Category Archives: D – Decide What You Want

From Poverty to Living Legend….A Star Dies… Remembering Eartha Kitt


What an example of someone born with nothing and having the strength to pull herself up by her bootstraps, and move forward.

Considering that she was abandoned by her mother at age 3, forced to pick cotton by age 6 and kicked out of the house at 16, Eartha Mae Kitt did not appear destined for global stardom.

She born in extreme proverty in the South. And because of her light skin color, had a hard time being accepted by both the blacks and the whites.  
(remember Imitation of Life?)

Yet by her 20s she had willed herself into becoming a singing sensation in Europe — the next Josephine Baker, proclaimed critics in the late 1940s and early ’50s. In quick succession thereafter, Ms. Kitt seduced American audiences singing in Broadway and Hollywood musicals in the mid-’50s and purring as Catwoman on TV’s ” Batman” in the ’60s.

Triply blessed with a pliant voice, a palpable charisma and a voracious appetite to succeed, Ms. Kitt conquered virtually every medium she took on, earning multiple Tony and Grammy Award nominations. Yet if she made her triumphs look easy, her journey was tumultuous from start and practically to finish.


In 1968 she made scandalous headlines by speaking her mind at the White House,  and her career came to a screaching halt. It took nearly a decade to start up her career and wasn’t really until  1995 when she won her rave reviews for shows at the Cafe Carlyle in New York and at Navy Pier in Chicago, where she clenched her fists and bared her teeth in a roaring medley of “I’m Still Here” and “I Will Survive.”


Since then, she played frequently in the Chicago area, performing cabaret at the Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, and bringing a shot of energy to Lanie Robertson’s “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” at the New Athenaeum Theatre.

She earned a Grammy nomination for her aptly named 1995 CD “Back in Business”; performed the voice of Yzma in the 2000 Disney animated feature “The Emperor’s New Groove”; and replaced Chita Rivera on Broadway in 2003 in a revival of “Nine.”

“When I look at my Eartha Kitt scrapbooks today, I think, ‘You know, she did a pretty good job of herself,’ ” said Ms. Kitt — who was married in 1960 and had one daughter before divorce — in the Tribune interview.

“She didn’t do too badly — for an ugly duckling.”

Perseverance pays off!

What a wonderful lady and wonderful talent.

Sadly, the singer-actor-dancer-raconteur died December 25th,  at age 81 in Connecticut of colon cancer. She will be greatly missed.

BWW TV – Broadway Beat did a great Tribute with Eartha Kitt, full  of  wonderful footage! Watch it online!

The Best of Gay New York   and  The Best of Gay Chicago

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The Art of Travel – Never Stop Designing Your Life

How many people graduate high school, go right into college, then get married? Then have a family? LOTS!

I believe that “young adults” at 21, 22, even 25, are TOO YOUNG to start a family. They barely know themselevs, yet want to start raising a family. Life is about the journey. It’s about learning and self-exploration. It’s about stepping outside your comfort zone to experience something different. It’s  about living a Life By Design…not a Designed Life.

First Look Studios’ THE ART OF TRAVEL was just released on DVD this month. Directed by Thomas Wheaton, it stars Christopher Masterson from Malcolm in the Middle. He takes the journey of a lifetime in a quest to find both freedom and himself, at the age of 19.

Leaving his fiancee  standing at the alter, who just had an affair with his best friend, he takes off for Nicaragua. He experiences the wonders of South America and ends up with a ragtag bunch of explorers as they embark on a 100-mile journey through the Darien Gap,  the undeveloped jungle that separates Panama and Colombia.  – Talk about roughing it!

Winner of 5 film festival awards, The Art of Travel combines lush photography with a winning story about choosing a different road. Adventure. Freedom. Journey.  Following your heart, and not your head, without being over-the-top philosophically.

Brian Orndorf from Collider said, “For some, traveling is defined as movement from location to location in as little time as possible. For others, traveling is merely the first step toward greater self-exploration, where adventures can teach and motivate the soul to higher plains of consciousness. “The Art of Travel” is an indie film that explores the very nature of wanderlust, and how it informs character and transforms life. It’s filled with familiar dramatic footprints, but “Art” remains something worthwhile and unexpectedly delicate.”

BUY   Art of Travel  @  AMAZON

Derrick Sorles – Life By Design

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The Dammann Twins – Designing the Road To Stardom

 The Dammann Twins – Eric and Todd.

They sing, play guitar, and utilize YouTube  and MySpace as their PR agents!

YouTube is an amazing tool that wasn’t around when I was a kid! Now anyone with a webcam and some talent  have amazing opportunities and in fact, can be discovered through the Internet. Plus artists  can build a huge fan base for their work and even can sell online direct to the consumer. It’s a whole new world!

The guys covered Brittney’s GIMME MORE and it has been viewed by nearly  half a million people!

At 21, these two Seattle boys are finishing college, finishing up  a demo, packing their bags and heading to sunny California to pursue their dreams!

I caught up with the guys this week in between finals!

“Moving to California is definitely next on our priority list. After we finish up some college work here in Seattle, we will be doing all we can to set up home base somewhere near Los Angeles. With all of the opportunities for performing and promotion down there, it is something we are looking forward to.

We want our fans to know that we are working hard to write and record some great music that is going to be very symbolic of who we are as artists. So many people have reached out to us and given us words of support and encouragement. We appreciate it all so much and everyday are more and more surprised and flattered by the messages and letters our listeners are sending. It is our ultimate hope to someday tour and see all these fans in person!

We don’t have a record deal yet. This project is more of a demo than a full fledged album. The record we are working on is about 75% complete. We still have to finish writing and recording a few songs to make sure we have material that is not only work we’re proud of, but a collection that is as diverse and well rounded. After that, we will spend some time mastering the tracks and making sure all of the kinks are worked out.

It’s our first time really doing something like this by ourselves. Everything from the song writing, recording, and mixing, to the vocals and instrumentals are being done by us alone. It’s a big task to undertake but this is something we’ve always wanted to do. Music is our life, and we couldn’t imagine living without it!”

The duo was recently interviewed by Out magazine / PopNography ,

What inspired you to start putting videos up on YouTube?
Eric: YouTube really has become one of the cultural artifacts of this technology dominated/cyber space century. We love to sing and perform, so we figured, why not put it up on a site that would allow all our family and friends see what we’re up to? I love the idea of being able to have a digital platform where you can share your creative abilities with anyone who cares to watch.

The guys were asked recently if they have  tried out for American Idol before?

“We tried out for the last season of American Idol. It was an interesting experience to say the least. Out of the 10,000 contestants trying out in Seattle, we made it to the top 100. We were obviously thrilled, but after continuing on, it became increasingly obvious that this was hardly a singing competition. Just like all “reality” shows, there’s very little real anything on the show.”

Don’t worry guys –

you are well on your way!

Keep striving and don’t stop dreaming!

Stop by their MySpace page  and listen to their music!

Eric has his own page and so does Todd as well.

Turbo Tagger


How Happy Are You?

How Happy Are You?

The Happiness Institute created this test –

Please read each of the following group of statements and select the one  statement in each group that best describes the way you have been feeling for the past week, including today.

1. (a) I feel miserable almost all the time.
(b) I often feel miserable.
(c) I usually feel neutral.
(d) I usually feel pretty good.
(e) I feel great almost all the time.

2. (a) I find life to be boring all the time.
(b) I’m pretty bored with most aspects of life.
(c) I find life boring at times but at other times, it interests me.
(d) I’m interested in most aspects of life.
(e) I find life and living to be absolutely fascinating.

3. (a) I have no direction or life purpose.
(b) I’m unsure about my life direction and purpose.
(c) Sometimes I feel like I know my life purpose.
(d) I’m pretty clear about my life purpose and direction.
(e) My life purpose and direction is crystal clear.

4. (a) I have no energy and feel tired almost all the time.
(b) I often feel tired and lethargic.
(c) I usually have enough energy to do what I need to do.
(d) Most of the time I feel energetic and enthusiastic.
(e) I’m bursting with energy and enthusiasm almost all the time.

5. (a) I’m extremely pessimistic about the future.
(b) There are times when I feel pessimistic about the future.
(c) I’m not sure about the future, one way or the other.
(d) I’m pretty optimistic about the future.
(e) I’m extremely optimistic and excited about the future.


6. (a) I don’t have any close friends.
(b) I have a few friends but none I really consider close.
(c) I a few good friends and family members with whom I’m close.
(d) I have quite a few good friends.
(e) I have lots of good friends & feel I easily connect with everyone.

7. (a) I don’t think I have any strengths at all.
(b) I’m not sure whether or not I have any strengths.
(c) I’m getting to know my strengths.
(d) I know my strengths and try to use them when I can.
(e) I know exactly what my strengths are and I use them all the time.

8. (a) I never enjoy myself no matter what I’m doing.
(b) I find it difficult to enjoy life in the moment.
(c) I try to enjoy life as much as I can.
(d) I enjoy myself most of the time.
(e) I thoroughly enjoy every moment.

9. (a) I have absolutely nothing for which to be grateful.
(b) There’s not much in my life for which I’m grateful.
(c) I’m grateful for a few things in my life.
(d) I have quite a few things in my life for which I’m grateful.
(e) I’m extremely grateful for so many things in my life.

10. (a) I’ve accomplished nothing.
(b) I’ve not accomplished much in life.
(c) I’ve accomplished about as much as the average person.
(d) I’ve accomplished more in life than most people.
(e) I’ve accomplished a great deal more in life than most people.

Score each question from 1 to 5 where (a) equals 1 and (e) equals 5 (your maximum score, therefore, should be 50).

If you scored 40 or above – you’re doing extremely well. Keep up the great work.

If you scored 30-39 – you’re doing pretty well but might like to review the questions on which you scored 3 or below and consider how you might improve in these areas.

If you scored below 29 – you could be much happier!

If you’re interested in learning how you could be happier then check out the coaching and course options, as well as the products & resources, at The Happiness Institute–  they offer a free e-newsletter and lots of free resources at their site.

How satisfied are you with your life? What can you do to improve your happiness level?
Film maker Line Hatland documented a study on happiness in How Happy Can You Be? an educational film.
Among many other things, we learn the three main factors contributing to happiness, including life circumstances, intentional activity (what one chooses to do), and one’s genetic makeup.

We all define happiness in different ways. And we all find inner happiness in different ways. I think the real secret is to not get so caught up in the little stuff, that we forget what is important to us.


Make Money With Discount Travel

          Internet Marketing business. This blog is about inspiration and motivation and designing a life you really want – not accepting a life as it is and going through the motions like a hamster stuck on his wheel. There are so many ways to create and design a life that brings you happiness and success, we strive to share ideas with readers to inspire them.

At a
conference here in Chicago, for online publishing, I met a young man named Tim Draayer who has a blog and he told us how he had gotten involved with YTB Travel and it was changing his life! After just a few short months he was receiving his first $1,000 bonus check! I was intrigued!

We did our due diligence, checked out the company and decided we wanted a piece of that $7 trillion travel pie! We had heard of other MLM ventures but we decided to join YTB because the product was travel! We love to travel, my family loves to travel, my friends like to travel, and I’m willing to bet that YOU probably like to travel too!

So, owning our own online travel site was an obvious match. It’s easy AND it’s passive revenue! All you do is refer people to your
YTB Travel website. If they want their own Travel Business you just refer them to your YTB marketing site to allow them to watch an online business presentation. No fuss. No hassle. They make their own decision.

We were looking for passive and residual income and I knew that an online business is what we needed. The thing that sold me on joining YTB was that there was no inventory to keep, no minimum monthly purchases to make, and no science or product testimonials to promote.

YTB hosts your website and fulfills all of your customer’s travel plans. The expense is minimal when you consider startup costs of a brick and mortar travel business.

YTB Travel offers your customers the same room in the hotel, the same seat on the plane, the same car, the same cabin on a cruise that they find on the other big name sites, and our prices or the same or lower, the best part is: YOU make money just for referring people to your site.

The Internet has changed the face of marketing forever. 10 years ago you never could have shown your business to thousands of people in a single day (especially when during 9-10 of those hours were spent at your day job.) The world can be your marketplace, thanks to the Internet.

If you are ready to save some money on travel, AND make some money on travel-
join us now!

Derrick Sorles   to read more details   to book travel



If you are experiencing dissatisfaction with your life and your work, a possible reason for this malaise may involve complacency and insufficient novelty.

When your work loses its challenge, life and work may feel bland. Consequently, injecting excitement through the continual pursuit of excellence may improve your level of satisfaction immensely.

Living by the following principles will provide such an injection.

Find and follow your passion.
When you love what you do and truly put your heart and soul into it, you can’t help but feel exhilarated.

Do more than is expected of you.
Don’t limit yourself to just completing what is in your job description. Offer a higher level of service – a level which brings you pride and gratification in what you offer.

Believe that what you do makes a difference.
Find the ways that your activities can better the lives of others and focus on this effect. If you touch the lives of even a few people in the world, you have made a difference.

Exercise your creativity.
Develop innovative methods for rendering your services. Deliver services not offered before. Let the creative juices flow and see what happens.

Customize and personalize your services.
Each client comes to you with highly unique needs. Rather than offering a standard package of services or products, work toward fully meeting the needs of the individual by formulating a unique package for that single person or corporation.

Emphasize the process rather than the outcome.
By focusing on doing your utmost each and every day in the field of your choice and on the joy of creating the best product or services you can deliver, you can feel gratified with your work, even if others do not respond as you wish.

Rather than settling for an ordinary, humdrum life, seek to soar by reaching for excellence in all you do. Follow your passion. Live and work creatively. You can end up with a quality of life you never dreamed possible.

About the Author: Deborah Kintner

Stewart, Cooper and Coon –  Executive Career Advice




       Are You Suffering from Passion Deficit?

True happiness comes when you “do” what you’re most passionate about.

When you lack passion, you are at a disadvantage.  You cannot focus or enjoy who you really are.  

Without the energy and vitality passion provides, you fall into what is called  “passion deficit,” the symptoms of which are all too common for a lot of people.


The Symptoms of Passion Deficit

Blaming — Blaming your unhappiness on others is the first and most glaring symptom of passion deficit.  When passion is part of your life, you create your own happiness.  Don’t look to others; energy and fulfillment come from within.

Longing — Even if you do not feel unhappy, you may think something is missing in your life. You might not know what you desire, but you know something is absent, that somehow and somewhere you should be doing more. 

Discomfort — Sometimes a passion deficit surfaces not as a sense that something is missing but as a sense that something is wrong.  You probably have experienced this at least once: something is out of sync — some element in your life is uncomfortable.  Maybe you work in a field you dislike or for an organization that stifles you.  Perhaps you are in a bad relationship. 

PASSION  is something that moves you in a very powerful way. Passion is an internal experience not an external event. Finding your passion means connecting your head with your heart, engaging that part of yourself that “feels” in a big, bold, spiritual way. For many of us, this is a challenge. Our busy, chaotic lives disconnect us from our feelings. And, when we act from this “numbed out” place, it’s impossible to connect with our passions. Lifestyle Makeover Expert Cheryl Richardson offered at step-by-step plan on Oprah’s website. Marianne Williamson says that when you find your passion at work, the financial freedom follows!  “Passion is energy,” says Oprah Winfrey. “Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”

passion did not necessarily mean she always knew what she was doing. Reflecting on her early days as a broadcaster, Oprah claims, “I said I knew how to edit when I didn’t. I said I knew how to report on stories. When I went to my first city council meeting, I wasn’t quite sure of what to do, but I told the news director that I did.” Her passion and willingness to learn were what enabled Oprah to stick her foot in the door.  “What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come,” she says. “And, I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so
financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.”


Chief Happiness Officer Alexander Kjerulf

Positive Sharing and is the Chief Happiness
His site talks about –

Good leadership is becoming increasingly important at the same time as the definition of a good leader undergoes significant change. What is good leadership and how is it practised?

Book reviews
Few things beat a great book. I review my favorites here, and there’s over 100 reviews on the site so far.

The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.
– W. Somerset Maugham

For the sake of it.

Alexander is a speaker and consultant and author of the book,
Happy Hour is 9 to 5 – how to love your job, love your life and kick butt at work”.    
                                                                                             The book is available in the old-fashioned hardcover format for $29 or can be downloaded for $19. Or you can ene read the whole thing online for free! This book is for anyone who wants to be happy at work – whether you are an employee or a manager; a new hire or a grizzled veteran; work in a small startup, a huge corporation or the public sector.

This book gives you everything you need to make work fun, inspiring and energizing:

  • The theory of happiness at work. What it is, why it matters, and what makes people happy or unhappy at work.

  • Simple, effective tools that you can use to create a better worklife for yourself and a happier workplace.

  • A specific plan to help you change your job for the better, find a new job where you can shine or to make your employees happy, motivated top-performers.

            Start your day with a dose of happiness!


Get What You Want – Design Your Life

Wouldn’t you love to have a simple plan for creating whatever you want in life?

Being human, we tend to make everything more complicated than it needs to be.
But changing your life does not have to be difficult. In fact, it is very easy.
There are four simple core principles at the heart of the creation process.


Yes, it seems so obvious, doesn’t it?

You must know what you want in order to get what you want. Yet this most basic fist step is missed by the majority of people. Daydreaming about your future will not bring you what you want. Waiting for life to work out the way you’ve always expected won’t bring you what you want. The only way to get what you want is to decide, with clarity and focus, exactly what you want to create.

Focus, focus, focus. Don’t waste your energy wishing and dreaming for a million and one things. Pick one and go with it. Just as the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so does the journey to your ideal life begin with a single goal.


You must give positive focus, energy, and attention to your goal. Setting a goal and then forgetting about it will not do. You must imprint it on your conscious and subconscious mind until it becomes reality.

You must focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. Stop complaining about things that are not the way you want them to be. Instead, decide how you would like them to be and focus on that. Whenever you find yourself giving attention to some area of your life with which you are unhappy, immediately ask yourself “What do I want in this situation?” and focus on the answer.

Before you fall asleep and after you wake up, instead of worrying about your problems, imagine your goal successfully attained, and feel how you would feel if your goal was accomplished. Go to sleep with this feeling, and your subconscious mind will quickly find a way to bring it into your reality.


You must take action towards your goal. The past is gone, the future is an illusion. Making plans to take action is not action.

There is always something that you can do to propel you towards your goal. Take that step.

You must convince your subconscious mind that you are serious about accomplishing your goal, and there is nothing more convincing than taking action.


You must be consistent. You must, consistently, choose the same goal every day until your goal is accomplished. You cannot send out constantly changing vague wishes into the universe and expect to create results in the real world. You must decide what you want and then ask for it.

And the most important secret of all, DON’T GIVE UP UNTIL YOUR GOAL IS ACCOMPLISHED.

Copyright  by Andreas Ohrt
For the complete article visit Self Growth
                                               Photo from Richard Neill at FLICKR


2007 – A New Year – A New YOU!

New Year’s Resolutions, for many, these words bring up memories of previous failed attempts at setting
and reaching goals. Setting resolutions to start the year off can be a wonderful thing. It shows your desire
to improve yourself, your life and the lives of those closest to you. But reaching goals requires planning and follow through. Understanding the reasons why most New Year’s Resolutions fail can help you work through your goals and increase your chances for success.

Goals are over-ambitious.

What type of goals do you normally set? Do you want to lose 50 pounds this year, organize your whole home, or learn a new sport? Maybe your expectations are not realistic. – Try to break down your goals into manageable chunks. For example, maybe instead of organizing your entire home, you want to set a more achievable goal of organizing one room in your home. You can set one goal per month, rather than setting a large goal for the entire year.

You are setting goals based on what you think you should want, not what you really want.

Setting goals because they work for someone else does not make them appropriate for you. Whenever you try to measure up to someone else’s way of life, you are creating goals that are not reasonable. Instead, take a look at your own life and decide what area you would like to work on, just for you. Choose this area as a place to start your self-improvement.

Goals are not specific and do not have a plan of action.

Goals, without a specific plan on achieving the goal, are simply wishes. “I wish I was more organized” will not prompt you into action. “I plan on becoming more organized this year. First, I will create a calendar to easily show all the important dates. Once I complete that, I will organize my desk at home, throwing away any papers I no longer need.” By writing your goal and the process on paper, you change from wish to goal.

This month we will remind you of the  ways for you to really live your life by design.

D- Decide what it is you really want
E – Establish a plan
S – Set yourself up for success
I – Internalize your vision
G – Go beyond goals
N- Never stop designing