40Gal Bucket List

A list of life's 'to-do's' before turning 50 … our journey of gettin' stuff done

My 15 Commandments

imagesCAQTP4YEI have really enjoyed planning my Happiness Project.  It hasn’t been easy, but it has been fun.  My favorite part of the planning stage of this project was to define my personal commandments as suggested in the book, The Happiness Project.  These commandments are your personal principles that you define to help guide you through your project and through your life.  This was both challenging and rewarding to define, but in the end I think I came up with the perfect list for me.

My 15 Commandments:

  1. Be Tricia.
  2. No regrets. Look forward.
  3. Act the way I want to feel.
  4. Do it now.
  5. Be polite, be kind and be fair.
  6. Enjoy the journey.
  7. Be curious. Keep learning.
  8. Respect myself.
  9. Gratitude is everything.
  10. Less is more.
  11. Accept & expect abundance.
  12. There is only love.
  13. Be here. Be now. Be mindful.
  14. Share the wealth.
  15. Connect with nature.

So what are your personal commandments?

My Happiness Project

happiness project

The more I researched The Happiness Project, the more I realized I am already in the middle of my very own Happiness Project: My 40Gal Bucket List.   To me, they are very similar:  create a focus, work towards a goal, and joy follows.  The biggest difference is that The Happiness Project focuses on various areas of your life (home, marriage, money) and then create measurable action items to accomplish with the hopes that they will become a habit, where as a Bucket List is just that, a list of ‘to-do’s’ which will often be checked off never to re-visit again.  Both ‘projects’ I think are very beneficial. Obviously the Bucket List is something I cherish and it has brought me happiness, but what about the other ‘stuff’ I should to work on? Like home, marriage, money? With this said, I decided to embark on a yearlong Happiness Project to focus on various areas of my life.  As I begin to map out the year I can already see how My 40Gal Bucket List could easily be integrated into this monthly project; however, I believe The Happiness Project will bring new challenges that will enriched my life and bring me more happiness.

So we begin.  Below is the list of each month’s focus or theme for 2014.  I will not dig deep into each now, but will decide the nitty-gritty when I am approaching that month. Each month’s focus will have various measurable goals which I will work on daily to meet.  I have and will continue to use the books:  The Happiness Project and Happier in the Home by Gretchen Rubin, as well as her blog: http://gretchenrubin.com/ to guide me through the process.  I am excited about where My Happiness Project will lead me … let the journey begin!

  • January: Time & Energy
  • February: Love & Marriage
  • March: Work & Passion
  • April:  Play & Leisure
  • May:  Family Near & Far
  • June:  Spirituality & Eternity
  • July:  Friends & Friendship
  • August:  Self Design
  • September:  Home & Neighborhood
  • October:  Money & Possessions
  • November:  Thanks & Gratitude
  • December:  Balance

Happy New Year!


I have decided New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday, my favorite time of the year. There is something so fresh, so promising, so exciting about January 1. I just love that hopeful feeling.

I always prep for the big day; the week before I clean and organize to feel ‘ready’ for that special day of January 1. The week after (like today) I scramble to get everything moving according to plan. Some years it works out smoothly, other years, not so much. This year, I started over a week early cleaning out closets, throwing away old … everything, and planning what my focus of 2014 would be. “Focus” meaning my New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, I’m that person, one who writes down a list of things I want to “resolve”. Over the years I have kept some resolutions, but, of course, many are forgotten or ignored by mid-January. In 2001, I made the resolution to not eat French fries and I didn’t eat French fries for the entire year. The next year I gave up potatoes altogether. It was my thing. This resolution created a new habit, a healthier habit, but that fell to the wayside in 2010 when we went to Paris. Once I opened the flood gates for ‘les pommes frites’, it hard to close them back. Potatoes have been a part of my diet since.

This year I am trying a different tactic with my resolutions. I am sharing them. Not just with my best friend, but with all my friends, including you. I have decided to post my list. That way you can hold me accountable.

So the list:

  • Use the Lose It! App every day – yep instead of a wt loss goal, I am committing to using this app.
  • Cook/Plan dinner 7 days a week – no more ordering pizza because we have nothing to eat!
  • No French Fries (pot/sweet pot) – Let’s just do this again, shall we?
  • No coke/soda for the year – Did this before, can do it again.
  • Throwback/Flashback Thursday on FB: Why? I have been researching my ancestry and I should be sharing what I have found, and well, it will also force me to start scanning old photos
  • Check 12 items off Bucket List – I only have 365 weeks left until I turn 50 – I need to get some of my fun stuff checked off!
  • Blog 1/wk – Yes, you will see me more often!
  • 1/month new Austin Restaurant – Resolutions should also be FUN!
  • Happiness Project – I am committing to the yearlong Happiness Project – want to join me?
  • 10,000 steps/day – Need to get walking again – In Austin it doesn’t come as easy as in NYC.

As you can see, I have committed to blogging 1/wk and to tackle at least 12 items on my Bucket List. So I should be here way more often than I have been, which I hope you find exciting ;-). I have also added a project, The Happiness Project. This is something I have always wanted to do and I think it is a good time to start. I will be blogging about that as well 

I have now stated to the world my 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. I believe it is a simple, achievable and even fun list, so there shouldn’t be any excuses. I’m getting that overwhelming feeling of hope again, ahh … feels so good! 2014 will be an amazing year!




So a week ago today my back went out around 4:30pm.  I was literally stuck on the floor crying like a baby until my husband got home when not only I was stuck, but my poor husband was stuck trying to calm me down for hours.  I was able to roll on my back and get a little “comfortable”.  Around 9 pm I feel asleep, but woke up again at 11:30pm in a panic. My butt was numb and I had to pee.  My husband suggested I just go, right there on our brand new hard wood floors.  No way!  And after only 2 years of marriage I was not about to pee on myself in front of my husband.  It just wasn’t going to happen.  I tried again to get up and then I just gave up and gave in.  We dialed 911.

The paramedics, all 10 of them, were in our bedroom in less than 5 minutes – good to know in case there is a real emergency. After 5 more minutes only 2 remained (one only a week on the job).  I guess my Level 10 emergency was downgraded to a 2.   But they were great.  The more senior paramedic coached me to slowly turn over, do some stretches and then finally … Viola! I was standing.  In the standing position I felt OK, it’s bending that’s a problem, so the issue of having to pee had to be resolved in the shower, and I tell you, like Christmas morning.

I was able to walk around and then walk downstairs to finally lay on my side on the couch where I would remain for the rest of the week.  I had the option of going to the ER, but after finally getting up I felt so much better and way less freaked out like I was going to be stuck on the floor forever.  The next day my doctor prescribed serious pain meds and muscle relaxers, which I took every day until today.  Today I can finally sit up and I don’t feel a hint of pain.  I think I am mostly healed, but I am still moving in slow motion just in case.

The whole experience was like a movie, a funny movie, because, frankly, it is funny being stuck frozen for hours for no apparent reason, but man it hurt like a mother.  I never want to experience that again, so this serves as a wakeup call.  I am overweight and out of shape.  It’s been a stressful year and I’m an emotional eater for sure.  But things have to change.  It’s time to wakeup!




Through some soul searching I have come to the realization that what brings me joy is connecting with people and what I am good at and have a passion for is sales.  This lead me searching for an opportunity where I can sell a product I believe in while allowing me to connect with people.   I’ve searched online, asked friends and family, and talked my poor husband’s ear off trying to figure out what I should do with this new realization.

This lead me to direct sales, an industry I was never really interested in, or even thought was ‘legit.’  Do people really make money in direct sales?  Are the products worthy or is it a one-on-one, in-person version of a cheesy 3am infomercial?  What I learned however, surprised me.  It is a legitimate industry that provides amazing goods and services to millions of consumers.  And once I spoke more about this and asked more questions, I learned that many of my family and friends have either bought from someone in direct sales, or have sold themselves.  Hum?  And why wasn’t I ever invited to any of these shindigs?  I do not know.  What I do know is that Direct Sales can be a great way to earn some extra cash, replace my current income, allow me to have a flexible work schedule and meet some amazing people.

Ok, so I think direct sales could be an industry I could succeed in by doing something I am passionate about, but what do I sell?  It’s been a few months trying to really figure this out and I have spoken to a few different companies, but in the end I found a perfect fit for me and I signed up.  It’s official.  I am a business owner.  I am an Independent Sales Consultant for Rodan+Fields!

Today is my official start date.  I am hoping that this new venture will be as exciting as it seems.  Today is the first step on the road to solidifying my passion and turning it into my career.   I just pray that there aren’t too many road blocks, detours, and traffic jams.  But no matter how fast or slow, I will still be moving in the direction I want to go: Forward.

The Evolution of Passion


During my blogging hiatus I have thought a lot about the particular Bucket List Item of finding my passion and turning it into a career.  I know it is something many of us struggle with.  “What do I want to do with my life?” we asked ourselves.  I am asking that question at the ripe old age of 42.  Shouldn’t I know this already?  Shouldn’t I be content with my life’s path.  Well the honest truth is: no I am not.  Fudge I am not!

This hasn’t always been the case.  In college I knew I wanted to live in NYC and work in the apparel industry.  I was able to jump right in the apparel business, but it took me 8 years after I graduated to take the plunge (and risk) to move to NYC,  I did it and it was the best decision I have ever made.  I started my apparel career in retail and then finally entered the wholesale side of the ‘glamorous’  fashion industry in NYC.  The travel, the parties, the clothes were fun and I had a great time, but after 23 years, I have lost that passion for an industry I have loved and dreamed of since I was a young girl.  Granted, I still love clothes and enjoy a good purse that is way too expensive every now and again, but I’ve evolved.  That purse, those shoes, they don’t mean anything to me anymore.  So what has happened is I have grown out of my line of work.  An industry I have been in since college no longer gets me excited.  Lucky magazine comes and I can breeze right though it rather than study each and every page.  I’ve evolved and so has my passion.

What’s next?  Where do I go from here?  I know the passion for the apparel industry has fizzled out, but after thinking long and hard, I realized what brought me the most consistent joy in my work was not my passion in fashion, but my love of connecting with people while selling products that I believed in.  So maybe I have lost my passion for apparel, but not my passion for sales – a passion I never really defined before.

So with this new found realization, maybe I can continue in sales, but start selling new products or services that can bring me the same joy that selling has always brought to me?  Is there something out there that can satisfy this?

Life got in the way.

I want to blog, I really do, but Life gets in the way sometimes and throughout my history as a ‘blogger’ it has gotten in the way a few times.  I’m here today to declare that it is OK for life to get in the way.  It is OK – living life is more important than writing about it.  I am off the hook now.  This declaration, or confession maybe, has giving me the OK to be OK for not writing one word since … geez when was the last post anyway?  But life got in the way.

My life in a nutshell these last few months:  My husband and I moved from NYC to Austin, TX. 

Yep!  After 14 glorious years in NYC, I am now a texan.  It is hard for me to say that.  I love, love, love NYC, but the opportunity presented itself and we took the chance and moved.  It’s been an interesting transition to say the least.  104 degrees upon our arrival and new work challenges that make you question everything, but we’re excited about where this new adventure will take us.  One thing for sure is you never know what’s around the corner!

So how does this Texas flip change our Bucket List?  Well, the list is the list and we will tackle it as best we can!  Going to all the Museums in NYC will be hard living 1,740 miles away, but the List will force a few visits :-)  And walking … wow, getting your steps in it tough when you are in a car all the time, but it’s not a challenge I can’t figure out. 

So now that I’m pretty much settled in our new home I do hope to write more and share more, because I miss you. 

That’s all for today … Life is calling …

Tribeca Film Festival


It’s been 10 years since the very first Tribeca Film Festival and I have always been curious to attend, so when American Express offered tickets to their members (me and my husband), we jumped at the chance.

The film we would be viewing was Sunlight Jr. starring Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon.  The screening was at the Crosby Street Hotel this past Monday.  I will admit, I was a bit annoyed that our film wasn’t actually showing in Tribeca, but instead Soho; however this was a convenient plus since it was just a block from the 6 train which made our commute way easy (lookin’ at the positive).

We arrived at 6:45pm for the cocktail reception at the hotel which was very nice and very “New York”,  whatever that means.  We were greeted by two tall and thin girls wearing flight attendant outfits.  Ah yes, our American Express is a Delta Amex – I suppose any opportunity to promote they will take it.  We registered, got our ‘boarding pass’ and joined the other guest in a lovely room to consume any cocktail of our liking and hors d’oeuvres fit for a wedding reception.



By 8 pm our tummies were full and we were ready for the movie.  The doors to the screening room finally opened.  As we walked in, we were offered gourmet popcorn and water.  Wow!  If only all movie theaters were this nice with plush, orange seats and enough leg room to not have to stand up when people walk in front of you.  If only Delta’s airplanes had this much space – they should learn from their own sponsored event.  Soon everyone was seated, the lights dimmed and the movie began sans previews – missed but we figured.

Sunlight Jr. (2013)

With a name like Sunlight Jr. we were hoping for a happy, sunshiny movie like the off-beat road film, Little Miss Sunshine or the gruesome dramedy Sunshine Cleaners, but we got neither.  So very contrary to it’s name, Sunlight Jr. was uncomfortable to watch and quite depressing.  I wouldn’t say we hated it, but, well, I didn’t love it.  I will say, both Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon did a fantastic job portraying Melissa (Naomi Watts) and Richie (Matt Dillon), a struggling couple living in poverty in rural Florida.  Their lives are tough and it’s hard not to judge the ignorance of the characters because you can see what they should do even with what little they have.  Melissa is a cashier at Sunshine Jr., a gas station/convenience store and Richie is an ex-construction worker now in a wheelchair due to an accident.  They live paycheck to paycheck in a pay-by-month motel.  She wants to move up the ‘corporate ladder’ at Sunshine, but has no clue what that means and eventually loses her job; he is a good support for her, but is struggling with his own demons.  They are faced with a jealous ex-boyfriend, a drunk mother whom graciously takes care of a few foster children, and a pregnancy that was both wanted and unwanted at the same time.  You see the characters struggle, and get the impression they have always struggled and will continue to do so which makes you want to scream.  The movie was a snapshot of these people’s lives.  The beginning and end wasn’t neither a beginning nor an end.  You’re left feeling sorry for them just as you did in the opening scene.  No more, no less.  Maybe I didn’t like it because it was frustrating.  These characters pissed me off, the system pisses me off, I left feeling like sunshine was nowhere near and never ever attainable, and that is depressing.  But, I guess, maybe that was the point of the movie.

We decided to not attend the film discussion following the movie (my husband had a very early morning train to catch the next day) and, along with a few others, snuck out of the tiny theatre.  We were handed a small swag bag full of goodies – just like all movie premiers I am sure ;-) – and headed home.


Attending the Tribeca Film Festival and screening a movie not yet released was a great experience.  We’re glad we put this one on the list!

Arepas! Arepas!


What an amazing weekend we had! So much fun knocking off a few items on our list including a most amazing Venezuelan lunch.

It’s wasn’t in our plans to have a Venezuelan lunch when we headed out to explore our neighboring borough: Queens. But we happily tried Arepas Café  (www.arepascafe.com) for lunch when we stumbled upon this tiny restaurant while walking on 36th Ave in Astoria.

empabeerWe were seated in the window and decided we would each have a Polar, a Venezuelan beer; mini Empanadaz as our antojitos (appetizer); and enjoy the obvious for lunch: arepas. But what type of apepas? Wait, what is an arepas?

Arepas is described as a “corn based dish (wheat free) perfect for standing for bread, highly nutritional meal, split in half and filled with cheese, deli meats, great variety of fillings, and dressed with toppings.

Basically it looks like a pita filled with whatever you want. There were so many versions to choose from! Do we want beef? Chicken? Shark? Um, sorry, no to Jaws, thank you. In the end we went with the arepas that had an asterisk next to it on the menu indicating a ‘chef suggestion’ and sounded yummy. I decided on the Mami: Venezuelan Roast Pork, avocado and white cheese, and my husband got the Arepa Pabellon: shredded beef, black bean, fried sweet plantains, sprinkled with white cheese.


The beer and appetizer came first. The beer was light and refreshing and the empanadas were ‘mini’ as described filled with beef, cheese and chicken, but was a little more doughy then we were used to, but very good.


Soon our arepas came and they were delicious. Packed with meat and filled with flavor, arepas is now on the list of a favorite food! Wow, really good and the perfect portion for a noon-time meal. You should most definitely try this Venezuelan delight. Yum!

Saved by my ‘To-Do’ List

To Do List

I read once that a Sunday New York Times has more information in it than what an average person from the 16th century learned in a lifetime. It’s no wonder why we are so overwhelmed. We live in a world of so much. So much to do, see, read, learn, hear, think, taste, smell … the list can go on and on. It’s so overwhelming that what happens is you end up doing nothing of significance and then wonder where the time went? This can happen in your day, year and in your lifetime.

That is why I create lists.  My daily ‘to-do’ and my life ‘to-do’ aka Bucket List all help me become less overwhelmed and more productive.

But what happens when creating your ‘to-do’ becomes another task that overwhelms you?  That is what I have been feeling for the last few days.  Overwhelmed and stuck because I have so much floating in my head right now that I don’t know where to begin. 

What is the answer?  I have struggled with this and it just dawned on me about an 2 hours ago that I need to just do it.  I know so … Nike commercial, but so very true.  I just need to stop thinking in circles and start doing.  Just write the damn list already and move forward.

So after a day, or 3, I finally got out of my head and wrote down my day and week’s ‘to-do’ list, and I even reviewed my bucket list to see what I need to work on next.  I feel much better already.  My sanity was saved by my ‘to-do’ list!  And now, let’s start checking things off!

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