Saturday, February 28, 2015


From Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook

I am someone who likes to surround myself with images which serve as reminders of what's important to me and what I want to bring into my life.  I know that some people like to create vision boards.  Those are great!  I often like to put up greeting cards with inspirational messages and pictures.

Recently, I wanted to choose a new background image for my personal Facebook page.  I decided to choose an illustration which caught my attention in the Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook.  Le Pain is a chain of bakery restaurants which feature large, communal tables for patrons to sit around.

I chose this image because one of my goals this year is to keep creating opportunities to build community, friendship, and collaborative efforts with other individuals and groups.  I think it's so important to have pictures that remind us of what it is we want to bring into our lives.  

What's interesting is what happened after I posted this picture on my FB page.   I found myself repeatedly sitting around large, communal tables to share meals with people, to make art, to have meetings that were highly collaborative in their nature.

Here are some examples:
  • I sat at big, long tables with the neighbors to the apartments on either side of ours to make Valentine cards out of huge piles of fun arts and crafts supplies.
  • After joining a Universalist Unitarian church,  my husband and I were invited to a member's home where we sat around a big table to enjoy a home-cooked meal.
  • I happened upon a neighborhood storefront which serves as a church.  The service includes a shared meal, so the space features a bunch of long tables that people can gather around.  Recently, the church decided to offer itself up as a co-working space.  I went to a day to sample it out, and signed on for a month.  I'm so excited; I've always wanted to be in a co-working space!
  • I joined my church's membership committee.  Every month, we gather around a table in the church office to brainstorm ideas and solutions.
I think I'm going to keep the Quotidien image up on my FB page for a while.  Just so I can see what happens next.  Images are such powerful things!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Even if you missed out on this year's Lunar New Year festivities, you can still partake in the spirit of this amazing celebration by learning more about the Year of the Ram Forever Stamp.

I'm particularly excited about this stamp, because the artist behind it is my friend and neighbor Kam Mak.

You can find out more about Kam HERE.

You can learn the back story of how I met him and learn about all the great stuff he has accomplished by taking a look at this post:

Kam Mak, The Man Behind the Lunar New Year Stamp

During a recent phone chat with Kam, I learned that the city of San Francisco was flying him over there to be part of their Lunar New Year festivities.  Hooray!

Friday, February 13, 2015


Mmmmmm..........freshly-baked cookies!
Sometimes, it's nice to have the quiet of home to get thinking and work done.  But it can get too quiet, y'know?  Sometimes, it can be fruitful to go to the public library and work on projects om a livelier atmosphere.  But there, you only get a half an hour at a time on their computers and it can get pretty raucous, especially after school lets out.

It seems like a happy medium (with a whole lot of other perks thrown in) is co-working.  Folks can work independently, but get to be around other self-starters, entrepreneurs, etc.  With co-working spaces, there can be nice touches like a shared kitchen and eating space, copy machines, and the like.

I was excited to find out that a nearby dinner church, St. Lydia's, served as a home to a co-working arrangement.  This offering popped onto my radar after I took a great workshop from the Founder and Pastor, Emily Scott.

I paid a post-workshop visit to Emily at St. Lydia's, and checked out the space for myself.  It's a friendly-looking storefront with tons of light, and is loft-like yet still cozy in feel.  There is a beautiful kitchen in the back of the room.

There are two great ways you can try out St. Lydia's co-working space.  One is that you can request a free, one-day trial.  Another is that you can participate in Get It Done Tuesday, an all-day event that brings people together around work, goal-setting, yoga, walking, and eating.

For all the deets about co-working at St. Lydia's, CLICK HERE!!!

* Coworking at St. Lydia's: 304 Bond Street, Brooklyn; Monday - Friday 8 am - 6 pm
* Email: Stlydias(at)stlydias(dot)org

Friday, February 06, 2015


Quick Quiz:

Are your goals and dreams

(a) firmly planted in the forefront of your mind and reflected in your daily priorities?

(b) floating around somewhere in the back of your mind?

(c) pushed aside completely in the rush and pressures of daily life?  

If you answered “b” or “c,” then this post is for you.

For a lot of folks, setting goals can feel like creating a straight jacket for themselves, or like a way of setting themselves up for disappointment or failure.

The truth is that goal-setting is important, and can be both fun and liberating.  The path to achieving your goals should be full of joy, magic, adventure, mystery, and self-discovery. Yes, there is also heartbreak, hardship, and disappointment along the way, but when your goals are compelling enough, and you have a good support system in place, the challenges on the path do not seem as daunting.

The key is to use rituals, habits, and tools that make the road to achieving your goals inspiring, joyful, and interesting for YOU!

Everything here is food for thought, so pick and choose which ideas work for you.  At the same time, be willing to step a bit outside of your comfort zone! 

Set up your headquarters so that your workspace inspires you.  
What does your work space – the place where you make phone calls, send emails, work on your blog or website, paint, draw, dream, think – look like? How does it feel to you to be in that space?  If you are a person who works best without clutter, clear off your desk.  Use it as a work space, not a storage space.  That’s what filing cabinets and bookshelves are for!  If you are a visual person, surround yourself with images that uplift you. I like to keep my Dream Binder on my desk, along with greeting cards with motivational messages.   Sometimes I light a candle while I am writing. (I just have to remember to blow it out when I am done!)

Keep a Dream Binder with your big picture goals.
I buy a 3-ring binder at an office supply store, one with a clear plastic pocket cover so I can create my own visual.  First, I create a theme for the year.  You can do this by filling in the blank.  2015: The Year That  _____________ or The Year of ____________.  Examples:  The Year that My Big Dream Comes True; The Year of Collaboration and Creativity; The Year of Great Health.  Choose a theme that is exciting and compelling to you.

Then I complete this sentence:  The biggest thing I want to be and feel this year is _____________.

I then move on to set and write down key goals for these areas of life: living space; fun; creativity; family/friendships; well-being; work; finances.  Maybe there are categories that you would like to add to the mix.

I look at this binder at least once a month to help me keep the big picture in mind; I use yearly goals as a guide-post for my monthly, weekly, and daily goals.
Set monthly goals
This year, I found a really great day planner called TheInnerGuide.  In addition to providing the conventional space to write in appointments and commitments, it also has pages where I can write down monthly priorities for each area of life.  I love this.  It makes me reflect where I truly want to put my attention and energy.  Each month, the planner asks “What results do you want to achieve this month? What specific actions do you need to take? How do you most aspire to be and feel this month? What thoughts do you need to embody to stay on track?” I take time before the start of each month to think and write about what’s really important in the next 30 days.

Set weekly goals
On Sunday night, I sit down and think about key areas of my life and write down what the priorities for each of those areas for the coming week.  

Set daily goals
At the end of each day, working off the weekly priority list, I make a list of goals for the following day and also create a rough schedule of what’s going to happen at what time.  Do I follow that schedule rigidly? No.  Within the world of  lists and goals, there is immense value in flexibility, serendipity, whimsy, and the following of hunches.  So if the to-list says “send follow-up emails” but I have an awesome idea for a blog post, I’ll save the emails for another time.

Drink daily doses of inspiration.
Pick a book - or two or three - that serves as a daily devotional for you. There are books with daily bits of inspiration that I look at at each evening when I am setting intentions.  One is Tama Kieves’ A Year Without Fear: 365 Days ofMagnificence.  There’s an inspirational message for each day of the year.  The other one is Julia Cameron’s TheArtist’s Way Every Day: A Year of Creative Living.  When I need some fresh ideas around goal-setting and goal-getting, I take a peek in Diane M. Scholten’s Be Your Own Life Coach: Dream It! Plan It!Do It!

Set up a dream team / support crew.
Isolation ranks high up there as a dream-killer. No one can go it alone.  We need people to give us feedback; we need practical advise; we need friends to cheer us on.  This can look all different ways.  You can get a coach or a mentor.  You can join or form a Meetup or mastermind group.  You can recruit a board of directors.

Work, think, and dream in the company of others.
Part of not going it alone, especially if you are a freelancer, an artist, or otherwise self-employed person, is to get out of the house.  Be around other people. Work at a cafĂ© or find a co-working space.  If you are an artist, find a place where other artists work.   

Keep a Gratitude Journal.
Ever hear that what you focus on expands?  Keeping a gratitude journal is a way of acknowledging the good things that are happening in your life, even (and especially) if the going is tough.  I used to think that a gratitude notebook was a corny, trite idea.  Then I started doing it and I got hooked.  I take one minute at the end of the day to jot 10 things I appreciate from the day.  It’s a nice note to end on before I hit the hay.

Act on hunches.
Sometimes, you will get ideas or intuitive insights that don’t seem to make a whole lot of sense.  Listen and act upon them.

Pay it forward: help other people to go for their dreams.
It’s definitely great to pay attention to and get behind your own goals and dreams.  It’s also important to keep the flow of energy circular.  You can do this by backing other people to go for their goals.  Be a sounding board to someone who is trying to launch an idea.  Let someone know about an article or a book that would be useful to them in what they are trying to accomplish.  If you show up for a workshop or networking function, make sure you are listening to what other people are trying to accomplish.  Introduce people to each other. 

Thank people who help you along the way.
Whether it’s in person, or via email, text, phone, with flowers, a hand-written note, or a small box of chocolates, it is so very important to continually thank people for the large and small ways that they help you towards your goals.  If someone takes time to give you great business advice over coffee, be sure to not only thank them but also to keep them posted on how their advice or wisdom has served you well.  Everyone wants to know that they have made a difference in the lives of others.

Know that it is possible to get to where you want to be.
I know it sounds basic, but it’s so important to have faith in yourself, your goals and dreams, and in the idea that the universe has your back.

Image Credit: Lindsay Hopkins at Pen and Paint

Thursday, February 05, 2015




When I learned that Billy Porter was going to be performing at Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, I was excited.

I first became a fan of Mr. Porter on Twitter, where he has 27k followers and serves up motivational and uplifting tweets such as these:

I had, admittedly, never seen Mr. Porter perform.  But I knew that he had won the 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his role as Lola in Kinky Boots.  And that Kinky Boots had won for Best Musical and Best Score.  (Cool side note: Kinky Boots was Cyndi Lauper's debut as a Broadway songwriter, making her the first woman to win alone in that category. Yay, Cyndi!)

So when I saw that Billy would be performing at The Rose Theater, I knew I wanted to be there.

Mr. Porter kicked off the American Songbook Series in The Appel Room.  This space is stunning; it overlooks Columbus Circle.  Down in front are small tables where folks can enjoy refreshments during the show.  We sat towards the back, in the amphiteater-style seating.

Accompanied by a 13-piece orchestra, Billy launched the show with "But the World Goes Round,""Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Don't Rain on My Parade."

There was also the Sammy Davis Jr. hit "I've Gotta Be Me," which served as a signifier of one of the evening's main themes of self-acceptance.  This theme continued in a suite from the show Kinky Boots, which included "I'm Not My Father's Son."

The evening ended with tremendous energy and power: accompanied by the Broadway Inspirational Voices, Mr. Porter performed his own version of "Sunday," a song from Sunday in the Park with George.

Many of the songs from the evening's show can be found on Mr. Porter's new CD Billy's Back on Broadway.

Also worth noting: Mr. Porter will join the national tour of Kinky Boots Aug. 4-9 when the musical visits his hometown of Pittsburg, PA.

* Photo Credit: Tony Cenicola, NY Times

Wednesday, February 04, 2015


Would you like a patient, focused educator to help your child with reading and writing?

Look no further!

I am an alumna of Bank Street College of Education with 25 years of experience working with children in public and private school settings, as well as in cultural institutions such as The Brooklyn Botanic Gardens and The Brooklyn Children's Museum.

A former Assistant Teacher at P.S. 29 and leader of family literacy workshops, I am a skilled writer with a 10-year-old arts blog and articles published on the web.

I support your K - 5th grade child to do the following:
  • Increase his/her confidence as a reader and a writer.
  • Develop an enjoyment of reading and writing.
  • Stay organized and on-task with homework assignments.
  • Establish patterns and routines to boost study savvy.
I work with families in the Park Slope, Carroll Gardens, Red Hook, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill neighborhoods.

If you would like to chat about your child's needs, please contact me.  I would be delighted to hear from you.

Eleanor Traubman