What Does the 99 List Reveal About Me and You?


Well, I recently saw this meme of 99 things on Los Angelista’s blog (it’s been going around the internet for awhile). And I figured.. what the heck. I might as well see how many items I’ve accomplished on the list. I might even surprise myself.

Here goes…..

1. Started your own blog (obviously!)
2. Slept under the stars (I used to be a big outdoorsy girl.)
3. Played in a band (I’m not talking professional here.. like middle school and high school)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo (yes, but it’s nothing to write home about.)
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child (Not yet, but I want to.)
16. Had food poisoning (Too many times to count. I think I have a weak stomach.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (I prefer to think of the day as a mental health day.)
24. Built a snow fort (I’m from Denver. What did you expect?!)
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (more…)

Getting Organized as a Freelancer
Hardnick's Self-Help

Chris Hardnick's Self-Help Wall

Like many of you that read my blog, I am also a “freelancer.” The wikipedia defines freelancer as a “person who pursues a profession without a long-term commitment to any particular employer.” I would define it as a person who seeks an alternative workstyle based on their creative pursuits and talents, while marketing and selling those skills to a world market. This person is simultaneously an employee and employer/manager. That’s a big job. This year I am seeking to do a better job of managing my time in order to produce the best creative output possible. In other words, I want to become more organized!

So, with those intentions in mind (also: be on the lookout for a post about intentions), I read Wired.com’s “Diary of a Self-Help Dropout: Flirting With the 4-Hour Workweek” written by Chris Hardnick (of the blog Nerdist). Basically, Hardnick decided to test out the works of several organization and time-management gurus on behalf of freelancing individuals everywhere. He reviewed David Allen’s Getting Things Done, also known by its shorthand of GTD. He also checked out Julie Morgenstern’s Never Check E-Mail in the Morning, and Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek.  (BTW: Don’t you love Hardnick’s post-it wall!)

Although I don’t want to spoil the ending (because you should really read the piece), it appears as though freelancers have to create their own organization system that best suits our individual needs. I’m personally developing and redeveloping my own workflow and time-management system. It’s a dynamic process for me. I’m trying to incorporate new methods that not only bring out my best organization but greatest creativity as well.

I’m trying out new things like Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way’s morning pages, in which you write three pages in long-hand first thing in the morning. And thanks to my new twitter buddy @YMIB (the developer of a fantastic web site called YMIB.com), I am now writing down ideas that I have in the bathroom and in the bedroom in cleverly placed notebooks in those areas. (And it’s working!) I’m feeling more productive and creative. And better yet, I’m having an abundance of creative ideas, which goes along with my intention for 2009 (more on that to come).

So, check out Chris Hardnick’s piece on Wired.com. And start working on your own personal workflow to create more organization, time-management and productivity in 2009. Please send comments, suggestions and what’s working for you. I’d love to repost them!


The Caramel Bella

CB’s Daily News Break: No Surprise It’s Barack Obama

And Time magazine’s Man of the Year is…(drum roll, please): President-elect, Barack Obama. As if there was any surprise that Obama would be selected. The general consensus in the media world (bloggers and mainstream) is that his choice is one big DUH.

Time magazine wrote, “Obama overcame a lack of experience, a funny name, two candidates who are political institutions, and the racial divide to become the 44th President of the United States.” America’s next president has dominated the headlines since his nomination for the presidency. It’s only fitting that he would take this coveted award too.

And did you check out Obama’s (dare I say hot) photos from his freshman year at Occidental College included in the Time magazine pictorial? A sneak peek is below but you should see them for yourself.

But what about Time magazine’s runner-ups? Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was on the short list to win Time’s Wo(man) of the Year. No. Really? Well, this soccer mom did take America by storm. Others under consideration included Secretary of State Henry Paulson, France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy, and creator of the opening ceremonies (The Birds Nest) at the Beijing Olympics, Zhang Yimou.

In other non-Obama related news….The United States’ first-ever complete (80%) face transplant was performed on a woman at The Cleveland Clinic. The woman, who was described as horribly disfigured, now has the face of a donated female cadaver. The patient only retained her own chin, lower lip, forehead and upper eyes. Before the operation, the patient couldn’t smile, taste or smell due to an accident. Since the surgeons also grafted facial nerves and muscles, the woman will be able to smile and perform normal face functions. “Our patient was called names and humiliated,” said Dr. Maria Siemionow, who led that team that performed the 22-hour operation two weeks ago. “You need the face to face the world.”

And on the allegedly corrupt Illinois Governor front. According to an ABC News report Wednesday, Blagojevich is going to break his silence and tell his side of the story in a press conference toward the end of the week. Although arrested over a week ago, Blago hasn’t responded to the charges that he tried to sell President-elect Obama’s former Senate seat. The governor said he couldn’t wait to address the people of Illinois.

And the sad, sad American dollar. The U.S. currency has “declined the most against the euro since the 15-nation currency’s 1999 debut.” And the dollar is at a new 13-year low versus the yen despite an almost zero percent interest rates. Perhaps, the dollar’s value has something to do with America’s increasing budget deficits, which isn’t actually prompting more global investors. Although, the dollar is $1.4437 per euro, the U.S. could be looking at a $1.50 exchange rate for 1 euro or more! Uh-oh, the current economic plans don’t appear to be working. Attention Bernanke: The dollar is sinking.

Lorne S. Wellington Makes Bras Beautiful Again for Breast Cancer Survivors

I was recently tipped off to the accomplishment of one exceptional lady! Lorne S. Wellington of Sculpted Silhouette in Culver City, Calif. is doing really good work. Known as “The Chief Bra Lady,” Wellington has created a product called “The Bra Pocket,” which allows women who underwent a mastectomy due to breast cancer to wear regular bras. “This multi-colored disc-shaped pocket transforms almost any bra into a prosthetic bra,” said Wellington. “No longer do you have to choose from limited styles and designs for bras.” This pocket device goes a long way in the emotional aspect of losing a breast, which may leave some women feeling unbalanced and unattractive. Breast cancer survivors can now wear any bra of their choosing. How empowering!

Sculpted Silhouette also “fits, sells and educates women of all shapes and sizes about bras and the right fit.” I encourage all the ladies out there to check her out.

To women doing great things,

The Caramel Bella

Read something new beginning October 1: Daily Om

I discovered a new site that I love. It’s called Daily Om. For those of you unfamiliar with New Age and holistic thinking, this web site is a great place to start. It’s motto of nurturing the mind, body and spirit feels right to me. I find myself pondering several of the daily messages as I venture through my day, week and beyond. Although it may seem like a foreign concept, our minds, bodies and spirits are so interwoven. And this site does a really good job of helping us become mindful of our lives.

Today’s Daily Om is about “Unhindered Movement” and getting out of our own way. You know the saying that we are our own worst enemy. So true!! Check out this post and the site. Here is a little intro to sweeten your palette.

When you find yourself facing obstacles that appear to be blocking you from your goals, it is important to try not to get discouraged. It can be easy to feel “stuck” or that “life” is creating circumstances preventing you from getting what you want. And while it is easy to look at everyone and everything outside of ourselves for the problem, perhaps even wanting to “get rid” of the person, object, or circumstance we may feel is blocking us, sometimes the best course of action to take may be to look inside ourselves first. Read more…

The Caramel Bella

CB Thought: Crackberry, I Mean Blackberry Anxiety

Blackberry Curve Red

Yesterday while in the shower, I came to a very interesting conclusion. My addiction and constant checking of my Blackberry is causing me anxiety. (And yes, I have been clinically diagnosed as a “Crackberry” addict by my husband.) Although this revelation may be obvious to many, I began to isolate my recent onset of anxiety and nervousness to my incessant email checking. Now, I don’t believe that email alone is to blame for stress and anxiety. (My main stressful part of my life at the moment is graduate school and journalism commitments.) However, I am often checking email when I can’t be “actionable.” And glancing down at a Blackberry email doesn’t really equal reading and digesting it. In fact, I often forget that I’ve even looked at the email. Simply, there is no point of checking email on my blackberry when I can’t reply with a thoughtful response or follow-up in a manner appropriate to the email. Meaning, I can’t take action on the email. I can’t do anything. So, if I followed my own advice, I wouldn’t check my Blackberry during meals, while on the phone (yes I do this), during class, and even while driving (hey, I’m stopped at lights). Multitasking just might be the death of me.


A manifesto worth reading

As I was strolling through my favorite blogs, I happened upon The ZBA Manifesto written by Marc Lessor (the author of Z.B.A., Zen of Business Administration). Thanks Hip Tranquil Chick for alerting me to this creed. I absolutely heart this manifesto. And I don’t think you need to be Buddhist to glean its value. Check it out below.


ZBA Manifesto

ZBA Manifesto

  1. It’s okay not to know. It’s okay to be vulnerable. No one has all the answers. We value and learn from the questions and the asking.
  2. We are learning to appreciate the mystery and sacredness of our lives and the mystery and sacredness of life.
  3. Life is short. There is no escape from old age, sickness, and death. Death is a great teacher. Recognizing the shortness of our lives provides motivation to live fully in each day and in each moment.
  4. We understand the importance of taking regular quiet time for ourselves. Through reflection and by slowing down we develop an appreciation for life and we increase our capacity for understanding.
  5. We are learning to trust our inner wisdom. Our bodies and minds are amazing, unexplainable, and unfathomable.
  6. It’s okay to be uneasy, to be uncomfortable, to grieve, to feel pain. Recognizing when something is off, feeling the depth of loss, experiencing pain, is the first step toward change and growth.
  7. Practice active listening — listening deeply to yourself and to others. Listen to others without formulating your own ideas. Listen to yourself before speaking.
  8. We all seek balance in our lives — balancing work and family, balancing our inner and outer lives, balancing what we want to do and what we must do.
  9. We are learning that we can be fully ourselves in all situations — at work, as parents, as children, as friends, as lovers.
  10. Being ourselves at work is vital to our health and happiness. Our time is too valuable to sell, at any price.
  11. Each moment is precious. In every moment we have an opportunity to discover, to grow, to speak the truth.
  12. Each moment is ordinary. In every moment we can realize we are fine, just as we are. Nothing else is needed.
  13. We appreciate what is paradoxical. What may at first seem contradictory or beyond our understanding may be true. After all, who is it that is breathing? Who is it that dreams? How is it that these hands effortlessly glide along this keyboard?
  14. Age is a state of mind. We have the opportunity to grow to be more like ourselves every day.
  15. Developing intimate relationships is a vital part of our lives and our development. Intimacy requires openness, honesty, and vulnerability.
  16. Real, honest open communication is highly valued — and takes real skill and effort.
  17. When we slow down and learn to trust ourselves, joy arises naturally.
  18. When we slow down and learn to trust ourselves, creativity arises naturally.
  19. Self-knowledge and understanding require persistence and perseverance. Developing awareness and balance is an ongoing, unending process.
  20. Self-knowledge and understanding require discipline. Whatever path we take requires structure, guidelines, and feedback.
  21. Self-knowledge and understanding require courage.
  22. Diversity is essential. Our differences enrich our lives. There is no “other,” just as our right hand is not a stranger to our left hand.
  23. A simple rule to follow is do good, avoid harm. Of course, this is not simple or easy.
  24. There are many paths and many practices toward developing awareness and personal growth.
  25. Our everyday lives and activities provide fertile ground for developing growth and understanding.
  26. We can learn to appreciate the gifts we’ve received from our parents and to forgive them. We understand on a deep level all we have received from the generations that have come before us.
  27. We feel a deep responsibility for our children and for the generations that will come after us.
  28. We can all act as change agents. We can choose to take action in improving and healing our environment and our society. There is no shortage of issues to address, of healing to take place.
  29. We are all change agents on a personal level — we either create healing amongst those we live and work with or we create stress.
  30. We can choose to act as change agents in relation to our communities.
  31. We can choose to act as change agents in relation to our society or on a global level.
  32. Everything we hold as dear will one day change and disappear. Every business that now exists will one day cease. Every person now alive will one day die.
  33. At a deep level, we realize that we are neither in control nor not in control. Our task is to paddle the boat, with awareness and integrity. The flow of the river is outside our doing.
  34. We all have the power to find peace and happiness in the midst of change and impermanence.
  35. We have the power to heal ourselves, our communities, and our planet.


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my luvs

My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

Things that work my nerves

Bad drivers, cranky and moody people, lack of sleep, crime, filth

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.



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