twenty five seconds

every second counts

How To Discover Your Passions — February 24, 2014

How To Discover Your Passions

What do you enjoy doing so much that time disappears when you are doing it?

Many years ago I started a blog Make Time for Chocolate.  The main point of the blog was to remind me that I should make time every day to be creative and discover my passions.

Many of you already know that I like chocolate so obviously there is a lot of chocolate related stuff on the blog like Looking for the Best Chocolate in New York City (tough job I know).

In addition to writing about chocolate on the blog, I challenged readers to take time every day to Make Time for Chocolate by making time to do what YOU love.  Discover your passions.  Broaden your perspective.  Develop new talents.  Get creative.  Spend time with family and friends.

Following is an exercise I posted on Make Time for Chocolate many years ago.  I still find it valid today and in fact, it was interesting for me to do the same exercise again to see how my passions have changed over the years.

This exercise will only take two minutes but the results will be extremely valuable.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen and get ready to write

You are going to quickly write down all of the things you are passionate about.

Set the timer for two minutes.

Ready? Get Set. Go.

If you are like me you are probably continuing to read this without stopping to do the exercise. I promise this one is worth your time. (You will be happy at the end that you did this quick assignment.)

Was it easy to write the entire time?

Did you run out of time or was it difficult to think of things that you like to do?

This is how I started my list:

I enjoy spending time with my family, experimenting with new recipes, Shakespeare in Central Park, picnics, visiting museums when they are not crowded, spending an afternoon in a great bookstore or Kate’s Paperie, painting, swinging in Central Park, visiting the local deli, Broadway shows, off-Broadway shows, NY pizza, hot bagels, eating imported chocolate, visiting the Farmer’s Market to get apples in the Fall, walking barefoot on the beach, watching surfers ride the waves, traveling, discovering a great restaurant, taking photos, Haagen Dazs Belgium chocolate ice-cream, Christmas, playing games with my family, walking in the rain and reading a really good book on a cold winter’s day.

Take a look at your list. Is there anything else you could add?

How many of the things on your list have you done recently? Have you done any of them today? How do you feel after you have done something you enjoy? Does time disappear? Does the experience leave you feeling better?

Since I posted this exercise on Make Time for Chocolate, my passions have expanded into other blogs. 

Bake Chocolate Cake – where I create recipes in my kitchen and post my favorites

One Loaf of Bread – a site filled with stories about random acts of kindness

Photography 221B – enjoying life one photo at a time

and then, of course, there is this blog twenty five seconds.  I do not post every day, but with all of the sites combined, I think you can see a few of my passions.

Right now these blogs are a hobby.  They energize me.  The rest of the time I am experiencing a life filled with wonderful activities and the people I love.

What are your passions?  How are you creative?  What makes life exciting for you?

If you found it difficult to think of things to write during the two minute exercise then perhaps it is time to find a new perspective.  Sometimes when we are busy we turn on our “automatic pilot” and just try to get through the day going through the motions.

Here are 10 ways to discover new passions:

1.  Slow down.

2.  Start a new hobby.

3.  Take a different path home from work.  Explore new neighborhoods.

4.  Don’t be afraid to try new things.  Try different types of food or just try a different ice cream flavor.

5.  Smile and make new friends.  Pay attention to the people and things surrounding you. Make eye contact.

6.  Do a random act of kindness.

7.  Explore a library or bookstore.  Look at a variety of books on many different topics.

8.  Sign up for a class.

9.  Doodle or color with crayons.  It is amazing what you will think about when you allow your mind to relax.

10.  Get inspiration online – Etsy, Pinterest, TED, blogs, etc.  Where do you spend most of your time online?

Create a list and try doing some of those things this week. Take time for your passions.  This is what makes life worth living.  Make time for chocolate.

Follow Your Passion — September 6, 2013

Follow Your Passion

Hiking, Tromso

“Don’t ask what the world needs.
Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.
Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman

Encouraging Young Artists — August 7, 2013

Encouraging Young Artists

The art teacher stood in the front of the classroom, expertly showing kindergarten students how to create a picture of a farm using colored pastels.  She explained perspective and showed them how to draw farm animals by using simple shapes.

I loved walking around the room watching the students create their own masterpieces.  Even though the instruction from the teacher was simple to follow, every picture turned out differently.

I love that about art!

At the Metropolitan Museum of Art there is currently an exhibit created by 83 students from the five boroughs of New York City.  It includes paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs, mixed-media works, collages, and drawings.  This year marks the eleventh anniversary of P.S. Art.

Following are some comments made by some of these student artists:

pre-school student:   self-portrait

“This is me. When I’m sad Mommy hugs and kisses me. I’m happy because Mommy is hugging me. I like to make pictures for my Mommy. She says, ‘I’m so proud of you.’ Mommy always loves my pictures because she loves me very much.”

 3rd grade student:  cityscape

“When you work very hard at something, you will 
be rewarded inside yourself. I want people who see my work to know that you need to think about what you do, and that art takes a lot of time.  Art is special to me.”

5th grade student:  self-portrait

“My artwork is about life. I want the viewer to be aware that people hide in the shadows and they should not.”

7th grade student

“Art is my platform, my journal, my autobiography, and
 my looking glass into
 a world I can create 
and control. Art has 
allowed me to shape my
 world and make it truly
 my own by creating a 
positive environment 
in which I truly can 
express who I am without judgement or criticism” …

8th grade student

“Art has taught me that something doesn’t have to be perfect for it to have a lasting effect.”

11th grade photography student

“I believe that we
 go through the journey
 of our everyday lives blindly, not really taking time to consider what is around us. At times we can miss the beauty of simple things or even just something strange to our eyes. As an artist, my eyes are slightly wider and more open to the world and my surroundings.”


“Close observation of student artwork…gives a special window into how young people understand and explore the world around them. I can think of nothing more thrilling for our student artists than to see their work hanging in one of the world’s greatest museums.” —Caroline Kennedy, Honorary Director, The Fund for Public Schools

To see all of the children’s art in a slide show, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art 

An online catalog is also available.  It includes photos with descriptions of the artist and the art.  It is fun to look at the art and read the student’s comments.

I applaud all individuals who continue to encourage artistic development!



Additional information about New York City is available on my blog NYC Notebook

The TARDIS Has Landed — July 29, 2013

The TARDIS Has Landed

The Geek in me cannot resist posting this story

We were walking in our neighborhood and we found a TARDIS outside a neighbor’s home!

Is it bigger on the inside?

BBC News recently posted a video and story about building a TARDIS.

Following is an entertaining video of another experience building a TARDIS.  This particular TARDIS is foldable.


Other fans are building on Minecraft.  This TARDIS really is bigger on the inside.


Will you build one?  The 50th Anniversary Special is just a few short months away. . . Start planning the party!

Little Free Libraries — March 19, 2013

Little Free Libraries

I absolutely love this idea!

The project began when Tod Bol made a little library shaped like a school-house in tribute to his mother.  Rick Brooks joined the project and together they created Little Free Library.  Their mission is to promote literacy and the love of reading and to build a sense of community.

“Take a Book” and “Return a Book”

On the website Tod and Rick encourage others to start their own little libraries.  They also have a map listing over 5,000 little libraries already in place around the world.

Following is a preview of a documentary about the project.


A Small Wooden Box:  The Little Free Library Movement 


I originally posted this story on One Loaf of Bread.


One Second Every Day — March 9, 2013

One Second Every Day

I absolutely love this project Cesar Kuriyama has started where he shoots a one-second video every day to document his life.  (He claims he is silently protesting other people who film all of the time.)  I have to agree.

I think I am going to try a slight variation of this project.

Try It For 30 Days — March 8, 2013

Try It For 30 Days

It is Amazing What You Can Do!

“I believe anyone can change.  I believe there is always something good that will come from a change, even if you can’t see it right now.  I believe that when we stop resisting the changes we are going through and simply embrace them, we realize that life is on our side.  I believe that we all have a part of ourselves that doesn’t change — and, when we find that part within us, whatever change we are going through on the outside becomes easier.”

Ariane de Bonvoisin – First 30 Days

Many have claimed that it only takes 30 days to create a new habit.  Matt Cutts gave a TED talk stating that during National Novel Writing Month he wrote a 50,000 word novel in 30 days (that’s only 1667 words per day).  He claimed his novel was horrible, but at least he did it.

Often I think we talk ourselves out of a project when in reality, we should just jump in and try it.  Start with just 30 days.  Think of what we could accomplish.

Think of all of the possibilities. . .

What will be my next project?

What will you do?

Don’t Tell My College Professor — February 22, 2013

Don’t Tell My College Professor

Beware.  Read this blog at your own risk. 

Everything I post on this site reflects my thoughts, feelings, perceptions and basically just about anything I feel like saying on a given day.  It’s a delicate balance between being personal, but not too personal.

Isn’t it ironic that we post things on the internet that we never would have given our English professors in college?  Yet, the number of people reading this blog is much larger than any audience I ever had at the University.

Balance that with my “need” to write and it is a great responsibility (or not).  You decide.

Sometimes writing feels like Anna Nalick’s lyrics from Breathe:

2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer
Inside of me threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
‘Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them however you want to.

Use my words however you want to, just don’t tell my old college professor.

The following TED talk with Elizabeth Gilbert more accurately describes my feelings about creativity and writing.

This is my diary screaming out loud. 

I’m still learning. . .

Elizabeth Gilbert:  Your Elusive Creative Genius

Been There. Pinned That. — February 18, 2013

Been There. Pinned That.

pinsomnia You can learn a lot about someone on Pinterest.

I’ve often thought it would be a great springboard for dating or even family relationships in general.  Husbands and wives could discover things they didn’t even know about each other just from their boards.

I think pins on Pinterest are similar to personality tests.  You know, the kind where you answer random questions to discover a summary at the end which is usually quite accurate.

Just think how useful this could be in a job interview.  Potential coworkers could get a quick sense of your hobbies, style and interests and determine if you would fit in with the personalities of the already established team.

Here’s what someone could learn about me from Pinterest.

I love creative projects.  I like my space to be organized.  I like parties with beautiful decorations and interesting themes.  I enjoy photography and flowers.

If you saw my pins you would get a good sense of the types of clothes I like to wear.  (You would also see a pin of the new line of men’s fashion with Matt Bomer, but you would really need to know me better to understand that.)

You would see that I love to travel and I like to collect recipes, especially those with chocolate.   At home you would see that I like spaces to display photography and art.  I also like places that are perfect for reading.  I love the power of words and you could probably tell a story about me from all of the quotes I have pinned.

Fortunately, the same truths are reflected in my life away from the computer.

pinterjectThere is something magical about Pinterest.

Time vanishes and suddenly an exciting life appears in the form of pins.

There are some pinners who have hundreds of boards and thousands of pins and followers.   I’ve often wondered if they spend their entire day pinning.  I hope not.

I freely admit I have pinned a lot of recipes and even though they look absolutely delicious, I will never in my lifetime be able to make all of the recipes I pin.

That’s okay.

It is good to be inspired and then go out and be creative.

Don’t just pin it.  Go and do it.

 What is Pinterest inspiring you to do today?


NOTE:  All graphics on this post can be found on Pinterest.


The Letter Writer — February 16, 2013

The Letter Writer

Hannah’s Project – More Love Letters

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation recently posted the winner of the 2013 video challenge.

The video describes how Hannah Brencher started More Love Letters.  The project has grown over time.  Hannah now has 12 writers on her team and they have mailed more than 11,000 letters to individuals around the world. Hannah’s story is inspirational.  I have great admiration for individuals who see a need and then work tirelessly to help others.

Following is the video describing Hannah’s project.

This next video is a presentation Hannah gave in New York at TED Talks.

The Letter Writer – Movie

Hannah’s letters remind me of the movie The Letter Writer by Christian Vuissa.  I saw the movie for the first time a few weeks ago.

The basic theme of the story revolves around Maggie, a teenager who receives a letter in the mail from someone she doesn’t know.  The letter gives her encouragement and describes kind things about her.  She searches for the person who wrote the letter and she eventually finds Sam.

She learns that every day Sam writes letters to give to strangers.  She begins to help him with his letter writing project.  Through this friendship she begins to discover more about the people surrounding her but most of all, she finds herself.

Personal Observation and Challenge

There are a lot of lonely people surrounding us.  Be conscious of making eye contact this week with everyone around you.  (Maybe even write a few letters to give away like Hannah.)

The Letter Writer movie and Hannah’s project have certainly started me thinking about things I could do to reach out to others.

If you are reading this blog, I hope you know how important you are to those around you.  Big Hug:)