Be the Magic.

Some look for the magic.

Let’s take a different road and BE THE MAGIC.

-Simply Topaz


It is not where you live or what you have or don’t have that makes your life.

It’s you. It’s who you are.

That is the true value of your life…the awesome sauce you bring to the table.

-Simply Topaz

I think in terms of brand a lot. Being a photographer, I am acutely aware of the fact that *I* am my brand. It does not escape me that this is also true of our own personal lives. You are your brand. Yes, everything around you might be some part of that, but it begins and ends with you and who you are. If we do not like what is going on around us, realize that many times, in some way, shape, or form, we contributed to it. Even if it was just by saying yes to the wrong person, wrong job, or wrong move.

Are you being true to your brand, or the brand that you want to be? What resonates with you? Is that what you are living? Or has your life seemed to spiral out of what is seemingly beyond your control? But is it? If our lives are a direct result of our attitudes and choices, wouldn’t our life change if we changed our attitude and choices?

Beauty, life, and adventure are in the eye of the beholder. I recently noticed something that I thought was interesting.

I recently saw where a friend went on a trip to somewhere pretty amazing. I think it may have been Italy. Or maybe Greece. Or somewhere equally beautiful and amazing. I am really not sure where it was now. As cool of a trip as it seemed like it would be, it felt blah to me. As much as I am sure that she enjoyed this amazing trip, she seemed blah, the pictures seemed blah, and just everything about it felt blah to me.

Then I thought to the times that I have had friends who made Starbucks seem exciting or even romantic in the soulful, philosophical sense.

It made me think to myself and wonder if I am always living my life in a way that resonates with my soul.

Maybe it is not where we go or what we do but HOW we do it. HOW are we living life? What are others seeing when they look at you? What are you seeing when you look at yourself?

Do you want to be the person who is a grump when you get lost or the person who makes an epic road trip from it? Nothing is different but how you live it.

It is a wonderful thing to learn to laugh at the bumps in the road. There is no better way to survive, and even thrive, than with a sense of humor, a sense of beauty and magic.

Be the magic…

Inspire. Laugh. Love. Give.

Italy can be made boring and Starbucks exciting or romantic. It is not where we go or what we do but how we do it and the magic we bring to the table…our awesome sauce.


Could adventure and an amazing life really just be a state of mind? Maybe it’s not a matter of finding the magic, but being the magic.

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some look for the magic.

Let’s take a different road and BE THE MAGIC.

-Simply Topaz

Creating a beautiful life,

How to Get 10,000 Steps a Day (Even Without Leaving Home)

easy-10000-steps-wamsGetting 10,000 steps a day is much easier than you think.

I am so excited about what I have accomplished in the last few weeks, and I just love to share when I am excited about something.

You are going to want to bookmark this page and also pin it if you are on pinterest (pin it button at the end of the article). I will keep adding to this as I think of more ways to get those 10,000 steps a day.

If I can do it, just about anyone can. I do not have a reason to naturally walk much. At all. My job is pretty sedentary. My home is on the small side. The only stairs lead to a room over the garage that I do not use. It is not uncommon on a normal day for my steps to be under 2,000 if I do not really do anything.

And I am convinced that most of the steps are trips to the bathroom.

Now, your goal may not be 10,000, and that is fine. Everyone’s goals and health issues are different. For some, 1,000 steps a day might be all they can physically do. And putting forth that effort might be all they can possibly do, and they might even deserve a medal for that. Start where you are.

So how do I get 10,000 steps in a small home without leaving the house?

It’s easy. I have cracked the secret code. Well, at least what works for me, someone who leads a sedentary life in a smaller size home.

I guess, technically, I could go outside for a walk, but then there are 100 degree temps, rain, and cold to deal with…especially the 100 degree temps. I need to know that I have somewhere to do my steps come rain, shine, or heat wave. And I much prefer doing this at home as opposed to the time it would take me to drive somewhere and drive back.

So I tried walking in place.  It felt a little awkward at first. I mean, I’m not sure that I’ve done this since I was 9 years old. Then I began to realize that you can do nice little workout routines while walking or lightly jogging in place, even including your upper body and core. Plus I realized that I could get over 700 steps in just five minutes. Over 1500 in just 10 minutes.

This was going to be much easier than I ever thought it would be.

I heard on a Dr. Oz show before I got my fitbit tracker that it is good for you to get up from your seat every hour and every two hours for you to exercise for 10 minutes. And this is supposed to be better for you than working out a few times a week or once a day for a long time. So to get my steps in, I started out by getting up every hour and walking in place, dancing, marching, etc. for five minutes, sometimes longer. I can get about 700 steps in five minutes. Not too shabby. That adds up over the course of a day. Plus it’s good for you, especially if you naturally lead a sedentary life. Just be careful to not overdo it with too much too soon.

Plus, after doing this for a few weeks, I find myself easily being able to extend the five minutes to 10 minutes if I want. My average steps for a day is a little over 12,000. Next, I will add some weights.

Another spin on this would be to get your steps in during commercials. I prefer trying to do 5-7 minutes every hour, or most hours.

Easy Ways to Get 10,000 Steps

  1. Dancing
  2. Marching
  3. Walking in place
  4. Stepping while you are doing other things (brushing your teeth, cooking, washing your hands, watching television, checking facebook/email on your phone or tablet, reading a book, etc.). I have done every single one of those. The time flies by when you are not thinking about it.
  5. Every hour get up and step/dance/march/walk in place for 5 minutes or walk for 10 minutes every 2 hours. Make a plan and stick with it.
  6. Participate in community groups for extra encouragement.
  7. Participate in a virtual 5k walk. You choose the location and time. Some places even will distribute medals with a fee that include your name, distance, and time, like US Road Running.
  8. Participate in challenges with a group, friends, or for yourself. Do a 30 Day Challenge. If that even seems too daunting for you right now, do a 7 day challenge. The more accomplishments you get under your belt, the more empowered you will feel to do more.
  9. Compete with friends.
  10. Set goals. Set a daily step goal and even a long-term one. For instance, you could set a goal of minimum of 7,500 steps a day but with a long term goal of walking the distance of…. 500 Mile El Camino de Santiago Trail, or you could walk the distance to a city you have always wanted to visit. Give it a date that you want to achieve this goal.
  11. Track your progress. It’s a wonderful feeling to see that you are staying with a goal and even improving.

Click here if you would like access to free goal tracking and 30 day challenge sheets.

One of the most important things to remember is to wear your activity tracker all day. Once you take it off, you tend to forget to put it back on. I prefer to wear mine on my ankle. I find that I forget that it’s there, so it’s not bothering me. It’s secure and won’t slip off. And it’s not showing. I tested both the Striiv and Fitbit Zip for accuracy between two locations on my body, my waist area and my ankle. And to use these particular devices on my ankle, I attached to a snap leather bracelet. My son also likes to attach his to his ankle. He has the Fitbit One and uses velcro.

I found the Striiv to be accurate around my waist/pocket area. For some reason, I hate this area. I also found with the Striiv that it would fall off. I came THIS close to dropping it in the toilet once. That was too close for my germaphobic self to handle.  And, unfortunately, the Striiv was more accurate in this location than it was on the ankle.

The Fitbit Zip was more accurate on my ankle than it was in the waist area, so this worked perfectly for me. I forget it is even there.

Here is the Fitbit I purchased: Fitbit Zip.

Here is the one my son purchased: Fitbit One.

I will add that I have been having some battery issues with mine, so if I had it to do all over again, I would probably purchase the one my son got. I may still return it and get that one.  His does not have a battery. He charges his, and it works fine.

Find more Fitbit Activity Trackers on Amazon.

I also own the Striiv Smart Pedometer, but this particular model is not social, so I do not recommend it for that reason. They do have a social model, and if I had friends using it, I probably would have gone that route. I always say, “Get whatever your friends are using.”

I love that the Fitbit is social, and I can compete with my friends and compete in challenges with them. I love that there are community groups where you can make new friends and participate in challenges. And most of all, I love the message that it sends to my subconscious mind. There is something about moving that sends a message that you are alive and moving forward. Happy trails. Celebrating, exercising, and feeling healthy and empowered are just part of creating a beautiful life.

What is your favorite tip or motivation for staying active and getting your 10,000 steps a day?

Creating a beautiful life,



I am in not a health expert. Please consult your own physician for health or exercise advice. This is just what I am doing. I repeat. I am just sharing what I am doing. I am no spring chick and have a few health issues and am just adding what I feel able to do to my daily routine.

Affiliate link included. This is what helps me to be able to afford to take time to write for you. My reviews will be honest, whether they are good or bad. I just like to share what works for me and what doesn’t.

Enjoy the Little Things…One Day You May Realize They Were the Big Things

Enjoy the little things,
for one day you may look back and realize
they were the big things.
– Robert Brault

I have come to realize this past year, when out of the blue I could barely use my hands for most of the year, how much we take for granted. I am ridiculously happy that I can do small things with my hands again. I wonder what life would be like if we got ridiculously happy about all of the small things (which are really the big things) that we take for granted every day. I never thought twice about being able to use my hands, not to mention how wonderful it is when they are not screaming in pain 24/7. It made me realize how much I take for granted every day.  I began to look at everything differently. I want to not only be thankful, I want to celebrate. Because that is what it feels like when you really fully appreciate something. Everything. You are ridiculously happy. Overjoyed. So I am celebrating every little thing that is so easily taken for granted every day.

Many of the things we complain about like exercising or cleaning house are things that some would give anything to be able to do.

And one of the things that I am celebrating this year is that I can do these things again. I do not want to take one tiny bit of it for granted. So I am exercising and back to a regular cleaning routine (for most things), and it feels great. On a particularly busy day with cleaning and grocery shopping, I was ridiculously happy that I could do these things again. You just have no idea.

So my new thing for exercising is getting in 10,000 steps a day. And I am doing it!  A big help for this was when I traded my Striiv for a Fitbit, so be prepared. There are going to be a few article about this. I am just so excited and want to share with others how I have been able to do it in case there are others who want to do it.

This is how I am celebrating my health and what I am able to do…I am doing all the things I can, and I feel like throwing a party when I do.

So while it may seem like a fitness blog here for a little while, I can assure you it is not. It is just me celebrating after a difficult year. Celebrating, exercising, and feeling healthy and empowered are just part of creating a beautiful life.

Enjoy the Little Things Quote

Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things. – Robert Brault

What are you taking for granted that you could be celebrating today? Stop and really think for one moment what it would be like to lose some of the wonderful blessings we take for granted every day.

Creating a beautiful life,