• Creating A Value System

    Some people, when they become adults realize they are a bit lost.  Due to an infinite number of combinations of how they were raised, experiences during childhood, and relationships with others a foundation was built that as an adult becomes unstable.  It was likely always unstable, but when we are adults we, most of us at least, become reliant on what we know.  And what we know isn’t always good for us.

    This was me in so many ways. I didn’t have my own value system in place and it affected all of my relationships, made me unnecessarily sensitive to criticism, and kept me from finding peace within myself.  Not having a solid foundation ultimately caused bad financial choices, poor parenting decisions and my relationships suffered, including my marriage.  The way I reacted when something happened (or didn’t happen the way I wanted it to) was impulsive and often chaotic.

    Even though this was my behavior, deep down I knew I didn’t like acting this way and I also recognized I wasn’t taking responsibility for my behavior.  The later is what kept me in this ugly cycle so owning my actions and issues was a priority.  Five years ago my life completely changed when I made a conscious decision to BE the person I wanted to be.

    Two things helped me find my way; My therapist and The Minimalistswho talk openly about their own integrity, character and values.  Therapy helped me deal with me; my hang ups, how I viewed myself, and how to define my own value (to myself and others).  The Minimalists have a game plan that I emulated to create my own value system.

    Despite the infinite number of ways my foundation was created as a child, I have the power to rewrite how I operate which will greatly improve how I live my life.  I work on this daily and daily I get my ass kicked by old habits and bad self-talk…but going over my values (below) help me move forward in the exact way I know will bring balance in my life.

    So, here is my value statement

    Fundamental values

    Fundamental Values are the most important ways I live my life.  These are what everything else is built from.  Think of them as buckets you fill up that create balance.  Note: yours may be totally different, I happen to find these (from The Minimalist) to align with my way of thinking, however the description of each is my own.

    1. Relationships | Making JZN a priority, cultivating positive friendships and family relationships with 1:1 time.
    2. Creativity | Expressing myself via my work, looking objectively at tasks to ensure 80/20 they allow creativity.
    3. Growth | Learning different perspectives, ensuring my work (social media) doesn’t equate to an imaginary self value, and continue to elevate self awareness.
    4. Contribution | Ensuring my monies, work and words are contributing to a greater good than myself and my own personal/material wants.
    5. Health | Making it a priority by scheduling time for exercise, self care, meditation

    Core values

    Core values are specific things that fill up the fundamental values buckets.  Without core values I don’t have actionable ways to live my life the way I want to.  I choose ten core values that I know will bring me incredible satisfaction when accomplished.

    1. Promotion of others
    2. Meditation
    3. Time with my kids
    4. Financial freedom (zero debt & retirement)
    5. Emotional relationship with JZN
    6. Contractual obligations
    7. Scheduling my time and sticking to it 90% of the time
    8. Self Care
    9. Sleep
    10. Therapy

    Minor values

    Minor values are experiences/things I find joy in but if they didn’t happen or weren’t in my life I’m not out of sorts.  They seem a bit silly written down but I really enjoy my morning coffee in a room only lit by candles.

    My morning cup of coffee
    Waking up slowly | Lighting candles in the morning / no lights
    My home

    Imaginary values

    Imaginary values are perceived as valuable but in reality are in direct conflict with my fundamental values.  For instance, I do want a big fat three diamond anniversary ring.  If I received one for Christmas I would be giddy…but that purchase is in conflict with how I want to spend money (read Growth under Fundamental Values).

    Diamond ring
    Fast cars
    Personal social media (non business related work)…you know the rabbit hole :-/

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and thank you for supporting me and this blog <3

    Photo by Austin Johnson on Unsplash


  • Financial Series | Private Money Lending

    Money talk…eww. It’s a taboo subject, one that makes people anxious and nervous.  It definitely makes me anxious and so that’s why I’m talking about it here on the blog.  I feel as I dive deeper into the subject it becomes less intimidating and my confidence around it grows.  So, maybe if you’re in the same boat our upcoming Financial Series will help you too.

    Today I’m playing it safe and sharing information on private money lending. Luckily, my amazing, beautiful friend, Angela Vannucci, is laying it out for us. She works for a commercial lending company, Blackburne & Sons, and wrote today’s post.  Pass along this info, there are many people who are interested in this type of investment but don’t know where to start.

    Learn and enjoy!


    Almost 15 years ago (yikes!), I walked out of college and into the private-money business at Blackburne & Sons Realty Capital Corporation. At that time, I had no idea what I was getting into and only knew a smidge about real estate, let alone what private-money lending was about. People may equate private-money lending as a type of crowd-funding, which is a term that gets thrown around quite often these days. After reading this blog however, I am hopeful you may have a better understanding of private-money lending and how you may want to participate in a deal or two as a piece of your retirement portfolio. 

    Private money lending can be simplified as someone (or a business) needing a loan, and a private person/entity loaning them the funds. Of course, there is much more to it than that but if I had to give one sentence to describe it, that would be it. There are different ways to lend money but in the case of Blackburne & Sons’ business model, we vet borrowers who need a loan, complete the necessary due diligence and then put together a group of private investors who will lend to the borrower, at reasonable rates and terms. At Blackburne & Sons, those rates can be anywhere between 7.9% to 14.9%, fixed rate for the first 5-years, with no prepayment penalty (which is huge for borrowers who just need private-money for the short-term).  

    Why is there such a thing as private-money lending? Private-lending exists to fund loans when conventional lenders, i.e. banks and credit unions will not. There could be a number of reasons why a conventional lender will turn down a deal. Whatever the reasons may be, a bank turn-down allows us private-money lenders to swoop in on qualified borrowers and offer yields of 7% to 14% to our investors. A few reasons why banks and credit unions may pass on a deal… (1) does not meet minimum credit score, (2) insufficient income, (3) property-type/condition and/or (4) not enough cash or equity into a deal, i.e. loan-to-value (LTV) too high. There could be some other reasons but I think these four sum up the majority of reasons that I hear about.  

    I cannot speak for other private-money lending firms, but the beauty of Blackburne & Sons is that we can underwrite and approve a deal based on the three C’s; Capacity to pay, Credit and Collateral. If the borrower meets two of the three C’s then we can usually structure a deal that meets the needs of the borrower and provide a reasonable return to the investors. It is a beautiful example of supply and demand. The trick is finding a balance between a reasonable rate for the borrower and a reasonable risk for the lender.  

    For example, if a borrower is purchasing an industrial property for $1MM, and is seeking a $650,000 loan (which is a 65% loan-to-value), but his credit is 620, he could be denied at his local bank for an approval. BUT… this same borrower could come to Blackburne & Sons where we may issue an approval based on a valid letter of explanation on the less than perfect credit, if the LTV is reasonable and the borrower’s income can support the loan.   

    Above is a very short version on how private-money lenders can help borrowers, but what if you are an investor and are curious to know if this is the right investment vehicle for you? Well it all comes down to your personal risk tolerance. Private-money lending is risky! While almost all investments have a level of risk, private-money lending comes with a higher level of risk. Therefore, if you are a conservative investor, then this is not for you. But… if you are more open to taking a risk, then read on.  

    The beauty of real estate private-money lending is that your security is the real estate. If a borrower defaults, Blackburne & Sons (on the investors behalf, which would be you) would commence collections for non-payment, up to and including completing the foreclosure. Once a foreclosure is completed and title is transferred into the name of the investor(s), investor(s) can then decide whether to hold, lease and/or sell depending on the situation, market and/or property type or condition.  

    With risk there is reward, right? Investors who choose to lend in the private-money world can earn between 7% and 14% return on their money. Full disclosure… a return is never guaranteed and a loss of principal is possible. However, with diversification of a private-money portfolio, I have personally seen our investors earn a very reasonable return over the course of their investment history with us. The key is finding your personal lending preferences and not putting all your eggs into one basket.  For example, some investors only choose to lend in California, while others will only lend to borrowers with a certain credit score. And, then other investors will only consider a loan that will yield 12% or above. Or, we have one investors that invests $5,000 to $10,000 in each, and every, deal. It really all comes down to your personal investment strategy and preference. My recommendation to any investor I speak with that may be on the fence of investing is… if you have any doubts at all, do not invest. I probably lose many investors with that line, but I am ok with that. I’d 100% rather sell my deals out slower with investors who are comfortable with the risk, then sell a deal quickly with investors who are not or unsure. That thought process and company culture is why I think Blackburne & Sons has survived for the last 37 years and I am proud to do my part.  

    This article just touches on the very basics of private-money lending for borrower and investors (lenders), but please stay tuned! Happy to continue to pass along more information on specific topics that will break down the individual pieces in the future. In the meantime, please feel free to check out our website at www.blackburneandsons.com for more information on who we are and what we do.  

  • Winter Skin Care with Shelby Schauer

    I’ve been curious about skin care as I’ve aged (I just turned 45) and how the two climates I live in affect my skin.  So, I asked Shelby Schauera Woodland esthetician, to help me understand what my priorities should be.  She answered my questions, see below, and gave me her Express Facial (30 minutes, $55).  It was a great reset for me and a good reminder to take care of my skin prior to bed time, it just takes a few extra minutes!

    For my skin regimen she suggests a cream cleanser, twice a week exfoliating ritual, and a serum immediately after showering and/or washing my face.  She also suggests the following;

    • Do not use hot water to wash my face, use cool water
    • Apply serum immediately. (I know I’m saying this twice, but she put a huge emphasis on it!) She said, “Don’t waste even a minute! Put the serum on ASAP after washing your face or getting out of the shower.”
    • Hydrate your body, drink lots of water (this is something she tells me every time I see her)
    • Before bed, your face should have enough serum/cream on to feel dewy.  Mimic the way your skin feels after a facial.

    Thanks Shelby!

    Esthetics by Shelby
    Sinor Salons – 313 Court St
    Woodland, Ca. 95695
    (530) 312-9224

    What’s the most common skin issue you see when working with clients?
    I think the most common skin issues all estheticians treat are acne/acne scars (teens and adults), pigmentation and wrinkles (40s and older). Acne can affect any age group unfortunately (thanks hormones!). Age prevention should be taken into consideration for a skin care routine or treatment starting in the 20s- it’s easier to stay a step ahead rather than playing catch up later on!

    Exfoliate with dead sea salt to loosen buildup, charcoal for purification and natural oils for hydration

    What would you say is the number one mistake people are making when it comes to skin care?
    Not applying enough sunscreen! There’s so much more to sun protection than people think! First of all, just because your makeup has sunscreen in it doesn’t mean it’s enough. We should all be religiously and generously applying sunblock to our faces every morning. If your foundation and/or powder has sunblock in it (which it should!!), that’s an added bonus for protection. Secondly, reapplication of sunblock is often forgotten. With mineral powders these days, there’s no excuse not to be liberal about reapplication every few hours! People think they’re protected all day long from their morning application, when in reality, that protection only lasts up to 2hrs. Extra SPF advice: Always go mineral over chemical when you have the option!

    What is the first step you suggest in correcting skin issues?
    A Proper skin care regimen is essential to the health and radiance of  your skin. In order to start a good skin care routine, meet with your esthetician for a basic facial to identify your skin type, address concerns, and discuss lifestyle factors that will help determine what your skin needs. Once you start on a new home care routine, be patient grasshopper! Give your new products at least two months to take good effect and make sure to be consistent- consistency is the key to success! I always tell my clients that 75% of the puzzle is their diligence to home-care, and 25% comes from professional treatments. Whether your facials are monthly or quarterly, treatments can make significant progress in skin correction. Microdermabrasion is an awesome universal treatment that will speed up your correction process!

    Warm towel wrap for removal of the milk protein mask

    What are the benefits of having a facial?
    The many benefits of regular facials definitely make treatments worth investing in! Facials help reduce the impact of damage from the sun and other environmental factors; reduce inflammation due to certain skin conditions and stress; clear clogged pores; even out the skin pigment and texture; remove dead skin cells that are impeding your products from working optimally and the overall health and glow of the skin; increase blood flow/circulation and lymphatic drainage which reduces puffiness and the onset of wrinkles….the list goes on! If you’ve never experienced a good facial before, then you’ll be in for a treat when you realize how relaxing and stress-reducing they are as well! The face massage will blow your mind!

    Does the fluctuating weather we’re having affect our skin?
    Change of season and change of climate definitely have a significant impact on your skin’s health and its needs. Just as you change your wardrobe with every season, you need to change your skin care routine. For example, in drier climates or seasons like we are entering now, you’re more likely to experience skin dryness, flakiness and irritations like eczema. This leads to a very lackluster, parched appearance— nobody wants to look like a dried out raisin! The dry air literally steals your skins’ moisture, so it’s so important to use a more emollient, rich cream to retain your natural moisture barrier, as well as, the hydration you’ve put into your skin with your serum (serums are a must 24/7/365!).

    Does living in different climates really make that big of a difference in how you should care for your skin?
    Your skin is your body’s largest organ.  If you want it to stay healthy and look good, you’ve got to take care of it! No matter what age or gender, your skin requires TLC! Be good to it, and it will be good to you. It’s never too late to benefit from treatments and new product!

    What is your skin regimen?  Do you have products you swear by?  I’d love to know what they are.  Here are a few products that are in my skin care rotation: cleanser and serum.

    Photos by Killion Newsom

  • Gift Guide | Ideas for the Home Gym

    Happy December!  I know everyone is saying it, but I can’t believe it’s already December. It’s time for the mad rush of gatherings, gift buying and stress.  I’m starting the month with my Gift Guide Series, something I’ve thought long and hard about.  There won’t be an onslaught of guides coming from me but the ones I do share will be beneficial to your body and mind (and maybe your taste buds).  Like this one, a guide to building your home gym.  I’m far from fit, but I do know the power of exercise and that’s why I feel good sharing this post.  So, here goes…

    I’ve asked fitness lover (and fellow Woodlander) Robin Savala to help with my first ever Gift Guide, Ideas for the Home Gym.  Robin has built up her own home gym from scratch.  She started with just a set of dumbbells and a stability ball.  She’s gradually added other equipment to the mix and was interviewed by Garage Gym Life for her dedication to her home gym. She often posts her garage workouts on her Instagram account. Her videos are always motivating and fun to watch!

    Today she is sharing her list of gifts to give yourself or that someone special who wants to create or add on to their own home gym.

    $25 and under

    Resistance Bands for versatility, these are my favorite from B-Force.  Here’s one of Robin’s band workouts.

    Stability balls are great for their versatility and price point.

    $75 and under

    Also from B-Force, Gym in a bag.  These bags come with different weight options, can be used indoors and outdoors. Targets upper and lower body. It really is a gym in a bag!

    $100 under

    A Weight bench is a great addition to any home gym. Work great with dumbbells and bands. Standard weight bench at Dick’s is now $79.99, or upgrade for future barbell purchases with this weight bench, on sale for $99.99

    Over $100

    A variety of dumbbells is essential in a home gym! Start out with 2 or 3 sets of weights and add to your collection as your needs/strength change.

    If you have a questions for Robin feel free to contact her through her Instagram account.  Leave a comment below if you have other suggestions for us.

    *Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise prescription.

  • Guinness World Record participant

    Yesterday morning I clipped into my spin bike, opened my Peloton account and rode into the history books.  With over 10k riders (the leaderboard showed over 12k at one point) working out online at the same time Peloton broke the Guinness World Record for Largest Live Cycling Class.  45 minutes of hell, but it was worth it!

    How does Peloton work?  There are two ways to participate; purchase one of their bikes (it’s badass!) and a bike subscription or use your own stationary bike and purchase a subscription via their app (free trial for 14 days).  Subscriptions are $39/mo.

    I will say, there’s nothing like a Shelley Hunt spin class but Peloton is a close second.

    If you have any questions about it, comment below or email.