Thursday, May 07, 2009

Why Attend a Tectonic Leadership Summit™?

Tectonic Leadership™ and the Summit

Before answering the questions "What is Tectonic Leadership™?" and "Why should one attend a Tectonic Leadership™ Summit™?", we need to briefly assess where we--as human beings--stand today. The success of our species--first in agriculture, then in the development of language, the growth and sophistication of knowledge, the quest for deeper meaning, spirituality, order--has culminated in a world of dwindling resources fed by ever-expanding consumption and exploitation, and almost continual warfare caused by deepening polarization around our differences—ethnic, religious, cultural, political. Ironically, our progress has led to the threat of annihilation.

So what can we do? Looking at any one of the issues facing humanity today--all of them global in scale--it would be easy to slip into feelings of futility, cynicism, despair. But many thought leaders around the world are resisting the seduction of hopelessness and are searching instead for ways to heal seemingly impassible ruptures between peoples of differing ideologies; to bridge the growing gap between developed and developing nations, and create sustainable solutions for the use of our shared natural resources.

Globonders, who themselves are leaders in addressing many of these issues, began a year ago to discuss the need to provide a forum where those at the forefront of change can be fed with ideas--supported and encouraged in what is often a lonely endeavor. After many discussions about the seeming paradox that exists in every global challenge--cutting down on greenhouse gases without disrupting existing and emerging economies; settling land disputes without displacing millions; stimulating economies without sacrificing fiscal discipline--the notion of a leadership summit took shape.

Globonder Samia Bahsoun coined the term Tectonic Leadership™ because she saw a useful metaphor in the way Earth's tectonic plates interact at their boundaries; how understanding the parameters of those boundaries--where earthquakes occur when the natural elasticity of surrounding rock is exceeded, or where compression builds mountains, or tension leads to volcanic eruption and the creation of new crust--can give us an understanding of future outcomes and a reinterpretation of those processes as predictable and non-destructive. So human interactions can similarly create fault systems of fear and hatred between us until we move fearlessly toward our differences, using them instead to create common intent and the commitment to resolve the many global challenges we share.

The Tectonic Leadership™ Summit is a working summit, where participants are introduced to the paradoxical approach to problem solving. Paradoxical thinking is used to remove the notion of right answers vs. wrong answers; good ideologies vs. bad ideologies; to help individuals and nations reverse the distrust that leads to protectionism or warfare. Paradox seen in its original meaning--para: beyond and doxa: common sense or popular opinion--provides a means to liberate the proponents of any given opinion to move from the divisiveness and separateness that comes from advocating one standpoint over another to the freedom that comes from shared responsibility and a new level of leadership.

Solutions that emerge and evolve through this process do not rapidly dissolve into variations of the original problem, because all stake-holders have been heard; blame has been replaced by accountability and powerlessness by ownership. Tectonic Leaders™ are freed from stand-offs and progress is made. This methodology is an invigorating, life-giving process in stark contrast to the Pyrrhic victories of the powerful over the weak, the wealthy over the poor.

To get an invitation to the summit or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please write to

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Globonders that have renewed their memberships

Beatrice (Bia) de Salles

Bia de Salles was born a citizen of the world. Although she grew up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she has always had a bird's eye view of her place in the world. The great grand-daughter of a former Brazilian President and the grand-daughter of Senators, she traveled from her earliest years, staying with her mother’s relatives from the Italian nobility or visiting her Ambassador Uncle in Europe. At the age of 14, Bia was sent to an International girls boarding school for languages and finishing skills in a town near Geneva, Switzerland. It was there that she became a polyglot to make other polyglots envious: In addition to her native Portuguese, Bia is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, French and German, and has a basic knowledge of Dutch, Japanese, Hebrew and Chinese. She is a lifelong learner, with an MBA from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Partnership with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. She also has a degree in Law from Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, and has studied Marketing, International Affairs and Human Resources at various places. People are drawn by her positive energy and have always been interested and inspired by her generous soul.

All Globonders are “well-connected” by definition but Bia takes that term to a whole new level: Some years ago, Bia introduced Kirstin to her friend "Martin" at the Harvard Club Dinner the night before an HBS Latin American conference at which Globond was a VIP guest. The next day Kirstin realized that "Martin" was none other than serial entrepreneur, billionaire and philanthropist Martin Varsavsky who was the event’s keynote speaker. In the summer of 2000, Bia called Kirstin from India to tell her about her new friend, a Wall Street Journal reporter named “Daniel” whom she had met in China. She insisted that Kirstin set up a conference call to tell him about Globond which was still in its prelaunch phase. “Daniel” and Kirstin exchanged friendly emails about being mutual friends of Bia, and planned to have a conference call. The call never took place because “Daniel” was kidnapped and later murdered in Karachi, Pakistan. Bia's “new friend” turned out to be none other than Daniel Perl, the American journalist who had served as the South Asia Bureau Chief of the WSJ and was stationed in Bombay to interview Richard Reid, the journalist that was investigating the Taliban.

Kirstin met Bia for the first time before Globond was officially established, on one of Kirstin’s visits to Brazil. Before, they had even met, Bia insisted that Kirstin stay at her beautiful penthouse in Sao Paulo, and. A year after they met for the first time, Bia, who had been born privileged, left all of her possessions behind in Brazil and came to the United States alone to make it by herself. She moved back and forth between the East and West Coast in a number of positions until she finally settled down to build a life in Palm Springs, California.

During the summer of 2001 Bia called Kirstin from Hong Kong to give the good news that she had finally been sponsored by Morgan Stanley and was relocating to NY. Her official start date for her new job in The World Trade Center was September, 10, 2001... the next day, Kirstin was inundated with phone calls and email from concerned friends and family asking if Bia was alive. Kirstin learned that Bia had been on her way to work that morning when the planes hit the Towers . She spent the next few months in New York City with other shell-shocked friends helping one another to get through the crisis.

Still Bia didn't give up and Kirstin picked her up from Logan Airport 3 weeks later and dropped her at The Leonx Hotel for an interview with the board of a Private Equity Team in Boston. 14 days later she started working as an Investors Relations Manager for a Boutique Private Investment Bank in Los Angeles, where she got her sponsorship and later her green-card. She is now married to Ata Yazici, a graphic designer from Instanbul and they have two children, Lorenzo and Annalise. They live in Palm Springs, California where she has served as the Marketing Officer for Desert Commercial Bank in Palm Desert and as the Events Promoter for EventNet in the Palm Springs region.

Bia is currently part of the Women Leaders Forum in the Coachella Valley and serves on the Board of the Center of Leadership and Partnership Studies with Dr. Riane Eisler, PHD. She is an Ambassador to several local Chambers of Commerce and has worked with the World Economic Forum in DC, India, China and Davos, Switzerland. She previously worked at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at the Harvard Business School, where she invited companies to attend their various Summits, and also served as a panel mediator. Bia spent 3 months experiencing life at an Ashram in India and lived in Southeast Asia for some time.

For more about Bia or to view her resume check her website at: For more about Globond because the world is huge please visit:

Paul H. Granger

Paul H. Granger defines himself as “a businessman’s lawyer.” Paul was born in Worcester, MA and raised in a small town in Central Massachusetts called Leicester (his 93 year old Dad still lives there). He’s lived in the Boston area ever since attending law school in Boston.

Paul started his law career as an environmental lawyer with one of the Massachusetts state agencies, and then jumped into the business world when he joined Arthr D. Little, where he was in charge of global contracting and also served as an Export Control Officer. AD Little was a fascinating place to work, filled with many unique and very talented colleagues involved in very diverse work across many disciplines. At one point the Company operated its consulting business from 50 offices in 30 countries, and the nature of Paul’s responsibilities exposed him to many cultures and ways of doing business, an experience that continues to benefit him and his clients to this day. He remains friendly with many ex-ADLers through a large, well-organized Alumni Association.

After a stint as an independent attorney, Paul signed on as General Counsel for Motion Technology, Inc., where he managed all aspects of the company's corporate legal matters, including corporate governance, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, and contracts.

He is now an attorney in the Boston office of Greenberg Traurig, which ranks as the 7th largest U.S. law firm by American Lawyer. Paul sees his practice at GT as just a continuation of what he’s been doing throughout his career, i.e. being a “businessman’s lawyer” and bringing many years of experience to bear when addressing client issues, whatever their nature. He has owned small businesses, including a franchise operation, and managed his own law practice, so he also understands the practical aspects of running a business. He tries to apply as pragmatic and holistic an approach as possible to client concerns, taking into account how resolving a specific issue might impact the overall operation of the business. This approach, coupled with GT's remarkable depth of talent across every conceivable legal discipline, provides Paul’s clients with a unique and powerful resource. He hopes in the year(s) ahead to be able to provide substantial benefit to Globonders around the world.

While his practice covers "business law" generally, his one sub-specialty that should be of interest to US-based Globonders involved in international commerce is compliance with US export laws and regulations. Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, sensitivity to fighting terrorism has resulted not only in the implementation of additional legislation, but also in a significant increase in enforcement of existing laws and regulations, including tougher penalties for violations. It has become a complex area of the law that applies to all US businesses who export any type of commodity and/or technical data. Many people are surprised to learn that the various regulations apply to more than just "high tech", and in fact apply equally to "low tech" or "no tech" items. He would be happy to help any Globonders to better understand their obligations in this area.

Paul has two children, Lisa and Mark. Lisa is a graduate of Merrimack College and has joined the working world. Mark is in his third year at Roger Williams University, and has just returned from a semester in Florence, Italy. Paul is an avid golfer and skier, and he enjoys music of all types, as well as selective cooking.

Christian Hunt

Christian Hunt is a 43-year-old Belgian national residing in Brazil since 2004. He is a Partner at Alothon Group LLC, a Latin American private equity firm investing in mid to late stage buyouts mostly in Brazil (ex Bankers Trust/Deutsche Bank Latin American private equity team). He also maintains interests in privately owned companies active in real estate development, wind power, information technology, services to individuals and the agribusiness.

Until 2004 Christian was Chief Executive of Europe Unlimited SA, a Brussels-based firm specializing in connecting European growth companies with venture capital and private equity investors.

Christian was previously Co-Founder and Chief Executive of the EMDS Group, an international graduate recruitment consultancy, which had the majority of Fortune Global 500 companies as clients. Among other things, Christian led the corporate expansion of EMDS into 15 countries across Europe, Asia and North America, through joint-ventures, acquisitions and green-field operations. In 2000, he co negotiated the merger of EMDS into Diversified Agencies Group, a division of Havas.

Christian is a supporter of social venturing and an advisor to NESsT, an international organization committed to reducing systemic poverty and social exclusion through the development of social enterprises. He is a promoter of high growth entrepreneurship and as such, served on the board of Entrepreneurs for Growth from 1998 to 2005, as its President from 2002 to 2004.

Christian is a Chartered Director and Fellow of the Institute of Directors in London. He holds an A.S. in Commercial Sciences from ICHEC Brussels Management School and a PgC in Corporate Direction from Leeds Business School. He is an O.P.M. alumnus from Harvard Business School. Christian is a member of YPO since 1997 and of LIDE since 2008. He is fluent in French, English and Portuguese, and reads some Spanish, Italian, German and Dutch.

Porto Alegre, August 2008

Brett King

Brett King is the founder of the International Academy of Financial Management (, a global professional association dedicated to improving the skills and careers of financial specialists. In just the last 6 years King has been directly responsible for the global growth of the Academy with membership spanning 145 countries, and growth exceeding 200,000 members and affiliates. King also owns a successful niche consulting operation based in Asia (UserStrategy, which consults for world-class brands on customer interaction, and he is in the process of launching a new book entitled BANK 2.0 – Surviving Sub-Prime by Building the Total Customer Experience.

Although not an academic King has lectured regularly on MBA programs such as the Australian School of Business and Macquarie Graduate School of Management’s MBA series. Brett was also awarded an honorary chair professorship with the China Management Institute in 2002. As a professional keynote speaker, King has presented at conferences in more than 25 countries for organizations like Forbes, The Economist, United Nations Development Program, Financial Times, DTT Fast 500, The Asian Banker Retail Excellence Program, Leaders in Dubai, Terrapin, IIR and others. He currently is an international judge for The Asian Banker (Retail Banking) Excellence Awards, Middle-East Retail Banking and the Middle East Business Achievement Awards.

King has advised many of the world’s leading firms and institutions including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Citibank, UBS, CSFB, EmiratesNBD, NBK, BNP Paribas, ADCB, IBM, General Motors, Cathay Pacific, and others.

King previously led Modem Media/Digitas’ (NASDAQ:DTAS) regional business in Asia as Regional Managing Director, and prior to that was the Regional Director of the E-Business Service-Line for Deloitte Consulting (Asia-Pacific-Africa). King qualified as a national finalist in the Achaeus Institute entrepreneurship program (1998.) He maintains residency in Dubai, Hong Kong and Melbourne.

Masuda Sultan

Masuda Sultan is an Afghan-American who had dedicated her professional life to the development of Afghanistan and Afghan-American relations.

Initially, In 2001 Ms. Sultan assisted international media organizations covering Afghanistan including CBS and CNN. At this time she ran Women for Afghan Women (WAW), an international organization which advocates for the inclusion of women in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. At WAW she organized women around Afghanistan to give input into the constitution in its drafting process.

Ms. Sultan moved on to conduct research and training for Harvard University, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Institute of Peace, Inclusive Security, Hunt Alternatives Fund, and Radical Funds.

In recent years, she has worked in the areas of investment promotion, economic development, and business planning. In 2006 she founded Insight Consulting, an Afghan firm providing strategic consulting services to international investors and donors. Insight Consulting facilitated the largest private investment in Afghanistan when Etisalat, a U.A.E. based telecommunications company entered the market as the fourth GSM provider.

She currently serves as an advisor to the Ministry of Finance in Afghanistan. In this capacity, she provides technical assistance to the Government of Afghanistan on behalf of donor nations in the areas of public administration reform, private sector strengthening, privatization, and capacity building.

Ms. Sultan holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University, where she studied business and government relations. She is an advisor to the Afghan Business Council in Dubai, Arzu Rugs, and the Business Council for Peace.

She is also fluent in Pashto, an Afghan local language. Her memoir, My War at Home, was published in early 2006 by Simon & Schuster.

Introducing New Globonders that have joined recently

Stefan Pagacik

Stefan Pagacik provides guidance and innovative thinking to organizations looking to solve global problems. Working with senior executives, Stefan helps generate and implement ‘outside-the-box’ strategic thinking and converts new ideas into actionable plans. He also links executives, partners and stakeholders with high-level influencers and experts, and if appropriate, with potential investors.

As an independent consultant, Stefan has worked with start-up and early stage businesses. He guided founders of on fundraising and business strategy development ( has now raised more than $30M in venture capital), and co-founded—and currently serves as adjunct member of—an angel investment group, Bay Angels, L.L.C., on Cape Cod, MA.

More recently, Stefan co-authored a feasibility study for the creation of a technology incubator in Southeastern Massachusetts. The Regional Technology Development Center of Cape Cod began operation in January 2007. Stefan helped procure project funding, designed key study parameters and built relationships with influencers and key individuals in government, academia, venture capital and the business community. He also identified early-stage companies to reside in the Center.

Prior to establishing GreenPoint, Stefan worked for Adams Media Corporation, an educational and small business software company, where he started and built its software division. He also opened the Boston office for Chicago IT consulting firm Eclipse Information Systems (later acquired by Century Services of Washington, D.C.) and served in account management and information systems roles with PixelDance Communications and Lavastorm. Stefan graduated from Harvard University.

John Canning

John Canning is a Los Angeles based Globonder who wears a variety of hats, some of which are the executive producer and videographer for Green Living Project, video game consultant for the Monitor Group, digital media consultant for Disney and Sr. Director of Business Development for Mary-Margaret Network, all under the aegis of his firm Media Sherpa Consulting and Productions. Media Sherpa draws on John's many areas of expertise as well as his vast experience, and allows him to focus on his two passions: Media production in the area of travel and sustainable causes and Cross-platform creation and distribution of interactive media.

John Canning has worked in the Media and Entertainment Industry since 1987 when he worked in the Interactive Television division of Scientific Atlanta. He spent his 10 years there in jobs ranging from Applications Architect/Systems Engineer to Project Manager while simultaneously earning a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Information Design and Technology from Georgia Tech. Since then, his career has spanned media production, delivery methods and multiple platforms.

In 1997, John joined Microsoft as a marketing manager for Cable. He was then made Product Manager for the TV division where he led the integration of VOD, interactive services, conditional access and billing for the Microsoft TV product line. John moved on to be Technical Evangelist at Microsoft's newly formed eHome division. There he led external evangelism for eHome applications and services, and worked with partners in media distribution, content, games and whole home control.

While at Microsoft, John also expanded his proficiency and began freelancing on the creative side of media. He worked as a producer, videographer, photographer and reporter for MSN, MSNBC and Slate.

In 2005, John moved to Yahoo! as Director of Content Distribution. In this role he was field Producer/reporter, Photographer, and 3rd Party liaison for the Richard Bangs Adventures series and was a producer for Yahoo Games and Entertainment.

Throughout his career, John has continued to expand his knowledge, his abilities, and his experience while excelling in his work. As part of that paradigm, he has developed skills and connections in Electronic Gaming, learning how to manage the media delivery life cycle from content creation and transmission to presentation platforms for Media and Games.

John is a sought-after speaker and industry representative who has delivered presentations to audiences all over the world on products, company strategy and industry trends in the areas of Interactive Media, Game Strategy, the Games Industry, Content Creation and Delivery. Such groups as the Canadian Government have called on him to represent the American games industry.

In his "free time" John has a wide range of interests: photography, adventure travel, martial arts, computer gaming, armor making, hiking, camping, whitewater rafting, sea kayaking, improve acting, reading, skiing, rally sports, scuba diving, mt and road biking and caving. He can be reached at and his website is

Jan Crocker
President, Jan Crocker, LLC.

Jan is a collaborative leader who brings together creative people into high performance teams that create fun, engaging, and frequently high-profile exhibit projects. Her best-known exhibition projects are Secrets of Aging, Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, Leonardo da Vinci: Scientist, Inventor, Artist, and Quest for Immortality: The Treasures of Ancient Egypt.

Jan has many years of experience in project management, team leadership, traveling exhibition selection and negotiations, and the nuances of the process of exhibition development. During her years at the Museum of Science, Boston, she worked with senior leaders of the organization on institutional committees focusing on mission and operations. She is highly skilled in external relations and business development: past successes include establishing a successful relationship with Lucasfilm Ltd., developing a funding partnership with the National Geographic Society for the creation of a major traveling exhibition, and initiating a creativity-training program with Pixar Animation Studios. She has negotiated with major organizations such as Bose Corporation, AARP, Fidelity Investments, Daimler-Benz, The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and The Hermitage.

Jan is a former dancer with the Ipswich Moving Company and this past summer was a pilot gig rower at the Gloucester Maritime Museum.

Laura Tapley

Rockport, Massachusetts-based Globonder Laura Tapley got her first job as a commercial artist (jewelry illustration) right after graduating from high school. She began college as an art major but was more attracted to academic studies. She was happily ensconced in a solid liberal arts program—German, French, Poli Sci, Literature, History, Chemistry, Trigonometry—when she got married. Laura planned to continue her education after getting married but that was not to be the case: Laura had her first child that year and became a busy mom. She started taking various freelance commercial art assignments—logo and ad design and set designing for a local community theatre, both of which she learned by doing. Laura had another child and began home-schooling her oldest when she was in second grade. She had read books about education in general and home-schooling in particular by John Holt but was thought of as a maverick by friends and peers for engaging in something so "revolutionary."

Laura had to work with school and elected officials to gain acceptance of this now popular alternative educational method. Home-schooling allowed her to take advantage of all the wonderful learning opportunities in the San Francisco Bay area. She served as a volunteer in the Discovery Room at the Academy of Sciences (museum) in San Francisco and her daughter served alongside her from the age of 8 to 10 years old. Mother and daughter both got to interact with various research scientists working in the labs behind the scenes at the museum. Other research projects were completed with the help of librarians. They had a blast talking with ambassadors, legislators, authors, artists, and historians. Laura began home-schooling her son as soon as he was ready for structured learning. Her daughter re-entered school in 7th grade as an honors student (even though some school officials were skeptical about her ability to succeed—she blew their socks off). She and her husband had their third child and soon after moved east, first to Colorado, then to Massachusetts. All her children were in public school in Rockport until, at the superintendent’s recommendation, her oldest daughter finished her high school Junior and Senior year home-schooling (the Superintendent had reviewed a paper she wrote on her home-schooling experience and was intrigued). Her daughter's experience settled the arguments of skeptics once again: she was accepted into Tisch School of the Arts at NYU based on her independent home-based studies.

Quite happy to let her other two children finish their education in public school, Laura remained a very active and involved parent, serving on the Excellence in Education ad hoc sub-committee of the School Board; on a drug and alcohol prevention committee with other parents, faculty, and students; and assisting the Elementary School Librarian. She also helped with school theater sets.

Finally, when Laura’s son was in high school and her youngest daughter was in third grade, she returned to college. She studied history and loved it, studied geology and loved it even more. She finished two years at the top of her class as a Presidential scholar. Laura worked as a tutor (for geology and history) and a TA for history, and was also the assistant to the Clerk in the Biology Department, while taking a full load of classes and maintaining a 4.0. She was given the incredible opportunity to help two geology professors with field research in Wyoming and Montana one summer. She also participated in a state-funded research project, gathering data and measuring light transmission and chemical content of water samples from Chebacco Lake. A divorce took its toll however, and Laura found herself once again having to pull out of school to work full time (her son was getting ready to attend college). She has had to work full time ever since, while putting her son and younger daughter through college.

She taught herself banking processes and regulations while working the first time at Rockport National Bank—initially in the Operations department; then in the Loan Administration department. Laura was then offered a position at the Boston Company in Boston that doubled her salary, but six months after moving to the Boston Company it was absorbed by Mellon. She was offered another position there as an Executive Assistant, but it was mind-numbingly boring. Her kind boss then offered to help her find another position which would more effectively utilize her skills.

Serendipity stepped in and Laura met a member of the Board of Rockport Chamber Music Festival on the train. The woman told Laura they were looking for a General Manager and she ended up being offered the position. She found herself again eagerly learning new skills and the language of non-profits and the music world. In each of her positions, starting at Rockport National Bank, Laura had been picking up technology skills. The IT departments at Boston Company and Mellon loved her because she asked questions, was eager to learn, and would trouble-shoot problems on her own. At the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, she taught herself Microsoft Access because they needed a relational database and couldn’t afford an off-the-shelf one. She had loads of fun designing and using a powerful database that tracked donations, members, musicians and ticket sales.

While working at the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, Laura was asked by former colleagues at Rockport National Bank to consider coming back to work there. She was perceived as someone who willingly accepted any challenge, liked learning anything new and taking on major projects. She eventually accepted their proposal to return to work as an officer there, writing her own ticket in terms of what she did. She became the manager of Information Technology and designed their entire Information Security program, which included an Info Security Policy, Business Continuity Plan, Pandemic Preparedness Plan, training for employees, and annual risk assessment of tech systems.

Laura is now starting her own company to focus on her passion for organization and design . She firmly believes that beauty, order, and efficiency must co-exist, and loves helping her clients discover their own path to orderliness. Guiding them toward good design, and helping them develop routines they can follow naturally to maintain order, she witnesses an increase in their productivity and efficiency that results from an environment that is both beautiful and organized. She is happy to work within any budget and incorporates green products and processes whenever possible.

Laura has volunteered in Rockport, on the Town Arts Committee (now defunct) the local Cultural Council and in the schools. She currently serves as Treasurer of seARTS (Society for the Encouragement of the Arts). She has taught Sunday School and has helped Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts earn their geology badges. She also taught a two-day class in geology to Freshmen biology classes at Rockport High and conducted short enrichment classes in geology at the Rockport Elementary School and a elementary school in Salem. She likes to draw and paint and continues to enjoy reading and learning.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, a Quiet Alternative to Palm Springs

Even California locals may be surprised to discover that there is a vast desert state park nearly the size of Rhode Island only 90 minutes away from civilization in Palm Springs and San Diego.
The permanently protected 650,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park retains its historical Wild West roots, with gold mines, old stage routes, and desert flora and fauna.

The terrain can vary from 6,000 ft. above sea level studded with pines and oak to a flatter barren topography that feels like you’re on the moon.There is nothing contrived about this desert landscape—it has real rockscapes sculpted over centuries, creating an eerie and otherworldly experience, including formations that are like a mini-version of the Grand Canyon. In the distance you can see what looks like a mirage, but it’s really the Salton Sea, right at the base of southern segment (known as the Mojave segment) of the San Andreas Fault.

The 5 Star Life

Top Tips for Tough Times: Confessions of an Ex-Shopaholic

There’s no denying it, we’re all feeling the credit crunch. Of course, some of us are feeling it more than others, especially former shopaholics (like me) who are desperately trying to reform.

Practically every magazine, tabloid and newspaper under the sun is offering countless of belt-tightening tips, both of the literal and figurative kind. Yet if you’re still feeling as stuck as a deer in headlights, then start getting your creative juices flowing and pull together your personal ‘Ex-Shopaholic Survival Kit’, listing the life-changing actions which you can do right now.

Here are my personal top tips for tough times, which hopefully will inspire you to start thinking about your own–after all, change is but a checklist away.

Now is the time to focus on self-care. Have fun and don’t bother about what is happening in trends, fashion or shopping. Take care of your inside and your outside will shine. Splurge on meditation, buy a used positive visualization CD on Amazon, or trade one with friends. Commit to flossing, even if you don’t do it every day. Commit to yourself and your own health, then enroll the rest of the family.

Now is the time to throw out all that is unnecessary. Find out what really gives you joy and to pass it on to others. Now is the time to use what you already have, and get rid of what you don’t need. Go through your house and weed through the clutter, give away things that are taking up space. Enjoy a moment of empty space and lightness. In this day and age, empty space is a luxury we can all afford. Lighten up your load and you will feel like a million bucks.

Now is the time to upgrade one habit with another. Maybe you’re an ex-shopaholic too. So instead of buying new items, upgrade your threads by taking old costume jewellery or beads and sewing them onto your favourite tunic top or jeans. Have fun and experiment by mixing and matching old outfits.

Now is the time to trade up your addictions. Substitute your daily Starbucks fix with a homemade shake using healthy ingredients. Clean up your act from the inside-out. Enjoy a new sense of freedom and live it up in a different way. Become addicted to working out or take a walk with the family after dinner every evening. Instead of watching TV and playing with electronics, find other (more inspiring) hobbies that don’t involve technology or machines. Remember the simpler times and reclaim forgotten skills.

Now is the time to use your creativity in a new way. Shut off all of your electrical gadgets, from the TV and cell phones to e-games and the computer. Start to get to know your family members more intimately. Plan a family night around a fire and tell stories. Maybe you have some hidden talents that you haven’t explored. Let each member share a secret. This could be a night of inspiration and encouragement for all. Step outside of the box and be free.

Now is the time to explore simple pleasures and affordable luxuries. Set aside an hour for yourself to be alone in a bubble bath or surprise your mate and do it together. Create your own spa retreat at home, and look on the web for home made spa treatments you can experiment with. Find out how to make rich skin creams from olive oil and avocado, or face and body scrub recipes from a dash of oatmeal. Go into your kitchen and discover different ways of utilizing fresh ingredients.

Now is the time to try out that new recipe. Make cooking a family affair or with your BFF’s. Arrange a gourmet family/friends night where each member is enlisted to perform a specific culinary task, so that everyone can join in the cooking fun. Make this a night to remember by rediscovering the pleasure of the ‘we’ over the ‘I’.

Now is the time to go green. Instead of looking for all that is bigger, better and newer, find out how to become more eco-conscious. What can you do today to make your home more sustainable and eco-efficient? What do you need to do for the future? Discover that green thumb. Get your hands dirty, feel the earth between your fingertips and forget your manicure for a week. Perhaps you could start growing a small organic vegetable garden or install some ceiling fans to prepare for the summer months? Or perhaps you could invest in some portable heaters for the rooms that are used the most and save on the energy bills in winter?

Now is the time to let the sunshine in. Make sure each day you find a few minutes to spend outside in nature. Steal away to enjoy peaceful moments spent walking in the park or hanging with the family dog. This is truly the time to get closer to nature, and to stop and smell the roses. One of the biggest things lacking in our health is adequate vitamin D. And that can only come from one source, namely the sun. Artificial lighting, sun glasses and sunblock are keeping us from allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate into our cells. So spend between five to fifty minutes before 9 am and after 4pm each day outdoors and let the sunshine in!


Marjorie Hope Rothstein
Home2Haven Design

Image courtesy of Koka Sexton

Nambale Harambee

Please Join Us
Friday May 8, 2009

Please join One Village at a Time to celebrate our second annual Harambee.

The evening will include an open bar, delicious food, dancing to the music of Adriel Azure and his Dream Indigo Orchestra as well as an impressive selection of silent auction items including tickets to Elton John and Billy Joel in concert, Red Sox tickets, beautiful jewelry, Aerosmith concert tickets, cooking lessons with a Cordon Bleu Chef, and much more.Tickets are $50 or $90 for couples before May 1, 2009 and $60 or $100 thereafter.

One Village at a Time is a non-profit, non-government organization, which strives to create small, sustainable programs for AIDS orphans and their villages. Every dollar raised for “One Village” goes directly to helping the children and their villages.

WHAT: “One Village” Second Annual Harambee
WHEN: Friday May 8, 2009 8:00-Midnight
WHERE: Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center
85 West Newton St.
Boston, MA

(Parking at 560 Harrison Ave. $5 per car- all proceeds will benefit the South End Little League)

WHO: Friends of “One Village”
WHY: To make a difference in the lives of those devastated by AIDS

Tickets can be purchased on line at:

One person, one village, can make a difference.