My Favorite Productivity Tool: Keys-To-Go by Logitech

I’m sitting outside a local Coffee Bean doing some writing. I do this a lot. I find coffee shops easy to write in. There’s just enough noise but none of the distractions I find at home like “I wonder if it’s possible to make grain-free coconut flour pancakes”. It is. And quite delicious but that doesn’t help me get writing done.

One tool that has increased my writing productivity is the Keys-To-Go keyboard by Logitech.

Keys-To-Go Keyboard by Logitech

This is one of the best tech purchases I’ve made the last few years. This is a well-spaced, full-size keyboard that connects to my phone through Bluetooth. The keys on this keyboard are spaced so perfectly that I have no trouble transitioning from my keyboard at home to this light-weight version a couple times a day. And typing on this keyboard feels great. There’s a satisfying squishiness and click that lets me know I’ve pressed the key.

Keys-To-Go Keyboard by Logitech side view

Now I never have to lug a laptop around (which mine is dinasour and weights about as much). The Keys-to-Go fits in my purse. The “skin” of the keyboard protects it from spills and I use a regular phone charger to charge it.

I never thought I would be one to write my books and blog on my phone. But now if I find I’m away from the office and between clients I can slip into a coffee shop and get a chapter or a blog post done. That’s amazingly helpful to me. Plus I’ve met so many people who’ve stopped to ask me about the keyboard.

For creative writing on my phone I use Gmail. At first I tried to use my regular word program for writing (mine is Open Office Writer) but that was too cumbersome on the phone. So I just write myself an email. Then at back in my office I transfer my text to my word program or add it to my manuscript already in progress.

I also use it to write emails and texts. If I have a long text answer to send to a client I pull out the keyboard. With a push of a button it instantly links to my phone.

The only complaint, if I was to have one, is the one I got doesn’t hold a charge for the month like many of the reviews said. When I first started using it I could end up at a coffee shop all ready to write and find I had a dead keyboard. But now I just charge it every day and I haven’t had any trouble with it since.

I know this isn’t my usual type of post but if you’ve found this information helpful or you would like to know other things I do to make it possible for me to put out two books a year plus have a full schedule of clients and classes please let me know in the comments below.

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Why You May Not Be Like Your Sun Sign

Often when people find out I’m an Astrologer they treat me to a speech on how they are not like their sign.

Libras tell me they are happiest when they are out of a relationship, Geminis say they like to just listen and Capricorns want to stay home and take care of the kids.

There’s a reason for this.

We are not automatically our Sun Sign.

We are learning our Sun Sign.

Often times we read the meaning of our Sun Sign and it’s a whole list of things we don’t do. In fact depending on your age, you are likely to exhibit characteristics of the opposite sign. So Virgos demonstrate strong psychic ability like they are Pisces and Aquarians step up to lead like they are Leos.

Astrology Signs

As we get older and after many lessons we learn how to do our Sun Sign. We see the value in those aspects of ourselves. Over time Sagittarius natives begin to teach and travel. Cancer natives learn to cook and nurture themselves. Taurus natives settle down and start to get comfortable that they will always attract financial security. Scorpios embrace their power and begin to feel safe. Aries stops waiting and bravely take initiative.

So when you read the description of your sign and don’t feel it fits try reading the opposite sign. (See list below). Notice how much of the opposite sign you’re manifesting. Then go back and read your own sign. If you will embrace those qualities, the qualities of your Sun Sign, you will find it is a true path to happiness and success.

Opposite Signs

Aries – Libra

Taurus – Scorpio

Gemini – Sagittarius

Cancer – Capricorn

Leo – Aquarius

Virgo – Pisces

Want to know more about Astrology and your chart? Contact me through my website at www.fengshuiform.com.

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When an Eclipse Falls on Your Birthday (or really close to it).

About every six months we get the astrological big event – eclipses. Eclipses signal a time of change. What that change will be is based on where the eclipse falls in your chart. It can be anywhere from a small shift (like having an amazing realization) to complete upheaval in your life (loss of job, loss of relationship, loss of home, etc.). By far the biggest change comes when the eclipse hits your Sun.

How would you know if this eclipse (or any eclipse) is hitting your sun? It’s easy. If your birthday is five days before the eclipse or less or if your birthday is five days after the eclipse or less then you’ve been hit.

For example if the eclipse is on January 10 and you and all your friends birthdays fall between January 5 and January 15 you’re all getting hit. January 4 and January 16 birthdays – you’ve just been grazed.

Here’s a link to the dates of eclipses, scroll down to see the next set of eclipses: https://cafeastrology.com/eclipsessolarlunar.html

So you’re getting hit. Now what?

Within the next few months (or less) your life will dramatically change. The possibilities are:

  • a shift in a love relationship
  • a change in your finances
  • the loss of a vehicle
  • changing residences
  • having someone move in or move out
  • a change in relationship with an adult child
  • a change in your health
  • a divorce
  • starting a new relationship
  • credit card fraud
  • lawsuit
  • failing an important test
  • loss of job
  • fight with a close friend
  • resuming a bad habit or addiction

But eclipses, while bringing this dramatic change, also bring a gift. Most people look back a few months later and find they are much better off for having gone through the change.

You find:

  • your relationship is now stronger or you are now free to find a better relationship
  • you find new sources of income and support
  • you get a new vehicle or find they don’t need a vehicle at all
  • you move to a better place
  • the home is better for all when the person moved in or out
  • your relationship with your adult child is stronger
  • you start to really take care of your health
  • you complete the divorce and are now ready for a real love relationship
  • you now guard and protect your credit
  • you find you can fight a lawsuit
  • you learn how to study for tests
  • you find a better job
  • you either get a stronger relationship with your friend or you find a new friend
  • after the relapse back into addiction you emerge more determined and stronger

Yes, it’s a growth period. The benefits are all on the back end. As you’re going through it try to remember the eclipse will make you better. It’s a storm you’ll get through and once through you’ll know you are a better sailor.

For you more advanced students of Astrology: You can expect change if the eclipse squares or opposes your Sun (with a 5 degree orb). So based on the example of a January 10 eclipse in Capricorn, it would also affect Aries (April 5 to April 15), Cancer (July 5 to July 15) and Libra (October 5 to October 15).

If you want to know more about your chart, let me know. Private sessions are available.

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5 Amazing Benefits of a Capsule Wardrobe

A little more than 3 years ago I pared down my clothes to a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe is when you have a small number of pieces of the clothing that mix and match together.

The results of this change were amazing.

My wardrobe

Not only do I always feel well dressed and put together, I get dressed in 2 minutes each morning. I no longer spend hours shopping, nor do I waste money on clothes that don’t look good on me.

Here are the guidelines to my capsule wardrobe. This is what worked for me, you might design something entirely different. My wardrobe consists of 15 tops, five pants/leggings. Then I have seasonal wear which includes six pieces which include items like cardigans, jackets, ruanas, vests or scarves. So in total I have 26 pieces at any one time. (This doesn’t include my workout wear, pj’s, jewelry or shoes.)

I stick to my favorite colors, black, blue, grey. I have a little bit of purple which is not a favorite color but I have two indestructable blouses in purple that still look pretty good on me.

When I went to a capsule wardrobe some amazing things happened to me.

  1. I get dressed in under 2 minutes. Gone are the days of me standing in the closet crying that I don’t have anything to wear. I no longer change from one item to the next. I’m dressed and out the door feeling great.
  2. I don’t spend money and hours shopping. With this small, mix-and-match wardrobe I have hundreds of combinations I can put together so I really don’t need any more clothes. When something wears out or becomes damaged I look for a new piece but otherwise I don’t need to shop. This has saved me hundreds if not thousands of dollars not to mention hours and hours of time.
  3. I feel more comfortable when I’m out in the world. Even though I’m basically wearing a uniform – slacks or leggings, v-necked top, with a cardigan or vest – I feel polished and put together.
  4. I’m more recognizable by having a signature look. Since I go out to lecture and teach I want to be recognized. Having a “uniform” helps people know it’s me.
  5. I have eliminated one stressful thing to deal with during my day. We, in this modern age, can suffer from decision fatigue. Constantly having to make decisions about minor things means I have less will power and less energy for things are truly important. Eliminating this struggle turned out to be such a gift in my life that I started to minimize in other areas.I love my capsule wardrobe and I recommend it to anyone who has struggled finding something to wear in their own closet.

 

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Decluttering Paper

I’ve been decluttering for a while now. I call it “being on my road to minimalism”. 10 years ago I had not only 3000 square feet of house crammed with things but also a store and warehouse. I had a lot of stuff.

Now I have a capsule wardrobe (this is an old video, I’ve now had a capsule wardrobe for more than three years)

and my tiny kitchen is under control… mostly.

The challenge remaining is paper. Maybe you have this issue too.

I have several categories of paper to deal with. Having my own business means I have boxes and boxes of tax records, at least seven, one for each year that tax records need to be kept.

Then I have my journals. I’ve been journaling since high school. I’ve filled books with some of the most heartfelt and boring prose ever written. This stuff is so boring I can’t even be bothered to reread it…and it’s about me. But I’m also finding it hard to let go.

And then there’s all the rest of the paper. Credit card offers come in the mail almost daily. I have handouts from lectures I found interesting which I saved thinking I would reread some day. I have catalogs, warranty info, and articles torn out of magazines.

So to begin I grab a box of miscellaneous paper and I do a quick sort into three boxes. SCAN, SHRED, and TOSS. Clippings can be SCANned. Credit card offers go into the SHRED box. And the rest, like catalogs and product instructions, go in the TOSS box (all that stuff is online now).

For scanning I have both my Canon printer which can do stacks of paper and then for odd sizes I have my Doxie portable scanner. The trick/trouble with scanning is if you don’t label it properly you’ll never find it again. I try to do scanning and labeling in one session so I have it fresh in my mind what it was I’ve scanned.

Scanned materials are sorted by category into different folders. And everything is backed up into the cloud using the offsite backup service Carbonite. Interesting side note: I got Carbonite a few years ago and backed up my entire computer. It took days. Three days after it finished the backup my entire system crashed. The hard drive was toast including a book I was working on that was 90% completed. I didn’t lose any data. As soon as my new computer arrived I downloaded all the data. Good as new.

For my journals I’ve decided to slowly deconstruct them, tearing out the pages and scanning them into a PDF book. The Doxie scanner has a feature to “staple” the pages together. Now if I suddenly have the urge to know what I was doing 20 years ago I can open up the “book” and read to my heart’s content.

My goal is to eventually digitize all the tax records as well, starting with the most recent years and working backwards. It’s quite a job so I haven’t brought myself to it yet. Many people do this while they’re watching TV but I don’t have a TV – though I could binge on YouTube tiny house videos I suppose. I’ll have to put that in my calendar.

Let me know what you’re doing about the paper clutter in your life. Leave me a comment in the comment section below.

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The Year of Less by Cait Flanders – book review

I just finished reading Cait Flanders delightful new book, The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shoppping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered That Life is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store. 

The Year of Less by Cait Flanders Flanders woke up one day to find herself in deep debt. She started a blog to document her journey of paying off 30k. After that, though she was now debt free she still wasn’t happy with the amount she was saving each month.

She took a radical step. She put herself on a two-year shopping ban.

At the same time, she decided to let go of all the extra stuff in her life. (This is what drew me to the book). She sold, donated and tossed 75% of her belongings. The book also talks about her childhood, her struggles with alcohol and finally, her discovery of a happier life.

What I thought was very interesting was the challenge of both not shopping (she did buy groceries and other essentials – you can see her rules for the shopping ban on her blog)  and at the same time decluttering. In the past, when I’ve put myself on a shopping ban I find the desire to hold on to my things, even things I’m not using because I can’t run out and buy more. The shopping bans I had were much shorter than Flanders did. Mine would last a month or two, not two years.

Overall the book was delightful and fun to read. I’m inspired by her story and as I continue my own decluttering I think I will institute a shopping ban as well.

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The “Earth” part of Year of the Earth Dog

We are heading into an Earth year. What does that mean?

We are just now finishing two Fire years. In Fire years we’re very concerned with actions. We want to get things done. We feel like if we can get more done things will be better. And we get stressed when other people don’t do the things we think they should be doing.

Now, we’re going to have two Earth years. This Element is about stillness, waiting, patience, and peace. We want time to think, meditate, mull and consider.

We want stillness because the Earth is shaking beneath our feet.

We’re just at the cusp of the Earth Element and we’ve already seen more volatility in the stock market than we’ve seen since 2009 (which by the way, was also an Earth year).

In Earth years many things change around us. Our inclination is to hunker down and hold on. The warning is to not do this for too long. Be still, yes, and collect the information needed to make a decision. Then move forward with certainty.

In Earth years it’s time to finish projects or release them. These projects can range from old stuff on your to-do list (do you have “learn Chinese” on your list too) to decluttering the garage to making a quilt out of all your old rocker t-shirts. The peace and stillness you crave now come from finishing or releasing that which has been weighing on you.

In Earth years we want to have a clean, peaceful space. Minimalism will become more popular. Having less stuff in the house means less to take care of, less to store, less to dust. As I let go of more and more things I find my space more welcoming, inspiring and relaxing.

In Earth years we benefit even more from the practice of meditation. Even five minutes of meditation is helpful. Clearing your mind and focusing on your breath is all you need to do. It will help you feel less reactive to circumstances and more able to find your balance in the rough waters of the world today. Instead of being hit by the wave you can surf the wave.

You can find out more about this and what’s in ahead in 2018 in my new book, Chinese Astrology 2018 Year of the Earth Dog.

Chinese Astrology 2018 Year of the Earth Dog

Or consider having a private session where I answer your questions about love, money, family and more.

 

 

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