fun to feel free and unrestricted from the voices of everyone else and what they think I should do and to finally listen to what I want to do for a change.

I’ve learned in my life that it doesn’t take a huge undertaking to achieve a goal.  All it takes is putting pen to paper and articulating what it is you want.  Once you know what you want (which is the hardest part), the rest will follow naturally as you take small steps to achieve it. 

What do I want?  

Apparently I want to jump on a plane to Thailand and ride an elephant.  I didn’t even know that was even floating around in my head until I wrote it down, but now I have something to take action towards and hopefully one day I will ride that elephant and feel fulfilled in some way or another because I did something that I wanted to do.

A few other things I wrote down…

  • To fly away to Thailand and ride an elephant
  • To write in my blog (see! it’s already working)
  • To take more pictures of New Zealand
  • Spend more time at a local pub hanging out with friends
  • Have more alone time with God
  • Sleep in on the weekends and not feel guilty
  • Talk with my family and friends back home more
  • Be a better friend
  • To feel healthy physically
  • To have beautiful clothes that make me feel pretty
  • To feel successful at work but also able to leave at 5
  • Do yoga routinely – body/mind balance
  • Learn how to make delicious, healthy meals
  • Play piano
  • Write a book
  • Help my daddy with his book
  • Help mommy with her business
  • To feel “at home” somewhere
  • Spend the summer in the burger truck
  • Explore more of New Zealand

Here’s to our wishes, dreams, and goals! That we may realize their superiority in our thoughts and to treat them with the attention that they deserve.


Letting Go.


Life is full of changes, some of which we welcome and some of which we fear.  Everyone has their list of fears, although each is unique based on individual circumstances and personality.

For example,
I embrace change, adrenaline rushes, and writing.
I fear speaking in public, commitments, and making mistakes.

While my fears might be your strengths and my strengths might be your fears, it all comes down to letting go.   It’s time to overcome it and live the free life that was meant to be yours.

I live my life challenging my fears.  Whenever I get to a place in my life where I feel stagnant, I take a look at what scares me, and I do it.  This allows me to constantly live a life fearlessly and embrace freedom from the bondage of my fears.

I’m going to admit something, though: It is hard, even for me – someone who loves change, adventure, and a good adrenaline rush.  Every time I face a time in my life where the waves calm and I’m left staring straight into the eyes of the shark, it is scary as hell.  I feel the surge of fear and doubt bubbling up deep in my soul.  I feel weak, shaky, and faint.  It’s a terrible feeling, and we all know it all too well.

So, how do I overcome these fears?  Well, the best way I’ve found is to dive into the deep end.  This can be dangerous, but this has given me a life free of regrets.
  • See locals jumping off a 50-foot cliff into the ocean?  Jump.
  • Stuck in a toxic or abusive relationship?  Break up.
  • Scared of driving on the other side of the road? Get in the drivers seat and go.
  • Stuck in a 9 to 5 job and see it going nowhere? Quit.
  • Afraid of speaking in public?  Plan an event and speak.

In each occasion, I have had support in my decision.  I have someone standing next to me, someone who I trust, counting.  1, 2, 3… Jump.  I couldn’t do it without that person.  When facing your fears, you must not go about it alone.  Instead, bring people who support your decision to the starting line and let them count for you when the numbers just won’t come out.  Then, make up your mind that however you feel at that moment after 3, you will follow through.  You will fully let go of your fear and embrace the new.

Obviously, you must be wise in your decision making, but this kind of living will open you up to new experiences and a life that you’ve always dreamed of.   If I had passed these fear-injected opportunities by, I would have something way worse than fear: Regret.

I think that’s probably the dirtiest word in my mental dictionary.  Regret.  It even sounds nasty.

I have a life motto, which you may have seen here or there.   It says,
“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving, safely in a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways with wine in one hand, chocolate in the other, shouting ‘WooHoo! What a ride!’”

I’d pretty much say that quote sums up living your life to the fullest, and is the very antithesis of regret.

While my intentions have shifted from selfish to God-given desires as I’ve matured, I still adhere to this concept because I believe that God wants me to enjoy my life.  A lot of Christians take the enjoyment part out of their relationship with God, even though that is his ultimate gift, isn’t it?  To enjoy his creation, the people we love, and, ultimately, Him?

I’m still afraid of speaking in public, but I know that my support system, my friends and family, will all be there counting me down to the moment when I jump swiftly into the unknown, letting completely go of all I know to be true, and let God unfold his plans for me.

Letting go is often required for you to move forward in your life.  I challenge you, if you feel that you’ve become complacent and safe, to take a look at your fears and decide to let them go, one by one.  Each fear is holding you back from your true potential.  Each time you let a fear go, no matter how small, you will gain strength.

Sometimes we fear our dreams, but I’d like to encourage you to challenge that thought and pursue you dreams.  Sweep each fear away like the insignificant reality that they truly are.

Soon enough, you will find that you are living a life of freedom, and feeling more alive than ever before!

I challenge myself, as well.

Challenge accepted.

Now, let's all sing together... Let it go, let it go...


Waiheke Island.

The ferry ride alone is worth the cost of the trip with its gorgeous views of Auckland City and Rangitoto.
Waiheke Island is just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland.  It's been called the "Hawaii" of New Zealand, for it's pristine beaches during the summer and it's reputation for food and art.  There is so much to do on the island, but one of the most common is wine tasting.  We hired out a private tour bus to take us to three different vineyards around the island.


The Bay of Plenty.

Beautiful Tauranga is located in the Bay of Plenty.  Without a doubt, this is my favorite place in New Zealand so far.  It is a small little town located along the strand of beautiful beach that stretches from Mount Maunganui to as far as you can see.  The walk around "the Mount" is lovely.  It took about a half an hour - maybe more because of all the pictures I was taking. You can also hike to the top which takes about a half an hour.  There are sheep on the mount and hardly any people.  Walking around the mount, I passed by 10 people max.  I believe that this is one of the best kept secrets of New Zealand (until now) and a local treasure.  The town is adorable with little shops and cafes, the waves are perfect for surfing, and the water is crystal clear.  I would move here right now if all the business wasn't in Auckland.  Auckland is beautiful - don't get me wrong, but the Mount is breathtaking.  It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life.


Goodie Goodie Gum Drops.

I made it to New Zealand, and I have to say, I am pleasantly surprised!  My flight in was like a dream... Think of the most luscious, green hills, surrounded by bright blue tropical waters, fluffy pink clouds and the most gorgeous sunrise you've ever seen.

Here are a few interesting things I've learned in my two days here:
  • Goodie Goodie Gum Drop Ice Cream is ah-mazing.  It's bubble gum flavored and literally has gumdrops in it!
  • You can ask McDonalds (aka: Maccas) to actually "steam" your buns.
  • Fish and chips are pronounce "Fush and Chups," and it is very Kiwi to eat it out on the beach.
  • "Flat out" means really busy, as in "We've been flat out."
  • "Puku" is Māori for bloated stomach.
  • Switching driving sides is really fun and surprisingly not as hard as I thought it would be.
  • The cross walk signs actually have a picture of a man walking... so cool.
  • "La-de-da" means fancy, as in "That place is really la-de-da."
  • Kiwi birds only come out at night. Also, they are blind, endangered, and flightless.
  • It is super green here, but the reason is because it rains alot.  I guess I should've expected that.
  • The Sky Tower changes colors during the year to raise awareness for different causes.  This month it is pink for breast cancer awareness month.  It's also 1,076 feet tall, which is taller than the Eiffel Tower.


Run the World.

My new wardrobe as a marketing professional in New Zealand.  I love Asos.com.


Takin' the Tiki Tour.

Tiki tour
A roundabout way to get somewhere – taking the scenic route

4 Days.  In some ways it feels like it took forever and in some ways it seemed so quick.  After all, I did decide that I wanted to move to New Zealand in June, and it is now almost Halloween.  I cannot believe that I have been back from California in Colorado for 3 months, though. Sheesh, time flies.

I want to remember what this feels like... that week before you make a really big move.  So, how do I feel?  I don't feel anything!  Excited? eh. Scared? eh. Curious? eh. I wish I had a grand explanation of what it feels like, but it just feels like any other day, except I have an extra-long to-do list.

Why am I even going to New Zealand?  Well, for one, I have great business opportunities there.  Secondly, I've always wanted to visit and my best friends are moving there.  Thirdly, it gets me closer to my true love, Australia.

Who knows? I might love it, I might hate it, but at least I can say I gave it a try.  And why not? I want to live my life to the fullest of its potential, and I'd say that moving to New Zealand is a pretty great way of living.

I have to say, I am worried about one thing... my name.  I know from experience that Kiwi's pronounce my name "Jenni," as "Jinny," and I am not okay with that.  I'm thinking I may officially change my name to "Summer" if it bugs me too bad.

I have sort of taken a hiatus on my blog due to the fact that... well, all I do all day at work is blog.  I am wanting to keep it updated on my travels, though.  It keeps a sort of diary on the internet of my travels, pictures, memories.  Plus, that way you can live vicariously through me.

Meanwhile, here is what I will be missing while I am away:
Wait... why am I leaving again?!


Homemade Senior Pictures.

How gorgeous is my friends' sister?  We went out to Chautauqua Park in Boulder, Colorado to take her senior pictures.  These have not even been edited, and they still look amazing!  My friend, B, took the pics, while I took these "behind the scenes" shots on my phone:


Seize Your Day.

Photo Source: WeHeartIt

The Kaizen Approach

Kaizen: Continuous Small Improvements

Kaizen is the Japanese word for ‘improvement’. This concept was first developed in Japan by the US teams who came in to help restructure the economy after WWII and a notable champion of the approach was Dr W. Edwards Deming.
The Kaizen approach is now normally used to describe continuous small improvements in any area, including personal development where it especially useful since well-intentioned but major life improvement revolutions tend to be short-lived.

The perils of the Brand New Start

Have you ever made a major Brand New Start in your life? You began a serious and strenuous exercise programme? You went on a diet that was going to return your shape to how it was 20 years ago?
Or your new start involved changing from its opposite to being very tidy, efficient and productive – or very sociable?
Or you decided to fully commit to a new hobby and bought loads of gear for it – without really assessing how satisfying it was going to be for you?
…only to discover, a relatively short time later, that you’d given up and gone back to the old ways?
Well, that’s one argument for making continuous small improvements. Try to change too much, all at once, and a part of you rebels – and quickly gets you back to normal! Or the people around you ‘rebel’ because they don’t like the effect your New Start is having on them.
Whatever the reasons for this common phenomenon – and there are many – it’s a good argument for Kaizen, for improving in small continuous steps.

Being more positive

If you try to ‘be more positive’ about everything the realistic side of your nature will soon undermine your new start.
But if you decide you’ll take a more positive attitude towards, say traffic hold-ups, and you’ll find after a few weeks that it’s taken hold.

How do you apply the Kaizen approach?

  1. Plan: Prepare the evening before – choose your topic or behaviour. Plan how you will integrate it into your day.
  2. Visualise: Take a few moments in first thing the morning to mentally plan and visualise the day ahead. If you’re very rushed in the morning you can do this while washing, shaving, putting on make-up, or preparing your hair.
  3. Set up reminders: the events of the day will soon put all thoughts of your new resolution out of your head – unless your prepare for this. Mentally set up ‘milestones’ that will remind you of your project – such as whenever you turn the ignition key in the car, whenever you replace the phone on the cradle,  whenever you visit the toilet, etc. Use these moments to consider and re-visualise your project.
  4. Re-view the day: take a few moments when you are finished your working day and review how things went. If you completely forgot about your project what can you learn from that – and apply to tomorrow’s plan? This is the essential ingredient of Kaizen – continually learning from your experience.