What No One Tells You!!

Josh lost his wedding ring in the ocean in Cabo six months after we were married while playing football with my brothers.

I made him go up to a six or seven year old nearby and ask to use his goggles to jump in the ocean to look for it. 

It’s one of our favorite stories to tell.

But what’s more telling to us now is first realizing quickly that a ring wasn’t so important and that two — we very much wanted to keep the goodness of our dating and young married life going. It had been four years and now another six months that we had enjoyed so much.

We did buy Josh a new ring eventually, but this time we engraved a question inside to help keep us connecting (chatting, talking, listening ~ being happy together).

We didn’t know it then, but still today 17 years later, our happiness together feels equal to how much we talk and share and decide to do new things or keep doing the old things.

The question engraved was: “How Good’s This?” (we tell this story in the first episode of our podcast on iTunes with the same name). And what we said was basically this: “Let’s keep asking ourselves this question and if, at any point (even during the hard times), we can’t answer with any version of ‘pretty damn good’, we have more work to do. We have more communication or conversation to share in or, generally, more effort to put into whatever area of the relationship that wasn’t currently allowing us to say it.”

We’ve asked ourselves the question for a long time and it’s done a good job at keeping us honest. It’s also kept us working (another way to say aware) and enjoying (the whole fruits of your labor phenomenon).

“Good” marriages aren’t meant to be “perfect”, nor are they necessarily a symbol of people coasting or not having to recommit to new or next level growth.

What no one tells you about partnership early on (or about anything you want to be successful at) is that it’s all about recommitment. Commitment is nice, but it’s the recommitment daily that keeps it growing.

Reminders like this inscription of your love, devotion and/or of the work you get to put in help, too; it can help make it feel loads playful.

Josh never did like that I made him scour the ocean floor (and with goggles too small to fit his face), but we would have never met “how good’s this?” and it’s been so GOOD to us.

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

No Regrets, Open This (a note about our moms)

Today is Mother’s Day. 
(Why not?).

I attended a Sangha early this morning with nine strangers. We talked about our mothers amongst other meditative things.

We had been told beforehand to bring a photo of our mother so I did…well, it’s this one of the two of us in Napa on a bike ride (it had been one year since Dino had passed).

I wanted to share the following excerpt from a piece from Thich Nhat Hahn shared with us today because I trust it might move you and love you and the special nurturer in your life way up.

I’ve added another photo that I love of us below in the comments. Feel free to indulge yourself (and me 
(-:) by sharing a photo of your mother or nurturer, living or passed, too. I’d love to see it and have you share in this honoring).

Scrolling through Facebook these days, it’s those photos — of us with our moms (or dads) — that I always stop to comment on. xo

Mother’s Day.

It’s a mother’s day.


“Mother is a boundless source of love, an inexhaustible treasure. But unfortunately, we sometimes forget. A mother is the most beautiful gift life offers us. Those of you who still have your mother near, please don’t wait for her death to say, “My God, I have lived beside my mother all these years without ever looking closely at her.”

Just brief glances, a few words exchanged asking for a little pocket money or one thing or another. You cuddle up to her to get warm, you sulk, you get angry with her. Throughout her life we expect her to cook, wash, and clean up after us, while we think only about our grades and our careers.

Only when she is no longer there do we realize that we have never been conscious of having a mother.

If I were to have any advice, it would be this: Tonight, when you return from school or work or, if you live far away, the next time you visit your mother, you may wish to go into her room and, with a calm and silent smile, sit down beside her. Without saying anything, make her stop working. Then, look at her for a long time, look at her deeply. Do this in order to see her, to realize that she is there, she is alive, beside you. Take her hand and ask her one short question to capture her attention, “Mother, do you know something?” She will be a little surprised and will probably smile when she asks you, “What, dear?” Keep looking into her eyes, smiling serenely, and say, “Do you know that I love you?” Ask this question without waiting for an answer.

Even if you are thirty or forty years old, or older, ask her as the child of your mother. Your mother and you will be happy, conscious of living in eternal love. Then tomorrow, when she leaves you, you will have no regrets.”

~ A Rose For Your Pocket,
Thich Nhat Hanh 


Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

Who I Dedicated THIS To…(xo!!!)

I’m celebrating 17 years this week inside what I confusingly call a business, but that is that and much more.

17! 🎉

The thing I feel the most peace around with this anni can be expressed by sharing this: the other day at the Sausalito Art Festival, an art installation asked passersby to write what their dream job was on a post it.

There were 50, 60, 70 post-it notes on the wall. The uniqueness in the answers was inspiring.

“The one I have” was my answer and contribution to the wall.

There are, of course, larger goals on my writing timeline and inside continuing to help women reinvent and integrate all of who they are inside their chosen work and inside their brand expressions (make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand), but this work is (right) for me.

I attempted for eight years before these 17 to make myself into a shape that didn’t fully allow for what I was best at. The last 17 have been different. There’s been no contorting, just expanding.

Last Saturday, I made sure I tapped my Dad on the shoulder to show him what I wrote. I think in showing him, I also knew I was sharing it with my Mom, who, besides Dino, was my biggest fan (Nolan, on the other hand, told me earlier this week that he wouldn’t want to do what I do, but that he might enjoy Papa’s work). 😆

To each his own.

And that’s the point.

I think of what I specifically want for Nolan and it’s for him to find and express more of himself, and as unapologetically as possible inside the work he chooses to devote time to in his life (work that ultimately if it’s meaningful to him, will choose him).

It could be one career, two, three…it doesn’t matter as long as he feels his contribution does.

How we feel our lives matter makes work feel like something different than the word implies.

I’m dedicating this anniversary to my Mom.

Thank you, Nancy Motta Ghilotti, for making choices to express your own fuller [true creative self] by finally deciding to leave a situation that ultimately helped land me right here in this moment, about to pick Nolan up from school in this corner of the world that I enjoy so much.

It was your strength, along with Oma’s nudging, that ignited my fire and birthed this life that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Thank you for being my cheerleader and my Creative Heroine, the woman who moves from problem to solution to express to the world who she *really* is.

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur 

Unapologetic is a Strategy (“are you an artist?”, he asked me)

Are you an artist? he asked me. 

My answer and the two beliefs/acts that bring the biggest reward (or allow you fast entry into festivals). 

Did you catch my latest livestream? HERE she is!

Make happiness your business by creating your authentic brand…enjoy your business, enjoy your life! 

Life is good,

Michelle Ghilotti
Success Designer, Brand Activator & Social Entrepreneur