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IT’S NO OPRIL FOOLS – YOU & O ON A CRUISE!

JOKE’S UP – Now that we’ve made it almost all of the way through our second month as O Mag Insiders | The Inner Circle of O Magazine, I’m starting to settle in and believing that this was no Opril Fool’s joke, I’m really part of this dynamic group of individuals! Being that this is the Year of Adventure, I wanted to Share the Adventure!

O Magazine sent us an exciting and thoughtful welcome packet! Counting my blessings!

MY PURPOSE IN THE GROUP – How the heck did I get in here?! Everyone else on the team ooze upperclassmen confidence eons ahead of my own. They’ve followed their passions, mulched challenges, paved their paths, inspired others, and pay it forward! Their lessons resonate with the masses with such potential for positive change. I, on the other hand, feel like the perfect case study for Oprah and all her team!

MY IDEAL COHORTS – Like seriously, don’t you wish there’d been a Master Class in college on how to live your best life?! I’d have done summer school to learn how to budget with Suze, set boundaries with Martha, and clear away the clutter of our pasts with Peter. I’d have interned for Glennon’s momastery.com blog, for Elizabeth and Brené as writer’s assistants and begged Oprah to take me for Bring-Your-Insider-to-Work-Day so I could witness her switching from hat to hat with intelligence, creativity and grace.

SEMESTER AT SEA – If you haven’t heard, O, The Oprah Magazine and Holland America Line have teamed up this summer with Oprah and her magical unicorns for an amazing opportunity to cruise for a week, travel and reach the deepest parts of your heart while expanding your mind! For those of us folks who used to wind down at the end of the day sitting on the couch across from Oprah having a quality conversation with a girlfriend (What’s a few television waves and a few thousand miles?!), this will repair your heart that carried the weight of the missed connections of seeing her show in person.

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GETTING GROUNDED – Meanwhile, back on land, my membership to this dynamic group requires me to stay present and become mindful. Already, with the many contributions posted by my fellow O Mag Insiders, I’ve pondered while wandering – my strengths, my procrastinations. I’m peeling back the layers of me and asking to learn my history while making a difference.

WISH YOU WERE HERE – So far, my journey feels so much more introspective than the widely impactful passion projects of my peers. My inspiration comes from the hope of connecting with others. Whether through one shared experience or that whatever I’ve learned may simplify their journey. I’m living through crazy, eventually humorous, times as a single mom of tween and teen, an international adoptee, an unrealized novelist rushing recklessly towards middle age. This kind of crazy settles into fun with someone else on your side!

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TRAVEL BUDDIES – I also plan to continue down the path of self-discovery with my life-reflecting journey through the PJ Wilderness and show that, not only, is it never too late to change directions, to go back and find out where you fell off the path of your authentic self but that you are worth the time that it’ll take to get you there!

PACK WELL – I know that part of me hasn’t felt most like my authentic self since 1985. Those years shopping at colorful Contemporary Casuals, wearing bold patterns, large earrings and accessories. I would buy for deals, but for unique styles, cuts, etc. if I were lucky enough to find myself sailing with Oprah, I’d book a personal consultation with Adam!

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UNPACKING THE BAGGAGE – It’s less about my outward appearance and more about taking back pieces of myself from boyfriends that didn’t love me attracting too much attention and for whom I foolishly muted myself. It’s about finding practical multi-use pieces for single working moms, though they say you can only choose 2 but not 3 things, I know Adam will find clothes that are quality, fast to coordinate and reasonable. Lastly about finding cute but decent quality shoes for older women because I’ve learned that a mid-aligned foot causes all sorts of knee problems and my kids insist that the super Comfy Relaxed Outdoor Colorful plastic shoes with spongy insoles aren’t cool (though my kids may believe Drew Barrymore).

BON VOYAGE – Whether it’s the cruiseor some other far off destination, where you sail away to to get closer to your center?

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

  • You going on the cruise?
  • Which of Oprah’s columnists are you most eager to see
  • Did you ever see Oprah’s show tape while still in Chicago?
  • What was your favorite clothing item from ‘85?
  • Do you read O Magazine?
  • What’s the last thing you did just for you?
  • Did you wear uniforms or street clothes in school?

All Cruise photos and art are (C)Holland America Line and (C) Oprah

#OMagInsiders #HollandAmericaLine #Cruise #Alaska #LiveYourBestLife #YearOfAdventure #OMagonHAL

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CURRENTLY: O MaG!

Usually I do this exercise to check in with myself every so often, remind myself to be present and grateful during my endless day-to-day grind. This time, my mind is whirring a million miles an hour since receiving a jolt of adrenaline in the form of a great adventure! I’ve been picked, with 50 other people, to become O Mag Insiders: The Inner Circle of O! I always remember Oprah saying that she didn’t believe in luck and this week I saw this play out in my own life and it’s phenomenal!

CURRENTLY GRATEFUL FOR
Visible Growth!
So many people I know have side gigs to earn a little play money on the side. For me, I knew that if I was going to dedicate my treasured free time to something, it needed to be something involving writing and that didn’t steal me from my children. It hasn’t always been easy – blogging from my car during kids’ practices, staying up late. It hasn’t always had perfect results – now my kids groan when I bring out the camera. However, then I remind them that we’ve been working our way through short-term goals of making memories while building our base with adventure and eating reviews. We then plan to ramp up to accepting occasional invitations for a weekend getaway and building eventually to a long-term goal of taking our whole extended family (meaning their dad, step-mom and most importantly their little sister) to Aulani or on a Disney Cruise before my son leaves for college. They’ve witnessed the progress!

CURRENTLY SURPRISED BY
Inner harmony!
Somewhere in between the other emotions a warm stillness emerged. If you know me, you may already recognize chaos between both sides of my mind – the logical, rational left side of my brain and the creative artistic right side – as they battle for control. Add to that: ME – How I present to others; MYSELF – My true self/gut instincts and I – Me being present. For once a consensus has been reached that I’m right where I should be and it’s powerful!

CURRENTLY PANICKING
Making the most of the experience!
Applying for this brand ambassador role a few months back was so impulsive and whimsical that I hadn’t really considered the reality that I might be one of the people chosen for the role. Based on the odds alone – thousands of people applied, and I am 1 of only 50 chosen for this program this year.  The amazing group of people that I’m fortunate enough to be a part of are both so inspiring and humbling that my logical brain tries to factor how I fit in. My heart commands me to stay present to experience this year in real time (and this blog can remind me of anything that escapes my long-term memory).

CURRENTLY REBRANDING
Myself!
Since the time of my divorce, I’ve worked to figure out who I am and to honor that truth. I’m a Caffeinated Mom, a Blogger, Pre-Midlife Female, a University staff member, I’m Hapa, Korean Adoptee, and so many more. There have been several incidents along the way that made my dreams feel frivolous and challenged my definition of myself. I still question the reasons for the challenges, but what I know for sure is I had to get raw before I could start new and grow to call myself a writer.

O Mag Insiders Headshot

WTF: Way Too Fantastic!!

CURRENTLY READING

O Magazine!
I now allow myself a segment of daily time to be still with my favorite magazine and really pore over every word and article, not just flip through, skimming snippets and folding pages to go back and read later. I’ve always loved Oprah’s magazine as it gives me the opportunity to hear from her and her team of experts more regularly. Her team digs deeper than even my best girlfriends do and ask the hard questions that I need to ask myself!

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO
My gut!
I’m not that far past the point where I’d listen to what everyone else said and dedicated my time to working on what I thought I should be doing, rather than what I wanted to do. Fortunately my gut, or some part of me, kept leading me into careers or opportunities that I felt were coincidence until my scientific brain realized these weren’t just happy accidents and to take notice. With this latest opportunity, my gut whispers “Told You So!”

O Mag Insiders Icon Logo_wHashtag

 

CURRENTLY ANTICIPATING
Adventure!
O Magazine has dubbed this the Year of Adventure! This is the best year for me to be taking this trip with O Magazine!  How we’ll participate in the publication, what new experiences will present themselves remain undefined thus far. I hope I’ll be able to include my children in some because I have so few years left with them overall. Still, I’m open to not simply following them into adventure, but choosing some of my own while I try to remind myself who I was before they were here! I’m a big believer in spending money on adventures, not things. That’s where we build our strongest family connections!

CURRENTLY WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
Staying true to yourself isn’t always easy but it’s worth it!.
Following my gut and being myself has allowed me to find and stay on the path I’m truly meant to navigate. This is far more rewarding than following my previously laid out corporate career plan of my 20s. I’m not someone who will kiss butt to get ahead or lie to make a sale. A) I’m a terrible liar; B) It’s too hard to remember the lies told; C) Dreaming up and implementing falsehoods takes more time and energy than I have in a day. I try to do great work with a sunny disposition and build mutual respect with co-workers.  I am invigorated by a challenge and my blood pumps with anticipation of this new role.

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WWOD (What Would Oprah Do?)? – I did exactly as Oprah does, worked to be ready when opportunity came knocking!

Where I’ll wind up after this whirlwind year remains to be seen but I am so grateful for the opportunity and promise to make the most of it!

Here we go!

What about you?
Do you still believe in luck?
Do you know the path you’re on or are you still searching for your path?
What 1 thing will you do today to move you towards your goals?
When’s the last time you sat down and read any publication – like O Magazine?!
How do you calm your mind when it’s trying to talk over you?
Do you lead with your head or your heart?
What are you currently doing?
Do you want to be one of the next group of #OMagInsiders?

Consider these:
CURRENTLY AVOIDING
CURRENTLY EATING
CURRENTLY INDULGING IN
CURRENTLY WATCHING
CURRENTLY COVETING
Or dream up your own!

#OMAGinsiders #YearOfAdventure #Oprah #Magazine #Creative #Opportunity #Blogger    #Influencer #Writer #Coincidence #Chance #Fate #Preparation #Harmony #Challenge #WhatIKnowForSure #HereWeGoC #WWOD #WTF

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON – O YOU!

Since none of my high school girlfriends, nor I, had the opportunity to fly to Chicago to see Oprah’s show before it ended, today my friends (that I’ve known for almost 25 years!) and I attended the next best thing!  Oprah’s O You 2012 in Los Angeles!  I learned many gems and will share them in weeks to come!

O what a great group of women!

There were so many activities throughout the day, but our largest challenge was “You … in six words”
Mine life story in 6 words is: Make lasting impression, love all equally!

What’s yours?

Can you write your history in 6 words or less?
Click on photo for some great ones – Including Oprah’s!
Artwork (C) Harpo

All the experts (including Oprah) got on stage:  Her best friend, Gail, Suze, Dr. Phil, Peter, Dr. Laura B., Martha, Adam, Iyanla!  You too can win a set of Oprah’s amazing Swag Bag (Click on this link!).

I know they’re tiny, but they’re all there!
Lingering idea: It’s ok for women to put themselves 1st!

What a great way to celebrate women!   What a great way to celebrate my 1/2 way point with my first grad school class!

Where the magic happened! WTF: We’re thrilled, fantastic!

#OYou2012

PERSONAL CHECK POINT – MAY I PASS?

We needed a slow night. After bidding adieu to friends, we took long baths, got in dryer-warmed jammies and read. Part of my 101 in 1001 is reading all the books on my bookshelf. I started with the largest book with the smallest “chapters”: Oprah’s Big Book of Happiness.

Instant happiness!

Although Richard Branson’s article attracted me to browse, I landed with some 40-something friends and girl-talk! While I didn’t attend their party, I simmered on their questions (except the husband ones as I’m currently husband-free):

1) At age 18, your vision for your future: My goals were to graduate from USC in Psychology and have Antonio Sabato, Jr. or Dolph Lundgren’s kids.
How close did you get? I have the best family! I graduated from USC and refer to Psych 101 regularly. I surprised myself by accomplishing bigger dreams than imagined by completing marathons, a triathlon, working for Disney, and writing daily.

2) Advice you wish you’d received as a youth: Trust yourself: Follow your heart and your gut instincts will guide you while your head makes a plan.

3) Best money spent/biggest waste: In college I bought a Movado watch to keep up with the Trojans. I loved the first hour then felt physically uncomfortable! I kept waiting for machete-wielding locals to chop off my wrist. I was anxious that I’d lose it but still have to pay it off on my maxed card. It was the worst money I spent it so I returned it. It also became the best money I spent because it taught me that “THINGS” don’t produce the feelings I want. I still love nice things – on sale!

4) Best/worst thing about being a woman: The best thing is being strong enough to get things done but you’re allowed to be fragile enough to need help and strong enough to ask for it. Worst are many mens’ stereotypes directed towards Asian females.

5) At this point, is there a dream you’ll never fulfill? Why’re you so sure it’s out of reach? Traveling around the world with my kids on a cruise. It’s my long-shot dream, not completely out of reach.

Simmer on these questions yourself. What would your answers be?

BLOGGING PROFESSIONALS: START LOCAL, THINK GLOBAL!

My name is Sarah and I am a blogger! I no longer have to hide my dirty habit!

I couldn't have said it better myself!

After celebrating my 100th day blogging by attending a blogging seminar I am validated and energized that one can follow many realistic paths to various careers that didn’t exist 5 years ago or even 5 days ago!

One encouraging gem shared was to know your skill set, know what you can do for a company, then convince them you are the person to do it! A whole generation of hiring managers exist that get the willies from the words “online presence.” They pray that you will come along to direct the effort. As Oprah says, Preparation + Opportunity = Success! Once inside, keep telling people what you love to do and customize your job into something that tickles your fancy.

This theme kept coming up. The seminar’s stellar cross-section of blog founders, web content managers and editors agreed that their start came from researching then sharing information in areas they were passionate about. The ultimate expression of their affection was to write about them.

Even if creating your own money-earning blog, they had realistic advice that the job can be flexible, yet under grueling deadlines. Instant feedback becomes a blessing and a curse, but it adds to the view bottom line! Keep chipping away towards your goal. I love their mantra: Start local, Think global! Rather than share specific lessons, look for networking groups or seminars in your area, it’s worth it! Don’t have any? Build a support group and bloggers will come!

I’ve saved the best for last… 

I have been humbled by my blogging journey thus far. The support from my 82 and growing friends joining me as I wander motivates me. Your comments inspire and help me improve – so keep them coming!! I love checking as many of your blogs as possible, and vow to do more as my learning curve flattens out. I’ve passed 4,800 views and even received a few much-appreciated nominations for awards – I vow to catch up on the quizzes this month. I hope to keep improving and expanding the site so we never run out of shared adventures!

THANKS!

WANDERING INTO FOREIGN TERRITORY

Today seemingly random sequences of events caught my attention and changed my focus.  I believe that nothing happens coincidentally. This year, my goal continues to ride every wave no matter how far or deep I need to swim.

Beautiful flowers in Seoul...

A thank you letter for a donation in honor of the recently passed Father John P. Daly landed on my desk requiring my bosses’ signature. My boss stopped his speeding train of thought to mention that Father Daly was an amazing man who did significant years of work with Korea and was crucial to the growth of the college’s Asian Studies program. Since Father Daly’s name inspires a smile on the face of anyone who speaks of him, I looked for an obituary.

I read that shortly after taking his Jesuit vows he rooted himself in Korea during a critical period from 1963 – 1975.  My curiosity flared and launched me in a full-circle moment.

I came to America through Holt International Knowing a religious undertone existed at the adoption agency, I wanted to know if Father Daly shared ties.  While I never located a link, I sparked some clarity on a 25 year-old question.

My parents explained that the end-result of the Korean War, the devastated country resulted in families leaving babes to adopt. One person pointed out, “The Korean War ended in the 50’s?!”  Truthfully I had no response and with history being my weakest subject – I wasn’t interested in finding one then.

Now, I feel like returning to the start could sculpt a more 3-D image of my past.  I am less interested in long-lost relatives, more interested in the time before I left Korea – warm fuzzy stories like the political climate, born as a half-blooded Korean and other societal factors that launched me towards the states. I live the fairy tale – how I’d literally been abandoned until someone found me and turned me into an orphanage, I fortunately came to America and never looked back.  But, it’s part of me.

I listed Going to Korea as one of my “101 in 1001 goals,” but don’t want to visit, I want to understand Korea. Father Daly’s influence on people to learn about Korea continues.

SATURDAY CELEBRATIONS: IT’S THE WEEKEND AND YOU DESERVE IT!

Every Monday, the coffee-time banter repeats,

“How was your weekend?”  “Great, but too short!

While I’m designing a time-travel machine with settings to speed up work-weeks, or slow down weekends, meanwhile, I’m determined to maximize precious relaxation time. This pep-talk stands to convince me that downtime will even present itself as, today, we split time between two season openers, two sets of team pictures at opposite times, opposite fields, and one ball game.

Still smiling...

Despite this, I woke up determined to celebrate today.  I asked, “What Would Oprah Do?” I know whom she’d call first, I used to work for Marc who designed all of her fantastic invitations. With 16 hours between leaving and retrieving my kids, my plan must be simpler than hers.

As soon as I kissed the kids goodnight, I hit the car wash. There, I pondered what girlfriends and I did when we hung out as teens.

Once home, I lit smelly candles – the warm glow sweetened the air, plus I get a wish when blowing them out.

Everything looks better with candlelight!

I straightened up, turned on the party lights for the important guest – me!

I love the added sparkle of the holiday lights and kept them up!

I colored my hair,

Wait, this isn't the kit that does perfect make up too?

…played a few games of Bejeweled Blitz – my pre-blog timesuck

My high score for the week still blows compared to my sister. No sibling rivalry here.

…did a pinterest project: two-tone nails!  I learned a) how hard it is to coordinate colors in a jar; b) how wrinkly my hands look from bad angles and c) how tough posing your hand is. Since I’m right-handed, the other one looks like I clawed my way out of the little league snack bar.

Had to be mildly conservative because of my job.

I ordered dinner, which prompted a topic for the near future – FCW! I used my pretty chopsticks.

Since this posting will be done before 11pm, a movie or book follows.

Wait… don’t throw a pity party for me,

“What’ll Sarah try next, eating alone at a restaurant? Seeing movies by herself?! We need to get her a man/friend/dog!”  Turns out, my girlfriend Oprah agrees with the value of solitary time. With under 24 hours to recharge, no offense, I don’t feel like speaking to anyone. I value my friendships more than ever, but I’m learning to value myself more too.

Gotta go, as the hostess of this party, I must get back!

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I ALMOST FORGOT: If you want to wander with friends, please LIKE the Facebook page! Eventually all back posts will be available there as well for easier sharing! Keep your amazing feedback coming!  I love it and simmer on every idea!

THANK YOU!

NO DUMB LUCK, NO FIRST-TIMER’S LUCK, NO SUCH LUCK!

What's your good luck charm?

I’m with Oprah, if you come prepared when opportunity knocks, your dreams come true. In college, although working toward a major, I rarely pursued relationships with my professors. Now, more than ever, workplace successes depend on whom you know so networking counts. Some advice:

1) Find mentors – I regularly learn from every interaction. If you know someone whose career path involved your dream job, humbly ask for a research interview to get current advice for training, industry insider information and even important contacts. Don’t “mildly insist” that your mentor meet with you – its a fine line between determination and arrogance. If they only offer an email, take it – the first step is the hardest, but it could lead to other things.

2) Be courteous – Anyone at any level could be the person to give you the spot on your mentor’s radar and hopefully on his calendar. Depending on who they are, they may be asked to share their opinion of you. Don’t take anyone for granted.

3) Be clear – Clarify your interests so the mentor gets a better feel for what information you desire, your current knowledge and how best to help. Don’t expect them to read your mind. You wouldn’t want to waste the opportunity. Come with specific questions.

4) Follow through – Confirm appointments, provide an agenda, know where you’re visiting. Your mentor took time out of their busy day to graciously meet with you, please be respectful of their time. Don’t hit the Snooze button. When this reminder appears on your calendar, do not reschedule it for later. Assume your chance to pose your questions will only come around once.

5) CALL! – In the unique situation where you have to miss or reschedule an appointment – Tell them in advance! Don’t make them track you down.

This advice is common sense, but people forget significant steps! You’ll learn how small your industry is and how many degrees of separation are between you, your mentor and Kevin Bacon when you’ve left a positive or negative vibe with your mentor. Start your career path off on the right foot and arise to each challenge and play on weekends while relaxing after landing your dream job!

FCW: BE TACTFUL, DO NOT OVERLOOK YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES

Part of my growth involves remaining open enough while wandering to see the signs that the universe broadcasts. The message comes from people, whether friends, work-study students, or the Almighty O herself. Perhaps they come from social media status updates. Today’s wisdom presented itself in the oldest form of messaging with limited characters – fortune cookies! I don’t consider the fortune valid unless I’ve eaten half the cookie, otherwise, I am just cracking open cookies looking for fortunes to support my agenda.

Fortune Cookie Wisdom!

The cookie advised: “Be tactful, do not overlook your own opportunities” [in bed]. Do you still play that game?! Since the odds of those opportunities presenting themselves today seemed slim-to-none, I asked WWOD? while focusing on the message. The obvious place to locate opportunities was in my new, albeit temporary, job. After two weeks, I remain blissfully in the honeymoon stage not sensing any craziness. The only time I feel unsettled centers on contemplating this job’s fit into my career path. The exhilarating excitement of a new adventure mixed with the devil-may-care short-timer attitude creates bold creativity for facing challenges. To function well, even if short-term, one must know the processes, histories, and root oneself in the establishment.

First, I must be tactful: treat people well with respect and manners (Duh!) and don’t get sidelined by drama. Then, before I “don’t overlook my own opportunities,” I must identify them.  I know that I love brainstorming ideas and but don’t have the [insert one: patience/attention/balls] to carry them out before the next idea comes. Perhaps, it’s because I lack formal method training and not being young enough to allow a steeper learning curve with trial-and-error, I’m afraid to waste time guessing. I know that there are no guarantees. Miss O wisely points out that luck results from preparation intersecting opportunity.

So from my vantage point, I see experts who teach and mentor. Perhaps I’m backing myself into another position where I will, again, realize that I was meant to be here all along. This time, I’ll look over my shoulder to plot the journey some and enjoy the view. After backing myself up and positioning myself, I’ll launch forward in the direction meant for me.

Check all your mirrors to make sure you don't miss something spectacular!

WHAT THE HELL YOU BLOGGING FOR? GET A JOB!

One thing I missed from having roommates was the end-of-day debriefing. Oprah filled in for a bit, but once her show went dark, I yet again pondered – What Would Oprah Do? She Journals! this blog enabled me to unwind with some whine. I hoped to force creativity, practice writing and organize thoughts. Being Gen X, my hands cramp trying to write as fast as I think. Fortunately, my typing rocks. My plan included purging info from my head, organizing it and freeing up space to focus on important things – like find a job!

Fork in the road...

Part of me, more than I’ll usually admit, dreams of being a mommy-blogger! My work/life balance became effortless with this blog! [Cue: Booming nagging voice] “You’re writing an online diary! Get a real job!” At first, I ignored it, allowing time for myself. I knew if I didn’t indulge and write during this period, I’d wonder what might have been. I’ve been researching blogging and while it takes consistent effort, the possibility of reaching paid blogger status is a reasonable goal! Plus, it feels more tangible than job hunting where I’ve done what worked before, rewritten to work better, reinvented for technology and have nothing to show.

With blogging, I’ve measured site stats.

Great place to grow from!

Each experiment yields positive or negative measurable results. It’s restored my confidence knowing that the blog’s success depends wholly on me driving people to the site. I blogged yesterday about putting this hobby out there, stating how quickly I want to learn and getting great energy in return! Today, I reached a calm. I don’t know if it reflected inner peace or that I found an answer to appease the voice. I am doing something I love while learning new skills for my next step, and have show-and-tell for the job interview when they ask “What did you do during this down time?” If I only spent time sending resumes, I could say I’d been looking for work in a tough market, but I’d be drowned out by sobbing violins.

So, world, this is how I spent my break. Thanks for wandering with me! Can we keep the fact that I started this blog to whine between just us?

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