First 30 Days Blog

20 jun

Bankruptcy: The Power of the Clean Slate

JennaSmithIt doesn’t take many clicks online to find writing and advice on how to shape up your finances, even First30Days has a great financial advice section found here. There are posts on frugal living, retirement, and even investing. Today we are going to talk about another form of professional debt assistance: Bankruptcy.

Chances are you felt an uncomfortable twinge in the pit of your stomach when you read that word. Perhaps it’s because you have always heard that bankruptcy will ruin your credit and your life. Or, perhaps it’s because you have always been told that the only people who file for bankruptcy are incredibly irresponsible and incredibly destitute.

None of those things could be further from the truth.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that, according to a 1934 decision by the Supreme Court, “…gives to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.”

The goal is to release you from certain debts, and to prevent creditors from taking further action to collect on those debts. Thereby giving you a clean slate, and the ability to move forward and rebuild your life.

There are six basic types of bankruptcy, but only Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 apply to the average consumer debt.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

Although both types of bankruptcy apply to regular consumers, they differ greatly in the way they deal with the debt.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 – the type that most people are familiar with – eliminates all debts except student loans, taxes, court-ordered child or spousal support, and certain other debts to the courts, or local/federal government agencies.

Chapter 7 is usually reserved for people who have no assets, or are willing to give up non-exempt assets to their creditors. These assets could include any credit cards, vehicles under lien, and real estate. Additionally, those who file Chapter 7 usually do not have enough income to pay off their debts.

The average cost for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $245 to file the case, a $46 administrative fee, a $15 trustee surcharge, plus whatever the attorney charges for his services. With the attorney fees, it could cost as much little as $700 or as $1,500 to file Chapter 7, depending on your geographic location. It could be tempting to save on the attorney fees and file on your own. While that is absolutely an option, it could actually end up costing you in the long run.

The federal government makes frequent changes and amendments to the bankruptcy code, and it’s difficult for a layperson to keep up. Additionally, bankruptcy involves filing a lot of paperwork with the courts. It costs money every time you do anything with the courts. If you file on your own, you could make paperwork mistakes that require you to file corrections and amendments, which could greatly increase the usual filing and court fees. Worst-case scenario, you could fail to get your debts discharged, which means you’ve just spent a lot of money to end up right back where you started.

Your best bet is to go with a knowledgeable and experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer because they can do it right the first time and, ultimately, save you time and money. Their targeted area of expertise will generate a more substantial possibly for a positive outcome.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 does not eliminate all debts and you may be able to include debts to the courts, or local/federal government agencies in the filing.

Chapter 13 is usually reserved for people who have assets they wish to keep and have enough income to make a payment agreement with the courts. Under Chapter 13, you could end up paying back all, or part, of your debts over a seven-to-ten-year period. The amount you pay will depend on your income, how much the courts can negotiate with your creditors, and which assets you want to keep.

The average cost for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $235 to file the case, and a $46 administrative fee, plus whatever the attorney charges for his services. With the attorney fees, it could cost as little as $1,500, or as much as $5, 000 to file Chapter 13, depending on your geographic area.

As with the Chapter 7, although it is cheaper to file alone, you will have a better result if you use the services of a reliable and experienced attorney.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on June 20th, 2014 in Finances | No comments Read related posts in

19 jun

How to Give Furniture a Vintage or Rustic Effect

RobertCordrayMany homeowners use procedures to distress their furniture. When a furniture piece has a vintage look, it has more character. Although there are stores that sell vintage furniture pieces, most homeowners distress their current furniture pieces because it is a cheaper option.

Selecting An Item

Homeowners who never distressed a piece of furniture must understand a few things. For example, an expensive piece of furniture should not be distressed. Instead, choose a cheaper piece of furniture. If there are no cheap furniture pieces in the home, various options can be purchased at a thrift store. Beginners should practice their skills on cheap furniture because the end results may not be efficient.

Using The Tools

To distress a furniture piece, sand paper will be needed. The sand paper should have a coarse grit. Furniture that is unfinished must be sanded; sanding will smooth the surface. However, if the furniture has a coat of paint, use sand paper to remove most of the paint. Do not remove all of the paint because the old finish gives the furniture a weathered look. After sanding is complete, use a tack cloth to remove the dust that was produced after the sanding process.

Advanced Sanding Procedures

The edges of the furniture should be sanded because sanding gives the surface a vintage effect. The furniture can be sanded with a sanding block or a coarse-grit sandpaper. When sanding the surface, rub the edges and corners vigorously. After sanding is complete, the surface should be rounded and uneven. This procedure also gives the furniture a weathered effect.

How To Use A Hammer And Chisel

A hammer and chisel will give the furniture cracks. To use the tools, put the chisel on the wood surface. The proper location is very important because wood furniture will only crack along the grain. Once a proper spot is located, tap the chisel with the hammer several times until the surface cracks.

The hammer can also place depressions in the furniture. Depressions give furniture an aged effect. To give the furniture depressions, tap the furniture in numerous locations until small depressions appear.

How To Scratch The Furniture

A wire brush should be used to scratch the furniture. Rub the brush on the surface in various locations to scratch the material. This procedure can also be used after furniture is painted or stained.

How To Use A Drill

Furniture that is vintage has small gaps. To give the furniture these gaps, use a standard power drill. Each gap should be placed near one another. This procedure mimics insect damage.

Proper Replacement Procedures

A vintage piece of furniture will not have any shiny metal parts, so these components should be replaced. Replaced these components with aged pulls, screws, feet, and latches. These items are usually sold at vintage furniture stores. There are also stores that sell barndoor hardware.

Apply Wood Stain

Wood stain must be applied to the furniture. However, the surface should be cleaned with a tack cloth before the staining product is used. After the surface is cleaned, brush the staining product on the wood along the wood grain. Once the product is applied, wipe it off the surface using the cloth. This will help the product access the dents and cracks. After the product dries, seal it using a clean varnish.

Other Rustic Procedures

Professional painters can also give furniture a rustic effect. Professional painters will use the proper paint tones and colors to give the surface an aged effect. The process of painting wood can be challenging if the correct procedures are not used. Wood has various grains that must be painted properly. After the painter completes the project, other procedures can be used to increase the rustic effect.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on June 19th, 2014 in House and Home | No comments Read related posts in , ,

19 jun

What Exactly Made Flappy Bird Such a Successful Game?

RobertCordrayFlappy Bird remains to be one of the most popular apps in the world. It catapulted to stardom several months ago when it was reaching an average of $50,000 per day in ad revenue for the creator. With a simple plot of the game on trying to keep the bird flapping its wings to make it through the small opening, the challenging game reached millions upon millions of downloads. So what did Flappy Bird do right that hundreds of thousands of apps didn’t do?

What did Flappy Bird do right?

The app poses some interesting challenges that you would never guess was going to be played by millions. The main question now by many app programmers and businessmen in general is what they did differently. First of all, the UX of the game is so different. The user experience is oftentimes the main reason on what makes people want to keep playing. Is the game fun? Does it have a concept the majority of people like?

The game is so intriguing because it has a simple concept anyone can grasp; to get that bird in between the two “Mario Bros.” transportation areas. The game requires for users to tap the screen for when they want Flappy to jump up, and the key is to time the landing so the jumping is done at the right time to go through.

The game is also difficult in nature with its simple concept, and when a game can be played without instructions or knowledge beforehand, you know the game is interesting. It’s a fast paced game where a single try lasts for a mere 10 seconds for the majority of gamers. Flappy Bird was such an enticing game that it caused people to make their friends play against them; a strong component as to what made the game have countless people play it. The game created a bit of competitiveness in users because of its difficulty, and this form of word of mouth marketing is what catapulted the game into stardom.

The biggest misconception with the game was that it made $50,000 and had millions of downloads in just days or weeks. This couldn’t be anything further from the truth considering the game was released back in May of 2013, and it took months and months for it to gain the success it did now. It wasn’t an overnight process, but more of a 6-7 month process before it grew and made money,

What did they do differently from other games?

The game is simple and fast to play with no rules, but its difficult concept makes you want to master it. The game is somewhat famous the same way Candy Crush gained notoriety, but Flappy Bird became popular because of its easy platform with little to no instructions.

Another thing that is so different from other apps is its simple interface. The design of the game makes it look like the original Mario Bros. game, and because it only required just one click to control the game, the simplicity made it such a great idea. The nostalgia it created for most adults made it even more interesting.

Flappy Bird was a success because of being in the right place at the right time. The advertising it once got made a big difference. On Twitter, a company called Chocolate Lab Apps shared the fun game, and it caused a huge ruckus and got the app the attention it needed. Had the app not been shared by that app company or shared by others, it could have been buried in the middle of thousands of other unknown apps.

It is very true that a huge amount of luck came into its success and about being in the right place at the right time. However, it was the creator, Dong Nguyen’s, simple idea that made people interested. If it wasn’t such a noble and simple game idea, it probably wouldn’t have gotten the attention it got.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on June 19th, 2014 in Technology | No comments

19 jun

Eat Your Way to Digestive Health

RobertCordrayProbiotics. The very name is indicative of their benefits: it comes from the Greek words pro, denoting promoting, and biotic, which means life. Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria that live in our digestive systems and keep harmful bacteria at bay. A healthy level helps keep us disease-free.

However, sometimes we need a bit of help. Antibiotics treat anything from strep throat to skin infections. However, as they work their magic, these drugs have a down side. They unfortunately do not discriminate; for they kill beneficial bacteria along with the bad guys. The result is diarrhea, gas, and bloating. Too-low levels of probiotics can also lead to vaginal yeast and urinary tract infections and diarrhea from intestinal illnesses. What’s more, healthy bacteria keep immune responses such as inflammation under control, reducing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. For all these reasons, a regimen of probiotic supplements is vital to restore healthy bacteria to our digestive tract.

There’s a more enjoyable way to bring friendly bacteria to an optimum level than popping pills. Happily, many foods are probiotic powerhouses and have the added benefit of being great sources of natural vitamins.. Here are a few that are guaranteed to keep a healthy number of the good guys in our bodies.


Mostly made from fermented cabbage (and occasionally other vegetables), sauerkraut is chock-full of beneficial live cultures. Not only that, because of probiotics’ ability to keep immune system reactions in check, it can relieve allergy symptoms. Sauerkrauts’ abundance of vitamins B, A, E and C is an added bonus. For those who like their food spicy, kimchi (sauerkraut’s Korean cousin) is one of the best sources of probiotics there is. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse: beta-carotene, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C, B1 and B2 are present in ample quantities.


Kefir (pronounced ke-FEER) is a probiotic-rich grain that, when added to milk, begins a fermentation process. The result is a beverage full of a variety of healthy bacteria, including Lactobacillus Caucasus and Streptococcus, and an abundance of helpful yeasts. Kefir milk may be a bit sour, so many add fruit or sweeteners. While you can find kefir in health food and specialty stores, it’s easy to make your own. For people who can’t tolerate dairy, almond and other nut milks, coconut milk, coconut water, and even plain water are used to make kefir that has all the benefits of the milk variety.

Miso Soup

Miso, a product of fermented soy, rye, beans, rice, or barley, is a probiotic dynamo: it has been reported to contain a whopping 160-plus strains of friendly bacteria. A spoonful of the paste added to vegetable broth or hot water makes a delicious soup that will keep your digestive system running strong.

Pickles and Olives

Lovers of these foods can rejoice: they are excellent sources of friendly bacteria. Look for unpasteurized, sodium benzoate-free, active cultured organic varieties where vinegar was not employed in the pickling process. Sea salt and water are a good medium for the growth of healthy bacteria. With a bit of effort, you can keep your digestive system strong by indulging in these can’t-eat-just-one goodies.


Everyone knows the benefits of this powerhouse. Yogurt made with live cultures needs no introduction. Whether plain, sweetened with fruit, or enhanced with vanilla and other flavors, this food is a delicious way to keep probiotic levels high. The protein, calcium, and other nutrients make yogurt a perfect food.

Kombucha Tea

Tea lovers, rejoice. This fermented drink, available in Japanese and health food shops, is a great source of friendly bacteria. It’s delicious hot or iced. A word of caution: it’s not a good choice for people with candida problems.

Since there’s a beneficial-bacteria-high food to suit every taste, it’s easy to keep your digestive tract–and you–going strong. You don’t need to be recovering from illness or living with a chronic condition to reap the benefits.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on June 19th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

12 jun

Flying to Work May Be Closer Than You Think

RobertCordrayTechnology is making leaps and bounds, and, every day, new innovations are being introduced designed to make life more convenient. While your car is dependable in getting you where you need to be, new advancements could make your commute quicker than you ever imagined. Engineers are taking steps to achieve the goal of introducing flying cars into the market.

Taking a Look Back

When it comes to the concept of a flying car, there is an interesting history. Many are surprised to hear that the concept of a car that could take flight has stemmed back as far as 1917. At this time, Glenn Curtiss attempted to create an aluminum vehicle with wings that spanned 40 feet. While his Autoplane never actually flew, it did make a few hops.

More recent attempts have had more success. In the late 1960’s, Robert Fulton introduced the Aerocar, a model that was intended to drive, fly, and drive again with no interruptions. The contraption worked, and it achieved an impressive 120 mph in flight as well as received approval from the FAA.

Current Updates on Flying Cars

While success has been achieved, we don’t see cars flying around today. However, this could very well change in just a few short years. A company called Terrafugia has been making advancements in the creation of a new model of car called the Transition. The introduction of the vehicle to the market has been full of disappointment, however. More than once, Terrafugia has announced the upcoming release of the vehicle without fulfillment.

In 2008, they announced it would be ready to hit the market the following year. Next, in 2009, they had their first successful flight. However, they are still not being made available for the public to purchase. The company anticipates the release of the Transition sometime within the next two years.

High Cost to Fly

While the benefits of having the ability to fly or drive your vehicle are vast, the price tag for the Transition is a hefty one. Potential owners will have to come up with an astounding $279,000 dollars to complete the purchase, yet many consumers are already prepared to foot the bill. Currently, Terrafugia has over 100 deposits to secure a Transition when they become available in the near future. The investment can prove to be one worth making for those who travel long distances often, and the convenience of having the ability to travel at such quick speeds can certainly come in handy when you wake up late for work!

Beneficial Uses

A car with the ability to fly can offer a number of beneficial uses beyond personal transportation. For example, with the influx of people choosing to do their shopping online, more are willing to pay additional shipping fees for a more expedient delivery process. A company looking to upgrade current shipping systems could certainly benefit from such a vehicle, and the investment would quickly pay off. Other benefits of the availability of this option of transportation include:

  • Less ground traffic
  • Drivers’ ability to save money on fuel by having the ability to get directly to their destination
  • The ability for ndividuals and businesses alike to save money on travel expenses for holidays and business trips

We Will See Flying Cars

While companies such as Terrafugia have long discussed the possibility of a car that will fly being available on the open market, many have lost faith. With so many false indications, some have come to the belief that this concept is just a fun myth to entertain. However, the technology is there, and successful flights have already been made. Within the next two years, we can expect to see those willing to fork over the cash flying in their cars overhead.

 For further reading, visit this URL about Flying Cars.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Robert Cordray on June 12th, 2014 in New Directions, Technology | No comments

07 jun

3 Purchases that Have Actually Improved My Life!

JennaSmithBeing a 20-something working girl, I lead a busy life–stress is part of the deal. Recently, I’ve been trying to work on my work-life balance by incorporating healthy techniques. I started maintaining a healthy diet and getting eight hours of sleep.

These changes were really beneficial. Regular exercise and stretching gave me an added boost too–but of all the changes I have made, there are 3 purchases I’m obsessed with and honestly could not live without:

1. Coffee Machine

I used to spend so much money and time in coffee shops it’s not even funny. Standing in line, frantically waiting for my overpriced latte while trying not to be late for work, was taking its toll on me.

So I decided to take the plunge and get a coffee maker and start making coffee at home. You would not believe how much this change has simplified my life, both monetarily and psychologically. Instead of forking over $5+ dollars, I simply pop in a cup and presto! My coffee is done within minutes. I do not have to wait in long lines and, because it’s so quick, I don’t have to worry about chatty customers making me late for work.

Since making the switch, I enjoy my coffee time at home and I don’t think I could ever go back to coffee shops for my morning java. My favorite perk of brewing coffee at home is that I do not add in all the unnecessary sugars and syrups that coffee shops use. Less calories and less money equals a win for me!

2. Massages

Working in the hospitality industry is a fast paced gig, which can be tough on my bones and joints. Most nights I come home totally exhausted and sore. Even though I started getting about eight hours of sleep a night, I would still wake up not feeling my best.

To better manage this problem, I started getting regular massages and this helped tremendously. That is, until I saw the bill. Keeping up with routine massages was incredibly expensive, so I opted for the next best thing: I looked up portable massage tables and bought one of my own. Getting my own massage table has allowed me to relax in the comfort of my own home.

3. E-Reader

After conversing and interacting with tons of people day in and day out, I need time to unwind and decompress. I have always had a love for reading and I try to get in a good book when I can.

To save on space in my apartment, I opted to get an e-reader. I checked out a bunch of options and decided to go with a Nook. I love my e-reader because it is specifically for reading. When I am on my day off or when I have a moment to myself, I plop down on my couch and read for hours. It helps me detox from my hectic schedule and restores my peace of mind. I can download books very quickly and I do not ever have to worry about having a million of books in my place. Plus, the battery life is great so I can get lost in books for a good period of time without having to worry about my device suddenly dying and interrupting my narrative flow.

I love my busy, on-the-go lifestyle. For me, it is fun keeping up with the hustle and bustle of my everyday life. With that being said, I know that I have to maintain my health both mentally and physically. Relieving the stress of depending on a coffee shop has helped me significantly both financially and emotionally.

No longer am I standing in long lines, yay! My portable massage table is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I love to relieve all of the pressure that work and being on my feet brings. My stress level is at an all time low because of it too. Curling up on my couch with a good e-read is another favorite after-work activity of mine. These three purchases have changed my life for the better and are items that I surely do not want to live without.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on June 7th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness, General, Personal Stories | No comments

07 jun

It’s Never Too Late to Start Living the Life You Want to Live

JennaSmithFar too many people have a cynical outlook on life. They don’t think life is supposed to be anything special and, therefore, don’t expect much. These people might have had dreams and aspirations when they were younger but they got caught up in “real life,” and eventually those dreams fell away. Maybe those dreams were dismissed as “unrealistic,” and, instead, the cynics submitted to a life they thought they “should” be living based on the dictates of their families and society at large.

If you are not happy with the life you have now, please know that you have options. You don’t have to acquiesce and just accept things as they are. The time to make a significant change has not passed. It is absolutely still available to you.

If you are feeling the urge to turn things around, but are not sure how or where to start, here are a few tips that will hopefully help you make the changes in your life you have been seeking, whether those changes are in your personal or professional life.

Change the Way You Think

The life you are living now is likely largely based on the image that you have of yourself and the beliefs that you developed while you were growing up. Those beliefs are probably someone else’s (like your Mom or Dad) but you adopted them for yourself, after those beliefs were continually pounded into your head while you were growing up.

Guess what! Unlike your race, gender or DNA, beliefs and self-image are not unchangeable aspects of yourself. They are in your mind and aspects of the mind can be molded and even changed. Whatever good we believe is or will be true for us, we will always be more likely to tune into those things that seem to reinforce our negative beliefs about ourselves, and we will often mistake this for “proof” that this is, in fact, how things really are.

You can change your self-image. For example, right now you may see yourself as someone who is only capable of being a low-level employee because that is all you have ever been. The truth is that you can be more. To do that, you need to learn how to see yourself in a new light.

Here’s another example: You may think of yourself as someone who will always be overweight and will always fail at efforts to be thin, because that has been your experience so far. That can be changed too.

Do you know how to make these mental shifts? You make these changes by seeking out information that will help you make these changes. Try to find some personal development materials that resonate with you, whether those materials are books, articles or even YouTube videos.

Try to stay open to positive viewpoints, especially when they contradict long held self image issues. You will soon find that whatever you want to believe in or hope for really can be true for you. When you start believing in more positive things, you will notice more positive things in the world and, in turn, you will notice more positive things happening to you (and around you). When you change your thoughts you can change your whole world.

Steps You Can Take Right Now to Jumpstart This Journey

“Where we are now” and “where we want to be” can seem light years away from each other. This usually stops people right in their tracks and they give up before they have even started. Try your best not to think about all of that stuff. Just focus on now.

For example, if you have always dreamed about opening your own business, start looking for classes and seminars that are aimed at people like yourself, and sign up for one of them.

The point is that you should focus on taking some sort of step that will get you moving in the right direction. Don’t worry about figuring everything out right now—all of that will unfold in due time. Just commit to getting started. Do something right now, no matter how small it may seem.

You Will Feel Scared and That is Okay

Finally taking control of your life, and molding it to be what you actually want it to be is really exciting, but it can be really, really scary. It is important to understand that it is okay to be scared. A lot of us seem to think that the presence of fear, doubt or other negative emotions is the equivalent of a subconscious warning that we may not be making the right decision, but this is not true.

There are very few people in this world, if any, who are 110% confident in their decisions and proceed forward without any internal struggle. You are human. These feelings are natural. You can’t predict the future so of course you are going to wonder whether the outcome will be good. If you can accept these feelings as normal, you will be better able to deal with them. Try not to view them as something that “shouldn’t” be happening.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jenna Smith on June 7th, 2014 in Career, New Directions | No comments

30 may

Compassion at Work: Helping Grieving Colleagues Cope

Kerrigan2No one likes to talk about death. It makes people feel uncomfortable and awkward. It’s the ultimate change—the one thing that cannot be fixed or undone. Even the word “death” creates anxiety because it’s mysterious and emotional.

Death shakes our confidence. We are vulnerable in its presence. It’s the one thing we cannot control. We can only control how we think about it and react to it. There is no magic formula in the grieving process.

So, the suggestions I offer are from my own experiences in helping co-workers and clients cope. Hopefully, they provide some guidance and comfort.

Offer support to meet your colleague’s needs, not your own. Often, they need someone to listen. Sometimes, they need advice, or help with errands. Sometimes, they need the rest of the team to carry their load for a while. Sometimes, they need privacy. And, sometimes, they just need a place or a time to cry. If they haven’t expressed what they need, then ask. The best gift you can give is you: the comfort of your presence and the help from your attention.

Try not to judge or teach. Don’t feel as though you have to have the answer to death—no one does. Now is also not the time to pull out the “5 Stages of the Grieving Process” or to tell them what they “should” be doing. Your job is to be there for support.

Be genuine. Avoid sympathy-card sayings such as, “Your loved one is in a better place,” or “Everything happens for a reason.” It’s fake, forced and annoying. You can do better than that. Just be yourself. This is your teammate after all. Think: What would you want to hear?

Be patient. Mourning takes time. If a colleague needs to cry, let her. Don’t push her and think you can shortcut the process—you can’t. Know that each person grieves differently and at their own pace.

Assume nothing. You really don’t know how they feel. And, if you’re anxious about what to say or do, it’s easy to project your own anxiety onto the very person you wish to comfort. Never assume anyone feels the same way you do. This can be very dangerous if you’re wrong, so don’t go there.

Know that work is often a wonderful respite from grief. So, don’t be surprised if a grieving colleague returns to work sooner than expected. Activity is one of the greatest antidotes to depression. It grounds us, especially when we’re caught in a whirlwind of painful emotions. Work provides focus and meaning, and teamwork diminishes the sense of alone-ness.

In the end, grieving is about loss, change, acceptance, and moving forward. Your role is to support your colleague through their journey.

Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

Michelle Kerrigan is an expert in workplace confidence and performance who has been helping businesses and professionals grow stronger and more successful for over three decades. More at and

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Michelle Kerrigan on May 30th, 2014 in Career, Family, General, Global/Social Change | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , ,

28 may

Zen and the Art of Inline Skating

JennaSmithOn my 25th birthday I woke up to the realization that I was five years away from 30, and that I was a mess.

Growing up in Ohio, I had dreamed about California’s beaches, laid-back lifestyle and year-round sun. As soon as I graduated from college, I made like the Beverly Hillbillies, packed up my car, and headed for “Cali-for-nie-ay.” Once I hit San Diego’s shores I never looked back.

But San Diego wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. First, I didn’t really know anyone. Sure, I’m adventurous, but I’m also introverted by nature. As a result, I took a lot of moonlit walks along the beach, alone. After a while, I kind of lost the taste for it, which was OK because I had to work anyway.

One of the good things I could say about work was that it solved my social issues. I had plenty of friends at the cubicle farm, and that’s even where I met my guy.

I was in my dream city, I had a good job, I had my guy, and things were great, right?

Well, three years later I was sitting in the same desk, at the same job, in a windowless cubicle, staring at a beach screen-saver instead of enjoying the actual beach outside my door… OK, the beach across town.

When I wasn’t hanging out with some friends from the office, I was spending my evenings camped out on the couch, too tired and depressed from the job and the rush-hour commute to do much more than watch whatever was on TV and listen to the blood coagulating in my veins.

So back to my 25th birthday.

I woke up that morning with 30 looming like an object in my rearview mirror. At that moment I decided that something needed to change.

I would quit my job, buy myself a VW Bus, go to Burning Man, get a sick tattoo, meet a man named Snake, then we would come back to San Diego and spend our days rollerblading along Pacific Beach like “Slomo.”

I’d be free, gosh darn it, to do what I want, any old time.

After I had my first cup of coffee I kind of came to my senses and realized that Burning Man had already passed, and that it probably wasn’t a good idea to just up and quit my job.

But that didn’t mean I couldn’t do some of the other things on my list, namely the rollerblading.

See, I knew that I needed to get out, get moving, and get healthier. Day after day after night of sitting, sitting, sitting, had worn me out so much that I was starting to take the shape of my couch and desk chair.

Initially I had considered running, but gravity and I came to an agreement long ago – I wouldn’t try to defy it, and it wouldn’t blow out my knees and, so far, the agreement was going strong. Then I thought about joining a gym and realized the last thing I wanted to do was exercise indoors.

Then I thought about how much I had enjoyed roller skating as a kid, and how hanging out with Slomo at going as fast as you can go on these thin wheels, and I headed out to get my first set of inline skates.

Happy Birthday to me!

Two years later, I’m still skating.

I did make it to Burning Man once, but didn’t meet a guy named Snake. I did meet a Josh, however, while I was skating. I was minding my own business when this horse of a dog ran by me, trailing his leash. I roll over it, trip, and wipe out on the pavement. The rest is pretty much the stuff of romantic comedies.

About six months after my birthday I finally got the courage to quit my job. I had decided that I’d had enough of the nine-to-five world so I became a freelance writer. I set my own schedule, and I always make sure to include plenty of time outdoors. I’ve even started working on this novel that had been rattling around in my head since forever.

At first it was tough making all those changes, but whenever things got stressful I would just strap on the blades, head to the beach, and roll until my heart was calm and my heard was clear. I never actually skated with Slomo, but I pass him a couple times, and wave hello.

As far as the tattoo is concerned, well, a girl’s got to have a few secrets, right?

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Posted by Jenna Smith on May 28th, 2014 in New Directions, Personal Stories, Spirituality | No comments

27 may

The Golden Age Diet: 5 Foods to Eat After Retirement

RobertCordrayRetirement can be a period of great change in your life. Some changes may be good, like having more free time. Some changes may be less helpful, like dealing with a much different budget than what you’re used to. All change, no matter what kind, requires a great deal of adjustment. The same holds true for what’s in your diet. Eating healthy is still very important as you age, so check out some of the food you should be making a part of your diet.

1. Yogurt

Dairy products should definitely be a regular part of what you eat every day, and yogurt is one of the tastiest options out there. Dairy plays a large role in bone health, which is especially important for post-retirement life since the older you get, the weaker your bones usually become. If you’re not in the mood for yogurt, you can always try other rich sources of calcium, like cottage cheese or plain old milk. Just make sure you go for the low-fat variety.

2. Salmon

It may seem like an unusual choice, but salmon can make an excellent addition to a retirement diet. One of salmon’s major benefits is how rich it is in omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients do a lot to reduce inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. If you’re looking for omega-3 fatty acids in seafood but think salmon is a bit too expensive for your budget, you can always try sardines.

3. Apples

It almost goes without saying, but it needs to be mentioned that adding more fruit to your diet is essential. Increasing your fruit intake, like eating more apples for example, is especially important since fruit contains lots of fiber and vitamins. If you want even more out of your fruit, try some blueberries. They are rich in antioxidants, which as Nu Skin describes, “slow the internal and external aging process” and will keep you healthier for longer.

4. Broccoli

Like fruit, vegetables should become a common sight on your plate. When we age, our metabolism slows down, so it’s best to avoid calorie-heavy foods. (Tweet This) Vegetables are loaded with vital nutrients and don’t come with empty calories like potato chips or candy. Eating broccoli is an excellent option for healthy eating, and the magnesium it contains can help keep your teeth strong and free of cavities.

5. Almonds

If you want to add some protein to your diet, you should stay away from the more expensive and less healthy red meats and instead go with nuts, specifically almonds. Almonds can provide you with a quick boost of energy that lasts longer than other options out there. Almonds also have choline, which is an excellent nutrient to have for improved memory and for handling stress.

In addition to all these foods, always remember to drink plenty of water. Hydrating your body is essential for every age group, not just for older generations. If you take all these suggestions into account, you’ll be eating a healthy diet and be able to live an active lifestyle for many years to come.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 27th, 2014 in Diet and Fitness | No comments Read related posts in , , ,