Monthly Archives: February 2012

I have a confession to make: I have never seen The Godfather movies. This might not seem like much, but do you know how many cultural references involve knowing these movies? A ton! I have pretended to get these references for more years than I care to admit. Seems like an easy thing to fix, right? Just watch them. Well, easier said than done! They sit at the top of my Netflix list, but I just keep skipping over them. I’ve even tried planning a movie party to watch them with friends, but everyone else had already seen these films, so the group decided to watch something else (and I couldn’t actually admit that I hadn’t seen them – I’ve been chiming in on the references all along, what would people think?!?!) So there The Godfather sits – weighing down my To Do list – week after week, month after month, year after year. Is the world going to end if I never see these movies? No. Will my friends and family disown me if I admit that I’ve been lying? Of course not. But what does happen is that every time I look at my list, I feel a little bit like a failure. I may have checked ten items off that list in a day, but there’s that unwatched Godfather, taunting me with my inability to finish everything perfectly.

We all have a “Godfather” – maybe it’s that book you’ve always wanted to write or the scarf you’ve wanted to knit or the perfectly roasted chicken you’ve wanted to perfect. These items scream louder than any of the positive cheers for what you’ve actually accomplished and fill you with concern that you are just not doing enough with your life. I’m starting to believe if I’ve procrastinated something on my list for too long, it’s probably because I don’t truly care if I do it, but I’ve convinced myself that I should or that I have to or that everybody else thinks it’s a good idea, so I will too. When the truth is, I don’t really care if I ever see The Godfather movies and maybe you don’t really want to write a book, but everyone has always told you that you should, so you put it on the list and tell yourself that it’s something you want too.

So, I have a challenge for us all. I challenge us to take that depressing and destructive little hitchhiker off of our To Do lists.  Just cross that puppy off and don’t look back. Then, and here’s the hard part, do not feel guilty about it. Choose instead to proudly say at a party, “You know, I’ve never seen that movie” or “I never make my bed in the morning and I feel fine about that!” We’re told to share our goals with someone else to help motivate ourselves to accomplish them, but I’d like to hear what you’re proud of NOT doing. I want to know what you’ve decided is not vital for your life, even though the rest of the world or advertising agencies or your mother may not agree. Without that Godfather guilt weighing me down, I have a feeling I’ll procrastinate looking at my list of things to do today a whole lot less. There won’t be anything I’m dreading to see on there and I can fill that available space with something I actually have the heart and desire to do.  And maybe, now that it’s not something I have told myself I have to do, maybe the next time I see The Godfather is on TV and I have a few hours to spare, maybe my heart will choose to watch it . . . maybe.

Post authored by Erin Jerozal


I am a goal setter. I am a list making, vision board having, goal statement writing, Paul Coelho reading, life manifesting, goal setter. I am also a person who sees the end goal first. I know what my kitchen is going to look like in my dream beach house. My aforementioned vision board has goals that are in reality at least 5-10 years away. To some people that is overwhelming and scary. But here’s what I’ve learned. If you are a person like me who sees the big picture, in order to put your goals in motion you have to be specific and work backwards.

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”~Mark Twain

Let’s talk about New Year’s Resolutions, for example. I love the optimism of a New Year. Everyone is excited to start anew and looking to the future with positivity. Now, as we’re almost 3 months into the year, how are you doing with your goals? If you are still on the ball, then huzzah to you! Pat yourself on the shoulder and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you’re not, let’s take a look at what probably happened.

Let’s say your resolution was the old standby of “I’m going to get back in shape.” Did you have a well defined plan or did you go to the gym every day for 3 weeks, miss a day, feel bad about yourself, miss another day, feel worse about yourself, eat a bag of potato chips while watching The Bachelor secretly cursing all of those chicks and their perfect bodies, and just give up entirely?

Here’s the thing: don’t set yourself up for failure! If you break down your goal into a series of baby-steps, working backwards from the big picture, it’s easier to get back on the horse if you misstep. So, here’s what I did.

I too set the goal of getting back into shape. However, this was my series of thoughts:

What does getting “back in shape” entail in my eyes?
• Eating a healthy diet
• Getting physical exercise 3-5 times a week
• Feeling energized and confident
• Drinking lots of water daily

And then I broke each one of those down further.

Let’s take “Eating a healthy diet.”
1. Taking my vitamins daily
2. Eating green veggies twice a day
3. Having one meatless, dairy-less day a week
4. Weekly meal planning twice a month
5. Only eating out/ordering in once a week

You get the idea, right? Managing your goals this way helps to take some of the pressure off. If I happen to eat out twice one week, it doesn’t mean I’ve failed at eating healthy and therefore failed my goal of getting back in shape. And I’m back on the horse!

Post authored by Kyra Selman

Kyra is a Taurus with a Virgo rising which means she’s a laid back and practical person with type-a tendencies.  This manifests itself most via the massive purses she carries which, packed with anything and everything she may need on a daily basis (iPhone charger, paper clips, massive supply of lip gloss) is organized into pouches and cases. Most efficient after she’s caffeinated, Kyra can always be found with a soy latte in hand as she conquers the concrete jungle one goal at a time.  

So here’s the deal. It’s hard to find time to work out because it sucks. Exercising uses up time and energy you don’t have, makes you sweaty, which feels good until it dries on your face and causes major post-adolescent acne hideosity, but you know you HAVE to do it. Or you will get unfit, unhappy and unhot, and no one wants that. Even though sometimes we think we do (donut), we know we really don’t (Vince jeans).

How in the world are we expected to actually do this ick thing when we have so many other commitments and demands on our time? Buddha, Krishna, Unbearable Lightness of Being – whatever is up there, or not – what gives? How can we possibly be expected to fit in working out when our lives are stuffed to the gills?!

We trick ourselves. That’s right. Trick. We reframe the situation and get to the root of the issue, assuming you have already tried scheduling working out into your calendar, finding a workout buddy and other typical suggestions to no avail.

Start with these two suggestions and let me know how you do:

Take Control

In most situations that make us slightly uncomfortable, we believe we have little control over improving the situation. With exercise, we explore the options, pick the least horrific alternative and suck it up – right? If you go that route, you will merely force yourself to participate for two weeks and fall right off the wagon again. You have set yourself up to fail, which only increases the likelihood that you will fail over and over. This cycle is simply not going to work if you are trying to make your health and fitness a priority and an integral part of your life. So take control.

Try this: Recognize the thrill and genuine enjoyment you feel when you find a workout scenario that is clicking for you. When you like it – you LOVE it. Take a minute and figure out what is making you love it. Do you love the instructor? Do you love the way your butt looks in your $52 workout shorts? Do you love the person sweating it out next to you? The music? The time of day? Find out what is making you tick, and therefore click. Write it down. Now. Do it. Please.

Now, use this data to inform the choices you make about your workout habits. Go to the classes taught by your favorite instructors exclusively – who cares?! Buy $52 workout shorts if it gets that killer looking butt back to the gym. Ask your instructor to play your favorite song – they have to make so many playlists I’m sure they’ll thank you for the help anyway.

Take control, and create a situation to which you would like to return, and return! You will find it much easier to find the time for something you actually want to do, something you have essentially tailor made for yourself. Trust me.

More than Madonna Arms

You probably started your exercise regiment to maintain a great physique and high level of fitness, or because you were seeking those results. Most people initially arrive at the gym, to yoga, to Pilates, with one of those reasons in mind. It’s not enough to keep you on the gym floor or on your mat. You will get bored. You will get tired and sore. You will think there must be a better style of exercise that will help you achieve the results you seek. You will go off looking for it and repeat this cycle in search of those ever elusive Kabbalah inspired Madonna arms. You will never find them. Shalom.

Find your connection to physical activity on a level deeper than your personal appearance. When you are able to dig deeper and find a way to condition your body, and simultaneously nourish your mind, you will work out every day and not understand how anyone else doesn’t. You may have seen this in your marathon runner, yoga crazed or Mark Fisher Fitness addicted friends, were you jealous?

Try this: Consider the parts of your personality that don’t get a lot of air time most days. For me, I almost never get to be playful and childlike or exhibit my easy going, relaxed side (I have one, I can hear you husband). I have become addicted to rollerblading and yoga. These two physical outlets allow me to release and tap into the parts of myself I so often shut away. When my alarm goes off in the morning, I know when I hit my mat I get to be relaxed Brooke, even though my teacher and fellow yogis are the only ones who know she exists. When I am rollerblading along the East River with my husband, wind in my hair, asphalt occasionally in my face – I’m free! I can fall, I don’t have to be perfect, I can laugh – loudly! So I do these things, I look forward to them, and only after I’m done do I even remember it was a work out.

 Post authored by Brooke Stone

I am passionately in love with math. I, capital L, Love long division. When I was a kid (and maybe even a few months ago when I was home for the holidays), I’d make my mom give me strings of large numbers to divide by other strings of numbers – for fun! I got a 5 on my high school AP Calculus test and owned a graphing calculator. I also had great friends and a date to the prom, so don’t worry, this math nerd story has a happy ending. I love that with math, you get a straight answer. I find calm and relaxation in its square-ness. As an adult, most answers to questions come in shades of gray; but with math, there really is a black and white, a right and wrong. Two plus two will equal four, no matter what your hair looks like that day or whether you’re a Republican or Democrat.  Math feels like a strong hand to hold on the craziest of days.

Now, I know not everybody feels this way about my beloved. Math makes many people sweat and break out with anxious hives. And that’s okay, you don’t have to love it, but you shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Vow today to take control of your checkbook, to get a handle on your monthly budget and to call your accountant with confidence at tax time knowing that your deductions are itemized and in order. The secret? A simple Excel spreadsheet.  With just a few simple steps, the Excel spreadsheet will happily and easily do most of the work for you. Sure, call in the experts for the big stuff (even I don’t do my own taxes), but if you arm yourself with the knowledge to take care of the small stuff along the way, April 15th will be much more pleasant and you’ll have the ability to create a financial plan for yourself based on truth about your spending, not just a vague idea. Do you know how much you spend on food each year or shoes or supplies for your small business? You should. Having this knowledge will bring peace and calm to a subject that usually creates anything but, giving you the power to change what’s not working and to celebrate what is.

I am going to take you through creating a basic Excel spreadsheet step by step. Be warned, things are going to get scary at about Step 5 (or Step 1 for some of you) – just breathe. Use this opportunity to embrace your fears and to commit yourself to sticking with it. You will be so happy you did! Here we go:

Step 1

  • Open Excel, it’s that big green “X” in your dock (if you’re a Mac user, PC’s you’re on your own!) Do this now and then come back for Step 2, seriously go ahead, there is no time like the present to learn something new! I’ll wait . . .

Step 2

  • Name your columns going across the top of your spreadsheet. The header columns are labeled A, B, C, etc. Let’s say we want to track our basic expenses for the year. We would name our columns: Rent, Utilities, Food and Entertainment (yes I’m simplifying, but wouldn’t life be great if these really were our only expenses!)
  • Be sure to leave the first column empty, so we have room to name our rows in Step 3.
  • Now, go type those into your sample spreadsheet, starting with “Rent” in column B, “Utilities” in column C, etc.
  • Also, you can adjust the size of any of the rows or columns by hovering over the grid line, clicking and dragging. Easy as pie (mmmm. . . pie!)

Step 3

  • Now, save your document. Give it a fun name that will make you smile. Part of getting over our fear of math is re-framing how we see it. If you give your spreadsheet a name that makes you smile and laugh, you’ll be more apt to actually open it and use it. Seems silly, but it works! I’m a big fan of using song lyrics.

Step 4

  • Next up, name your rows going down the left hand side. These are labeled 1, 2, 3, etc. For our sample expenses spreadsheet, they would be the months of the year.
  • Start with row 2, so January doesn’t get mixed up with our column names. For those of you who remember playing the game Battleship – you’d be typing “January” into A2 (it’s a hit!), “February” into A3, etc.
  • We also want to name the row after December “Total”, so we have a place where it all adds up!

Step 5

  • This is where the magic happens. We are now going to create our math functions.  We want to add up all the months in each column, so we know how much we’ve spent in each category for the year. Put away your calculator, you don’t need it. Seriously, let it collect dust. Excel has got you covered.
  • Put your cursor in the Total box for our Rent column (That would be B14 for those Battleship lovers)
  • While in B14, click on this symbol in the toolbar: ∑.  Here is what will magically appear in your Total box: =Sum( ). In the parentheses, type “B2:B13”.
  • I know these numbers and symbols are scaring your right now, but hang in, keep reading. Take it step by step. You got this! Congratulations, you have just told Excel to add your Rent from January to December.
  • So when you enter your rent into this spreadsheet each month, Excel will do the math. Easy! Just for fun, try it. Type “500” into the January and February Rent boxes. DO IT! Did it total automatically? Do you feel giddy and awesome? Yes and yes!
  • Now, repeat Step 5 for the other boxes in Row 14, remembering to use the correct letter for the column. B was for “Rent”, C will be for “Utilities” and so on.

Step 6

  • Okay, we are almost there. Take a quick stretch and sit back down. Now you may be asking, what do we do for the categories that will have multiple monetary entries throughout the month?  Good question! Most people have one rent payment, so that’s easy to enter, but what about our Food column?  To add things as you go within a box is even easier than what we did in Step 5.  Let’s add up some food purchases in January.
  • Click into the D2 box and type this: =2.99+3.55 and then press enter. Voila! Excel added it for you!
  • Any time you have an expense to add for Food in January, click on that box and add it on (+expense amount, press enter). Excel will add it up there, as well as updating the yearly total down in row 14. Two equations for the price of one!

Step 7

  • Play! This spreadsheet isn’t real. We are making up the numbers. So, save it now and then go wild. Click around and add numbers and play, play, play! This is the best way to get comfortable with something new.
  • You can undo any “mistake” (Command Z for the cool kids) and mistakes are golden when you’re starting out. Make them here, so you’ll know how to handle them when you make your real life spreadsheet.
  • Save as you go and make it fun. Put on some music and get down with your math nerd self!

Step 8

  • Pour yourself a glass of wine or ice tea or chocolate milk and pat yourself on the back.  Feel proud of yourself for taking the risk to learn something new.  Rest easy tonight knowing that you have a new tool in your life skills toolbox to better manage your finances and therefore your life!  And if you have any questions, give me a call at BSLM, I’ll be happy to talk you through it.

Post authored by Erin Jerozal

An ancient king of Israel, known for his wisdom, once said:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…”

Last week, in Part I of this post, we explored the issue of comparing ourselves to other peoples’ journeys.  Now for Part II: I have been pondering very recently the innate need for us to rest. We enjoy productivity, doing good and giving to others. What about resting, though? Why is rest so hard?

Often, I find myself struggling to rest.  Rest forces us to stop. Stop doing, stop striving. When I do rest, I begin to ponder life’s larger questions.  Mine is unlike anyone else’s journey.  Mine is beautiful in its own place and time.

“For everything there is a season…”  The seasons of my life vary, from laughter and joy, to tears and struggles. But each season holds enormous significance and purpose.  I am more changed into the person I was intended to be. Resting enables me to focus on the bigger picture.

“…and a time for every matter under heaven.” Timing is crucial to many aspects of life. Deadlines, appointments, birthdays, the like. We operate on timing. But consider this: What if the timing of things in our lives has deeper implications? What if timing is crucial for our development, for our purpose?

Take a moment today and rest. Consider timing and seasons in your life. Ask the tough questions, the big ones. And be encouraged that you are unlike any other person. You are unique. You have purpose.

Post authored by Kristen Evensen 

Traci Thomas (L), Tina Frey (C), Maria Skopas (R) hang out at NYIGF!

It was my pleasure to assist Tina Frey of Tina Frey Designs at the New York International Gift Fair held at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center in late January, with my fellow LMP Traci Thomas. This Fair is absolute heaven for design savvy shoppers featuring a gazillion booths split into categories like New York’s Newest, Accent on Design, Handmade and Tabletop & Housewares. Walking down the endless aisles is something like being caught in the looking glass of everything you could ever want in your  exquisite, palatial and epic fabulously over the top home, office, studio, world, life. Epic. It really was epic. Completely overwhelming in the best way possible and just as exciting and adrenaline inducing as the Barney’s Warehouse Sale. Really it was.

I was the luckiest to be there with the Fair’s most original, shiniest star, Tina Frey. Not only is Tina one of the kindest and most inspirational individuals I have had the pleasure to meet, but her hand crafted creations bring a smile to even the grumpiest, blackest clad, rain soaked and disgruntled New Yorker.

Here is a bit about Tina Frey Designs:

Inspiration for the designs come from many things: The shapes are inspired by organic forms in nature and objects found in travels around the world. The colors are inspired by delicious translucent popsicles, candies, and jelly beans.

The pieces in the collection are hand sculpted by Tina Frey in San Francisco, California. Sculpting starts with an idea that is cohesive with the rest of the collection.

When the clay design is completed, hand-made molds are created for each object and cast in resin.

The molds are used to cast each item individually by hand in small batches by color. Slight color variations between batches contribute to the beauty and uniqueness of each piece.

After the pieces are cast and removed from the mold, they are hand sanded. They are truly made with care. In this way, we can ensure the quality and integrity of each piece.

What I discovered as the days went on, is that each of these unique pieces has an infinite number of uses. I was drawn to the beautiful organic shapes as well as the amazing colors and realized I could do so many things with every piece! Imagine being surrounded by them day in and day out! Even this New Yorker felt the sunshine on her shoulder… and it’s February.

Here are a few of my very favorite uses for my newest very favorite things. Oprah, put these on the list. Readers, be sure to download Tina’s full spring catalog and check out her fantastic blog!

Entry Way AKA Drop Off Zone

Your entry way can easily be kept organized by using the Large Tray coupled with either Gerd or Pete Dish.  Perfect for keys, change, phones and other miscellaneous items we bring home and tend to unload everywhere…only to spend 20 minutes looking for them later. See more tips on dumping miscellanea and how to channel that here: The Pleasures of A Drop Off .

Tina Frey Designs

Desk and Office

A Desk can come alive with The Trio of Bowls for clips, post its, rubber bands, business cards etc…

The Deep Cookie Dish is great for pens and pencils and the Champagne Bucket would make for the most elegant of waste paper baskets.

Look at the killer ensemble Brooke picked up!


Let’s not forget our favorite…jewelry!

Woofy is perfect for keeping our rings in place. And he is cute cute cute.

The Baguette Dishes are excellent for keeping our chains from tangling.

The Pedestal Egg Cup is a perfect holder for studs, and the Pedestal Goblets are great for larger earrings.

The Small or Large Lapin pieces are exactly the thing for storing cuffs or larger pieces out of sight.

How handy… the Hans Dish for more earrings, bracelets, watches and cufflinks too!

Organizing can be as fun, funky and colorful as you are thanks to the fabulous Tina Frey.

Post authored by Maria Skopas

See what Tina has to say about the team at Brooke Stone Lifestyle Management:

I am so happy that I found Brooke Stone Lifestyle Management! Brooke and her team are absolutely wonderful and I want to share my experience so others can benefit also. My first encounter with Brooke was initially for a small task in New York City. I live in San Francisco and I really needed help on a task that same day. They tackled it quickly, with incredible professionalism, and good communication every step of the way, detailing their progress that I was truly amazed! I felt confident that the task would be done properly and it was very liberating to know that I didn’t need to follow up. I knew that this was the start of a wonderful relationship with her and her great team.
On my next project with them, I was traveling to New York for an upcoming exhibition and they were again able to assist me. Once again, they exceeded my expectations. Not only were they efficient with the tasks, but their warm and comforting support on tasks on the human level was more than I could have asked for. This was so helpful during the stressful time that I would highly recommend them to anyone.

I plan to work with them again on my next trip to New York and will continue to think of ways that they can help me streamline and simplify my life. They are truly a wonderful group and I look forward to wonderful work with them again and again.

Being a twenty-something in New York City is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you are still experiencing philomacrostembioticosistic outbreaks you may want to consult your doctor. But seriously, we live in a land of extremes. You can have the worst day of your life here, and then wake up the next day only realizing everything is completely different.  As a collective, I feel like me and my friends have huge goals. We all moved to NYC to accomplish something big. We also have limited incomes. Here is the kicker, we are in a place filled with opportunity and during an average week you can get offered all sorts of opportunities.

In the past week I have had to manage an opening night, a high profiled gala, and a private party with people I want to impress. Did I mention I have a limited income?

I have some insights for the men who are reading this. If you are lady be sure to bookmark this and use it on your next man friend/date/lover/etc.

So how do you do it? How can someone like me with two suits, a tux, and a few blazers to my name make things work? The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind, but also it is right under your nose. First of all, if you don’t have a tux, go get one from a rental place preferably after prom season. Those establishments will usually sell their used tuxedos after prom season for a surprisingly cheap price. The idea is they need to clean out there old things, and you need to acquire something new to you!  It is a small thing, but something you will be so glad you have when the occasion arises.

For formal, but not black tie events, accessories are where it is at my friends. For me, ties, and blazers are exactly what I need to make a look entirely different. You can get these things from all over and there are probably thrift store finds waiting for you in your neighborhood! If you can pull a great blazer and tie together guys, then your job is mostly done.

In less formal situations, try wearing your clothes in a different way. Layering different pieces can make things you have already worn look entirely new to the same crowd.

Also, do not be afraid of color! Use all sorts of colors and patterns. Just, do it. Use them and then swap them out with other colors and patterns. You will be surprised how different mash ups will surprise even your closest friends! Patterns with other patterns can usually work to your favor, but might need lady approval (so lady’s, be aware).

The most important thing you can do is assess your wardrobe. Know what you have and never be afraid to wear it with different pairings.

The lesson is you too can live on a shoestring budget and look like you are living on a six-figure budget. Afterall you’ve made it to Manhattan, anything is possible!

Post authored by Trevor Worden


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