Daily Inspirations and Adventures

Archive for the ‘Dara’s inspirations’ Category

Life is Like a Garden . . .

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Did you see that Leonard Nimoy’s last tweet before he passed was, “Life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.”?  That’s a good one, isn’t it?

I’ve been wanting to do a little 2014 recap . . . just to list all of the things that I accomplished during the year – as I do every year – but I just haven’t found the time.  Now I think I know why (other than, simply not having the time).  I can list all of the things I did (went back to the office after having Julian, ran a half marathon, talked Mike into buying 7th row Jay Z and Beyoncé tickets, bought a second apartment, had the best year at work I’ve ever had, got my butt back to Soul Cycle and to yoga) or places I got to go (San Francisco, Los Angeles Vail, Texas, Amsterdam, Mexico) or things I was able to experience (my little boy crawling, walking and saying “mama” for the first time, seeing my best friend get married to her soul mate, celebrate 5 years of marriage with my soul mate) . . . but jotting all of those down doesn’t bring back the feeling of those moments.  Its lost, forever, which is depressing . . . but it also inspires you to keep going . . . keep wanting more great moments.

I can’t wait until I hear Julian say, “Mommy, I love you” . . . or can’t wait to take the first step into our newly renovated dream “home” . . . or get the promotion at work that I’ve been promised . . . or see another country for the first time . . . or cross the finish line of my next half marathon . . . or celebrate my 10th anniversary with Mike.  So many great moments still left to live.

Every year is a gift . . . every day is a gift . . . every moment is a gift.  How lucky are we?!


Written by bevanddara

February 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Love This Story

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Written by bevanddara

February 4, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Some Inspiration For Your Friday . . .

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Do you know Carlos Slim?  I was reminded of him today and two quotes of his that I love popped into my head that I wanted to share.

Live in the present intensely and fully, do not let the past be a burden and let the future be an incentive.  Each person forges his or her own destiny.

It’s important to give a better country to your children, but it is more important to give better children to your country.

Speaking of trying to give better children for your country . . . I have high hopes for this little one . . . he has already made my life better . . . can’t wait to see what he does for others.


Have a great weekend!  xo

Written by bevanddara

December 12, 2014 at 4:33 pm

Deciding To Make It Work

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Love this article.  Happy Friday!

Why the YouTube CEO always tries to eat dinner with her kids, and 6 more things to know

When Google got its start in a garage, it was Susan Wojcicki's garage. She was Google's 16th employee, and the first to get pregnant. Now YouTube CEO and pregnant with her fifth child, Wojcicki is a role model for many women.

Susan Wojcicki is a YouTube star without ever appearing in any crazy, viral online clips. She’s the CEO of the popular video-sharing site and she’s also an expectant mom, preparing to give birth to her fifth child while running the multi-billion dollar tech company.

When Google got its start in a garage, it was Susan Wojcicki’s garage. She was Google’s 16th employee, and the first to get pregnant. Now YouTube CEO and pregnant with her fifth child, Wojcicki talks to Maria Shriver on TODAY.

Wojcicki, 46, who is eight months pregnant, believes being a working mom benefits both her and her family.

“Your kids get something from your career and your career will get something from your kids,” she said in an exclusive interview with NBC’s Maria Shriver at YouTube’s headquarters outside San Francisco.

It’s been quite a journey to the top that began 16 years ago when Wojcicki and her husband rented their garage to two young computer scientists: Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who went on to found Google. Wojcicki became their 16th employee and the first one to get pregnant. She became the CEO of YouTube in February.

Here are seven things to know about this pioneering woman in tech:

  1.  She’s home every night for dinner. Crazy hours are the norm for many CEOs, especially in Silicon Valley, but Wojcicki tries to go home at 6 p.m. every night to be a part of the family meal. “I try, because I found that if I’m home for dinner, I can get the scoop from my kids on the day. After my kids go to bed, I check email. It’s about having that balance,” she told Shriver on TODAY.
  2. She believes being a mom makes her better at her job. Needing to be home actually helps Wojcicki to be a more effective CEO because it forces her to prioritize and focus on things that have the biggest impact on her company, she noted. “I want people to realize that it really is OK, that you can have a family. I don’t feel like I’m a perfect mom, and then there are times at work where I feel like maybe I wasn’t perfect here because of constraints on my time,” she said. “But having the sum of both of those things going on in my life makes me a better mom at the end of the day, and I think gives me really important perspectives in the workplace as well.” When you’ve got four — soon to be five — children, you know how to multitask and prioritize. Wojcicki says being a mom has helped her succeed at work, even though some people at times expected her to quit.
  3. Her company offers 18 weeks paid maternity leave, but she’s not sure how long she will take with baby No. 5. “Lots of people are asking me how long I’m going take off, and I don’t want to give a specific date because I think well, what happens if I get to that date and then I feel like I need an extra week or I need an extra two weeks?” Wojcicki said.
  4. Her advice to young women: Don’t overplan your life. Not every life move, like a great job opportunity, will happen exactly when you want it to, Wojcicki noted. “Joining Google when I was four months pregnant was a bit of a leap, but sometimes you have to do the right thing for you right now,” she told Glamour magazine. “After my kids go to bed, I check email. It’s about having that balance,” Wojcicki tells Shriver.
  5. Her advice to working moms: It gets easier. Women who worry about balancing family and career should remember that “the really hectic period” of having a child is fairly brief, she advised. “Having a child is a big life change but… you can get through it,” Wojcicki told Glamour.
  6. Her mom supports her work, so do her kids. “My mom is a high school teacher, so she would tell me, ‘Oh, the students liked the video you posted today. Oh, the students didn’t like the video that you posted today.’ As though I, personally, posted a video!” she told Fast Company. Her children also alert her to fun clips. “My kids will say, ‘Oh mom there’s this video I saw, I really think you should know about it,'” Wojcicki told TODAY. Wojcicki says she’s glad she stuck it out as a tech executive and says that as time goes on it does get easier.
  7. People asked if she would quit when she got pregnant at first.  Wojcicki is glad she didn’t give up her very successful and demanding career when she had her second child – though many colleagues around her assumed she would. “I won’t say it was easy, but I decided I’d make it work because I really believed in Google’s potential. When you’re a junior-level woman and get pregnant, people always ask if you’ll quit. But no one asks me that now,” she told USA Today.

Written by bevanddara

December 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

Some Days I Have It All Together . . . Some Days

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Hi.  I’m still alive.  I’ve thought of so many blog posts over the past few weeks but life has been getting in the way.  Thank goodness you (mom) are there to continue the posting.  (She has another quilt that she made for a friend that hopefully she’ll show soon!  Amazing.)

Now . . . on to today’s post . . .


Mike is away this week . . . London.  I was lucky enough to have you (mom) come up to help me take care of my boys while I was also traveling and working long hours.  (THANK YOU!).  But you leave and I almost fall apart.  Not because I need help . . . I do love having a second set of hands . . . but my mind is distracted by too many things (stuff I need to get done before our trip, the mile-long list of things I need to do at work today, guilt of not making it through an entire T25 cycle before I put myself in a bathing suit next week, etc.) that I forget about the most important thing . . . Julian.  This morning I was in the bathroom (for 30 seconds) . . . and during that time Julian managed to pick up Chet’s (ceramic) water dish (which I ALWAYS pick up when Julian’s around but forgot), dump the water out, slip due to the water being on the ground, fall and bring the bowl down with him, break the bowl and . . . by the time I rushed back . . . he had a piece of broken bowl in his hand and blood was dripping on the floor.  My perfect little boy was broken and it was my fault.  Ugh.  I wanted to throw up and cry at the same time . . . meanwhile he was “finger painting” his blood all over the walls and floor.  He could care less.

Have you ever tried to put a band-aid on a 13 month old’s finger?  Its impossible.  Putting on two (to keep his finger straight so the blood stops pouring out) . . . double impossible task.  But you know what?  I did it (after putting hydrogen peroxide on it, mom!).  I also made him breakfast, played for a while, had him help me pick out an outfit (that boy has great taste!), had snuggle time, put him down for a nap, got a shower, sent a few work emails, washed the bathroom rug that was spattered with Julian’s blood, washed the dishes, made Julian lunch . . . and then ran into Diana’s arms when she arrived because I was so relieved she was there and she could tell me that he was going to be okay.  Now I’m here, at my desk, trying not to think about his little finger but its hard.

On the way to the office this morning I saw this article and it could not be more timely.  Its part of a recap put together by Glamour’s Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive following Glamour’s 2014 Women of the Year Awards.
  1. Don’t let fear be an excuse for inaction. “At one point, we were all fearful,” said GMA anchor Robin Roberts. “But as you get older, it’s the things you don’t do that you regret, more so than the things you do. When fear knocks, answer.”
  2. If the rights of any woman are threatened, the rights of all women are threatened. “It is my hope that this moment will inspire people to understand that the issues of transgender women are women’s issues,” said Laverne Cox. Preach. We live in a world where trans people still experience high levels of verbal harassment, physical assault, poverty and suicide. Feminism includes fighting for the right of any individual to express their gender identity authentically without having to worry about violence or social stigma.
  3. Your story is powerful. So tell it authentically. “The best stories are often true,” said Shonda Rhimes as she introduced Robin Roberts — a woman who has an amazing story. “The narrative of human life is most beautiful when told truthfully and without boundaries.”
  4.  You don’t need balls to be courageous. During Amy Schumer’s touching — and hilarious — tribute to the late Joan Rivers, she explained one thing that Rivers taught us all: “Having balls has nothing to do with it.” Damn straight.
  5. Women’s equality isn’t just an idea. It has real consequence for all of us — and for our children. “We need to close the imagination gap for women,” said Chelsea Clinton, touching on how the current climate of gender inequality impacts the girls who will grow up to be the women of tomorrow, including her newborn daughter Charlotte. “I want Charlotte to grow up whatever she dreams to be, wherever she dreams to do it, however she chooses to become it.”
  6. Ignorance isn’t bliss. It’s damage. “The biggest problem is ignorance,” said Sylvia Earle. “If you do not know, you can’t care.”
  7. Being the first is great, but being one of many is better. “I live for the day it’s not groundbreaking to have an Indian woman with her own TV show,” said Mindy Kaling, who is often singled out simply for existing as a successful woman of color in the entertainment industry. “I long for the time when there are so many women who look like me that I am no longer a model minority.”
  8. “To be a woman is to be human.” And as Lupita Nyong’o explained, our humanity is the most beautiful part about us. “To be human is to seek perfection and find joy in never attaining it,” she said.
  9. Do what you can, because every bit of change matters. As U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power so eloquently stated: “Just try to change your slice of the world and the rest will follow.”
Ahhhh . . . I feel so lucky to be a woman sometimes and have amazing other women to look up to. We’re so freaking strong and awesome (well, most of us), aren’t we?
Some days I’m an excellent Mom, some days I’m an excellent employee . . . there are hardly any days when I’m excellent at both. That’s life as a working mom. But, when it matters most – whether it be putting a band-aid on my son or throwing together a last-minute crisis plan for a client – I’m freaking AWESOME. That’s good enough for me.
P.S. Thank you to our sweet 4-year-old neighbor, Ford, who drew that amazing get-better-soon card for Julian this morning. I had to run up to Ami and Jay’s apartment this morning because I needed better band aids. I will now be stock piling for next time (knowing my son . . . there will be a next time)

Written by bevanddara

November 13, 2014 at 11:16 am

Struggle To Get Smarter

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The Learning Myth: Why I’ll Never Tell My Son He’s Smart

Salman Khan for The Huffington Post

Posted: 08/19/2014 12:19 pm
My 5-year-­old son has just started reading. Every night, we lay on his bed and he reads a short book to me. Inevitably, he’ll hit a word that he has trouble with: last night the word was “gratefully.” He eventually got it after a fairly painful minute. He then said, “Dad, aren’t you glad how I struggled with that word? I think I could feel my brain growing.” I smiled: my son was now verbalizing the tell­-tale signs of a ‘growth­ mindset.’ But this wasn’t by accident. Recently, I put into practice research I had been reading about for the past few years, and I decided to praise my son not when he succeeded at things he was already good at, but when he persevered with things that he found difficult. I stressed to him that by struggling, your brain grows. Between the deep body of research on the field of learning mindsets and this personal experience with my son, I am more convinced than ever that mindsets toward learning could matter more than anything else we teach.

Researchers have known for some time that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones. What this means is that our intelligence is not fixed: and the best way that we can grow our intelligence is to embrace tasks where we might struggle and fail.

However, not everyone realizes this. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University has been studying people’s mindsets towards learning for decades. She has found that most people adhere to one of two mindsets: fixed or growth. Fixed mindsets mistakenly believe that people are either smart or not; that intelligence is fixed by genes. People with growth mindsets correctly believe that capability and intelligence can be grown through effort, struggle and failure. Dweck found that those with a fixed mindset tended to focus their effort on tasks where they had a high likelihood of success and avoided tasks where they may have had to struggle, which limited their learning. People with a growth mindset, however, embraced challenges, and understood that tenacity and effort could change their learning outcomes. As you can imagine, this correlated with the latter group more actively pushing themselves and growing intellectually.

The good news is that mindsets can be taught; they’re malleable. What’s really fascinating is that Dweck and others have developed techniques that they call ‘growth mindset interventions’ which have shown that even small changes in communication or seemingly innocuous comments can have fairly long­-lasting implications for a person’s mindset. For instance, praising someone’s process (“I really like how you struggled with that problem”) versus praising an innate trait or talent (“You’re so clever!”) is one way to reinforce a growth ­mindset with someone. Process­ praise acknowledges the effort; talent­ praise reinforces the notion that one only succeeds (or doesn’t) based on a fixed trait. And we’ve seen this on Khan Academy as well: students are spending more time learning on Khan Academy after being exposed to messages which praise their tenacity and grit and that underscore that the brain is like a muscle.

I really want to start a national conversation that examines how we as a society can help people develop a growth mindset. In fact, the Internet is a dream for someone with a growth mindset. Between Khan Academy, MOOCs and others, there is unprecedented access to endless content to help you grow your mind. However, society isn’t going to fully take advantage of without growth mindsets being more prevalent. So what if we actively tried to change that? What if we began using whatever means at our disposal to start performing growth mindset interventions on everyone we cared about? This is much bigger than Khan Academy or algebra it applies to how you communicate with your children, how you manage your team at work, to how you learn a new language or instrument. If society as a whole begins to embrace the struggle of learning, there is no end to what that could mean for global human potential.

And now here’s a surprise for you. By reading this article itself, you’ve just undergone the first half of a growth­-mindset intervention. The research shows that just being exposed to the research itself ­­for example knowing that brain grows most by getting questions wrong, not right­­ can begin to change a person’s mindset. The second half of the intervention is for you to communicate the research with others. We’ve made a video (above) that celebrates the struggle of learning that will help you do this. After all, when my son, or for that matter, anyone else asks me about learning, I only want them to know one thing. As long as they embrace struggle and mistakes, they can learn anything.

Written by bevanddara

August 20, 2014 at 9:31 am

Such a Touching Tribute

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Written by bevanddara

August 19, 2014 at 3:52 pm


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