Operation Charlotte

attached to people, not things

I might have to start crediting my friend Michele for my whole life. (Kidding Mom and all my other amazing peeps, just trying to be funny here!) Michele is constantly sending news clips, tips, articles, blog posts, links- you name it, attached with “worth the read” or “read this!” notes. They are always on point with where my head is and what I’m interested in. Did I mention she introduces me to fabulous people too, and throws a damn good party? This woman is giving me a run for my money.

(I have to side note here that I’m just pinching myself at this point in life. I’m 38 and I’m surrounded by SO MANY incredible gal pals, near and far, who are just ridiculously badass and so good to me I can’t even believe it. I never thought girls could be this easy, fun, and no bs. My tribe rules! I LOVE YOU, LADIES!)

Anyway, this just popped in from Michele. She knows me well. A couple of my favorite lines:

~ “The best way to remember is to “DO.”

~ “Figure out the 10-15 things you want in your bag before you die tomorrow.”

~ “This is the problem with self-help books. They seem to be written by someone on a pedestal giving advice without having any blemishes.”

…but the best in this above article is his last question and answer.

Thanks for the read Michele! And all of them, always. And! To all I’m so lucky enough to have in my ultimate girl tribe, like 80 year-old Grazia:

Grazia Walker & Diane Peacock

…yes EIGHTY with that hot pink hair and fashion sense! – thank you for continuing to help me feel young and energized, so I can keep kicking all those doors to laughter and joy wiiiiiiiiiide open.

#NeverWaitForPermission #Freedom #FindYourTribe

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kicking off the week

Good food and time with good people are my key to a good life! (Those, and not having a bunch of crap in my space I don’t need or use:)

Here’s what we business brainstorm Monday noshed on today, lunching in the sunshine:

Zio Charlotte

Zio Charlotte

If you haven’t been to Zio yet, I highly suggest you make your way there to dine in deliciousness sometime soon.

What do you eat?

#Feast #Collaboration #Community

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at the end of the day

Balcony sunset time could never get old:

Sunset

…especially when it’s 80 degrees in February.

Interesting that we all too often make life complicated and spin fast when what we could really use is just a few simple quiet moments in the fresh air to stare up at the sky.

It’s fun to stop and think about what really matters and what we’re running around for, eh?

#AlwaysLookingUp #KeepItSimple #GetOutside

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micro-apartments rock my socks

After reading this article last week about micro-apartments coming to Charlotte, I jumped out of bed like an excited kid ready to race downstairs to see what was under the Christmas tree. I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve mentioned in conversation since moving to the Queen City, that I wished well designed micro-spaces were here.

Ask and you shall receive!

My favorite apartment to date was the 430 square foot one I had in Virginia back in 2009:

Small smart spaces

Small smart space

Small is simple. Simple is smart. Smart is mighty.

I have no idea why I took or saved these shots. Perhaps they were meant just for this, eight years later. The above is what my place looked like every day in all of It’s simple, small, unfussy, glory. No extra CRAP anywhere to take care of/manage or pay for! Ahhh…I love you, freedom! (Not pictured are my full sized bathroom and kitchen.) The units were brand new and my rent was $595/month. At the time I rented there, the developer tried selling me the unit. It would’ve only been $80k to own. What a deal. I should have scooped that spot up in a heartbeat. I’ve occasionally kicked myself for not doing it.

A Charlotte Agenda writer put out this piece today about the new micro-apartments coming soon. I completely disagree with her. The claim of small spaces and everything having to have a place all the time being stressful, is the exact opposite of anything I’ve ever experienced. (Still love you anyway, Agenda!) Everyday I work with clients who hire me because they have too much space, too much stuff, too many expenses…and they’ve reach a point they’re so over it all. I’ve found time and time again that the stressed and buried feelings much of us swirl in, are directly related to the excess of everything in our lives, not because the carefully selected items we’ve chosen, we love, and we actually use are best kept in their specific places at days end.

I’d never try to convince anyone who wasn’t interested, to live in a small space. You do you! I don’t necessarily think big is bad. I do think however, that far too many of us are incredibly wasteful, living smack dab in the middle of a serious drone zone believing we need a whole lot more than we actually do, to be happy.

I’ll see you for the Grand Opening at The RailYard!

#SmartSpaces #LiveSimpleDoMore #LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife

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learn about the secret lives of hoarders

Have you ever been curious to learn about why some people get addicted to “stuff?” Do you have someone in your life affected by hoarding? Come learn with us tomorrow night! We (the Carolina Organizers group) are hosting my good friend (and former boss), Matt Paxton from 4pm – 8pm at the Harvest Center of Charlotte to talk about who hoards and why this dilemma isn’t going away.

I’ve personally known Matt for 10+ years and have come to know this fantastic guy with immeasurable experience in the hoarding world very well. He makes this otherwise uncomfortable subject approachable and has helped countless people live happier, healthier, better lives through his work. His style of teaching is the perfect balance of being humorous, and compassionate. This will be a great event for anyone who wants to understand a little better about this subject and the attachments we have to physical things.

Here we are a few years back when I worked for Paxton in VA:

Paxton award

Register here now and join us tomorrow night, Thursday October 20, 2016!

#LessStuffMoreFreedomHappyLife #Hoarding #Addiction

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i wish

I fell asleep texting with a friend last night at midnight telling him I felt like I was living in a war zone with the sound of helicopters and pop, pop, pop outside my windows. I live a few blocks from Uptown (Charlotte’s “downtown”) where lots of violence and madness has been happening.

I’m currently sitting at a Starbucks, just a few miles outside Uptown trying to focus on work and epically failing. It feels impossible to keep my mind out of the spin cycle thoughts of how incredibly messed up humans are these days. On a happy note, a police officer just walked in near me and a guy standing in line shook his hand and thanked him…then bought him a coffee. That made me smile.

I had a lunch meeting before this and when I walked in the restaurant, I passed by a table of 4 police officers.  Full uniforms and bullet proof vests. I stopped and thanked them, shared that I had just sent an email to some good friends of mine who I consider family (firefighters, police officers, ATF, FBI.) They thanked me for thanking them. Part of the email I sent to my public safety friends:

I have no idea how you ever had the selflessness to decide you wanted to do that kind of work however many years ago. I wish I was that awesome.

Oh the gratitude I continually have for all of the men & women in public service of any kind who help gift us freedoms and safety.

THANK YOU!

3 days a week in the early morning, I run in Uptown Charlotte, through the exact blocks that are now smashed to god knows what and ridden with graffiti after last night. Thursday mornings are typical run day for me. I ran a different route today. I had the inclination to crank out my normal routine and run through the heart of The Queen City as per usual to survey the damage, but I quickly snapped into…yeah…no…I don’t need to see that.

The media is awful, social media is worse. Nutty people are given free platforms to create chaos, and we react. It makes my head spin in shock and disbelief. I have numerous thoughts and opinions about the state of my city, this country, and this world, but instead of ranting about those, I will share what I thought about during my run this morning on that alternate route I took…

I kept thinking of the words, I wish.

I wish that each and every one of us, each and every day took just 5 minutes. 5 little minutes in silence, away from phones, laptops, TV screens, etc. to think about things like:

*What it felt like the first time we got our hearts broken
*What it would be like to be a police officer and get spit on
*How we felt last time we stood over a casket
*What that gut-punch feeling was like when our friend called to tell us they had cancer
*What it would be like to lose a baby
*What our days would entail if we were in a wheel chair
*How it feels when others judge us
*What it would be like to grow up without a mom or dad
*Those years we were broke as a joke
*How helpless we feel when someone we love gets hurt

Maybe if we took just 5 minutes to stop and think about what life has been, could be, or is for so many around us…we’d be much more loving, understanding and less violent with each other.

I wish.

Zero Violence World

#Charlotte #HowIWish #HateNeverWins

 

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why you should always hold the door open

I love holding the door open for people. While we all live in all too fast-paced reality of the work day, there are few ways we can experience such a happy interaction with a stranger like we can when we wait that extra few seconds to simply hold the door.

Funny I posted about doing good earlier today. Doing good feels so good! I love the look on a strangers face when I hold the door open- the absolute surprise for such a little thing.

I just walked into Starbucks to camp with my laptop for the afternoon, and a couple guys followed me in. I held the door. (I had to count to three-one-thousand for them to catch up to me, so perhaps I looked awkward, but I didn’t care.) I got a big thank you, then walked into the restroom before ordering. When I came out I got behind these same two guys in line as one of them said “…and whatever she’s having for holding the door open for us!”

Whoop!

They thanked me again, complimented my dress, (hello blue!- my favorite color…wink wink:), and I thanked them again.

Thank you fiesta!

I’m still smiling now as I type. That 3 minutes made my day. People being nice to each other. How easy is that?!

I hope you will join me, and hold the door please, (on everything) just for a few extra seconds. Make sure you smile at a stranger when you can. What you put out, always comes back in some form or another. (At least, I keep still believing.)

Starbucks office

Thanks for my coffee, guys!

#DoGood #BeNice #LessHurryMoreDoorHoldingHappyLife

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shutting up and being grateful

I ran across this today. A good read. I’d like to hang out with the author, Mark.

On my soap box, especially lately, I’ve preached the word practice a lot, and still don’t understand why yoga seems to have stolen that word from everything else in the world. Why don’t we think about practicing every aspect of our lives, not just yoga, or sports in general? Shouldn’t we be practicing everyday, to be a good sister, daughter, friend, employee, neighbor, or just a good, fun, productive & generous human who’s nice and friendly just to be nice and friendly?

I just walked into Starbucks to hunker down for an afternoon of work and was greeted extra cheerily by a very overweight, nerdy, scruffy, awkward-looking barista guy. This particular Starbucks is in the center of the city and never fail, is always 110% filled with the most strapping looking fit businessmen you could imagine. (Occasionally these groups of men are sprinkled with an equally gorgeous high-heeled business woman or two.) It looks like the J.Crew or Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs exploded in here and the people on the pages came alive. So here’s this barista guy with the biggest smile in a scene of go go go perfectly coiffed, seriously focused executives, who aren’t smiling- throwing in his cheery personality, clearly practicing to genuinely enjoy his work and not be intimidated by this otherwise potentially intimidating scene.

As it becomes my turn to order:

Him: “Hey hey hey! How are you today?!” (in the cutest, upbeat tone)

Me: “Im great- thank you, that was the nicest greeting! Thank you!”

Him: “Why, you’re welcome- what can I get for ya?”

I order, he asks for my name, I tell him Diane, he thinks I says Diana and I roll with it.

Him: “That’s Wonder Woman’s Name! Spin around!”

To his surprise, I spin around.

We both laugh.

Me: “If only I could spin around like that and fix all the problems in the world!”

We laugh again, and agree “yeah…”

I thank him, turn to walk away, and he exclaims- “Have a great day, Wonder Woman!”

So totally adorable.

By a landslide, this very overweight, nerdy, scruffy, awkward barista guy is the most attractive, impressive, magnetic man, in this otherwise model-looking crowd I’m among right now.

In the article above, the author writes “I’m the last one to pretend everything is unicorns and rainbows.” I’m with him on that. It’s often hard to see the forest through the trees, and even harder to be grateful during sad times. It’s not easy to shut up (at least it hasn’t been in the past for me), It’s not easy to keep thinking your minutes will add up to something when you’ve felt like you’re getting nowhere fast. It’s not easy to say goodbye, It’s not easy to feel alone/lost/stuck – most things are not easy, but we all must push and motivate to practice each day, being grateful for the tiny beautiful things.

Let’s practice together!

Right at this moment I’m grateful for the luncheon I just went to with delicious food, the new people I met and connected with. I’m grateful for the notes, check-ins, and congratulations during the past few days from friends & family about a big event I had yesterday. I’m grateful to be able to work from anywhere and do what I love. I’m grateful for the huge challenges I’ve faced during the past 6 months and the lessons I’ve learned. I’m grateful for the few late hours I spent with a good friend last night scrubbing, vacuuming, and sweeping out the last bits of her apartment for a move, as we both exhaustedly and filthily stuffed our faces with a pizza-on-paper-towel party, and laughed about the chaos. I’m grateful that I could still laugh at myself, and this crazy life, as I sweat my butt off in my little car, looking like The Clampetts yesterday while talking to my little brother and almost getting pulled over by the police:

Moving…again

I’m even grateful for the wrinkles around my eyes in this photo. They mean I have smiled a lot:) Mostly today, which kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month- I’m incredibly grateful to have called Kaitlin McLellan not only a tried and true friend, but a very best one, and for many, many years.

Lucky, lucky me. So, so, very grateful.

Enjoy it now, and be grateful my readers- this life, this amazing, nutty life…is far to short not to.

Thank you, Mr. Barista, for making me spin around and bringing extra sunshine to me on a day I’ve been missing my dear friend. I won’t forget it.

#AlwaysLearning #AlwaysAdventuring #AlwaysGrateful

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