Sunday, January 30, 2011

The First Love Drop

Earlier this month I blogged about three sites that help to spread love, including The Love Drop. This is a feel-good effort, kind of like one of those reality shows that helps a family in need. Check out their video of the first drop!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Assignment 5: Describe Yourself in One Word

To know yourself is to love yourself. The theme for Week 5 of The Love Project is Know Yourself. To encourage participation, I am giving you, my loyal readers a very easy assignment:

Describe yourself in one word. Write that word in the comment field. That's it people, one word!

For extra-credit:

* Ask other people for input either via Facebook or email. Here's an email that's floating around that you can cut & paste into email and send to a bunch of your friends:

Describe me in ONE WORD...just one word! Send it to me only, then send this message to your friends and see how many strange things people say about you! This could be fun (or scary)! Just hit reply and send me my word back. Then forward this message on to your friends (including me) and see what they say about you!

* Blog about your word (or your reaction to the words your friends picked. Let me know the link for your blog and I'll feature it on Website Wednesday.

Note: For those of you over-achievers, there will be additional resources throughout the week to help you to get to know a lot more than one word about yourself! Stay tuned!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funnies: Picture-a-Day Spoof - #love2011

This week on The Love Project we've been talking about Self-Portraits. My assignment was only ONE picture, but some people did a lot of extra credit! Check out this spoof on the picture-a-day videos like the type you can find here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make a Good First Impression With Your "Sexy" Photo

Why can't I find a guy like this on any of the online dating sites? Isn't he cute in this kind of non-assuming way? Nice eyes, nice smile.

I'm not saying it's right or wrong, but it is amazing how much we "judge" based on a picture. This week we are talking about Self-Portraits on The Love Project, so I wanted to talk about the impressions we give and get, sometimes without even knowing it.

I've become a guest blogger for Pick The Brain (a site I really love about self-improvement.) Today they posted the article I wrote entitled: Three Free Sexy Secrets and one of those secrets was "a genuine smile."

Now, it is a nice little perk for me that Pick The Brain picks out the photo to go with the article (I'm quite lazy about that) and any good blogger knows that posts with photos get more traffic. (Once again, photos are an important differentiator in the world of social media.) But, the photo they picked was a closeup of two lips kissing. The first person who commented said:

"Good topic, bad picture – a little moist, no?"

Yup! I'm a little embarrassed to promote that article because I don't want people to think I picked out that picture.

Sexy stuff is what "sells" -- or so they say. More people will click through on blog posts if they see the word "sexy" or see the hint of a sexy picture. My whole point of that article, though, was that what is "sexy" (at least to me) is a genuine smile of a regular person... not two wet lips getting ready to kiss.

In the book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the impressions we make, often without even knowing we are making them. When I see a public self-portrait of someone in an I'm-trying-to-look-sexy pose, I usually think, "They're kinda full of themselves." This is especially true if the context is an online-dating photo. There was one guy who's profile had a bunch of shirtless photos of him doing various exercises. Now true... he had a good-looking body and maybe some women would be impressed, but good body or not, publicly showing it off gave me the impression that this guy was self-centered. I would much rather date a humble, genuine guy with a few extra pounds than someone who is checking himself out in the mirror every 10 minutes

Of course, our first impressions might be wrong. I actually met this guy, and he didn't seem nearly as arrogant as I'd pegged him to be. We didn't end up dating, but I was glad I met him and to know that my quick judgment was not entirely accurate.

I've struggled with kind of a similar issue regarding my book, "The Laptop Dancer Diaries." I've had varied reactions from the title and the cover (designed by my daughter.) The title, of course, is a play on words, combining laptop and lap dancers. So people may think the book is about cyber sex or perhaps the diary of a stripper. I've worried about that because it's really about a woman who is abnormally close to her laptop (ie "geek") trying to be sexy. The review I got that I thought was most accurate was "Erma Bombeck meets Sex and the City." And while I often worry that readers will be disappointed when they find out the book is not all that "sexy," I'm always so flattered to get kind reviews such as this one.

In any case, whether we're talking about book covers, titles or photos, like it or not, we do judge, often without even knowing it. We are attracted to sexy. But sexy can mean different things to different people. For me, it's a smile. What is it for you?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Website Wednesday: Must See Inspirational Self-Portrait Websites

The theme of Week 4 on the Love Project is Self-Portraits. Check out these Websites for inspiration:

Love Project Participant MVP:

GirlNutkin in the BA: Week 4 on self-portrait

Lovely girlnutkin (aka Shirley Rivera) left a post and a self-portrait of herself at her father's gravesite, remembering and acknowledging the self-love he instilled in her. What a wonderful tribute! I was especially moved by this (in fact I'm sitting here in Starbucks with tears in my eyes) since I lost my father recently and also am so grateful for the love he showed me. So this month, I hope we can all learn to love ourselves, and also remember to thank those beautiful people in our lives that loved and accepted us unconditionally, giving us that precious self-esteem and confidence in ourselves.

Haley's Halo Self Portrait - a funny look at a self-portrait drawing. This Haley is obviously an angel/devil type. I'm gonna have to get her a copy of The Laptop Dancer Diaries.

Cool Sites:

5 Photo-A-Day videos
The True Love Project
Portrait Photos
- A site which shows really beautiful self-portraits.
Portraits of Love - A site which sends family portraits to deployed soldiers around the globe.
Creative Self-Portraits on Flickr
Katharina Fösel's photostream

How to:

How to take a great self-protrait - Tips about taking great self-portraits. EBook available.
Expressing oneself with self-portraits - Article that explores the history of self-portraits.


Make money with Portrait Photography!
Building a Successful Photography Business


The Bikini Model Program
The Official Fitness Model Program

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cool things you can do with your self-portrait photo

Here's the self-portrait I took for Assignment #4 of The Love Project. Oh dear. I notice the flash in the mirror behind me. I also think the photo's kind of grainy... Looks like I still have plenty of room for growth as a photographer, but that's OK. I'm posting this less-than-perfect photo anyway so you can see that the point isn't about taking a perfect picture... It's just about taking one you like. If you're not really happy with the results, keep trying until you get a photo you feel good about.
Once you've done that, save the photo somewhere on your computer that you can easily access because there are all kinds of times where it is really useful to have a photo of yourself that you like handy.

1) For Social Media

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Blogs and the hundreds of other social media sites out there ask you to upload a photo. Of course, this is usually optional, but studies have shown that the people with photos get noticed! This is true if your looking for a job using LinkedIn, looking for a date on Match.Com, or looking for a friend with a common interest on Meetup.Com

2) For Online Dating Sites

Why is it that so many of the people on online dating sites have terrible primary photos? Seriously, I'm amazed at the number of people that either use a Webcam or are so far away in their photo that you can barely see their face! If you're going to get on the online dating sites then use an up-to-date good picture where you're smiling!

3) Special Effects

There are lots of cool websites that let you do funky things with your photo. You can experment with different colors or make your photo into a cartoon or do other special effects that are cool. I like using Picasa and experimenting. Of course, there are tons of photo editing software packages out there that will let you have some fun. And when you've played around with your photo, many of the packages let you post your altered picture to Facebook.

4) Photo Projects

Photojojo is an awesome site with all kinds of ideas for photo projects. How about making a Daily-Photo Emoticon Magnet? Take a photo of yourself with different expressions for your various "moods" and then you can highlight how you feel each day with a magnetic cutout. This is just one of the many creative projects you might want to make with your photo.

5) Give Yourself A Virtual Makeover

As I mentioned in Week 3's Beauty Website Wednesday lineup, Daily Makeover is a site which will let you upload your image and then experiment with different hairstyles and makeup virtually. This lets you figure out what you want before spending the big bucks on makeup and haircuts.

This week we're focusing on self-portraits, but many of the assignments that I'll be giving for The Love Project will involve photos. So start learning how to use that digital camera (I'm sure most of you already are ahead of me in that department) and start snapping some pictures of the people and places in your life that make you smile.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

5 Cool Videos Showing Changes: Daily Self-Portraits

OK, people, my assignment for The Love Project this week is simple. All I'm asking for is ONE self-portrait. One. Not one a day. ONE. If THESE people can take self-portraits in the same place every day, you can take one! Check these out... I especially like the pregnancy one..

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Assignment 4: Take a Picture of Someone You Love: You!- #love2011

We are starting Week 4 of The Love Project with a new assignment. Our theme this week is Self-Portraits.

Assignment #4: This week you're going to take a picture of someone you love: yourself! If you've been doing your assignments, you know you're absolutely gorgeous! Get out the camera, learn how to use that self-timer and show your beautiful smile to the world! Know that your smile makes the world a better place. Blog about it or post your picture to Flickr or some other photo site. Send me a link and I'll add it to Website Wednesday.

Extra Credit: Be creative!

Note: If you did last week's assignment feel free to reuse your "after picture."

Want some inspiration? Check out this video:

The True Love Project from Zack Seckler on Vimeo.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Funnies: Makeover Spoof with ExoticJess - #love2011

This week the theme of The Love Project has been Beauty, with an assignment to get a makeover. For those of you who haven't participated yet, you might be interested in this very informative video!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Operation Beautiful - #love2011

I don't think there has been a single day that has gone by since I started The Love Project, that I haven't found or been told about some cool inspiring website. Of course many of them have come from a beautiful source of love: None other than the Love Project MVP, girlnutkin (featured in that photo to the left. Isn't she beautiful?)

Well, lovely girlnutkin turned me on to Operation Beautiful. I will have to add this Website to my Website Wednesday post!

From the Mission page:

The goal of the Operation Beautiful website is to end negative self-talk or “Fat Talk.” If this little blog only does one productive thing, I hope it helps readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically.

Caitlin Boyle, the site's owner and author of "Operation Beautiful: The Book" challenges her readers to a simple task:

Operation Beautiful is simple: all you need is a pen and a piece of paper. If you want to join the mission, send Caitlin an e-mail at with a photograph of your Operation Beautiful note or a description of your experience, and I’ll post it on the Operation Beautiful site for thousands of others to read and enjoy!

Oh, I like Caitlin! She gives out assignments, too! I'm on it, Caitlin!

Check out this inspiring video:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Website Wednesday: Beauty Blogs and Products - #love2011

Oh my goodness! There are so many beauty sites on the Web that if I listed them all here this post would go on forever!

Of course, my hope is that some of you readers will start submitting your own posts based on the assignments from The Love Project and I can start listing those on Wednesday. But... you seem to be shy. Where are all the bold bloggers out there?

In the mean time here are some blogs and products to check out:

Operation Beautiful - An inspiring site which tasks people with leaving surprise notes for others to find, reminding them that they are beautiful, exactly as they are.

The Chronicals of a Fierce Fathlete - A fun site recommended by the ever-faithful Love Project MVP, girlnutkin. The ups and downs of health, beauty, and other musings of a modern day woman who has a brain and isn't afraid to use it!

Daily Makeover - This is a fun site that lets you get a virtual makeover! Try it! (For those of you that didn't want to spend the $$ on a real makeover, this can be an alternative to this week's Love Project assignment!)

Best Beauty Blogs on the Internet - This post lists 21 blogs about beauty with links and descriptions.

The Beauty Blog Network - Where you'll find a whole network of people who blog about beauty.
1001 Forever Beauty Tips - Secrets on makeup tips, body, hair, hand, legs & skin care, Also beauty recipes, weight-loss, nutrition, exsercises and more.

Collection of Beauty and Skin Care eBooks

Must-Know Guides to Women's Healthy and Beauty

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Blow-dry Job at Tapestry

Even though I happen to be quite happy with my hair and my regular hairstylist (Sunny Sandford of T-Cuts) the other day I was talking to a friend about The Love Project Makeover Assignment and he recommended I try Garrette Terrebonne, a stylist at Tapestry Salon & Day Spa.

Well, I actually was having my photo taken (I'm going to be in The Yellow Scene next month!), so I gave the salon a call to find out if Garrette was available, thinking it was a long shot, but... what the heck? Turns out he had had a cancellation and was open at 3pm!

Garrette agreed that my hair was already in good shape (Yay!) but said he "gave a great blow dry" and that he could make me look like a Victoria Secret model! (No wonder women come from miles around to go to this guy! Not only does he give a good blow dry, he knows we love to hear flattery!)

Garrette was funny and told me how he used to have a client who was a 76-year-old former model. She told the receptionist that she wanted a standing appointment for a "blow job with Garrette." (It's not clear whether the omission of the word "dry" was accidental or purposeful!)

The salon was beautiful and I felt like a pampered queen. The receptionist, Christan Lewis, was cute and perky. She was very interested in my blog and told me she had a blog as well: Life of Lew Who.

I visited her blog this morning and was very touched by the depth in her writing. Since this week the theme of the Love Project is "beauty" I'll pass along an excerpt from her last post:

Today I conversed with over 30 people obsessed with perfecting their outside appearance but lacking the most important thing- RESPECT for others. Today I met a man named Bruce who noticed, out of all the people in the entire restaurant, that we were having a rough day and decided to put a smile on our faces by complimenting the bartenders rather impressive jew-fro. And this very evening, I watched a man lay on his back in the middle of the parking lot cursing at the moon for existing.

And though all of these people have different purposes, definitions and personalities they all have one thing in common- They’re only human.

As Christan alludes to in the first line of that excerpt, beauty means nothing if it's only external. It must come from within.

But, hey. Right now I'm enjoying my Victoria Secret blow dry job! We'll work on the character stuff another week!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Photo albums make great gifts from the heart

I am all about gifts from the heart... In fact, that is going to be one of our future assignments. So I was really excited this morning when I saw this EXCELLENT deal from Mamapedia and Shutterfly: Only $10 for a custom photo book! That's a 50% savings on something that is already a steal. (And I am a very frugal shopper!) This sale is only going on for 3 days, so I had to interrupt our "beauty" theme to let you know about it. It's also great in that you get a $10 kickback for everyone that buys on your link! Wow!

I really like SmileBox, as well as a way to create custom photo greetings, and that's completely free. Check out this Happy New Year greeting I created using SmileBox.

So, if you're not already doing so, get out that camera and start snapping some photos of all the wonderful things you're up to this year. Photo books and Smilebox greetings make wonderful gifts of love!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Assignment #3: Get a makeover - #love2011

We are starting Week #3 of The Love Project and the theme of this week is Beauty. Here is your assignment for the week:

Get a makeover! This can be a tiny thing or give yourself a whole new look. Experiment. Try a different hairstyle. Throw away all that old half-used makeup that you never wear and invest in some new! Maybe buy yourself some new clothes or accessories. Then go back to the Week 1 assignment and look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you look! Leave a comment or write a blog post about what you did and how it felt. I'll feature blog posts on Website Wednesday so be sure and tell me about it.

Extra credit: Take a before and after picture.
Note: Photo image was from , a site offering spa services, and vacations!

Beauty, as we all know, is only skin deep. Just because someone is beautiful on the outside, does not mean they are beautiful on the inside. Though the opposite can be true, I truly believe that people who are beautiful on the inside exude a natural beauty that draws people in. Therefore, if we work on beautifying our characters, chances are we're going to heighten our attractiveness-factor much more than if we just invest in makeup and hair-styles.

All that being said, when we feel good about how we look on the outside, we tend to have more confidence, smile more, and feel happier. And that sense of confidence and happiness with ourselves is probably what attracts people -- more than the hair or makeup.

The key here is not to feel like you need to cover up who your natural self is, but to be your best self so that you feel good about the face you present to the world. Even if you are perfectly happy with how attractive you are (which is great!) it's fun to experiment with a new look or to buy yourself something pretty or sexy. Don't think you have to be in a relationship to do this. Do it for yourself!

Is there a part of your body that you're not entirely happy about? What can you do to turn that around and make that more appealing? Do what you need to do so that when you look in the mirror each morning you think to yourself: I am looking GOOD!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Funnies: A Week With a Personal Trainer

This week, The Love Project theme is goal-setting so for Friday Funnies, I'm going to pass along a funny anecdote that's been floating around the Internet. I don't know who the original author is, but I do want to give credit to the blog I found it on: Heidi Claire. Heidi's blog has all kinds of beautiful photos. In her profile she says:

"Through my blog I share my finds of what I love and learned. Sometimes there is something funny, because we can't take ourselves too seriously."

What a perfect candidate for a Love Project participant! I am going to be following Heidi!

Do you have a blog post (humor or otherwise) about love or the theme of the week? Let me know and I'll feature it on my blog!

And now... On to the Friday Funny:

Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my daughter (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.
Although I am still in great shape , I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Belinda, who identified herself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My daughter seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.
Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Belinda waiting for me. She is something of a Greek goddess - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Belinda gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which she conducted her aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!
Belinda was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time she was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week-!!
I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Belinda made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then she put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. Belinda's rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT-!! It's a whole new life for me.
The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Belinda was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. Her voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and w hen she scolds, she gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Belinda put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Belinda told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. She said some other shit too.
Belinda was waiting for me with her vampire-like teeth exposed as her thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes.

Belinda took me to work out with dumbbells. When she was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. She sent another skinny bitch to find me.
Then, as punishment, she put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.
I hate that bitch Belinda more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little cheerleader. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat her with it.

Belinda wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?
Belinda left a message on my answering machine in her grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up to day. Just hearing her voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.
I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my daughter (the little shit) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Life Sold - The Book of 100 Goals in 100 Weeks

Our theme this week on The Love Project is goal setting. If you're having trouble coming up with a bucket list of things you want to do with your life, you might want to read Ian Usher's book, A Life Sold, for inspiration.

I met Ian in 2008 after reading his blog and being very intrigued with his idea of 100 Goals in 100 Weeks. This project was in the wake of the vast publicity he got from "putting his life up for sale" on eBay after a divorce.

Ian and I met in 2008, and in fact, he is Mr. November in my book, The Laptop Dancer Diaries. (In my book, you'll see that, I, too, take goals very seriously!)

I interviewed Ian right at the end of his 100-week project. He told me he was going to write a memoir about his adventures and now he has done just that! Ian has a very authentic voice, describing the background and then the details of this incredible journey -- the places he visited, the people he met along the way, and the love he experienced. Pick it up and create your own 100 goals!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Website Wednesday: Goal Setting - #love2011

Welcome to Website Wednesday where we feature links to bloggers, sites and products related to the theme of the week.

The Love Project Week 2 MVP award goes to:

Girl Nutkin in the BA who not only continually promotes The Love Project, but blogged today about her commitment to "initiate contact with a younger guy" and "get booked!"

Blogs about Goals:

SpillIng Buckets
I Resolve To® . . .
A New You, NOW!
Goal Setting 101: Get to Where You Want to Be

Products about Goals:

Goals on Track - Smart Goal Setting Software
The Simple Guide to Goals
Burn Your Wish List and Achieve Your Goals

Websites about Goals:

43 Things
My Life Changes

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy New Year!

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I'm interrupting my regularly scheduled "Love Project" posts to bring this Happy New Year greeting to my friends and relatives. Happy New Year!

Wordplay - One Word, Two Sites

The theme of the week for The Love Project is goal-setting. While there are plenty of people (like me) that get excited about goals and even have goals about keeping their goals, there are plenty of others who just want to keep it simple.

It seems to be very trendy these days to come up with "one word" to use as a theme for your year. A friend of mine told me about a website called MyOneWord in which you choose a word to represent your focus for 2011. From the site:

“My One Word” is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future. So, we invite you to join us and pick one word in 2011.

My one word was... can you guess it? Love!

Now as I was searching for this site, I came across another "one word" site that is fun, especially for those of us who like to write and enjoy little creative exercises. OneWord gives you one word prompts and you have 60 seconds to write whatever you want about that word. Since my big goal right now is promoting The Love Project, I've decided I will add the twist of writing about love and The Love Project each time I play this little

For example, today the word was "ragged" so my sentence was something like:
"I felt tired and ragged until I started participating in The Love Project."

For even more word play, check out a third site, Wordle. Wordle let's you create "word clouds" like the one I used for the image on this post. You can put in a URL and the words that are used most often come up in larger fonts. I was happy to see my favorite word, Love, coming up as the biggest word!

Monday, January 10, 2011

26,667 people want to "Fall in Love" on 43 Things: #love2011

Our theme this week for "The Love Project" is goal-setting and one very popular Website that helps with goal setting is 43 Things.

This site is interesting because it helps you find other people who share your goals and then you can boost each other up, share your ideas about how you're accomplishing your goals, hold each other accountable, or simply lurk in the background, roaming around the site checking out what the 3million+ site members are talking about.

43 Things has added a new feature for New Year's Resolutions where you can plug in your resolutions and optionally get emailed a reminder (your choice of monthly, every 3 months, or next year.) You can share your list via email, on Facebook, and, as I mentioned above, find groups of people who share your goal.

Something you might find interesting: As of now, "Falling in Love" is the 7th most popular 2011 New Year's Resolution. There are a total of 26,667 people who have said they want to do it with 818 people having it as a New Year's Resolution.

I'm currently perusing the page enjoying reading the entries which vary from a simple smiley face to long paragraphs to bulletized lists. On the right there are some stats including one that says "On average this year takes 9 years to complete." Nine years?! I can help people do it in only one year! I'm seeing an awesome marketing opportunity to plug The Love Project, not to mention my book!

See ya later... I've got to go get 26,667 subscribers to this project and sell 26,667 copies of The Laptop Dancer Diaries: A Mostly True Story About Finding Love Again... (I've already got love... This year I'm going for fame and fortune. ;-) )

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Spread the Love: Three great sites that will give you missions of love

It looks like I'm not the first one to think of this weekly assignment deal... For those of you looking for ideas for "love goals" for 2011, check out these three sites:

It Starts With Us sends it's members a weekly 15-minute mission, aimed at helping the world become a better place. This Week's Mission is to do a kindness for someone, such as shoveling their driveways. As a matter of fact, my neighbor did this for me the other day and it was such a happy surprise! A call it a kind act of shovelry!

Love Bomb team spends just 5 minutes once a week to leave a quick message of hope for someone who desperately needs it - and the results are absolutely incredible. This week's love bomb goes to a single mother of a 4-year-old with a brain tumor.

Love Drop team members suggest someone they know who needs a little financial help, and once a month surprise that person or family by paying off a medical bill, mortgage payment, or giving them something they need.

Love Drop just started with the new year - Jan. 1, 2011. The first project takes place in Chicago - a project to help a family who's house burned down.

How You Can Help
This project is all about coming up with creative and fun ways to make a difference for someone. Here's what you can do to make our first Love Drop special for Jill and her family:

  • Join the team - Become a member by paying whatever you want. Even $1.00.

  • Join the blogger network - Blog about our Love Drops once a month! It's easy, it's rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps the families!). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.

  • Give a gift or provide a service - Gift cards, household goods, football cards/jerseys for the boys, web design services, pampering gifts for Jill, etc. (email all ideas/questions to team (at), and they'll make it happen)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Assignment 2: What are your Love Goals? Looprah Woo advice #love2011

The theme for Week 2 is Goal-Setting. Yes, yes... not very original, but there is SO much great stuff around goal setting and this is the time of year we're all thinking about it... So, the prompt for this week is:

What are you going to do in 2011 to bring more love (see note below) into your life? What goal-setting techniques and resources are you going to use to make that happen?

Note: Things you do to love and accept yourself are a good place to start. Hence the classic: "Lose Weight" is a perfectly acceptable "Love Goal" if you think you'll love yourself more if you weigh less... )

You can take part in this assignment in many ways. You can write about it on a blog and tell me about it. You can use one of the tools I'm going to tell you about this week. Or (my favorite) you can create a video! Here's one I really like from Supreme Mistress Looprah Woo:

Watch for Website Wednesday when I feature blogs and products about goal-setting and New Years resolutions.

Oh! And, of course, a very appropriate "love goal" would be to subscribe to The Love Project 2011 and spread the word!

Cut and Paste the following to your status on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites: Join The Love Project: #love2011

Friday, January 07, 2011

Friday Funnies: Spoof of Affirmation Video #love2011

Well... I did not get a whole lot of links from all of you out there in the Cyber-world on my first assignment of love2011. But I do have to give a HUGE thank you to girlnutkin in the BA for her promotion of the project ! (She is awesome!) And I also give a big thank you to all those who participated by letting me video tape theme and post on my blog. In fact (I just decided this now) I'm going to send a special autographed copy of The Laptop Dancer Diaries (certain to hit the best-seller's list now that I've been doing affirmations), to.... drum roll please... Valerie, for her awesome 2011 affirmation video!

Now, the bunny, plant, and aging Jessica in the videos below did not (necessarily) do these as part of my assignment, but I have found YouTube had a good number of "Jessica Affirmation Spoofs." Here are a few for your viewing enjoyment..

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Are Affirmations Too Woo-Woo? #love2011

To borrow an expression from my new Blogger-Gal-Pal, girl nutkin in the BA, I've been examining my "woo-woo" quotient.

On her post, yhd for 2011, girl nutkin (aka Shirley Rivera) talks about Sonia Choquette's book, Your Heart's Desire: Instructions for creating the life you really want.

That girl nutkin always fills her posts with SO much information... My goodness! She has quite the active mind and blog!

Shirley says:

I consider this a woo-woo book - a kind of spiritual and law of attraction thing

She also says one of the nine principals stated in the book is:

send clear messages to your subconscious mind. repeat them and make sure they are positive (gain the support of your subconscious mind)

Sounds a lot like affirmations, doesn't it?

Shirley, in her own unique style of writing that you just gotta love, talks about mixing the "woo-woo" with the "non-woo-woo" of a "cubeopolis" life. (girl nutkin could write her own dictionary, I think!)

In any case, upon thinking about this, I've decided I'm a very "non-woo-woo" person. I'm logical and analytical... a classic engineer. If something starts to sound a little "woo-woo" to me (astrology or psychics for example) I have a big woo-woo-alarm going off in my head.

Even though I own a copy of "Law of Attaction for Dummies," I raise a skeptical eyebrow at all this talking to the "Universe" and "as long as we believe it will happen," kind of stuff. I know well enough that I can do all the right things, have all the confidence in the world, and still suffer from disappointments. I don't believe that affirmations are all it takes to get what we want in this world. It takes dedication and hard work, and even then, we still may not get what we ask "the universe" for.

But I do believe strongly in three things associated with affirmations:

  1. Positivity

  2. Confidence

  3. Faith

I suppose faith would be considered "woo-woo" but, yes, that's on my list as something that helps us achieve our goals. Whether we're believing in "The Universe," a higher being, or ourselves, I think if we have that faith... in whatever woo-woo is for us... we are more likely to be successful. And there is no doubt in my mind that having a positive attitude and confidence will give us a better chance of succeeding in whatever we set out to do. I think with these three things... positivity, confidence, and faith, you can do just about anything.

So don't pooh-pooh the woo-woo. It's not altogether cuckoo.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Website Wednesday: Websites about Affirmations - #love2011

The Love Project has gotten off to a good start. I'm having a lot of fun with the assignment for Week 1 - emmulating the video of a little girl who enthusiastically gives herself affirmations. Now this week, the videos I've collected have been primarily from my friends. I hope in the future, bloggers and others who are joining into this project will send me links to their own sites which I can share on Website Wednesday. It's not too late to be added. Just add a comment and I will add you to the list.

But even though I haven't gotten links from all of you (yet), I found oodles of cool sites, products, and blogs about affirmations that I want to share. There are actually so many that there are way too many for list all of them, but here are a sampling:

Products, eBooks, and Websites

Power Affirmations - This one will let you download affirmations in .mp3 format. First you can take an assessment to see which kind of affirmations will help you the most, so you can download the

Why Affirmations Fail and the Building Blocks of Great Affirmations - Fans of Law of Attraction and the Secret will like this one.

Mind Zoom Affirmations Subliminal Software

Thoughts Empowered - eBook about the use of affirmations to achieve positive thinking

The Custom Mind Movie Series - uses cutting edge subliminal visual and audio technology to help people manifest their dreams and desires by helping them to activate the Law of Attraction
Self Esteem Secrets Revealed - Learn what it takes to build self-esteem in 7 easy steps

Creative Affirmations - site in which you can sign up for free daily affirmations, newsletters and read articles and techniques about affirmations.

Blogs about Affirmations

Today's Confetti: I can do anything good. - Today, she blogged about the Jessica video, too!

Gratefulkim's Blog: Resolution, schmesoltion, Affirmations & Anniversaries - Interesting and well-written insights

God, Self, Bliss: Affirmations

Beth Parker's Art Blog: Ralphie - Frog Painting


Not enough?
Affirmations Websites - This page lists other websites (lots of them) about affirmations!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

How to Use Affirmations Effectively - #love2011

The theme of the Love Project this week is Affirmations. As I mull over this whole project, I think what I want to do is have a Saturday Assignment, and Wednesday Website of the Week, a weekly "How To" Post, and a Friday Funny Post all related to the theme... At least we'll start that way and see how it goes. So here is your "How To" post about Affirmations.

There are an amazing number of resources available on Affirmations (Stay tuned for Website Wednesday!) so you have a lot of options, from daily email subscriptions to software that will run little messages across your screen, to strategically placed sticky notes, hypnosis, subliminal messages in your sleep, to simply waking up each morning with a positive attitude.

As to how to use them effectively, here are some quick tips from a more comprehensive paper on the topic: Daily Positive Affirmations: Achieve Anything Your Heart Desires With Positive Affirmation.

* Use positivity. Avoid negative words like "can't", "don't", "won't." So, instead of saying, "I won't eat like a pig," you could say "I will eat like a sweet little bird." (Beware that birds eat a lot.)

* Use present tense. So I guess I was wrong on the last one. Instead of "I will eat like a sweet little bird." say "I eat like a sweet little bird." (Oh... one other note related to birds and current events, I read today about 3000 birds falling out of the sky in Arkansas, so perhaps birds are the wrong animal altogether..)

* Use brevity. Let's forget about the birds: "I eat healthy foods."

* Positive affirmations must be uttered and thought repeatedly: "I eat healthy foods. I eat healthy foods. I eat healthy foods. I eat healthy foods. I eat healthy foods." (you get the idea.)

* Repetition leads to auto-suggestion which is like brainwashing. However, before getting all concerned about "drinking the kool-aid" the difference is that you are the one in control of your thoughts, not some psychopath. (I guess this is sort of like brainwashing yourself, but only into doing something you really want to do...)

* Be passionate about the goal in mind. If you really don't care about eating healthy foods, repeating "I eat healthy foods" a bunch of times is probably only going to annoy your mind.

* Believe in your affirmation. If you don't really think you can eat healthy foods, you probably won't.

There you have it! For some reason, I'm hungry for a healthy breakfast!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Link Love 2011 - A Site for People Who Love Blogging - #love2011

I'm very excited about The Love Project 2011... I've been faithfully repeating my affirmations:

The Love Project will be a great success!
I will spread love throughout the world!
I will give and receive love openly and abundantly!
I will get RICH!

....uh.. wait a minute? Get RICH? That seems like one of those... "which of these things is not like the other" kind of statements. (Unless, of course, we are talking about our latest heart-throb named Rich...) Wishing to get rich seems selfish, not loving...

But, hey, I'm human. It would be great to make money, too, while I'm spreading around the love. I don't expect to get rich, but I do hope to get another book out of this project, and let's face it, to sell a book, you have to promote it. And to promote your book, you have to get publicity.. and that's where blogging comes in. (Sef-Promotion Side note: if you're looking for a quick read about a woman who makes a lot of embarrassing blunders in dating, check out The Laptop Dancer Diaries.)

Now I don't expect to get rich from selling my books or blogging, but some people are very successful at it, so this year I am working on getting more serious about increasing my blog traffic.

Well, one of the sites I stumbled across while looking for love websites (it turns out I'm not the only one using the #love2011 on Twitter) was GatherSuccess Link Love 2011. Though this isn't a site about love, it's a site that will help bloggers out by spreading the "link love." The site looks like it has some useful information about how bloggers can really monetize their blogs.

So, if you are a blogger, or a blogger wannabe, first of all... join the Love Project by subscribing to my site and watching for weekly prompts. I will add a link on my blog roll for you. And then check out GatherSuccess for some additional ideas for monetization.

This is going to be the year we are going to love and GET RICH! YAY!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Video Affirmations: "2011 WILL be the Best Year Ever!"

I've been having a lot of fun with Assignment #1 from The Love Project: Create an affirmation video about great things that will happen in 2011.

I know the video quality is bad (another goal of mine is to get a better camera and to become a better photographer!) but I love the people who participated.

First up was Mike, a guy who blogs at Cookbook Diaries of a Single Dad. Looks like his blog name will be changing in 2011, thanks to his exciting news:

Next was Jerry.. a lead guitarist of Blind Child Rockin' Blues Band,

Chris, from 5280 Magic, knows his magic is going to take off in 2011:

Christie knows that the hardships of 2010 needed to happen in order for her to be where she is right now:

Valerie took on the assignment with gusto! A nurse who works with people suffering with addictions, she's grateful for a life free of addiction... (well..almost!)

And finally, young Marissa, charmed us with her positive attitude and confidence!

I absolutely loved the way these people didn't shy away from the camera. They humored me with my assignment, complete with the cheers and give-it-your-all enthusiasm. Their smiles were infectious!

Another thing I noticed (even when I made my own video) is that you don't get the same feeling if you say "I want to do..." or "I'll try and do.." or "I hope to do..." Say "I WILL do it" "2011 WILL be a great year." When you speak strongly and with confidence, everyone feels the positive vibes and you make the world a better place.

I hope these videos motivate some of you out there in cyberspace to make your own YouTube video. Leave me the link in a comment or use the Twitter Tag #love2011 so we can find you. And remember, 2011 WILL be the Best Year Ever!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

The Love Project Begins with New Years Affirmations! #love2011

It's the New Year and I'm excited to be starting something I've been thinking about for awhile now: Love Project 2011! I'll be giving out weekly "assignments" designed to give and receive love. We're going to start (at least for the first month or two) with focusing on self-love.

Assignment: Make a video, Jessica-style, giving yourself positive affirmations, exhibiting energy and optimism for 2011.

Extra Credit: Take something you've complained about in the past, and turn it around into something positive.

A couple of weeks ago, I suggested a video assignment based on a video of a little girl, Jessica, who was giving herself positive affirmations. I challenged all of you to do the same, but... some how did not receive any links to videos! What's up with that? Never fear... I've convinced some of my friends to do some and I'll be posting those tomorrow.

But for those of you who want to get started now and need a grown-up example, here's mine:

Not ready to share your video? OK... Just do it for yourself. Look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how great you are and that it's going to be a fantastic year! Do it with energy! Cheer YAY at the end! It's going to happen...