“No” Can Spell Success!

Today, a friend of mine posted a Business Insider interview with Barbara Corcoran – a real estate mogul and an Investor on Shark Tank.  In this interview clip, she discusses the difference between $8M earners and $40K earners in real estate.  However, her words of advice can be applied to any profession.  She explains that her fear of rejection, being a poor student and insecurities drove her to prove people wrong.  She believes that the word “no” should drive people to achieve more.

Click here to check out the clip.

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the word “no” because it’s most often associated with rejection and the feeling of shame.  It leads us to think, “Im bothering this person and I don’t want to make them mad” or “I’m not good enough for this”.  It causes us to flee.

I fully admit that most of my life, I’ve had that fear of rejection as well, as I am a people pleaser.  However, about a year ago, a close friend of mine gave me some advice I’ll never forget, “People are just people.  And, at the end of the day, it’s just business and unless someone attacks your character, you’re allowed to make mistakes, so long as you own up to them and provide a plan that will correct them.”  He also told me, “You got this.  As long as you have done your homework and you’re educated on whatever it is you’re doing, you can’t fail.”  No joke, that changed my entire outlook on my professional career.  I am going to make mistakes, I WILL admit to them (and not provide excuses) and I WILL succeed.  Why?  When you are able to prove to people that you’re human but that you’re responsible and willing to drive forward and NOT make the same mistake again, it is looked at as personal growth.

But, let’s get back to this word “no”….

We avoid it like the plague because we’d all rather hear “yes” (of course).  But why?  Why SHOULD things be so easy?  The truth – they shouldn’t.  We have to hear the word “no” or we will never toughen up for the harder dealings in life.  We have to learn that unless your personal character is attacked, whatever it is, is manageable – it’s not the end of the world.

I’ll illustrate this with two examples:

Old Me

At a previous job I was at, years ago, I worked more hours in a week than most humans should work in a month.  It was the most demanding job I had ever had, and I did it to the best of my ability.  I had bosses that weren’t happy with me, since the day I started (while it pays to have connections, it also doesn’t boast well for credibility at times).  As a result, my work was never good enough, I was never doing enough (despite doing enough work for a team of three), and I wasn’t getting the career guidance I needed to do my best. They saw my weaknesses being exposed and tore right through it with hurtful words and threats. The result: I crumbled – full-on, no-joke panic attack.  It rattled me to my core.  I believed I wasn’t good enough for any other company and as such, stepped away from corporate life.  The positive: I started my own marketing consulting company that did well for about four years.  It turns out all that tearing apart of my work and character, helped me develop a thick skin! Still, it left an internal gaping hole where my confidence, in all of my abilities, once was – it’s just that very few saw it.

New Me

With the aforementioned advice from my friend over a year ago, I changed, and it literally happened over night.  I have been with a new company for about three years now and I’ve watched myself grow, change and get stronger in what I know.  I’ve been allowed to make mistakes, have been scolded for some of them, but I can confidently say, I’ve never made the same mistake twice.  I’ve also been bold enough to ask for projects that put me outside of my comfort zone – even if I knew I’d fail there too.

The trick is “eating humble pie”.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  Asking lots of questions helps with that.  Not being afraid to ask for help, helps with that too.  People are people and nine times out of ten, they want to see you succeed if they see the eagerness within you.  Still, I do hear the word “no”.  But you know what?  I like it.  I want to hear it.  I want to find a way to turn it into a “yes” because it proves to myself that I DO have the confidence to take on anything that comes my way.

Any one of us can be a Barbara Corcoran to some degree – you just have to take that two-letter word and turn it into something fabulous.

The Best of SoCal’s Coast Line with Beautiful Friends

The month of October has been one of the most difficult months to-date for me.  It’s brought more low’s than high’s and certainly has tested my strength, patience and knowledge of who I am.  When challenging things happen, you need to be surrounded by love and positivity – and I received just that.

This past weekend, two of my very best girlfriends came into town, selflessly giving their time, love, generosity and warmth when I needed it the most.  It was an unforgettable weekend filled with laughter, tears, beaches, relaxation and great stories.

Our weekend took us to Encinatas for a Halloween party, South Carlsbad beach for reflection, Del Mar for lunch, the Catamaran Resort and Spa at Pacific Beach for spa and relaxation and The Hotel Del in Coronado for brunch.  It was a very happy and fulfilling weekend!

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A Train Ride Along the Beach

Yes, you heard right.  If you have never taken the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego, up the west coast (or vice versa), I highly suggest you do so because it’s ADDICTING.

On Tuesday, I decided a 3 1/2 hour train ride was far more enjoyable than driving in stop-and-go traffic up to North Hollywood.  With incredibly reasonable prices (Business Class $50 each way* and Coach $32 each way), it made it even more attractive.

* Note: Business class offers a snack bag, a free drink (wine included!), extremely roomy seats, outlets, wi-fi and a reserved seat

So, I chose a window seat on the right side (the side you want to be on to get uninterrupted views of the coastline) and because it was late afternoon, I was able to enjoy an incredible sunset.  Check out the pics and video below:

God’s Canvas – San Diego Sunrises, Moonrises and Sunsets

One of the (free) things in life I can never get enough of, are the spectacular sunrises, moonrises and sunsets that San Diego puts on.  Each evening, you can find groups of people, in complete silence, watching the 1 1/2 minute sunset “show” along any cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Each evening, I also get my own private moonrise show, over the Jamul mountains (almost giving me reason enough to buy a professional camera).  Also, (if I’m up early enough), I am blessed with a private sunrise of my own, over the same mountain range – each day and night just as breathtaking. Taking time out to appreciate these little things in life, goes a long way…

Portion Control – Two Words That Make Me Cringe

I grew up Greek and Sicilian.  Of course, with this DNA, comes the need to feed and be fed.  I love throwing dinner parties, experimenting with different foods, spices and sauces.  I love for people to be my guinea pigs, and to see their reactions after the first bite.  I love the sense of family that comes with a home cooked meal. And while this all evokes feelings of warmth and happiness, it also brings about a sense of guilt of over-eating.

I have been on the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet and the Dukan Diet – all of which worked the first time but fizzled out every time thereafter.  Being allergic to soy and wheat severely limited my diet to begin with and then to have to be down to a piece of chicken and a leaf of lettuce, wasn’t something I was interested in – it’s no way to live!

So, I signed up for Weight Watchers two weeks ago.  In the first week, I lost 4 of the remaining 9 pounds I’d like to lose and just like every spokesperson says, I didn’t have to give up a thing.  The trick?  Portion control through points management.

It made me super nervous to start this program, as “Portion Control” are two words I don’t like.  It’s like telling me I can’t do something.  But, this entire online program is so great that it has absolutely changed the way I look at food.  My husband loves it because he’s getting way better meals :-)

As an example, tonight, we’re having gluten-free spaghetti pomodoro with berry pavlovas.  The difference is that I measure out my portion on a salad plate, while he eats the rest :-)

If you are already on Weight Watchers, let me know – I’d love to swap recipes with you!  For those not on it, even if you’re diet is in check, it never hurts to have on-the-go tools to monitor it.  If it isn’t for you, I’ll do my best to post my recipes for you to try (see below).

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The Beauty and Wonder of Barcelona

For a (very) long Labor Day weekend, I went over to Barcelona to do some sight seeing.  There’s a lot to pack into five days, in a city you’ve never been before.

I once took one of those online quizzes, “Which city should you be living in?” and my result came up with Barcelona.  Definitely not surprising, since it literally has everything I would ever look for in a city to live in: energy, culture, history, beauty and hip people.  While there are so many things I could share about the trip, here is a piece of my itinerary and some tips along the way:

Click on any of the links below to get full information on times, tickets, discounts, etc.  Note that it’s best to buy your tickets online at least two days before, to avoid waiting in long lines or not being able to get in at all!  Also, take a look at some of my notes next to each (in italics)!

Museums & Monuments 

Sagrada FamiliaI recommend booking the Passion Tower tour.  You get some incredible views of the city and of the Mediterranean.  Also consider going in the evening between 6-9pm.  Gaudi is buried in the basement, in an incredible shrine!
Address : Sicilia, 286 / Phone : 00 34 932073031

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La Pedrera: An impressive Gaudi building at the Passeig de Gracia.  I suggest the Secret Pedrera Tour.  It’s an evening tour and a lot more magical (plus it comes with Cava).
Address : C. Provença, 261-265. / Phone : 00 34 93 484 59 00

Park Guell: (Gracia Area) I HIGHLY recommend visiting this, as it is home to some of his most famous sculptures – this makes for a fun day trip!  Make sure to purchase tickets for the Park.  If you want to see Gaudi’s home, it will be a separate ticket.

Address : Carrer D’Olot / Phone :  34 934 091 831

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Tibidabo: Overlooking the entire city of Barcelona and the Mediterranean on one side and endless Pyrenees mountain ranges on the other.  The church is at the highest point and the views from there are breath-taking.  But that’s not the only thing to see – there’s a whole amusement park there too!

Areas to Walk Through

Gothic Quarter: The entire section of the city is incredibly magnificent – including Temple d’ August – behind the Cathedral of Barcelona, is a hidden doorway to Roman columns, dating back to 1 B.C.!!  

Las RamblasAlthough not my favorite area, as it is more touristy, there are plenty of things to experience – including La Boqueria – a huge outdoor food market and the opera house.  Just be extra careful of our belongings!  

Cocktail Bars/Restaurants

Makamaka – Great drinks and food by the beach!!


7 Portes – – Has been open, since the 1800s!  A great traditional Spanish restaurant!

Ohla Boutique Bar:  Two of Spain’s best bartenders work here (Giuseppe and Giacomo), and it’s an incredible experience.  Ask for “The Mediterranean Treasure” and “Barcelona Kiss”.

Address : Via Laietana, 49 / Phone :  34 933 415 050

The Best Birthday Present I’ve Ever Received

On August 1st, I surprised with the best birthday present of all time.  His name is Leonardo (Leo) and although I’m partial, he is about darn-near the cutest pup (and maltipoo) on the planet! I’m kind of proud of the little guy.  In his first month-and-a-half of living with me, he’s wee pad trained, can sit, shake and give paw. And he brings immense joy to everyone who sees him (including the barristas at the Starbucks drive-thru window, who have to hold him when we come by.) He’s gone from a 1.5 pound wee little thing to 5.5 pounds of “all boy”!

Do-It-Yourself – Small Bedroom, Chic Storage

I live in a really nice apartment however, the bedrooms are kind of small.  The master is so small, in fact, that I don’t have room for nightstands on either side of the bed.  It took a couple of months to figure out what I was going to do – I needed my cell phone (alarm) and my book within reach.  Just like so many other people, I turned to Pinterest to get inspired.

I decided that shelving was the way to go, and would have to be above the bed.  But, the ceiling is shorter there so I needed to create height, as to not crowd the space.  Below is what we came up with.



For height, I bought an inexpensive curtain rod ($20, Bed Bath and Beyond) and found sturdy gold curtains ($15, Home Goods) that matched my gray and gold motif.

For the shelves, I wanted art – something that still created that elongated effect, while being useful.  Below are the materials and how to make it:

  • For each frame, we needed  two 24-inch and two 12-inch pine pieces about 5 1/2 inches width ($6, Home Depot)
  • A white tint-based stain in slate ($19, Home Depot)
  • Sandpaper
  • Antique gold nail heads ($10, Joann Fabrics)
  • Wall decals ($10, Target)
  • 8 wood screws
  • Triangular hanging plates (small joint braces with holes for screws)
  • Drill with the tiniest bit
  • Hammer

Building the Frame

  1. Sand out all the rough edges of each piece
  2. Line up your pieces with the 12-inch pieces being on the inside of the 24-inch pieces
  3. Mark where you want the screws to go
  4. Drill tiny holes to the length of the screw (not all the way through), so that the pine will not split when screwing in the wood screws

Making the Frames “Art

Stain the wood to your desired color (will take at least over night for them to dry)



Mark out pending nail head placement with a pencil, measuring 1-inch apart for each nail head.

Push in/hammer in nail heads onto each mark


Hang the shelf by inserting wall mounts for at least one of the two holes on each side of the frame, and then screwing it in (we only used one hole on each side).



Apply the decals and you’re done!