California Dreamin’

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin 

Click to Twitter_logo_blue

Hello from Los Angeles!

One of our Women on Fire aspirations is that we dedicate ourselves to learn new things as we move toward our vision, goals, and dreams.

I’ve been in California this week to attend a television training in Hollywood.

Each year, I allocate a set amount of money for my education to learn new skills or brush up on my old ones.

So this has been one of my “education weeks.” (Although I’m always learning something every single day from the Women on Fire in my life! 😉

How about you?

To keep yourself fresh, updated and moving forward toward your dream, do you know what you need or want to learn? Do you have a plan and a budget for your learning?

If not, I hope you’ll consider adding an education plan into your own life — and see what happens for you!

Angela Ittu, Lillian Jensen, Christa Eagleton, Beth Rose, Cristiana Simpson, Debbie Phillips, and Becky Adams

The best part of my California trip, however, was to spend an evening with a few of our West Coast monthly members at the elegant and chic Hollywood hotel – The Redbury.

It’s always my dream-come-true when you meet each other or reconnect to each other at these kinds of gatherings!

There is something so special about the connection and energy when you meet another Woman on Fire in person.

Shannon McCaffery described it best when she said Women on Fire gatherings are “like coming home.”

In California, we laughed, we got teary a few times, and we laughed some more. We relished our time – and our journeys in life together.

What was particularly inspiring is that a number of women were meeting each other for the first time – but you would never have known it!  When like-hearted women meet up, there is magic.

(Photo by Beth Rose)

Along the way, I hope to see you in person!

If you know of another Woman on Fire near you, I hope you’ll consider reaching out to her this week. And make a date to see her in person!

You never know what could happen.  It’s highly likely though that you’ll learn something new – and be uplifted in the process!

Have a great week. And, I will see Women on Fire monthly members in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday!


Debbie Signature

Spark Copy opt in box for blog


Links That Light Us Up

36th Edition

Hello, Women on Fire!

We are back with some more fabulous links to get your weekend started!  🙂

Best Spuds—These potato skins have an Italian twist, thanks to Kristin Porter of Iowa Girl Eats, and we couldn’t be more excited to make these all summer long. Girl Eats

Best Brain Food—The key to success is lifelong learning, so why not dabble in one of these Top 10 free online course sites?

Top 10 free education websites to expand your horizons via Goodnet

Best Life Changing Product—If you aren’t on the coconut train just yet, this article will convince you to hop on!

76 Genius Ways to use Coconut Oil via GreatistGreatist

Best Indoor Plants—Cupcakes and Cashmere has created another genius how-to guide for succulents!

Succulent Tips from Cupcakes and CashmereCupcakes and Cashmere

Best Painted Ladies—If you appreciate fine art, this clip is a must watch!

Best Inspirational Instagrams—Besides our own Instagram account 🙂 we think @aoadnow has really got this inspiration thing down!

Acting on A Dream instagram #aoadnow@aoadnow

Best Vocabulary Lesson—Anjana Iyer has illustrated 23 words that don’t exist in the English language, and we think you are going to have as much fun with this list as we did.

23 Illustrations of untraslatable word from other language by Anjana Iyer

Best Fun Facts—Any SNL fans still out there? We loved getting to know the leading ladies with this fun article from Cosmopolitan Magazine.

32 things you didn't know about the Women of SNLCosmopolitan

We hope these links light up your weekend, and make sure to let us know what’s lighting you up lately online!  🙂


The Women on Fire Team

Banish this word!

If you’re joining us for the first time, welcome.

Women on Fire is the place where women inspire women to learn, to share ups and downs, and to cheer each other on.  We are thrilled you’re in this circle of love and support!

One of the hallmarks of being a Woman on Fire is that we are aware of our powerful impact on others, and today I want to shine a light on a single word that hinders conversation and, in fact, can stop the flow of it right in its tracks.

We all know our word choices can influence and create meaning, especially for women who pride themselves to respond thoughtfully and caringly.

The offending word I’m about to mention deflates instead of enhances someone’s life.  It’s frequently offered up as a “compliment” or accompanied by a “just teasing.”

It’s a word that has the power to pull the rug right out from under another’s achievement, joy, excitement, or accomplishment.

*This week’s Pinspiration*

Pin To Share The Love

Find out on the blog at

The word is JEALOUS.

You see it all of the time on social media.  And you hear it frequently when you tell someone your good news.

“Going to Aruba next week!”


“I landed my dream-come-true job and I still can’t believe it.”


“Having a long-awaited-for day off!”


These were actual examples taken recently from Facebook.

And to be technical about it, jealous isn’t even correctly used.  Most people mean they envy what you have or get to do.

Jealousy means fear of losing something you have to someone or something else as in “I’m jealousy guarding my vacation time.” Envy means that you want something that someone else has.

So, how do you feel when you eagerly announce something you’re proud of, are excited about, or are looking forward to  — and someone responds “I’m jealous.”?

It doesn’t feel good. It takes away from the joy. The conversation falls flat because what do you say to that?

And, that’s just one side of it.  It goes even deeper. The person who responds by saying she’s “jealous” is deflated, too.  Using that word energetically creates a distance between desire and believing you can truly have it.

By saying you’re jealous or envious, you set up yourself to believe good things happen to other people.  Not you.

I only raise this because as Women on Fire we are here to positively impact the world by uplifting it.

And, you deserve to have your successes and joys celebrated and supported – fully and with great enthusiasm!  No sideways responses accepted.

So, what do you say to someone when they respond to your joy or success by telling you they are “jealous”?  Please go to our blog and tell us what you’d say to them!

Having language to handle a situation like this is one of the best ways Women on Fire share the wealth of wisdom that runs deep in our community.  I look so forward to hearing your thoughts.

Have a great week and I’ll see you next week!

I’m off to celebrate the 80th birthday on April 9 of my amazing mother, who is Women on Fire member #000001! For more information about our monthly membership program, click here.

Don’t forget to leave your comment here.


Debbie Signature

Our special guest interview for April is…

Each month, our founder Debbie Phillips interviews an inspiring expert for monthly members.  If you’re not yet a member, please be our guest and listen in today for free to a clip of Debbie’s upcoming, candid interview with America’s foremost etiquette expert, Peggy Post.

She is the great-granddaughter-in-law of Emily Post, the definitive voice of American etiquette. Peggy is also an author, media personality and director of The Emily Post Institute.

Simply press PLAY on the image below to listen to a brief audio clip (2:36) of this fun and informative interview.

In the full interview, you’ll receive answers to questions such as:

  • How to make an introduction even when you can’t remember names
  • Email etiquette
  • Timelines for thank-you, condolence and follow-up notes
  • Wedding gift and shower guidelines for first and “encore” marriages
  • How to teach manners to children
  • The best way to help people observe rules in your home
  • And much, much more!

If you are already a monthly member, enjoy this sneak preview. You’ll receive the full interview package in your mailbox in early April.

If you aren’t yet a member and would like to receive the full interview with Peggy Post, along with personalized coaching materials, access to our monthly live video coaching call/chat with Debbie Phillips and many more benefits, I invite you to join us TODAY!

Click here to register to receive April’s monthly membership package. You only have 24 hours left to register to receive the full interview with Peggy Post. Registration ends on March 25, 2014.

Don’t miss out on this dynamic interview with tips and inspiration to help you become your very best!

Dreams that come true!

Five days and counting until the Women on Fire retreat! Next week at this time Women on Fire from 25 states will have come together in Naples, Florida for our annual gathering.  With as strong of an online and virtual community as we have, why is important to meet in person?

*This week’s Pinspiration*

*Pin to Share the Love*

Inspiration from Women on Fire-

I’ll tell you!  But first…

Beautiful bride Lara Licharowicz (Photo by Holly Getty)

It is my joy to highlight a beloved Woman on Fire member whose dream for a partner in life came true over the weekend.  Lara Licharowicz, the enormously talented founder of The Lara Touch, married Joe Riggio on February 22 at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

How gorgeous is this of the newlywed couple after the service? There was much fun all around with several Women on Fire sisters in attendance. Best wishes to you, Lara and Joe!

Women on Fire celebrating with the bride: Holly Getty, JoAnn Gwynn, Terri Cole

Speaking of dreams that come true, getting together in person with other Women on Fire is always one of mine!  The retreat coming up this week is the fifth one we’ve held since I started Women on Fire a decade ago to bring women together to uplift each other.

And while most of the time we at Women on Fire stay connected virtually through Facebook, email and the blog, studies show there are benefits to meeting in person.  (Take note if you work in a company that is virtual!)

In the busyness of life, it’s a challenge to get a 100 women together in one place!  And it is a credit to each attendee for investing in herself to take this time for herself.

Studies show that you can build relationships virtually but it takes longer. Meeting in person inspires trust, positive emotions, and it builds relationships. There’s even proof that meeting in person is healthy! Connecting with other people in real-time, real-life releases oxytocin (the feel-good hormone). And who doesn’t need a little dose of that on occasion?

While you may not be able to join us in person this year, please know you will be with us in Naples. Please follow along on Facebook — on the Women on Fire group page —  or if you are a monthly member on the private Women on Fire page.  Also, on Twitter at #wofretreat2014

If you are headed to the retreat …

Safe travels — whether across the country or across town — and I can’t wait to give you a big hug!

Have a wonderful week, everybody ~


Debbie Signature

Valentine’s Day? How about drive-by kindness?

It’s the week of Valentine’s Day!

*This week’s Pinspiration*

*Pin this to share the love*

Love is not just a feeling but a set of actions- womenonfire

If you’re dreading February 14, sad because you don’t have a romantic partner – or you want to shake things up from the usual candy, card, flowers, dinner — today’s  SPARK! is for you.

But first …

According to Wikipedia, Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages when the tradition of courtly love flouris


In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“).

Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

And that brings us to today – to create a modern Valentine’s Day for everyone to partake in!

To me, Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder to show your love in some way and to as many people as you want.  A romantic interest is not required.  February 14 becomes then like the chime on your cell phone.

Ding, ding, who is it I want to surprise in some beautiful and unexpected way to show them how much I care?

In our household, “valentines” also have given way to what my husband Rob and I call “drive-by kindnesses.” They aren’t limited to February 14.  In fact, every day can be Valentine’s Day!

15 ways to practice drive-by kindnes- womenonfires

Here are some drive-by kindnesses I’ve recently witnessed:

  • Leaving waiter a tip — and a $25 gift card
  • Leaving waitress a tip — and a lottery ticket
  • Leaving waitress a tip — and a special silver coin (worth $50!)
  • Traveler paying for airline maintenance crew’s breakfast in Dunkin’ Donuts line
  • Mother in a coffee shop handing over diapers to a stranger — another mother she noticed was caught up short with her baby
  • Friend providing one month’s rent to one of her colleagues through an anonymous giving program
  • Neighbor handing out bottles of water (and cookies) to thirsty lawn crews, UPS and FedEx delivery drivers
  • A Woman on Fire member paying the tuition for another woman to attend the upcoming retreat!

The list is inspiringly endless. I know you, too, have witnessed and been the provider of these random acts of love.

Being the recipient of drive-by kindnesses can have a transformative effect, as I’ve experienced, including one just this morning!

  • Sunburst Café owner and friend Jerome Tocio (whose very wonderful wife Theresa is a Women on Fire member) sent me a note: “Thought of you this morning when I was grinding the Almond Joy coffee.”  Along with his card? A bag of my very favorite, freshly ground Almond Joy coffee! (See photo above:-)
  • A gorgeous bouquet of pink peonies handed to me while I was browsing in a florist shop, courtesy of an unidentified somebody!
  • My goddaughter Julia leaving me little surprise treats in the kitchen after I’d been working in my office all day.
  • The heart-melting cards, notes, posts and emails I receive daily telling me what Women on Fire means to you.
  • My 79-year-old mother’s happy, encouraging notes. (She texts!)
  • The incredibly generous friend whose oil painting I’d long admired, packed it up in her car, brought it to our home, and helped us place it on the perfect  wall.
  • Our elderly neighbor arriving at our door, a freshly baked pineapple upside-down cake in her hands — for us.

These drive-by kindnesses throughout the year fill my heart fuller and wider than a million Valentine’s Day presents.

In our most recent Women on Fire membership interview, well-known psychotherapist Dr. Norman Shub reminds us what romance is truly about:

“Love in you grows by making the other person important. It’s the investment in the other that intensifies your feelings. Unfortunately, in our world, we are trained to think, “Am I getting what I want?”

“We’re not trained to be the best partner (and friend) we can be. Love is not just a feeling; it’s also a way of acting.”


So this single day of celebrating love — February 14 — must not become a day where some people are left to feel less than or left out of – or worse, a day that is obligatory and boring.

Instead, Valentine’s Day — and any other day — can become your own special day to give the unexpected love and joy of a drive-by kindness! Who in your life will you make important by giving such a gift to?

Drive-by kindnesses also don’t have to even cost time or money. Consider this from my dear friend, author Marianne Williamson:

“If everyone took one minute daily to close their eyes and silently bless every other living thing, love and light would sanctify the world.”

May your week be filled with love and light,

Debbie Signature

What is a Woman on Fire? (a little quiz)

Whenever I first meet or am introduced to someone they often smile, then laugh, and ask — “what is a woman on fire?”

*This week’s Pinspiration*

Pin to Share the Love

Are you a Woman on Fire? Find out at

Because you may be new here, and it’s a good reminder for the rest of us, I thought we might talk today about the aspirations of being a woman on fire. And even give you a little quiz to see how you’re doing on getting there!

But first …

A cheering section gathered last week to celebrate another Woman on Fire’s accomplishment of one of her dreams — and I want to give everyone a big shout out!

Author Linda Yellin surrounded by some of the Women on Fire who attended: Holly Getty, Heike Vogel, Janina Serden Sebesky and Sarah Elizabeth Greer. (Photo by Christine Butler)

Author and writer Linda Yellin marked the recent release of her latest book What Nora Knew with a book signing attended by more than 200 people at Barnes and Noble in New York City. Her loudest cheers undoubtedly came from her Women on Fire sisters.

It was a special event for not only the arrival of the book, but for the relief felt with the positive news of Linda’s full recovery from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Linda, whose humor never flagged, wrote about her experience here in More Magazine.  

Linda’s support team: Leah Branstetter, Sarah Elizabeth Greer, Janina Serden Sebesky and Heike Vogel. (Photo by Holly Getty)

What an inspiration you are, Linda, for staying strong and steady and positive throughout your treatment — all while birthing a book!

And thank you to all Women on Fire who braved the cold to heat up Barnes and Noble with your enthusiasm and support for Linda’s success.

So what is the answer to “what is a woman on fire?”

To start, being a woman on fire is a mindset, an attitude, and a set of skills.

Below are 10 of our 20 Women on Fire aspirations. How would you measure your level of fulfillment on each them?

On a scale of 1-10, with one being “not at all” to 10 being “completely inspired or fulfilled,” where do you fall on your own scale of meeting these aspirations? Mark your number beside each one.

  • I cheer on the successes of other women
  • I invest in myself and my potential
  • I embrace and celebrate my talents and achievements
  • I know when and how to ask for help
  • I give — and accept — love and support
  • I am clear and direct with kindness and compassion
  • I have a positive attitude (at least 90% of the time!)
  • I’m always working to improve myself
  • I am aware of my powerful impact on others
  • I believe there is plenty in this world for me!

Your answers will reveal what you need to know.

Which of these aspirations needs your attention?

Which aspirations (the ones with high numbers) may be very special gifts of yours — and how widely are you sharing them?

What would working on these aspirations do for your work and life?

I hope you will create a plan for yourself to move your score even just one number higher. It will make a difference for you.

In my nearly two decades as a life and executive coach, coaching thousands of women, I’ve seen and experienced personal mastery of these aspirations directly lead to more fulfilling, successful lives and greater peace of mind.

I hope you had a SUPER weekend! (Even though I’m a total sports illiterate, I love the idea of a SUPER anything;-)

Mostly, I wish you a super wonderful life!

Thank you for being here. Together, we’re moving our lives forward in a big way.

Big hugs and lots of love,

Debbie Signature

Links That Light Us Up

22nd Edition

Hello Woman on Fire!!

TGIF!!! We hope you have big plans for the weekend, whether that includes spending time with friends or relaxing at home. But before Friday is officially over let’s get straight to the links 🙂

Best Girlfriends Getaway- It’s that time of year!! Registration for the annual Women on Fire retreat- Ignite Your Life and Soar 2014, opens next Monday, November 25, 2013. We have limited spots so make sure to register early!

Save The Date Women on Fire Retreat 2014

Best Impulse Buys- This list is pure genius, we don’t even have words. Check out the 24 clothing items by Peggy Wang from Buzzfeed.

24 Genius Clothing Items Every Girl Needs by Peggy Wang from BuzzfeedPeggy Wang

Best Brain- Are you a lefty or a righty? Take the 30 second test from Sommer + Sommer to find out.

The 30 Second Brain TestSommer + Sommer

Best Insta Artist- @Cintascotch is taking Instagram art to the next level. We were immediately drawn to the photo below for obvious reasons… P.S Paris Registration opens December 2nd, are you on the list?

Best Instagram @cintascotch@Cintascotch

Best Roasted Brussels– Our resident chef and favorite food blogger Phoebe Lapine of Feed Me Phoebe has crafted an absolute masterpiece with our favorite vegetable — brussels sprouts!! She even went the extra mile and paired them with Gruyere and toast- DELICIOUS!

Brussel Sprouts and Gruyere Toast from

Best Winter Tune- If you need a break from Christmas carols in the coming months but still want a winter theme, try this tune from Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. It’s appropriately titled “Winter Song.”

Best Body Double- Need to run some errands but don’t have the time? Check out this new app called Postmates and find someone to run to the drugstore, pick up groceries and grab your dry cleaning all with the click of a button.
Postmates - The best NEW task request appPostMates

Best ‘You Go, Girl’- We announced this on our instagram months ago when it was first released, but are happy to report that Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey and Sally Ride were all officially awarded their Presidential Medal of Freedom this week! #yougogirls

Cheers to these Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients

We hope these links brought some light into the end of your week! Let us know if anything is lighting you up on the web 🙂


The Women on Fire team

P.S. Did you miss last week’s links? Check them out here!