Day #15: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge

I admit, I’m not a huge bird lover. The whole thought of them flying over head and swirling sort of creeps me out. I try to subtly always move out of the path of birds when they are flying. I do, however, appreciate a bird that can talk and sing, so that was my motivation for visiting Free Flight, an exotic bird sanctuary in Del Mar.  Part of my 30 day challenge is to push myself into doing things that will make me uncomfortable.

Tucked next to a veterinarian, near the Del Mar Fair Grounds, sits a little refuge for exotic birds. Upon entry, (a $5 donation is required), you meet Kiki, the house resident and welcome committee. You can even go in her cage and encourage her to speak. If you are lucky, she will squawk you a ‘hello!

As you wonder around the little sanctuary, you are met with endless noise and screeching from the winged residents on display. Frequently, one of them will break into a mimic and you will hear either a car horn, a door bell, a “how you doing?” or an opera! By far, the talking birds were the highlight of the experience.

Kudos to Free Flight for offering a refuge for these beautiful creatures. I highly recommend this experience if you have kids. It’s an easy way to spend an hour.

How great is this song? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFYzkBVM0vM&feature=youtu.be

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day #13: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Riding in the Dirt!)

Day #13 of my 30-day challenge has taken me out of my comfort zone. After seeing my cousin Steve at a recent family wedding, he pitched the idea of me learning to ride a dirt bike as part of my challenge. Since I have never had the chance to ride a dirt bike, it quickly was added to my list of experiences I wanted to try!

My Dad, my niece Elyse and I took off for Valley Center, where Steve and his family live. Their front yard (2.5 acres) was the perfect course for a beginning dirt bike rider. Elyse was an early favorite because she has a mini-motorcycle that she likes to zip through her neighborhood. I was more cautious as I hoped I would come back in one piece.

Steve could not have been nicer or more patient with the new kid. He walked me around my assigned dirt bike and familiarized me with all the necessary parts. I was most interested in how I would be able to stop! When the lesson was over, he told me me to suit up with my helmet. It was quickly obvious that I would have to lose the earrings since they wouldn’t fit under my helmet! Riding without accessories was going to be a tall order.

My first challenge was to start the engine. I saddled up on my ride and attempted to kick start the bike. I failed. I tried again. I failed. I tried a third time. My foot slipped, and I still failed. Steve had to rescue me by starting the bike, otherwise it was going to be a short lesson!  Once we were fired up, he reminded me to let out the clutch, while giving it some throttle. All I could think about was Elyse’s warning in the car when she told me not to rev the engine too high because I would be thrown off the back. With trepidation, I found the right combination of gear and gas, and the bike moved forward. I was on my way.

My first attempt lasted about 10 yards, when I was forced to make a turn. In the chaos of trying to get the bike to go east instead of south, I let go of something and the bike stalled. Thank goodness I had Steve as my pit crew! Luckily, it was a short walk for him to fire me up again. Once I got started, I was able to take on the track. Elyse, of course at this point, is already zipping past me like whoever is the Danika Patrick of motor bike riding. Who invited the 14-year old, no-fear kid?

For about 15 minutes, I made my way up and down the hills and valleys of Steve’s front acreage, proudly sporting my bobble head helmet. I learned quickly over confidence can lead to a demise. On the next lap, I found myself heading down the dirt hill, with Elyse Patrick quickly approaching. I do remember hearing her tell me that I needed to give it more gas or I would hit the soft dirt. She should have spoken up louder. Just as I was turning the corner, the back wheel met the front wheel and the bike bucked me off with abandon. Thankfully, I was able to hop off the bike as it was falling, which yielded only mild injuries. Once I realized I wasn’t broken, my focus turned to the bike, where I prayed that I had not just broke this angry machine in half. Looking up, I saw Steve and my Dad running towards the heap.

Thankfully, speedy was fine and I was able to get back on the bike. Steve was adamant that I had to ride again so I could shake my spook. After another few laps, I felt my confidence coming back and I decided this time to make a wider lap. My confidence bucked me once again and I found myself picking up a sideways bike. This sport is hard – unless you are Elyse.

Learning to ride a dirt bike was an unique experience, made doubly special because my cousin Steve and his family offered the education. I don’t think I will be spending my weekends at the track, but should I ever find myself in a horror movie and the only thing standing between me and the boogie man is a dirt bike, I might be able to hop on and get away. That is of course as long as I have Steve in my pocket to help me to jump start the bike!

Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge

I’m making a bit of a confession – I am feeling stagnant. I’ve made the mistake of allowing my work to interfere with living my best life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the work that I do, but recent projects have me working harder and playing less. As someone who champions the importance of the good life and taking time out for recess, I am challenging myself to do something big.
I’m announcing my Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge.

Days Count

Starting the week of September 22nd, I will be committing to doing something new every day. I want to take classes, try new experiences, explore interesting places and just wonder throughout San Diego. I’m reworking my calendar to make sure that I can get out and about to really soak up what makes living in San Diego so unique.

So far my list of things I would like to do includes:

Aerial Yoga
Trampoline Bounce Class
Singing Lessons
Play Soccer Golf
Acting Class
Visit the Museum of Making Music
Elliptic-Go Rental
Tour the new San Diego Public Library
Sandcastle Making Class
Take a ballroom dance class
Float Sanctuary
Learn to Meditate
Archery Lessons
Cooking Class
Milk a Cow
Flower Arranging
Kick a field goal
Fire Walking

Have something fun I should try? Email me at nicole@thehenleycompany.com I will be blogging about my experiences so be sure to visit the Henley Blog. I can’t wait to have recess every day for the next month! You are welcome to join me if you wish!

Back to School = Back to the Grind!

Back to school

The school bells are ringing again. Welcome to a new school year. Whether you are sending off your little one for the first time, are lamenting over the fact you now have a high school senior, or anything in between, with a new school year comes a new rhythm. If you are like most families, getting kids up and out the door is now as challenging as the schedule shuffle that takes place after school with all of the extracurricular activities kids participate in every week. Do any kids just come home after school and get time to play? No kids we know!

To help manage the craziness of the back to school grind, we offer these helpful tips:

1. It’s all about the schedule – get organized! Make sure everyone in the family has access to the same family schedule and you note every practice, game, performance, rehearsal, school nights, test dates and major projects. Don’t forget to add Mom and Dad’s schedules too. This will highlight any transportation challenges that might arise.

2. Get organized in the kitchen – after a long day at work, followed by the after-school shuffle of activities, the last thing you want to do is come home to the burden of deciding what you want to cook for dinner. Plan ahead with weekly menu planning and go old school – bring out your Crock Pot and let the cooking happen while you are away.

3. The dinner table is sacred space – put away your cell phones, turn off the tv and engage as a family. As a child, my parents created an environment where the time around the dinner table was the most memorable. It was a place where we could talk about our days, laugh at memories and talk about family issues. To this day, the whole family comes home to my parents house on Sunday nights for family dinner. It is a cherished tradition and provides a safe space where after all the running around and juggling of balls we do all week long, we know all is right with the world around the dinner table.

4.  The Rapid 15!  Make a game about getting organized for the next day. Set a timer for 15 minutes before bed time and challenge everyone in the family to get organized — all backpacks by the door, school clothes laid out for the next day, all sports bags and school lunches packed. You could make it a family competition and give points to the family member who can get organized in the rapid 15 the fastest.

5. Take time for you! I remember the days when my parents would actually drop us off at soccer practice and come back 2-hours later to pick us up. There was never a line of parents lined up on the sidelines just to watch our practice. Hello helicopter parents! I know my mom cherished that 2-hours she had while we were at practice; whether she ran to do errands, went home for free time or jammed to the gym to get in a workout, my mom took the time for herself. It’s perfectly fine to be the parent that just does the drop off and actually takes practice time to focus on you! Go for a run, take a yoga class, grab a coffee with a friend or just go home and enjoy the peace and quiet. We promise your soccer star is going to be just fine at practice without you watching every shot on goal!

What other tips have worked for you? We want to know! Share your tips in the comment box below!

 

Give Thanks to Your Administrative Professional

Remember, the all important day to celebrate your Administrative Professional is fast approaching! Wednesday, April 23rd is the day you should be acknowledging all of the hard work your admin / secretary / executive assistant provides you all year-long!

 

Admin Day

 

Here’s the deal…

Tell us why your Admin is the best of the best and she/he could win 1-hour of personal concierge service!

Go to our Facebook page and nominate your Admin by tagging her/him and telling us in 140 characters or less why your Admin is fabulous!

 

Easy, right? Let your friends know to “Like” your story to nominate your Admin for the 1-hour of concierge services. The most compelling story plus the number of “Likes” will equal the winner!

26 Days in Brazil….

IMG_2644I just had the great fortune of working in Brazil for nearly 4 weeks on a project for the FIFA Confederation Cup, which allowed me to travel to Fortaleza (northeast corner of Brazil) and to Rio. This was my first trip to Brazil and it was a privilege to work and play in one of the world’s emerging markets. Brazil is everything you would expect…beautiful beaches, perfect sunsets, warm and friendly people and a colorful spirit from music to artwork. My team and I were welcomed with open arms by the people we worked with and those we had the pleasure of hosting. As a lifelong soccer fan, finding both Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach covered with soccer nets was a joy. Sport is a national past time in Brazil and when in doubt, the natives can be found on the beach, wearing as little as possible, playing either footie or beach volleyball.

I was not prepared for the significant discrepancies of wealth that haunts the country. You need not travel very far before baring witness to million dollars homes shadowed by the favelas that crawl up the hills. One of the most significant parts of my trip was a tour of the favelas in Rio. I wanted to truly understand the social significance of the favelas and these infamous neighborhoods that pepper every direction you turn. On average, those living in favelas earn no more than $200 per month and everything that can be used to build a house is secured; from banners to garage doors being used as walls. Social services are incredibly limited in favelas; which was a major spark of the recent protests. The government has chosen to build stadiums instead of providing basic social needs to residents. Yet, when you walk through the favelas, there is still very much a Brazilian spirit present. These neighborhoods may house the poorest of the poor financially, but they resonate with the richness and vibrancy that makes Brazil a very unique place.

Like every visitor to Rio, I enjoyed a visit to both Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer. The view of Rio from both locations is breathtaking. Standing at the foot of the Christ with my arms spread wide (because that’s of course how you have to have your picture taken!) offered one of those unique moments when you realize that you are seeing one of the great man-made wonders in the world – not through the vessel of a book or tv, but instead with your own eyes. In a word, awesome!

Brazil being the soccer-loving country it is, the atmosphere in the stadiums for the matches was electric. One highlight had to be at the final match of the Confederation Cup, which was the game between Brazil and Spain. When the Brazilian national anthem began being played, the entire stadium – all 70,000 yellow shirt wearing fans – began to sing. The patriotism and enthusiasm for both country and sport was electric.

I look forward to returning next summer for World Cup so I best start learning more Portuguese!

Obrigada Brasil!

The Cost of (Not) Having Corporate Concierge: Latest trends in concierge benefits improve Millennial retention and job satisfaction

Here’s a great article about the benefits of implementing a corporate concierge program to improve Millennial retention and job satisfaction. We agree completely!

Let us know your thoughts!

Ready to implement a corporate concierge program? Give us a call for a complimentary consultation.

 

The Cost of (Not) Having Corporate Concierge: Latest trends in concierge benefits improve Millennial retention and job satisfaction.

Group of workers