One of the greatest improvements to travel in recent years has been the rise of Airbnb. Pronounced “air b and b,” this company allows travelers to stay in private homes, apartments and rooms around the world rather than traditional hotel rooms. Not only is the cost often less, it also provides a more unique and special way to visit a location. Over the last several years, my husband Thom and I have enjoyed staying at a variety of Airbnb properties. So I thought it might be valuable to share some of our experiences to help explain how it works, and why it is SMART to consider using it in the future. [Read more…]
Thom and I are off enjoying some “rightsized travel” so I invited another blogger friend who is living a rightsized life to share her ideas. Terri Webster Schrandt lives in Sacramento, CA and like all rightsizers, offers a unique perspective on what the lifestyle looks like in a person’s life. Thanks Terri for sharing another version of rightsizing with all of us!
Kathy and I originally met in person at the BAM (Bloggers At Midlife) 2016 conference in Las Vegas. We found each other to be kindred spirits as well as neighbors living in California!
After reading Kathy’s book Rightsizing: A SMART Living 365 Guide To Reinventing Retirement I easily identified the ways I have also rightsized my life. A big key for my semi-retirement was being able to retire from my day job of 32 years at the relatively young age of 55. After paying into the CalPERS (public employees retirement system) for years, I now receive 65% of my income as a pension. [Read more…]
Shortly after my husband Thom and I met in 1977, we opened our first business. We named the beach nightclub that we owned and managed on the coast of North Carolina, Night Moves. Since then, except for a couple of painful months in the following years as employees, we founded several other businesses and fully embraced the entrepreneur lifestyle. While I can’t imagine living any other way, I recently realized that the entrepreneurial approach isn’t mentioned much these days. What happened? Where did it go? And why aren’t more people embracing the many advantages that come from being self-employed? [Read more…]
One of my daily practices is to remember to look for the good no matter what is going on in my life. It helps a great deal that I’m married to someone who does his best to remind me of this on a regular basis. It also helps that I am a naturally optimistic person, in good health, with many other lifestyle advantages. But even then, I still need to be reminded on a regular basis to stay focused on what’s good, rather than its opposite. That’s why nearly all my writing here on SMART Living 365 serves to re-enforce the positive over and over. Still, what I seldom acknowledge is the huge helping of grace that makes it all possible.
I don’t use the word grace much in my writing. I’m aware that it is a trigger for some people like my husband Thom, to a former religious perspective that created pain and skepticism rather than comfort. I certainly never intended to use the word in the title of my first work of fiction, Finding Grace. But after the main character ended up naming herself, and as her journey unfolded, no other title came even close to fitting as well. That’s how grace often works. When we follow the trail of what seems to be good, we end up with the grace of unexpected gifts. [Read more…]
Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a home in the mountains for a month. Then for a change of pace, we rent a cottage at the beach after that. Neither are fancy, but they are fun and comfortable. While I love my home in the desert southwest, it can be brutally hot during the summer, so escaping to somewhere cool when it’s scorching outside is a dream come true for me. And because we’ve “rightsized,” the cost fits easily into our budget.
But a question we always get is, “Oh, are you staying at your second home?” We happily answer “No!” That’s because when we visit these locations, we like to have the option of changing destinations and properties. Best of all, we like the freedom of not having to spend the time and money managing the property for the remainder of the year. These reasons and more prompted me to consider: is buying a second home, an RV or a boat SMART? [Read more…]
Like most baby boomers who grew up in California and nearly half of the U.S. population, I tried marijuana as a teenager. The few times my girlfriends and I managed to get our hands on a joint, we would light it, pass it around and then spend several harmless hours giggling and acting silly. But once we matured, like most other adults I knew, we moved on to the far more legal and acceptable form of getting high—alcohol. And although some opportunities to give pot another try presented itself in the four decades since then, public aversion to smoking, the illegality, and the stigma, made it preferable to avoid. Now, in 2016 things are changing—dramatically. Not only is California poised to make recreational pot legal this November, our aging population is discovering the numerous medicinal benefits it offers to many who want to age as well as possible. Maybe it’s time for another look. [Read more…]
Last weekend my husband Thom and I attended a lecture by a young man named Timber Hawkeye. By his own definition, Timber is a religion-less Buddhist with a mission to awaken, enlighten, enrich and inspire. Not only does he offer a refreshing and practical approach to spirituality, he also talks repeatedly about creating a more simplified life. On the drive home, Thom and I began talking about how these two philosophies share a few things in common. From there, we came up with the Four Noble Truths of Minimalism as a way to remind and connect with the core principles behind a more simple, practical and grounded life. [Read more…]
As many of you know, I am active on Facebook—most of the time. I enjoy it and not only does it help to spread the word about my blog and my books, I also find it fun to connect with people, stay up-to-date with family and friends, and to learn about things around the world. Even more importantly, I have a mission to share positive and inspiring news with others to remind us all that there is always more good in the world than not. But lately it’s been hard. About half of all Facebook posts these days are about politics. And while I do not tolerate hateful or violent remarks, I still find the tone of many to be fearful, angry and defensive.
So what does a SMART girl do? Some people just swear off of Facebook altogether, which is certainly one alternative. Instead, what I did was sit down and come up with ten things I believe can help me, and anyone who is interested, get through the next four months and stay sane. While they are not excuses to put our head in the sand and resort to “magical thinking,” they do help to keep us focused on those things we believe deep in our soul, rather than anything or fear and fight. [Read more…]
Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We do it mainly to get out of the summer heat of our desert environment. But behind the more obvious reason is that it connects us to feelings of beauty and nature that we can’t get sitting at home in front of the computer in our air-conditioned house. So, when I happened upon an article that offered an even better reason why our yearly sojourns have become so important, I wasn’t surprised. It turns out that being in nature, and finding and experiencing an ongoing sense of awe and wonder, is critical to our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Oh, and besides that, it also makes us nicer people to be around. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy rightsizing. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, because we rightsized our lives some years ago, we can now travel more and in better form than ever before. So, if you’ve always dreamed of traveling more, but never seem to have the time or money, perhaps what you need is to rightsize your next trip.
First, I must recommend that you rightsize your entire life. What do I mean by that? If you are new to this website and unfamiliar with rightsizing, here’s a short definition: Rightsizing is taking the time to focus on what really matters to you and brings you happiness—and at the same time reducing and then eliminating everything that brings you down and sucks the joy out of you. [Read more…]