This is it. 365 Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself, one for every day of the year written by the folks at Mark and Angel Hack Life. I made it a bucket list challenge to spend one year reaching into the depths of my soul to answer all of these, sometimes difficult, thought provoking questions that are designed to inspire self-discovery, empowerment and happiness. Will you take the challenge?

365 Deep & Thought Provoking Questions to Ask Yourself (& Others)

1. When was the last time you tried something new?

Just a few days ago my husband and I made Cognac Whole Grain Mustard for the first time and last night I tried a yummy new wine, Francis Ford Coppolas Reserve Syrah.

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

When I compare myself to people, it is usually the ones that have acquired something that I desire. For example, I will watch Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and see what makes him so popular, so that I can gain knowledge for when I write my weird food bucket lists. Though, I usually do this in a “I want to learn from the masters” sort of way, not through jealousy…okay maybe a teensy weensy bit of jealousy.

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?

“Live in the present, forget about the past and don’t worry about the future.” I believe that one major key to happiness is living in the present, now if I could just completely master doing it!

On top of a mountain in central Greece

4. What gets you excited about life?

I am excited every time I am planning to have a new experience. It doesn’t matter if it is traveling to an exotic location, eating a weird food or attempting a new adventure. It is the time that I am the happiest.

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

I actually had previously answered this one in a previous post What I Know For SureControl only relates to you. You can only control yourself, no one else (damn). This has been a hard, tortuous, agonizing lesson to learn. Doesn’t everyone know that if they did it my way that life would be perfect?

6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?

I wish I spent more time simplifying my life instead of just accumulating “stuff”. Now, I will be spending the next five years getting rid of the crap that I thought would enhance it, but has only complicated it.

RELATED: 21 Ways to Simplify Your Life

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?

I learned a long time ago that when you are nervous about having conversations with people, just ask them a lot of questions about themselves, because ourselves is our favorite topic. So, I am typically pretty inquisitive. But, I also have an extremely curious nature that leads me to borderline annoy people with my interrogations.

8. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?

I love my family, friends and husband, but I am willing to admit that I do not do enough about it! I have definitely fallen into the “taking the people you love for granted” and need to work on expressing how I feel.

RELATED: Couples Bucket List: 23 Must-Do Experiences

Annette & Pete White at Glass Beach in Fort Bragg Mendocino

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

That, for the most part, we create our destiny and it is not determined by “fate”. The decisions we make and opportunities we take are what create our lives.

10. Thought provoking questions: What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

Make a loaf of Focaccia from scratch, do the “Cupid Shuffle” line dance and make a homemade beauty cleanser from scratch.

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?

I don’t necessarily think it’s a sign of either. It is simply an emotion that is felt when people feel sad, happy or scared.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Sell everything, travel the world and live in flip-flops, jeans and a tank top.

Annette White in Nice, France

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?

Not nearly enough, though I try to live in a state of gratitude most of the time. Right now I am working on celebrating my 8 year old, rusty and door dinged Mitsubishi. It is taking a lot of effort on my part!

RELATED: Being Grateful: 100 Things to Be Thankful For Today

14. What is the difference between living and existing?

Existing is allowing the events in life to control you were as living is controlling the events in your life.

15. If not now, then when?

It is now. If not, it is actively as soon as possible!

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?

Saw the Dinosaurs of Spanishtown, made Cognac Mustard and ate Rabbit!

17. What does your joy look like today?

Today my joy came in the form of a little brown-eyed beauty queen (my niece) who I asked to make the sound that an owl makes. She replied, “Hoot…Hoooootttt! And I caught it all on video.

18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?

Absolutely, through body language, expressions and the eyes. Silence can be a lie. You can also lie to yourself with your thoughts. Are we all just big, fat liars?

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?

One short social outing and that’s just because I am overly polite! I once did an exercise where for one week I wrote down every negative thing I said to myself and if any of my friends or family would say those things to me they would be history! I can’t imagine any of them saying “your cellulite is looking especially bad today” or “why the heck would you write a blog, nobody wants to hear what you have to say.”

20. Thought provoking questions: Which activities make you lose track of time?

Blogging, most new experiences, eating at a great restaurant with friends and planning amazing adventures.

Prosciutto and Melon at Hirondelle Restaurant in Monaco

21. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Easy peasy, I would teach people how to step out of their box and create new experiences for themselves everyday.

22. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

I would regret if I didn’t feel like I made a sincere effort to follow my passion and use it to create the career of my dreams.

23. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?

yes…I’ll tell ya after I do ;)

24. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

Looking back on a life filled with memories, experiences and love. Not having regrets for the things I never did, just being grateful for taking the opportunities that were presented to me.

25. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?

When you decide it’s time! I believe I am a good person. I believe I know right from wrong. Still, I sometimes question my actions based on rewards and risk. Stopping…right now!!!!

Annette Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

26. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Early 30ish. I seem to bond with people that age best, possibly because we are still motivated to accomplish all our goals. It also seems to be the perfect age where you feel like an adult, but still young enough to make stupid learning mistakes!

27. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

Possibly a misdemeanor, probably not a felony :)
It’s not that my heart wouldn’t want to, it’s just that I get nervous jaywalking.

28. What makes you smile?

Puppies, great food, laughing babies, hearing “I Love You” from someone I love and new experiences.

29. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Unfortunately, I have said…a lot! Which means that I have absolutely said more than I have done, but I have done a freakin’ lot! Just take a peek at all the checks on my bucket list…But, I am no where near done yet!

30. Thought provoking questions: If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Life is unpredictable and now is the time to lie your dreams, have new experiences and inspire others. Take at least a baby step to your goals everyday.

31. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

Oh Crap! I would probably be dead right now and that would be just terrible…too much left to do! I would concentrate more on creating memorable experiences, rather than acquiring “things”.

Annette White Hugging a Redwood in Mendocino County, Northern California

32. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?

We all have the ability to choose whether we want to live a happy, optimistic life or a sad, gloomy one. We have the ability to perceive things in a positive or negative light.

33. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which teaches people the importance of being present. Eckhart believes that living in the now is the truest path to happiness. Follow that book up with Tolles’ A New Earth and high school kids will be on a path to enlightenment. Not that they really care about anything else but cars, dating and parties!

34. Would you rather have less work or more work you actually enjoy doing?

Both…I am a dreamer after all.

35. What is important enough to go to war over?

Protecting the people of our Country.

36. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Of course never trying, because if you try you did not fail.

37. When was the last time you listened to the sound of your own breathing?

This morning. I try to start my day with a quick one minute meditation while lying in bed. I follow that by listing five things I am grateful for. It’s a great way to start your day before your feet even touch the ground and the chaos begins.

38. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

View life. I believe that just about anything is possible and I am constantly trying to achieve something.

Annette's Bucket List Check at Pacaya Volcano Guatemala

39. What does ‘The American Dream’ mean to you?

Designing your life instead of letting it take control of you. Creating many memorable experiences and inspiring others.

40. Thought provoking questions: Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

A joyful simpleton, because I have learned that ignorance is, most of the time, bliss.

41. If you could instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would you give?

Don’t take life too seriously, live in the present and, as trite as it may sound, do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. Yes, I know that was more than “one piece” of advice, but since I’m the one doing the writing…

42. What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

Having a sense of curiosity. I’m not sure that this is the most desirable trait ever, but it is the one that is speaking loudly to me today.

43. What are you most grateful for?

That I have the capacity to learn and experience.

44. Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?

I would have to hesitantly say “yes”, unless EVERY other possibility for feeding the child has been exhausted.

45. What do you want most?

Right now, to simplify my life and concentrate more on creating amazing experiences.

Annette White learning to surf in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica

46. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Definitely doing the right things. I now know that perfection is a myth, so I am more concerned about not breaking the law or hurting peoples feelings ;)

47. What has life taught you recently?

That it is unpredictable, that people you trust will disappoint you and that the one key to happiness is being confident that you will survive no matter what life has to throw at you.

48. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?

I wish that all people, whether they be politicians, world leaders or family, would embrace and accept each others differences. Yea, yea…I know that’s never going to happen.

49. Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere. The beach, reading other travel blogs, with inside myself, movies or television shows, from people who are successful at their passion, etc… Your mind just has to be open to seeking out the positive benefits in any scenario you are in.

50. Thought provoking questions: Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?

Filled with learning and new experiences.

51. If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Because there is a misconception that perfection exists in every situation. People, unfortunately, are not perfect. Yes…I know…that sucks.

52. What impact do you want to leave on the world?

I hope that I will be remembered as an adventurous woman who experienced life to the fullest and inspired people to do the same.

Annette White at Essa School in Tanzania Africa

53. What is the most defining moment of your life thus far?

I have to admit that, even though I have been writing this post for over two weeks, I saved this question for last. Can you really just pick ONE moment, because I have had several in each chapter of my life? So, here goes me vomiting my blatant honesty: A grandmothers death, a family member getting sober, a “16-year sober” family member getting drunk, an infidelity, seeing a man I love cry, seeing a child in pain, visiting a drug addict relative in jail, knowing that I am the only one I can truly trust (& maybe not even 100%), admitting to having anxiety and overcoming.

54. In the haste of your daily life, what are you not seeing?

My husbands need for my affection, my mothers need to spend time with her only daughter and the everyday laughter of my young niece. Ouch…that was just a very painful realization.

55. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Because we have complicated our lives with attempting to keep up with the “Joneses” and now we have to work our butts off to pay for it. Many of us are just “too tired” to try something new and too overwhelmed to take on the new task of finding our passion. Oh…and because, television has helped to fill the void by occupying our free time with watching people living the lives we should be (no, I am not just talking about The Real Housewives of…wherever!).

56. What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?

Puppies breath, babies laughter, any new experience and sinking my toes in the sand while watching the waves crash against the shore.

The Beach at the Ritz

57. Have you ever regretted something you did not say or do?

I don’t have too many regrets because I try to live in the present moment and not think to much about the past. With that said, there are still times that I wish I could be more expressive about how I feel to the people that I love. It’s a work in progress…just like me :)

58. Has your greatest fear ever come true?

Nope and having suffered from anxiety in the past, I had a butt-load of them! I have been working for several years on retraining my mind to not obsess over things that have not happened and stay in the present. Though I sometimes fail (like whenever I am flying), I try to worry about the bad things as they hit.

59. Why do we think of others the most when they’re gone?

Because you don’t have the ability to create anymore memories with them, so you are forced to relive the ones you already had.

60. What is your most beloved childhood memory?

I have a fond memory of sitting at my grandmothers kitchen table and “helping” her to make homemade pasta. Growing up in a loud and mostly chaotic Italian family, this memory captures a rare peaceful time. Answering this question has made me realize that I do regret not telling my grandmother how much I loved her (see #57) and now I am forced to relive the beautiful memories I have (#59).

61. Is it more important to love or be loved?

To love, because then you have more of an opportunity to be loved back.

62. If it all came back around to you, would it help you or hurt you?

Hopefully help, because I have always tried to be a good, honest woman. My intentions 99% of the time (you gotta give me the 1% rebel factor) are of that from a decent place. For Heavens sake, I cry watching Kleenex commercials!

63. If you had the chance to go back in time and change one thing would you do it?

Spend more time with my grandmother learning more about her childhood and Italian traditions.

64. If a doctor gave you five years to live, what would you try to accomplish?

I would systematically go through my bucket list, accomplish every goal on it and bring all my family & friends along for the ride!

Ride a Zipline 2 (Annette Renee White)

65. What is the difference between falling in love and being in love?

Falling in love is the butterflies in the stomach as you are learning more about a person and are excited by all the things that you are uncovering. Being in love is the feeling of unconditional support, companionship, contentment, deep affection and respect (bonus if you still get little flutters in your tummy).

66. Who do you think stands between you and happiness?

Only myself. I believe that we are in charge of our own happiness and we choose how we feel about most circumstances we are faced with. 95% of the time that I am not happy, it is because I have chosen to have a negative outlook that day.

67. What is the difference between innocence and ignorance?

Innocence is not having been exposed to the information to have an opinion, whereas, ignorance is choosing to ignore the information that is available to you.

68. What is the simplest truth you can express in words?

Living in the present moment is the key to happiness.

69. What gives your life meaning?

Achievement, love, inspiration, learning and experience.

70. Thought provoking questions: Can there be happiness without sadness? Pleasure without pain? Peace without war?

Yes, but if we never experience sadness or pain, we wouldn’t know how to identify our happiness or pleasure.

71. What’s the one thing you’d like others to remember about you at the end of your life?

That I lived life to the fullest, inspired others to do the same and was a good-spirited person.

Annette Renee White

72. Is there such a thing as perfect?

Perfection is a perception, just like beauty. If you think something is perfect or beautiful than it is. A flower that is missing a pedal or starting to shrivel may be seen as perfection to somebody. So, yes, perfection does exist, the definition just varies from person to person.

73. To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I am not a believer in fate, I believe that my choices have created my life in most situations. Every opportunity I have said “yes” to (or “No”), with a few uncontrollable factors thrown in, has led me to where I am today. I have always come from a place of “yes-I-can” (& “don’t-you-dare-tell-me-I-can’t”) and am motivated by knowing that I am the driver in my life.

74. What does it mean to be human?

To have an array of feelings, to develop personal relationships and to be able to ask “why”.

75. If you looked into the heart of your enemy, what do you think you would find that is different from what is in your own heart?

Ooh, that’s a tough one because I don’t feel like I have an enemy. But, I bet I would find the same thing that is in my heart, but just not the loving feeling towards me. Their happiness is probably just reserved for someone else.

76. What do you love most about yourself?

That I am not afraid to try…just about anything. My hunger is for experiencing new things and it is was I thrive off of.

Hugging Zebra on African Safari in Tanzania

77. Where would you most like to go and why?

At the moment, I am uber-obsessed with going to Africa. I have a fantasy of learning an African dance, going on a safari and riding an elephant.

78. Is it more important to do what you love or to Love what you are doing?

Trick question! Though I believe in thinking positively about whatever you are doing in your life, I also think that taking your passion and turning it into a career is life changing! So, by a thick, wavy hair, it is more important do what you love.

79. What do you imagine yourself doing ten years from now?

Having a simple life with the freedom to live and travel where I wish.

80. What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?

When I was competing to have a television show on Oprah’s Own Network, the support I got from the most unexpected people was overwhelming. I will never forget how they rooted, voted and spread the word for me.

81. What is your happiest childhood memory? What makes it so special?

I believe it’s the same answer as question #60:

60. What is your most beloved childhood memory?
I have a fond memory of sitting at my grandmothers kitchen table and “helping” her to make homemade pasta. Growing up in a loud and mostly chaotic Italian family, this memory captures a rare peaceful time. Answering this question has made me realize that I do regret not telling my grandmother how much I loved her (see #57) and now I am forced to relive the beautiful memories I have (#59).

82. Do you own your things or do your things own you?

A little bit of both, but I am consistently working on simplifying my life so that they don’t own me. Many years ago I thought my existence should be all about acquiring more. But, have now realized that with that “more” comes more responsibility, more debt and more stress. Now I actively pursue…less.

83. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

I would rather lose all of my old memories, though the thought of not remembering my grandmother truly breaks my heart. But, because so much of my life is about creating experiences that I can share with others, I’m not sure that I would be happy without being able to make new memories.

84. How do you deal with someone in a position of power who wants you to fail?

Prove them wrong.

85. What do you have that you cannot live without?

If we are talking deep here, then I couldn’t live without happiness and that comes in the form of friends, spirituality, love, learning, etc. If I am being on the shallow side, I would say eating out! Happy butterflies flutter in my tummy whenever I am going to have a meal at a new restaurant.

86. When you close your eyes what do you see?

Okay, I actually had to close my eyes to answer this one. Unfortunately, I see all the current and future days events unfolding like rapid-fire at the shooting range. But, more importantly, what I want to see is the serenity of the present moment.

87. What sustains you on a daily basis?

The thought that I could have a new experience, learn something or inspire someone. And butternut squash risotto.

88. What are your top five personal values?

Gratitude. Honesty. Simplicity. Experience. Inspiration.

89. Why must you love someone enough to let them go?

Because when you truly love someone you want them to be happy and sometimes that means without you.

90. of the thought provoking questions: Do you ever celebrate the green lights?

I just celebrated on my way home from the market. I opted to take the side streets instead of the freeway during commute traffic, which was a total crap shoot. I hit every green light on the way for five miles, I was practically high-fiving myself. And my lemon sorbet was happy too!

Annette White Ziplining over a Cenote in Mexico

91. What personal prisons have you built out of fears?

I vowed many years ago that I was not going to let fear hold me back from accomplishing goals. Which I have been mostly successful at doing. With that said, the one area I have a difficult time with is not letting fear hold me back from truly loving deeply. Call me crazy, but I will jump out of a plane, rappel into a cave & swim with stingrays, but saying “I Love You” scares the crap out of me. Yes…I probably need massive amounts of therapy.

92 What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

Just one? If I absolutely, positively have to choose I want travel to Africa to go on safari, ride an elephant and learn an African dance.

93. Why are you, you?

I am me because of my genetic makeup and my past experiences that created who I am today. Every little nook & cranny of me makes me unique from anyone else.

94. If you haven’t achieved it yet what do you have to lose?

The security of owning a successful business. My dream is to simplify my life and travel the world in order to check off EVERYTHING on my bucket list. The trick is going to be trying to figure out how to do it while still owning the restaurant that I love.

95. What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?

Eventful, rapid, life-changing

96. Is it ever right to do the wrong thing? Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?

Yes, if the “right thing” protects someone from being hurt, NOT in the deceitful I-did-something-wrong-but-need-to-protect-my-butt sort of way, but in the way that is sincerely meant to shelter the person from suffering.

97. How would you describe ‘freedom’ in your own words?

At this moment freedom translates to simplifying. Not being tied down by possessions, not letting them own me.

98.What is the most important thing you could do right now in your personal life?

Let go and succumb to the fact that I can not control the actions of any other person.

99. If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?

I would ask my grandmother if she had any regrets in her life.

Essa School Tanzania Africa

100. If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

Spending everyday having new experiences, exploring the world, learning, enjoying gastronomical adventures and inspiring others to step out of the box.

101. What is your number one goal for the next six months?

To take my writing to the next level, by creating a larger following and having more articles published.

102. Would you ever give up your life to save someone else?

I can’t imagine not giving my life up for my young niece who has not had a full life to live yet.

103. Are you happy with yourself?

Depends on the day. For the most part, I am proud of myself for all of the things I have accomplished and the person that I am. With that said, there are definitely times when I feel like I should be further along in life and during these times I need to take an inventory of my beliefs. I remember, not too long ago saying “if I only had xxx amount of blog followers” or “if my restaurant was only making xxx amount of money” then I would be happy and once that happened the bar was just set higher with no reward. The trick in my life has been learning how to set goals, achieve them, revel in the success and create new goals while still being grateful for what I have done.

104. What is the meaning of ‘peace’ to you?

Living in the present moment and being happy about the things I am doing in that moment.

105. What are three moral rules you will never break?

This has been the hardest question for me to answer because the word NEVER is so strong and I can not foretell my state of mind in the future. Will I NEVER lie or NEVER cheat or NEVER break the law? The best I can come up with is…I don’t know.  Ok. I can say with a strong conviction that the moral rules I would never break are homicide or incest.

106. What does it mean to allow another person to truly love you?

That you have to truly love yourself and let go of all of your insecurities about being hurt by that person. Working on it…

107. Who or what do you think of when you think of love?

My little niece who is so sweet and innocent that you feel such a deep, unconditional love for that is never questioned.

108. If your life was a novel, what would be the title and how would your story end?

The title would be “Seen it. Done it. Ate it.” It would end with me in a hammock on a tropical beach reading the story of my life to teach young children that they have the opportunity to do anything.

109. What would you not give up for $1,000,000 in cash?

My dignity. I wouldn’t do anything that was disrespectful to myself or that would intentionally hurt others. But, pretty much everything else is fair game!

110. Thought provoking questions: When do you feel most like yourself?

When I am being creative, whether it be a new experience, recipe or art project. I enjoy how the concentration forces you to be in the present moment and the satisfaction of accomplishment.

111. When you help someone do you ever think, “What’s in it for me?”

I would be lying if I said that I NEVER have asked, “how will this benefit me”. Being in the restaurant business, there are times when we are giving donations, not only to support the cause, but to also get exposure for potential new customers. Though, when it comes to personally helping individual people it is usually a selfless act.

Peter & Annette White at Minus 5 Ice Bar

112. What is your greatest challenge?

To control my mind from obsessing about things I have no control over and continuing to stay present. Beyond that, mastering the perfect souffle is pretty darn difficult too.

113. How do you know when it’s time to continue holding on or time to let go?

I listen to my intuition, take note of my general moods each day and analyze what I am eating. When I have a prolonged uneasy feeling in my tummy, am unhappy/indifferent more that 25% of the time or if I am eating when I am not hungry, it is time to let go.

114. How do you define success?

Living a life that is filled with happiness, new experiences, good food and nurturing relationships. I have given up the myth of “monetary happiness” a long time ago, but do want to live modestly, comfortable and out of debt.

115. If someone could tell you the exact day and time you are going to die, would you want them to tell you?

No, because I wouldn’t want to be constantly thinking of that day, which may affect the happiness of the days leading up to it. Besides, my whole life is about living each day to the fullest with no regrets and that’s what I intend to do no matter when I may kick the bucket.

116. If I could grant you one wish what would you wish for?

That I could spend the rest of my life inspiring others to have new experiences, helping them step out of the box and learn something new.

117. What have you read online recently that inspired you?

A blog about a terminally ill teenager, Alice Pyne, who created a bucket list as a way to document her precious time with family and friends. In the process she and her sister are raising thousands of dollars for cancer research and getting hundreds of people to sign up for bone marrow donation. She is the epitome of inspiration.

118. Why do religions that advocate unity divide the human race?

Because religions have rules to abide by and rules do not advocate unity.

119. If you could live one day of your life over again, what day would you choose?

The day I got married. It would be phenomenal to once again have all my family and friends together to celebrate with love, the funky chicken, free-flowing bubbly and lots of cake!

Maui Gold Pineapple Tour | Annette White

120. What can money not buy?

I read this somewhere and thought it was the perfect answer: “money can buy a house, but it can’t buy a home.”

121. If you left this life tomorrow, how would you be remembered?

As an honest, sweet woman who lived her life outside of the box.

122. Beyond the titles that others have given you, who are you?

Beyond daughter, wife, sister and aunt, I am a caring, adventurous, motivated being. Sometimes a little crazy, but that’s a different story.

123. If you could live the next 24 hours and then erase it and start over just once, what would you do?

I can not divulge, nor condone such crazy behavior. I have a reputation to uphold ;)

124. Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

Even though it is human nature to question the truth, I do believe it’s possible to know without challenging it. Simply by accepting.

125. What word best describes the way you’ve spent the last month of your life?

Discovery. Discovering things about people close to me, life in general and new adventures.

126. What makes everyone smile?

When someone smiles at them first. Try it!

127. What do you owe yourself?

To love myself enough to treat me with respect. To talk to myself as if I were talking to my best friend. To be my own best friend.

128. What would your ‘priceless’ Mastercard-style commercial be?

Airplane ticket around the world $4562, hotels $2857, snacking on ethnic food $2238, memories from the trip of a lifetime…priceless!

Snow Hiking with Hurtigruten in Hammerfest Norway

129. Can you think of a time when impossible became possible?

Tough question for a person who believes that anything is possible. I am amazed everyday by what people and nature are able to accomplish; we can throw a seed into the ground and watch it grow, get wi-fi 30,000 feet up in the air and launch into space. So, even though I might not be the one accomplishing the goal, someone can…and will.

130. Thought provoking questions: Why do you matter?

I matter to my mother as a daughter, I matter to my husband as a wife and to my nieces as an aunt. I matter because I spend time trying to enhance the lives others.

131. How have you changed in the last five years?

I have learned what makes me happy, to be calm and passionate. In the next five years, I hope to perfect doing what makes me happy, being calm and passionate.

132. What are you sure of in your life?

I am certain that I will feel sadness, happiness, pain, joy and fear. I am also sure that I will die. Otherwise, life is totally unpredictable which is what makes it one big adventure!

133. When you think of ‘home,’ what, specifically, do you think of?

Large family dinners, games being played by the fire, security and lots of laughter.

134. What’s the difference between settling for things and accepting the way things are?

Settling is what you do when you think that you do not deserve better than what you have, whereas, accepting is deciding to be content and happy with where you are at the moment. Don’t ever settle! You do deserve more!

135. How many of your friends would you trust with your life?

That totally depends on the circumstance. Trust to jump in front of a car to save my life or trust that they are not going to poison me for a million bucks? Probably…two. Ooh. That’s a little depressing.

Annette White at Pacaya Volcano Guatemala

136. What’s your definition of heaven?

Sitting atop marshmallow clouds, eating a large Italian meal (without gaining an ounce) with all of my loved ones and surrounded by pure happiness.

137. What is your most prized possession?

My body. Not, in a vain way…really…I have cellulite too. It’s just that without the strength of my body I would not be able to achieve all the goals that I want to. It has become way more important to nourish and treat my body with loving care so it will sustain me for a very long time to come (& bungee jumping).

138. How would you describe yourself in one sentence?

An honest, curious woman who never wants to stop learning or having new experiences.

139. What stands between you and happiness?

Only me and my choice. I believe that you choose happiness by the way that you look at life. For the most part, when I am unhappy it is because I chose to be that day. Choosing happy today :)

140. What makes a person beautiful?

I think everyone has some beautiful quality to them. It could be internal or external, sometimes both. For me, what I find most beautiful in a person is someone who is being authentic to who they are. In other words, owning themselves and making no excuses about it.

Karen Long Neck Tribe

141. Is there ever a time when giving up makes sense?

Yes, when the goal is not worth the pain you endure, essentially causing you more harm than good.

142. What makes you proud?

Anytime someone, including myself, achieves a dream.

143. How do you find the strength to do what you know in your heart is right?

I believe that comes with trusting in yourself and knowing that you recognize right from wrong. Sometimes it is still freakin’ hard, but knowing you are doing what is right it is worth the discomfort.

144. Where do you find peace?

I find peace in the present moment, not thinking about the past or the future. Also, as I sink my toes in the sand while watching the waves crash at the ocean.

145. When have you worked hard and loved every minute of it?

During the first two weeks of owning our restaurant, Sugo Trattoria. I specifically remember falling into bed feeling as if every part of my body had been drained…especially my brain. But, it was also exhilarating, liberating and empowering. When a dream is coming true, the work seems to take a back seat to the excitement.

146. How short would your life have to be before you would start living differently today?

I love this question because we usually put off our dreams until “later” thinking that we have more time. In general, I am an active dream achiever, but if I had only a year to live I would put my goals into super highspeed. My problem is that I have so much ambitious and there are not enough hours in the day!

147. Is it better to have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?

Absolutely, to have loved and lost. I can’t imagine going through life never having loved.

148. What would you do if you made a mistake and somebody died?

Massive amounts of therapy! I can’t even imagine how you could begin to overcome such a tragic situation, while still being respectful to the mourning family of the deceased. I hope that I would have the strength to do what is necessary to pay for my mistake as well as heal in order to feel happiness again.

149. Who do you trust and why?

This is such a broad question and I believe we just answered the more narrowed version last week with question #135 – How many people do you trust with your life? “That totally depends on the circumstance. Trust to jump in front of a car to save my life or trust that they are not going to poison me for a million bucks? Probably…two. Ooh. That’s a little depressing.”

I trust different people, for different reasons, with different information.

150. Thought provoking questions: If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

My Iphone – loaded with all my photos and favorite music
My Grandmothers wedding band – it was given to me to wear with my wedding ring and it is precious
My Engagement Ring – because my husband picked it out himself and it reminds me of how special it is when you find someone you want to marry
Greeting Cards – all the memorable, sweet cards my husband and family ever gave me
Poems – the poems, written on scrap paper, by my stepfather who creates one for every holiday
My Laptop – it holds all my memorable photos, future business ideas, bucket list goals and books I have started to write

Annette White Wearing a Tripology Backpack

151. When does silence convey more meaning than words?

There are many times in life where silent actions mean way more than words. Especially when somebody’s words can not be trusted anymore.

152. How do you spend the majority of your free time?

Blogging at the local coffee shop, finding serenity through yoga, trying new restaurants with friends and drinking jammy red wines at the wine bar.

153. Who do you think of first when you think of success?

Oprah. Not because she is extremely wealthy, but because she has managed to make a fantastic living doing what she loves, has helped thousands of people along the way and is happy.

154. What did you want to be when you grew up?

There were so many different things over the years; psychologist, actress, graphic designer, radio dj, real estate mogul. Now if someone asks me “what do you want to be”? I simply say “happy”.

155. How will today matter in five years from now?

What I do today is a stepping stone to five years from now. It is part of the path to my future even though I may not know where it leads.

156. How have you helped someone else recently?

As I am writing this, I am sitting in the emergency room waiting for a friend who severely cut her hand. She was scared about getting stitches for the first time and I didn’t want her to be alone. But, I couldn’t look at the cut…gross!

157. What is your greatest skill?

The ability to stay motivated or finding a bargain on…anything!

158. Do you see to believe or believe to see?

Unless it is a well known fact, I have to see it to believe it.

159. How are you pursuing your dreams right now?

Every day at my restaurant I put in 110% to make it better, concentrating on marketing, making creative specials and nurturing the staff. Every night I diligently work on my blog in order to build up readership. I am not one who lacks motivation, I lack limits.

Pete & Annette Sugo

160. What’s the next big step you need to take?

To plan a trip around the world. This, of course, is a several step process. I am currently concentrating on the first, which is setting up my restaurant to be run remotely. Some would say it’s “impossible”, but they don’t know me very well.

161. If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?

Of course not, I wouldn’t be working. With that said, what I am doing today is not in vain, it is a step in my path to conquer my dreams. Everyday I try to make the choices in my life by asking myself, “will this simplify my life, get me closer to my goals, inspire someone or bring happiness”. The answer leads the way.

162. If today was the last day of your life, who would you call and what would you tell them?

My mom: “I felt a sense of security knowing your unconditional love. Know that I have had an adventurous and full life, no regrets. I hope that all the memories we have shared will bring you joy and you realize that even though I am not here, I am with you.”
My husband:
“I loved you the best way I knew how, but I wish I could have done better. I should have held you longer and said ‘I love you’ more. The experiences we have shared have been some of my most cherished. I hope you think of me every time you eat something bizarre, have a new adventure or enjoy a nice bottle of Zinfandel. Never forget me, but also find happiness with someone who supports and loves you like you deserve.”
My best girlfriend:
“Thank you for always telling me like it is instead of just telling me what I want to hear. That is true friendship. We have been through so much together and I will never forget your support. I would be looking down on you sending you angels of happiness for you and your girls.”

Okay…now sobbing like a baby…

163. Who do you dream about?

Brad Pitt in Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Actually, I don’t dream too often and when I do it is loosely related to whatever is on my mind when I go to sleep. I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up in a cold sweat dreaming about a line out the door of my restaurant, trying to cook all the meals by myself and angry customers throwing tomatoes at me.

164. What do you have trouble seeing clearly in your mind?

The end of the path. I have trained my mind to be in present moment, so visualizing what I want my long-term future to look like is extremely difficult.

165. What are you looking forward to?

My next major travel adventure, which will be to Spain and Morocco. I can’t wait to ride a camel, get a henna tattoo and be engulfed in Spanish cuisine. Right now, I am completely obsessed with the planning of this amazing experience, because it builds the anticipation.

Pintxos in Sitges, Spain

166. What is the number one thing you want to accomplish before you die?

To create a lifestyle that allows me the freedom to travel around the world.

167. When is love a weakness?

When it is blind.

168. What has been the most terrifying moment of your life thus far?

When I was younger I had a serious panic attack that sent me to the emergency room. They hooked me up to machines to monitor my heart and I had a hard time controlling my fear, thinking I was on the verge of death. I am now grateful for this experience because it taught me a huge lesson about controlling stress and anxiety.

169. Who is the strongest person you know?

My best girlfriend, who has a full-time job and raises two young girls on her own. She has been through some serious trauma that would have broken most people, but still believes in trusting, love and the pursuit of a happy life.

170. Thought provoking questions: If you could take a single photograph of your life, what would it look like?

There would be an oversized picnic table planted in the sand on the beach. My closest family and friends would be seated at it and it would be filled with red wine, fruits, vegetables, Italian dishes and one “unknown” delicacy that everyone was meant to try.

171. Is the reward worth the risk?

In most cases, I believe there is no reward without the risk. So, the answer is “yes”.

172. For you personally, what makes today worth living?

What made today worth living is the cappuccino at the local coffee shop, finding the perfect pair of jeans, sneaking off midday to the best Happy Hour ever and a quiet night at home catching up on all my Tivo’d programs.

Vietnamese Cafe Trung in Hanoi

173. What have you done in the last year that makes you proud?

I am so proud that our restaurants sales have increased by over 25%. It has definitely been a labor of love. I am also proud of the incline in readership to my blog. Both instances have proved that passion perseveres.

174. What did you learn recently that changed the way you live?

That you can’t trust anyone 100%. Maybe you are all quicker learners than me, but I did believe in trusting all people. Though, I do still believe in trusting until you are proven untrustworthy, I am cautious with who I share my private life with. You would think that is a bad thing, but on the contrary it made me stronger to rely on my own intuition.

175. What is your fondest memory from the past three years?

The day my niece was born, I was ecstatic for my brother and sister-in-law to finally have all their dreams come true.

176. What are the primary components of a happy life?

Presence, a positive attitude, the “half is glass full” outlook, surrounding yourself with like-minded people, an attitude of gratitude and simplicity.

177. How would the world be different if you were never born?

My mother would never have known what it was to have a daughter, my husband would have never eaten lambs brain and that some people would have never started a bucket list or stepped out of the box.

178. What is your favorite song and why?

Eminem – Lose Yourself — Every time I listen to it it makes me believe that I am in charge of my own destiny and I CAN do anything I set my mind to, if I take the opportunities that are presented to me.

179. With the resources you have right now, what can you do to bring yourself closer to your goal?

Dedicate myself to taking one step everyday setting up my business to run remotely; staff the right employees, create systems that are easy enough to use for anyone and write down all the recipes.

180. What are your top three priorities?

  1. Simplifying my life
  2. Setting up my restaurant to run semi-remotely (just enough to allow us to travel the world)
  3. Retraining my mind to be more positive

181. Why do we idolize sports players?

Because, due to their passion and dedication, they have become leaders in their fields and accomplished things we wish we could.

182. What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?

When I was in the running to have my own television show on Oprah’s Own Network, my family and friends spent countless hours voting for me over 50,000 times.

183. What do you see when you look into the future?

Peace, simplicity, new experiences and the adventure of traveling around the world.

Annette White in Perouges South of France

184. What makes you angry? Why?

I believe that being angry is a choice, so I try not to do it too often. With that said, this concept severely challenges me when people are mean for absolutely no other reason than they are unhappy people.

185. What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from your parents?

That there is no substitute for hard work. They taught me to not just expect good fortune, but to work for it.

186. What does love feel like?

Love, for me, is when in your heart you want nothing more than that person to be happy, even at the expense of your own happiness. Also, when you feel a sense of mutual trust, respect and a connection that goes way deeper than those of acquaintances.

187. What are your favorite simple pleasures?

Puppy breath, cappuccinos in the morning, sand in my toes, eating tiramisu for breakfast, trying something new, happy hours and cuddling with the warm laundry.

Italian Tiramisu Dessert

188. If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would you tell?

Stop worrying about the stuff that is not important in the grand scheme of life. I spent way too much of my precious time concerned about how others felt about me and fretting over things in the future that probably would never happen. Life has been so much easier since letting go.

189. What do you do to deliberately impress others?

For the most part, the only person that I now try to impress is myself. I am consistently pushing my life to the limits, continue to learn, take opportunities when they present themselves and have created a life filled with everyday adventure. There have been times when I want to pat myself on the back for a job well done. And that’s a great feeling.

190. of the thought provoking questions:What will you never do?

I have always said, “never say never”, because circumstances are ever-changing.

191. Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?

My family, friends and myself.

192. What is your earliest childhood memory?

My earliest childhood memory is of an Easter egg hunt where I won a big chocolate bunny.

193. What book has had the greatest influence on your life?

What Happy People Know by Dan Baker
From Panic to Power by Lucinda Bassett
A New Earth by Eckhard Tolle

194. What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to?

Is there a higher power and in what form?
Will there ever be a cure for cancer?
Why do dogs eat grass?
Annette White Dog Sledding in Tromso Norway

195. What is the greatest peer pressure you’ve ever felt?

When I was sixteen, my parents went away for the night and my friends pressured me into have a party that got way out of control. I spent the entire night tending to drunk teens, cleaning up after everyone and being paranoid that my parents would come home early. No fun!

196. What’s the biggest lie you once believed was true?

When I was young, I got a splinter in my finger that I could not get out. My neighbor told me that if I left it in there it would turn into a peanut. I believed him for the next five years.

197. In your lifetime, what have you done that hurt someone else?

I have definitely said some non-intentional, mindless things that have hurt the people that I care about. This usually ends up making me feel worse than them in the long run. I have also made a couple of boys cry by ending our relationships, but not in a mean-spirited way, just by being honest. Don’t worry, a couple of boys did the same to me.

198. What’s the best part of growing older?

Feeling more secure and knowing yourself better.

199. What’s been on your mind most lately?

How can I run a successful blog and restaurant at the same time? What steps do I need to take in order to do so.

200. What do you think is worth waiting for?

Anything spectacular; true love, a fine meal, an amazing adventure, a first kiss.

201. What chances do you wish you had taken?

I wish that after I graduated high school or college that I took a year off to backpack around the world.

202. Where else would you like to live? Why?

I do love where I live, but it is my dream to spend every other month in a different country to experience the culture.

203. What motivates you to go to work each day?

The thought of creating something deliciously fabulous that my customers will enjoy eating that day.

greek pastitsio in Greece

204. What do you wish you had done differently?

Isn’t that close to the same thing as #201? Last night, I do wish I went to bed at 10:00 instead of 12:30. Ouch! Feeling it this morning.

205. What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?

My greatest strength is my seemingly never-ending motivation, but my greatest weakness is tackling too many goals at once.

206. When was the last time you lied? What did you lie about?

The last time I lied was about a month ago when I told my husband about how much I spent on a pair of shoes, they were $40 but I said $30. I don’t even know why, he could really care less how much I spend on shoes, because he knows I’m cheap anyway!

207. What made you smile this week?

When my little niece came for a surprise visit at work. It was unexpected, sweet and it immediately brightened my day.

208. What do you do with the majority of your money?

Pay bills! I’m assuming they mean what I do with my spare money and most of that goes to eating out or traveling or eating out while traveling ;)

209. What motivates you to be your best?

I am constantly challenging myself and setting baby goals. Those goals motivate me everyday.

210. of the thought provoking questions: When was the last time you lost your temper? About what?

I usually remain pretty even-tempered. But, the last time I lost it was when an employee lied about needing time off for an “emergency”. When, to find out, she really just wanted a weekend off. I don’t like being lied to.

211. What will you never give up on?

Being a dreamer and believer that anything is possible.

212. When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?

My grandmother. She was always around cooking her fabulous Italian food, speaking in the cutest broken English and telling us stories of the past.

213. How would you describe the past year of your life in one sentence?

My last year has been a learning experience filled with triumphs, new adventures, some failures and lots of hard work!

214. What is the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

I went skydiving on a whim. It was a spur of the moment decision that I am so grateful for, or else I would have been scared for weeks until I jumped out of the plane!

215. What makes you uncomfortable?

Being at large parties with people I don’t know, talking politics, confrontation and when people argue in front of me.

216. If you had to move 3000 miles away, what one thing would you miss the most?

Being able to walk from my restaurant to my moms new deli for a quick visit before work. Just about every morning I make the one block trek over to her place to say “hello” and get a cup of coffee. It is one of those simple events in your day that means a lot.

217. What worries you about the future?

That I will not be able to have the freedom to live the life I dream of.

218. What one ‘need’ and one ‘want’ will you strive to achieve in the next twelve months?

I need to simplify my life and get my business set up to run more remotely. I want to plan an ‘Around the World’ trip.

219. What life lessons did you have to experience firsthand before you fully understood them?

So many. But, one that stands out is death. I would have never been able to fully understand the emotions involved in the passing of a loved one if I did not experience it.

Annette White Beekeeping in Petaluma

220. Do you like the city or town you live in? Why or why not?

I love where I live because it is centrally located between the beach, San Francisco and dozens of vineyards. The only thing I wish is that it was 10 degrees warmer all the time!

221. What’s the best part of being you?

That I am the ultimate dreamer who believes that just about anything can become a reality with passion, hard work and persistence.

222. When you look back over the past month, what single moment stands out?

A random invitation to go on the Playboy Kandy Kruise. A reader of my blog, and fellow bucket lister, invited me to go on this once-in-a-lifetime cruise. After working through the initial fears of insecurity, I accepted.

223. What do you do to relieve stress?

Yoga, hiking, the beach and a glass of jammy red wine. It is a bonus if they all occur in one day.

224. What is your happiest memory?

The day I got married. It was so memorable because it is a rare occasion when most of your loved ones are gathered together in celebration.

225. What is your saddest memory?

The day my grandmother died. Even though she had lived a full life, I still found it to be so unexpected. It was the first major death I had experienced, so it was extremely tough working through the emotions I had. On the positive side, it has helped me to cope better with every death after hers.

226. What would you like to change (about yourself)?

I would like to be a better listener, or rather, a retainer of the information I have heard. I can have a conversation with someone and forget what we talked about ten minutes later, whereas, some people can hear something once and remember it for a lifetime.

227. How many people do you love?

Too many to really count. A lot.

228. What’s the best decision you’ve ever made?

Years ago I went on a hunt to find my passion. I was trying just about everything because I knew that there would be one thing that I loved so much that I would want to do it for the rest of my life. During the search I realized that the hunt was my passion. I became addicted to having new experiences and this became my passion.

229. What’s your favorite true story that you enjoy sharing with others?

Since my blog is all about new experiences and adventures, I have many. But, some of my favorites are swimming with stingrays, rappelling into a cave and eating lambs brain on my anniversary.

230. Right now, at this moment, what do you want most?

At this moment, I want to feel content with where I am in life and the direction it is taking. Also, to concentrate on being happy in the present moment, forgetting about the past and not fretting over the future. That’s a lot to tackle!

231. What are you waiting for? How are you writing your life’s story?

Though I am waiting to be out of debt, for my blog to be a huge success and to have more freedom to create at my restaurant, I am always actively writing my life’s story. I am consistently setting baby goals in order to achieve the aforementioned.

232. What makes love last?

Forgiveness, commitment and communication

233. What good comes from suffering?

There is always a lesson to learn through suffering. Most of my suffering has made me stronger in order to deal with the situation when and if it should happen again.

234. What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in the last year?

That trusting yourself is more important than trusting anyone else.

235. Based on you current daily actions and routines, where would you expect to be in five years?

Still owning Sugo Trattoria, but with more freedom to travel, having a line of some type of food product (& a cookbook), continued growth with my blog, dozens of checks off my bucket list and being paid to write about food, travel & new experiences.

236. What was your last major accomplishment?

As far as my restaurant goes, receiving a Michelin Recommendation was the last major accomplishment. Now it’s time to start working for the coveted Michelin star. With my blog, I am proud that my Alexa rating has dropped from 1.2 million to 500,000 in the past month. (Alexa ranks blogs by popularity). Both of these accomplishments have taken a lot of work.

237. Through all of life’s twists and turns who has been there for you?

My husband, my mom or my best girlfriend. Most of the time, all three.

Annette & Pete

238. What or who has been distracting you?

Work!! We have been extremely busy and shorthanded, so I am distracted by covering shifts and training new employees. A few more weeks and I will be back on the motivation track!

239. What are you looking forward to in the upcoming week?

Relaxing in Arizona. Every few months my husband and I alternate vacationing in Arizona. This week is my turn! I am looking forward to enjoying the sun, seeing old friends and exploring the state.

240. Who is your mentor and what have you learned from them?

I don’t have just one, but everybody who has acquired something that I want is my mentor. There are several restaurant owners, bloggers, wives and friends who I learn from on a daily basis.

241. What are you uncertain about?

Everything. Is there anything really certain about life? That’s what makes life so amazing, that it is unexpected. The one thing that I am pretty sure about is that I will always be a dreamer who has a passion for new experiences.

242. What do you think about when you lie awake in bed?

If I am lucky…nothing! But, most of the time, it involves the tasks I need to accomplish the next day.

243. What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Due to my blog, I am pretty much an open book. But, I think most people don’t know that I floss my teeth in the car…EEEWWW….gross! Only when I am alone though ;)

244. When you have a random hour of free time, what do you usually do?

Either work on my travel blog, cook something or try anything new.

245. What makes you weird?

I think I answered this question best in my blog post “You Do You…and Let Me Do Me.” More often than not, I will forgo the mani/pedi combo to hike a beach trail at Point Reyes with hopes of seeing the spout of an emerging whale. I’d rather talk hashtags (read the Twitter handbook), Iphone apps and investments than the latest fashion. I am a self-professed computer nerd (minus the bow-tie & glasses) and can easily stay home on a Saturday night with a glass of jammy red wine to work on my website, surf the internet or plan my next adventure. I would rather have any new experience than lay stagnant in monotony. If I had to choose between shopping and skydiving, the later would win every time. Big diamonds and shiny jewels don’t impress me, because I know that carats in no way equate to true love. I believe that being content is always nice, but being happy is far superior (there is a difference). Even though I love to strap-on a pair of 4” heels for a night on the town, I think it’s just as sexy wearing a ribbed tank, my favorite jeans and flip-flops. I want to take advantage of all that life has to offer, even if it means eating lambs tongue or making a complete jackass out of myself.

246. If you could relive yesterday what would you do differently?

Actually nothing. Yesterday was a great day. I am on vacation in Arizona and started my day eating Chambord French toast with Peter, went shopping, met a girlfriend for happy hour, drove through the streets at night with the windows down because it was 90 degrees, watched a movie and still got to sleep early. Can I just relive it the same way?

247. What do you do over and over again that you hate doing?

Cleaning the house. I always feel like it’s a waste of time because it just gets dirty again. Everyone tells me to get a house cleaner, but I am too darn cheap!

248. Would you rather your child be less attractive and extremely intelligent or extremely attractive and less intelligent?

I don’t have children, but if I did I would want them to be extremely intelligent. In my opinion, there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishing something because of your intellect.

249. What white lies do you often tell?

Mostly to my husband about the money I spend on clothes. I am not sure why. He could care less because he knows I am cheap and would never overspend.

250. of the thought provoking questions: What is the biggest change you have made in your life in the last year?

We have stabilized our bills, rented our investment properties and hired enough employees at the restaurant so we are not covering as many shifts. This is all in an effort to have more freedom to travel and experience different cultures.

Maasai welcome dance in Tanzania

251. What do you understand today about your life that you did not understand a year ago?

That I am a strong woman who can be hit with hard circumstances and still survive with my dignity in tact.

252. Whose life have you had the greatest impact on?

My mothers, because we are so close in age that we have become friends and confidants.

253. What did life teach you yesterday?

It didn’t teach me, but reconfirmed that: I love to travel, I am independent, I can be a good friend and killing people with kindness can change a persons foul mood.

254. Who impresses you?

Everyone that has stepped out of the box to do something that I have not.

255. What have you done that you are not proud of?

Several years ago I got caught up in fitting in with “the girls” and joined in a conversation where they were talking badly about someone we didn’t even know. The girl’s friend heard us, it caused a small scene and I was disappointed in myself for a long time for needlessly hurting someones feelings. But, it was also a huge lesson on why you shouldn’t judge people.

256. When should you reveal a secret that you promised you wouldn’t reveal?

When the secret would cause serious harm to a loved one by not revealing it.

257. How would you spend your ideal day?

It would start with waking up to a cappuccino and crunchy, berry scone. Then, I would take a road trip to explore the culture of a new town and accomplish a bucket list adventure while I was there. I would then dine at a memorable restaurant that serves creative food and a fabulously jammy red wine. Great music would be playing on the radio the entire way back home and I would jump into a bed with freshly washed sheets, an inspirational movie and popcorn.

258. What is the one primary quality you look for in a significant other?

Happiness. The person must be generally happy about life.

259. What do you admire most about your mother and father?

I admire that my mother has opened over seven successful restaurants by shear will and hard, back breaking work. She is never afraid of getting in there and getting dirty. I admire my dad for his attention to detail and patience when it comes to the tasks he does. You always know that anything he has a hand in will be completed to perfection.

260. What is the best advice you have ever received?

To never take advice from anyone who has not aquired the life that you want.

261. If you could live forever, would you want to? Why?

Absolutely! Because every day is a learning experience and with more days under my belt I feel that I could learn to be my best self in order to help others.

262. If you had to be someone else for one day, who would you be and why?

Oprah. I would like to have her level of influence and connections for a day so I could spend it moving mountains to help people.

Blue Osa Yoga Retreat in Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

263. What positive changes have you made in your life recently?

I have made a decision to only read inspirational books, to seek wisdom from the friends I choose and to focus only on the facts of my life instead of creating scenarios based on fictional thoughts in my head. I also have been more concentrated in my yoga practice.

264. Who makes you feel good about yourself?

Myself. Even though my friends, husband, and family all make me feel good about myself at times, I realize that it is ultimately me who is in charge of speaking positively to myself.

265. What is your biggest regret?

That I did not take a year off after college to experience the world. It makes it harder with more responsibility in our lives. But, it is definitely not impossible!

266. Which one of your responsibilities do you wish you could get rid of?

Oh jeez…just one? I would like to get rid of the bookkeeping portion of my restaurant. For some reason, seeing a stack of bills and doing payroll gives me anxiety, even when we are doing very well.

267. What’s something you don’t like to do that you are still really good at?

Designing logos. I was a graphic designer many years ago, so I am occasionally asked to design business logos. Summing up an entire business in one little logo is stressful on my brain.

268. What type of person angers you the most?

Someone who thinks that they are always right, even when they are blatantly wrong. Just admit it.

269. What is missing in your life?

A sense of stability. Things are always changing rapidly in my life, which, for the most part, I love. But, there are definitely times when I would like to make a plan without having the fear that someone won’t show up to work that day.

270. What is your most striking physical attribute?

Ooh! This question really toys with a woman’s body image issues. I feel fortunate that I am naturally thin.

Annette White Paddle Boarding Oxnard Channel Islands

271. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?

I vowed many years ago to not let fear stop me from following my dreams. With that said, there have been many times I have had to push, shove and kick through the fear to get to the other side.

272. Who would you like to please the most?

Myself. That sounds selfish, but let me explain. I don’t think you should spend your life trying to please others, as long as you are a good-natured person with good intentions. And by pleasing yourself, you can be the best you possible.

273. If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change about the week that just passed?

I would have not made my return flight from Las Vegas so early in the morning ;)

274. When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you?

That I am an interesting, sweet girl who lives her life by stepping out of the box.

275. Who would you like to forgive?

I try to not hold grudges because holding on to hurt only negatively affects my life. Even if someone does not deserve forgiveness, I forgive because I deserve to have the freedom from my mind.

276. At what point during the last five years have you felt lost and alone?

About a year ago there was a point when I questioned whether I could trust anyone around me or, for that matter, if anyone was a truly honest person. At that time, I felt like a had a severe misunderstanding about what life was about. Though, because of that time, I now know that I just need to trust myself to make the right decisions when I am faced with any situation.

277. What is one opportunity you believe you missed out on when you were younger?

Same as #265 – That I did not take a year off after college to experience the world. It makes it harder with the more responsibility in our lives. But, it is definitely not impossible!

278. What do you want more of in your life?

Uncontrollable laughter. I love it when something is so pee-your-pants funny that you can not control your laughter.

279. What do you want less of in your life?

To be surrounded by toxic people. I have many wonderful people in my life, but, there are a few who suck my spirit dry.

280. Who depends on you?

My husband, my employees, my family and my friends.

281. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?

It is too difficult to say since so many people have impacted me in different ways; my mother has taught me to have a work ethic, my husband showed me the importance of completing a task to the best of your ability instead of half-fasting it, my dad gave me a love of exploring, etc. Though, I will say that finally being able to control my anxiety has had the GREATEST impact on my life and that was all about me saying enough was enough and working so hard for years to change my thought patterns. It is still a work in progress, but life has never been happier.

282. Are you happy with where you are in your life? Why?

Yes, because I have worked my tail off to get where I am at. Our restaurant is successful, my blog is on the rise, my marriage is stable, I am fortunate enough to have amazing adventures, my spirituality is stronger and we live a comfortable life. I am extremely grateful.

283. In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different?

I foresee more freedom to travel the world, increased sales at our restaurant and a million blog readers ;)

284. How have you sabotaged yourself in the past five years?

I spent too much time obsessing about things that I had no control over.

285. Other than money, what else have you gained from your current job?

So much. A sense of pride and ownership. Strong friendships. Increased strength of character. Boosted level of skill.

Pete & Annette Sugo

286. Whom do you secretly envy? Why?

80% of my envious feelings are related to people who have the ability to travel freely. The remaining 20% is split up between popular celebrity chefs, successful travel bloggers, passionate dreamers and, occasionally, a really hot girl that catches the husbands eye ;)

287. In twenty years, what do you want to remember?

The best days with my grandmother, my wedding day, the beautiful countries I have visited and amazing adventures I have had

288. What are you most excited about in your life right now – today?

The fact that we have started to etch some significant time to travel, our restaurant has surpassed my initial goals and I have just received my first press pass to an event.

289. What experience from this past year do you appreciate the most?

I appreciate that I was able to share the amazing adventure of swimming with stingrays with my husband while we were traveling to Grand Cayman.

Need some travel inspiration? Read these top 200 travel quotes and the ultimate Travel Bucket List for some insipiration.

290. What is the most enjoyable thing your family has done together in the last three years?

We all were at the hospital when my niece was born. My brother and his wife wanted to be parents so badly that it made the birth of their first child so precious.

291. How many hours of television do you watch in a week? A month? A year?

I hate to admit that the television is always on when I am home for background noise. Though, most of the time i am on my computer and not paying attention. I watch about 15-20 hours per week, mostly reality shows. I know…it’s bad…so bad, it’s good!

292. What is the biggest obstacle that stands in your way right now?

I am always actively working towards my goals and believe that they are achievable, But, would benefit from more time. I know what steps I need to be taking, I just need to set aside the time to take them.

293. What do you sometimes pretend you understand that you really don’t?

I think I have hit that age that if I don’t understand something I just ask. But, there are times when people are talking about sports or politics and I just nod my head because I don’t follow them too closely.

294. What do you like most about your job? What do you dislike most about your job?

I love every aspect of my job that promotes creativity. This relates mostly to creating new recipes. I don’t love managing employees or doing the payroll.

295. What’s something new you recently learned about yourself?

After trying several different types of exercise I realized that I love yoga. Prior, I had always thought it would be way too slow for a fast-paced girl like me. But, I now know that it is exactly what I need to balance my speedy life!

296. In one sentence, how would you describe your relationship with your mother?

A friendship that is based on a mutual respect and a two-sided unconditional love.

297. What was the most defining moment in your life during this past year?

One statement: “I will seek wisdom”. This was stated in a book I was reading and referred to surrounding yourself with people who teach and inspire you. And that when you are in the constant presence of toxic people your personality, in some ways, emulates these people. Case in point, does your spouse act differently when they are with their girl/guy friends? After taking an inventory, I believe this to be true and I took action, which is not so easy when some of the people closest to you are the ones hindering your growth. I have always preached that you should only take advice from people who have acquired what you want, but this took it one step further.

298. What’s the number one change you need to make in your life in the next twelve months?

Continue to train my mind to be present, positive and filled with gratitude. I know, corny. But, it works!

299. What makes you feel secure?

Trusting myself to know that I can handle any situation that presents itself.

300. of the thought provoking questions: What is your favorite sound?

The waves crashing at the ocean, birds chirping in the morning and childrens laughter.

Essa School Tanzania Africa

301. What are the top three qualities you look for in a friend?

Honesty (even when it hurts), humble nature and compatibility. Though I initially love it when friends always stick up for you, I respect it when they tell you when you are wrong.

302. What simple gesture have you recently witnessed that renewed your hope in humanity?

I feel a renewed hope in humanity anytime someone sincerely says “I’m Sorry”.

303. What is your favorite smell?

Wild mushrooms sautéing, neighborhood BBQs roaring, the crisp air before it snows and Dolce & Gabanas Light Blue perfume.

304. What recent memory makes you smile the most?

When I was at the pumpkin patch with my niece and she looked up at me with puppy-dog eyes because she wanted to hold my hand. Melts my heart.

305. In one word, how would you describe your childhood?


306. What celebrities do you admire? Why?

Oprah, because she is an inspiration for progression and living your best life.

307. What is the number one motivator in your life right now?

Myself and my dreams.

308. What music do you listen to to lift your spirits when you’re feeling down?

Depends on why I am feeling down ;). Weird, but I mostly like to listen to Eminem when I feel like I need a motivational kick in the pants.

309. If I gave you $1000 and told you that you had to spend it today, what would you buy?

A plane ticket to London and Spain.

310. What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

I farted. Out loud. I’m laughing just writing that. My husband of 14 years has NEVER heard me fart, because I don’t & if I did they would smell like roses :). But, it happened while we were watching TV and we both were laughing until the point of tears. He threatened to put it in his Facebook status, but I threatened his life!

311. What is your biggest pet peeve?

When people defend themselves when they know they are wrong. Chicks dig it when you admit you are wrong ;)

Peter at Min Jiang

312. Who was the last person you said “I love you” to?

My husband

313. What is your biggest phobia?

Flying. Even though I have vowed to never let it hinder me traveling the world, it is painful every time I fly! Isn’t there a magic pill by now?

314. What are some recent compliments you’ve received?

I was told that someone loved my blog, thought I was way younger than I am and that the dish I cooked was spectacular. Not all in the same day…damn.

315. How many friends do you have in real life that you talk to regularly?

Four. It’s not quantity, it’s quality :)

316. How much money per month is enough for you to live comfortably?

Wow. I think this is the first question I feel uncomfortable answering. I’ll just say that the answer is probably a lot more than others because we own rental properties that we have to fork out money for. If you took mortgages out of the picture, $5,000 a month would be really good.

317. When was your first impression of someone totally wrong?

I don’t know if it was the first, but when we were in Belize, my first impression of our tour guide was COMPLETELY off because he had neck tattoos and piercings. He turned out to be the nicest of everyone we met, shame on me!

318.How many hours a week do you spend online?

Crap…way to much! Definitely more than watching TV. Maybe 30, conservatively. But, I would like to defend myself by saying that most of the time it for blogging, marketing, networking, business and researching. It is rare that I will be randomly surfing.

319. What do you love to do?

Hike, dine at great restaurants, travel, laugh, have new experiences, plan adventures, blog

320. What specific character trait do you want to be known for?


321. Are you more like your mom or your dad? In what way?

Actually a lot of both, but my mom leads by a hair because I was raised with her. I have her crazy work ethic, love of anything Italian and definitely exhibit similar mannerisms.

322. What is the number one quality that makes someone a good leader?

Being respected, yet likable

323. What bad habits do you want to break?

I have this terrible habit of waiting for my husband to say “Hello” first when he comes home from work, instead of just saying “Hi, honey, how was your day?” I am chalking it up as coming from a dysfunctional family where you never knew what to expect when you came home, so I was always waiting to let the tone be set by someone else. Trying hard to break it.

324. What is your favorite place on Earth?

Out of all the places I have been, I would say that Venice, Italy was love at first sight. I also adore any warm, blue beach. But, there are hundreds of places I have yet to visit ;)

Canals of Venice

325. What do you love to practice?

What I preach ;)

326. What questions do you often ask yourself?

Is this intuition talking or fear? Is what you are doing right now making you happy? Is chocolate really that bad for you?

327. What are you an expert at?

Depends on who you ask. We are all experts to someone, depending on the knowledge level of the person asking.

328. How would an extra $1000 a month change your life?

It would pay one of my investment properties mortgage, which would be a huge relief.

329. What things in life should always be free?

Water, advice and love

330. What is your favorite time of the year?

Easily summer. I am always cold, so winter is a hard season for me. Though, I do enjoy cuddling on the couch during the cold weather.

331. What is something you have always wanted since you were a kid?

I always wanted to live on a farm with one of each animal. But, now I can’t do that until I find someone to take care of them all. I don’t want to shovel poop at 4:00am.

332. What is the most recent dream you remember having while sleeping?

I just had a dream that my husband was telling me his days itinerary. He was going to play basketball for an hour, then going to make homemade sausage with his friend, then they were going to play basketball again, then go back to the kitchen to make some cured meat. Weird, because he doesn’t play basketball.

333. What confuses you?

Why when many men cheat they blame it on “the way men are wired”. Unless, you are living in the wild, cheating is a choice.

334. In what way are you your own worst enemy?

When I am not careful, I can be an obsessive thinker which leads me on a downward spiral of negative thoughts. Never a good thing!

335. When did you not speak up when you should have?

I can’t think of a specific time, but there has been many occasions where I expected people to understand what type of person I was without actually pointing out my attributes. Because, I am more of a “I’ll show you what I can do” sort of girl.

336. What is your favorite quote?

History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it. Winston Churchill

337. What is your favorite fictional story? (novel, movie, fairytale, etc.)

Cinderella. I love almost any story where a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly.

338. Where or who do you turn to when you need good advice?

I turn to my best girlfriend when I need relationship advice and my husband when it is just about anything else.

339. What artistic medium do you use to express yourself?

Mostly cooking, but I also enjoy being “Martha Stewart” crafty.

340. Who or what is the greatest enemy of mankind?

Negative thinking.

341. What is something you wish you had done earlier in life?

Though many try to limit life’s regrets, you may still have some in regards to things you should have done earlier. Do you wish you had children sooner or learned to conquer your fears.

342. What is the closest you have ever come to fearing for your life?

This could be a time where you were actually in danger or a scenario where your danger was created by your thoughts.

343 How do you deal with loneliness?

Loneliness affects us all at some point in our lives, how do you deal with it? For some, it may be calling an old friend, for others it may be taking a long walk. 

Annette White on Niala Summit in Greece

344. What skill do you know well enough to teach to others?

What is something that you excel at, that you could give a lesson on? Maybe your an expert at changing the oil in your car, making the perfect travel itinerary or playing the harmonica. What is your one thing?

345. What’s a quick decision you once made that changed your life?

We take our time to ponder most decisions, but have you ever made a snap decision that altered the path of your life? It could have been to quit your job, start an art class or break up with a long-time boyfriend. 

346. What have you recently lost interest in?

We all have things that we’re passionate about. But over time, it’s natural for our interests to change. Maybe you used to love playing tennis but haven’t picked up a racket in months. Or maybe you used to be really into fashion but can’t be bothered to keep up with the latest trends anymore.

It’s important to take note of these changes in interest, because they can be indicative of something bigger going on in your life. Maybe you’re feeling bored or unchallenged in your current situation. Or maybe you’ve been through a major life change and are still trying to figure out what you’re into now. Either way, acknowledging that your interests have changed is an important first step in making positive changes in your life.

347.What do you think makes life easier?

There are probably a ton of answers to this question. For example flushing toilets, good friends and loving what you do for a lving.

348. What was the last thing you argued about with someone?

Was it something as simple as where you were going to eat for dinner or about not being treated as well as you think you should be.

349. What job would you never do no matter how much it paid?

Answering this thought provoking question will give you a lot of insight into your personality. If you are a bit of a germaphobe, there are quite a few jobs that you may never want to do, like being an outhouse cleaner or a nurse. If dealing with numbers gives you anxiety, then maybe a career as an accountant is not for you.

350. Thought Provoking Questions: What is the number one solution to healing the world?

The world is full of problems: poverty, hunger, disease, war, pollution. It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out where to even start when it comes to making a difference. But if we step back and look at the big picture, there may be one solution that rises above the rest to you. If may be education, positive thinking or whatever you believe.

351. What could society do without?

Some people would say it is fast food while others would say it is technology, what is it for you?

352. What stresses you out?

Stress comes in all different forms, for me it is too many deadlines all at once! What is yours?

353. What did you do last week that was memorable?

From having happy hour with friends to seeing your first grandchild be born to learning to cook a new recipe, what was something that you’d consider memorable from your previous week.

The Alamo

354. Where do you spend most waking hours?

It’s important to identify were you spend most of your time while you are awake so you can be sure that it is a place that brings you joy.

355. What makes someone a hero?

What characteristics would someone need in order to be considered your hero? Is it being selfless, being a genuinely good person or having strength? 

356. Have you ever been a victim of stereotyping?

Stereotyping happens often in many different areas of life, when has it happened to you last? Did someone assume because you were a woman that you were not the CEO of your company or because you are a man that you watched sports and drink beer all weekend instead of cooking and cleaning for the family.

357. When was the last time you felt lucky?

Did you just win a few bucks in the lottery, get a free cookie at the bakery or catch an unexpected sunset? What made you feel lucky lately?

358.When and what made you first realize that life is short?

We always say “life is short”, but when did you first really realize that it was true? Maybe it was when your high school friend passed away or maybe when you started to feel the limitations of your body as you were aging.

359. What is the most insensitive thing a person can do?

Is the most insensitive thing betraying your trust or wasting your time. Or maybe it is never caring about your feelings and being all about them.

360. What can someone do to grab your attention?

Is is simply a warm smile, a sincere compliment or just a “hello”? Maybe it has to be something more, like asking a thoughtful question or acknowledging something good you have done.

361. On your commute home from work, what do you typically think about?

Do you continue to think about work after leaving or do you begin thinking relaxing thoughts? 

362. What is one disadvantage of the modern day life?

There are many benefits to the modern world, but what are some of the downsides? What aspects of technology is flawed? What are some environmental problems? Have you seen a change in the general public’s personalities?

363. Is there a simple fact about life that you wish more people understood?

Is there some little gem you have always believed about life that you want others to understand too? Like, being nice will get you further in life than being mean ever will.

364. If you could do your life over again, what would you change?

Do you have any regrets about some of the decisions that you have made? Is there something that you still think about today that you wish you would have handled differently?

365. How would you describe your future in three words?

Words you might use: bright, exciting, freeing, happy, inspirational, lucrative, peaceful, potential, productive, promising, secure.


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