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With the holidays approaching, many of us are starting the shopping scramble, trying to find the perfect gifts for the people we love. And that comes with a certain amount of stress.

While I consider myself a pretty good gift giver, I have certainly experienced the occasional look of puzzlement as someone opens my gift and even an outright rude recipient, which led me to wonder…why are some people better at accepting gifts than others? And what does the exchange of gifts really represent?


The Giver

Gift-giving is more than just an exchange of physical items. It's a way of showing love, appreciation, and care for the person you're giving the gift to. Thoughtful gift-giving represents the giver's desire to connect with the recipient on a deeper level and express their feelings. It's often not about the gift itself, but the intention behind it.

By putting effort into choosing a gift that aligns with the recipient's interests or needs, the giver is saying, "I see you and I value you." It's a way of nurturing relationships and creating a sense of belonging. When you receive a thoughtful gift, it's important to recognize and appreciate the time, thought, and care that went into choosing it.

Not only that, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found myself enjoying being the giver even more than the receiver. Watching someone open a gift that I’ve chosen for them is often the highlight of my holidays.

Which is why being a good recipient is important, too.


The Receiver

As odd as this might sound, there is a certain amount of stress in receiving gifts – especially receiving gifts graciously.

According to Torey C. Richards, LMHC, “Some people feel awkward about the attention that comes along with receiving a gift. Often they feel like the spotlight is on them, even if no one else is around, and may be embarrassed.”

Also, “Some people have self-esteem issues or aren’t used to people doing anything nice for them so they will reject any gift. They may feel like they haven’t done anything to deserve the gift, even if the person giving the gift feels otherwise. The more expensive or thoughtful the gift is, the more likely it is that someone will think that they aren’t worth it. They will feel uncomfortable and even overwhelmed.”

Now, as I mentioned above, I’ve experienced someone not receiving a gift well that had nothing to do with low self-esteem – they just didn’t seem to know how to do it. But I do understand how in some cases it might trigger a feeling of insecurity in which case a simple “thank you” is all that’s necessary.

So, as we embark on the holiday season, remember that the gift you often give another person is the positive reaction and response you give when you open it. That’s often all we need to feel the holiday spirit!

Summer is an amazing time to entertain in Colorado (when we’re not experiencing large hail and tornadoes – hello, summer of 2023). The best part is that it can be easy to do on a budget. Here are some ideas (and recipes) to help get your party started!

Plan Ahead

The key to hosting a successful summer party on a budget is planning ahead. Start by deciding on your guest list and the type of party you want to throw. Once you have a general idea, start keeping an eye out for sales on party supplies, food, and decor. You can also save money by making your own party favors or decorations. There are plenty of DIY tutorials online that are easy to follow and won't cost a fortune.

CHECK OUT 24 Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas That Look Expensive.

(I’m saying yes to the self-serve sangria bar.)

Host a Daytime Party

Hosting a daytime party can also save you money on food and drink expenses. Consider hosting a picnic in a nearby park or throwing a pool party during the day. You can serve simple snacks like chips, dips, and fruit, and guests can bring their own drinks.

Entertainment Ideas

When it comes to entertainment, there are plenty of budget-friendly options. Consider setting up lawn games like cornhole or bocce ball. You can also create a playlist of your favorite music or stream a movie outdoors. For a fun and interactive activity, set up a DIY photo booth with props and backdrops. Your guests will have a blast taking silly photos and making lasting memories.

5 Crowd-Pleasing Summer Recipes

These summer recipes are sure to be a hit!

Banana Pudding in a Sack – Super cute, portable, and you can make it ahead!

Chicken Tortellini Salad – Omit the chicken or serve it on the side to make this vegetarian.

Pan-Seared Salmon with Summer Succotash – This elegant dish comes together in a flash and would be great for an intimate get together with friends.

Grilled Vegetable Platter with Yogurt Mint Sauce – Who doesn’t love a gorgeous platter of grilled vegetables?

Croque Monsieur Pie – Having friends over for brunch? This recipe is a WINNER.

When it comes to money matters, it’s not all about balancing a checkbook. A lot of different factors can come into play when trying to build a secure financial foundation; limiting beliefs and trauma are just a couple of things that might influence how you deal with your finances.

In the Q&A below, I’m talking to hypnotherapist Kim Sheahan about an approach to getting past these money hang-ups that you might not have considered before.

Tell us a little about your services.

I utilize hypnosis to work with the subconscious mind to help clients change habits, instill new behaviors and update their beliefs to create an expansive life instead of one of misery and limitation.

Many people know what they should be doing to live the life they want, but struggle to actually take action and create habits that allow them to live that life. Most of this is rooted in limiting beliefs that keep them stuck where they are. Hypnotherapy makes it easy to access the subconscious mind where these beliefs live and change them, so that you can create the life you want.

Hypnotherapy is best suited for those who are ready to take action to change their lives, but have struggled to find tools or services that help them actually create that change.

How did you get into hypnotherapy?

When the doctors ruled out tumors for me, there wasn't much else they could do for my chronic debilitating illness, vestibular migraines. I went searching for anything that would help and found my way to hypnotherapy. After learning that unresolved emotional trauma can cause physical disease, I began healing and processing my emotional trauma from my life. This allowed me to access the natural healing intelligence within my body, and I was able to heal my physical body as well. Now I no longer suffer from this disease and live a rich, full life that I thought was lost to me forever.

I was in the middle of a career crisis when I got sick. I had been working in tax as a CPA and wanted a way out. To find something that lit me up instead of crushing my soul every day. I felt a calling to learn hypnotherapy and to show others how to heal and find that inner peace within themselves. Now my days are filled with helping people find their ways to self-love and acceptance. And seeing them grow and accomplish astounding things once they begin to believe in themselves.

What are some examples you’ve seen of people who have issues with money?

How do you address them through hypnotherapy?

Each client is different, but the general pattern of how we work through things is the same. First, we start off with planting seeds in the subconscious mind that reverse the limiting habits and beliefs that are initially observed.

Then over a series of sessions, we will reverse any trauma that is related to money, value, self-worth or whatever beliefs we uncover. A standard session includes discovery while in hypnosis of limiting beliefs, releasing or processing what needs to be dealt with, and continuing to build self-worth and self-esteem in relation to the new habits, behavior and beliefs they want with custom affirmations.

As self-esteem rises it all becomes easier to charge what you’re worth, save money, handle finances or find a new job where you feel valued and are paid more.

For example, you come to see me because you make good money, but struggle to save any of it because you spend a lot of it on stuff you consider junk. We build an affirmation such as:

“You now choose to spend your money wisely on items that are of value to you, therefore you trust yourself to make the right choices and purchases for you.”

Then using hypnosis, it is planted in the subconscious mind. As these new ideas root into the subconscious, it starts to become your reality because the beliefs in your subconscious are what run your life. You find yourself wanting to save money, and to only spend it on things you value.

In the second session, we then do discovery work and find out that your parents fought about the money they had, so you developed a belief that having money causes stress which results in you spending all your money. I help you process through anything you need to related to parents and money. And continue saturating the subconscious mind with new beliefs around money such as:

“Because having money brings you peace and calm you joyfully save more and more now therefore you naturally put $2,000 into retirement in 2023.”

We continue on until the new habits have taken root, and keep processing through what comes up. Usually someone with money issues I can help in 6-8 sessions.

As part of working together, I give each client custom recordings with their affirmations to use in-between sessions, and after we are done working together to keep saturating the subconscious mind with the new ideas. Repetition is what helps new ideas take root and an important part of the process.

Do you have a favorite client story?

My favorite client story around a money issue was a woman who had a really high paying job, had been there 10 years, and hated the job, but was scared to try and leave because she was the breadwinner in the family. She also had several health issues and struggled with saving money.

After just one session she was incredibly motivated and immediately started applying for new jobs. While she was applying and interviewing, we kept work on creating beliefs that she will easily get a new job that pays equal to or more than what she makes now. And more importantly that the new work environment was calm and peaceful, and that she listens to her intuition and naturally picks the job that is the best for her.

By session four she had accepted a new job that paid equal, and had potential for lots more. After starting there, the years long neck pain she had just went away naturally. The environment is still calm and peaceful and she is happy.

I also had the pleasure of meeting this client’s spouse at the celebration party she threw herself for quitting the terrible job. And got to hear all about how my client was back to her old self again and how wonderful it was for the husband to see his wife full of life and enjoying things again.

It has been amazing to see her growth and how much she loves her life again. We continued working through other things and she’s made amazing progress in our time together. I love that helping people find security, joy and self-love in their lives is what I get to do for a living.


Kim Sheahan is a:

Learn more about her and Hypnotherapy here:

Hypnotherapy is an educational and self-improvement process that facilitates access to a person's internal resources to assist themselves in solving problems, increasing motivation, or altering behavior patterns to create positive change. 

Hypnotherapy is not a substitute for medical treatment or psychotherapy. Kimberly Sheahan does not practice medicine or psychotherapy and her services are not a replacement for counseling, psychotherapy, psychiatric or medical treatment. No service or product provided is intended to diagnose or treat any disease or illness, psychological or mental health condition.

Many things have changed since we started dealing with Covid in 2020 – including how we buy cars. For this piece, we talked to Patsy Butterfield, one of five female car brokers with HM Brown, about what we should know if we’re in the market for a car.

How has car buying changed since Covid? Any signs of it returning back to normal?

The car market has been especially unstable, with supply issues along with parts/chips being scarce. Because of the lack of new car inventory, demand in the used car market has greatly increased.

What should people be aware of as they’re looking for a new or used car?

Be prepared to spend more. We’ve all become quite comfortable with really low interest rates. I can remember when 15.9% on a car loan was common. We have enjoyed low rates for several years now and there is a huge correction in rates right now.

What advice do you give to women who are looking for a new car?

Don’t be intimidated. Do your research and go into the dealership with a clear plan. Or better yet, use a broker.

What are the benefits of working with a car broker?

So many benefits, but I will touch on a few. Instead of only being able to represent only one manufacturer, brokers can sell any make, any model, new or used. That alone makes them much more objective. Brokers are not trying to sell you only a Toyota. We can speak factually about the differences between the models and yet, point out shortcomings as well. You will never get that impartiality from a dealer.

Also, many dealers have limited options for financing/leasing. Because of the huge buying power that many brokers have, we can offer a far larger menu of finance/lease options. Dealers often have reasons to offer “special dealer financing” but be assured, they are making up that money somewhere. If you are working with a broker, we can break down exactly what that 1.9% or 0% financing really means. And best of all, we can tap into any special interest rate, rebate, or monthly incentives they may have available.

How do you like your clients to feel when they walk (or roll) away with their new vehicle?

As a consumer buying a car, I negotiated all day with the dealer to a fair price, and yet walking out of the finance office and getting my car, I always seemed to ask in my head, “Did I really get a good deal?”

I never want you to feel that way.

Buying a car shouldn’t be a stressful process, it should be fun! I make an effort to take away the stress involved, and replace it with information, options, and transparency.

About Patsy

Patsy Butterfield is an Auto Broker with HM Brown & Associates, where she works with clients to help with the car buying process from start to finish, including finding cars, bidding on trades, and financing, as well as any extra aftermarket wish lists.

Patsy came from an Ad Agency & Post Production industry before deciding to make a big career change to the car world. She works with all manufacturers, banks and credit unions and cultivates those relationships to bring the best client experience possible. You can expect 100% transparency, no horror stories, and nasty surprises when working with Patsy.

Thinking about booking a getaway in the next few months? Of course you are! After spending so much time in our homes during COVID, we’re all ready for a change of scenery.

The good news is that you can get out of town, have fun, and make a positive impact when you visit the destination of your choice.

Eco-Friendly Tourism

If you’re an environmentally conscious traveler, finding sustainable destinations might be for you. According to CNBC, “In order for a destination to be certified as sustainable, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council outlines a list of criteria. It ranges from supporting local businesses, to conserving natural resources, and encouraging visitors to participate in the community.”

This includes destinations within the state of Colorado: “For Vail, the achievement literally took a village. Hundreds of business, from high-end hotels to plumbing companies, collaborated to make the town more eco-friendly. The effort spanned the public transportation, waste and housing sectors.”


Volunteering your time on vacation could also be an option.

“Years ago I went on a biking trip through Italy,” says travel agent Deb Clark with Premiere Travel Planners. “One of our stops was at a local home where the owner and two helpers served us an amazing dinner. I later found out that the couple working with her were volunteering in exchange for room and board. This got me excited about the idea of volunteering while on vacation. Which might also save you money!”

It's important to be thoughtful about where you volunteer, though. offers this advice: “You can ensure your volunteering impact reaches its maximum potential by joining projects that require minimal training or need skillsets that you already possess. When you have limited time to contribute, spending the majority of the experience training eats into valuable work time.”

Here are some ideas:

1. Safari in South Africa, then volunteer with wildlife

2. Learn to surf in Costa Rica, then save the sea turtles

3. Trek in Nepal, then volunteer with homeless animals

4. Explore the Peruvian Amazon, then work to protect it

5. Sail the Galapagos Islands, then help protect them

6. Visit the natural wonders of Bolivia, then defend endangered species

One more thought: “Be careful about what you volunteer for,” says Deb Clark. “I had a friend who thought harvesting olives for olive oil would be a wonderful experience. She later found out that it was more labor-intensive than she thought it would be. She really wasn’t prepared for that.”

Other ways you can be a thoughtful traveler

We’re moving into vacation time when many of us start slowing down and enjoying the summer months. Couple that with people exploring options that allow them to work from anywhere and that means people might be considering purchasing a vacation home.

My parents were in the same boat 30 years ago as they looked for ways escape winters in Chicago. Eventually, after visiting different areas, they decided that St. Thomas was the right fit for them. They loved to swim and snorkel, and the weather and water is always warm enough to do so. It is also a United States territory which makes traveling and living there easy.

Here's a Different Way to Enjoy a Vacation Home

While my parents knew they wanted to be regular “snowbirders” in St. Thomas, they also hesitated to purchase a second home. Once they retired and were able to spend multiple weeks at a time at the beach, they opted to rent a condo.

Why Didn’t They Get a Place of Their Own?

Even though they have spent decades going to the same place, they were never interested in buying a vacation home in St. Thomas. The annual hurricane insurance alone is about what they spent renting. Beyond that, they have no worries about finding renters when they were not using it, dealing with the repairs, and many other headaches that come with owning property.

Less important, but part of the equation for my parents at least: the family from whom they have been renting for the last 20 years have not raised the rental rates; my parents were guaranteed income for them, and they treated the home like their own.

For example, one time the refrigerator broke during their stay, and they called the owners in New York. The owners asked if my parents could go buy a new one and they would pay them back. My parents said “Sure!” and took care of it. Having that relationship is a win for everyone.

Let’s Talk About YOUR Situation

How we want to spend our leisure time becomes more and more important as we age and start thinking about retirement.

When we work on a financial plan, many of my clients have purchasing a vacation home on their “wishes” portion and that’s great! For some people it’s a good fit. But I always like to make sure my clients know their options. I want their retirement to be as “headache-free” as possible – so that might mean considering renting rather than purchasing a second home.

Here are some benefits to renting:

Enjoy Spending Stress-Free Time with Family

One of the perks of my mom spending every January thru March in St. Thomas is joining her there! Family and friends visit when they can and I’m no different. This March I was able to work from her condo for 10 days and sneak in time to snorkel each day.

The best part? I was there at the end of my mom’s trip and when we left, all we needed to do was pack. We didn’t need to clean out the fridge, change the sheets, or anything.

We just packed our bags and headed home.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

For this blog post, I brought in personal stylist and image consultant Heather Hope to talk about creating a post-Covid wardrobe. Whether you’re heading back to the office or continuing to work from home, these tips will help you look fabulous and might help you save some money by being more intentional with your purchases – something that this financial advisor likes!

Whether you are returning to in-person professional or social events or hoping to enhance your online look after countless video calls, now is a great opportunity to re-think your relationship with your clothes. Invest in a curated wardrobe that works for you, and you will emerge from this pandemic with more confidence, authenticity, and visibility.

Be Intentional with Your Non-Verbal Communication

How we dress is much more than practical. It is a vehicle for connection, expression, and communication of your personal brand. Every item of clothing is a word in the non-verbal message you are sending to yourself and to those around you. What are you communicating, either intentionally or unintentionally? What’s on the inside that should be reflected on the outside?

Invest in Your Look

Like it or not, we are wired to judge others by how they appear. Most communication is non-verbal, so it’s worthwhile to consider your look and establish a budget for your appearance. If you don’t already do this, simply start tracking your expenses for skin care, makeup, hair, clothing, accessories and more. Without a budget, you’ll always “overspend” and feel guilty. Or you won’t invest adequately in yourself, and potentially miss social or professional opportunities.

Evaluate Your Current Closet

American women spend $2,000-5,000 each year on clothes (but 2020 was an exception!) and we wear 15% of our clothes 80% of the time. This is why we have closets that are stuffed, but feel like we have very little to actually wear!

For most of us, “closet overwhelm” and “dressing decision fatigue” are real. Look at each piece you own and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Does it fit NOW? (not when you lose or gain 10 pounds)
  2. Does it honor your body architecture (curves, angles) and create the illusion of proportion and balance? (neckline, hem, waist, etc.)
  3. Is it in a WOW color? (one that makes you most visible, healthy, vibrant)
  4. Is it authentic to YOU? (it should reflect your unique personality and brand)
  5. Do you LOVE it? (it makes you look and feel FAB, and is in great condition)
  6. BONUS: Does it coordinate with lots of other items? (don't allow "strangers" in)

As you evaluate, learn from your mistakes, and give yourself a lot of grace. Be decisive in culling through an overstuffed closet. Take notes. Why don't you like it or wear it? This helps you avoid repeating the same shopping mistake(s) again.

Consider “Bargains” & Evaluate Cost-Per-Wear

Retail has suffered greatly over the past 18+ months, so almost everything is on sale. It's tempting to overspend because the discounts are so big, but it's not really a "bargain" if you never wear it, right? There’s a cost (time, energy, waste, decision fatigue) for every item that clutters your closet but goes unworn. Use the same questions above to evaluate new items before you by them.

On a related note, consider how frequently you will wear a foundational wardrobe item, and shop for quality vs quantity. Those $20 flip flops worn only one time are $20 per wear. Those $100 sandals worn every weekend of the summer are less than $4 per wear. In the end, which is the better “bargain” or deal?

Customize Your Capsule Wardrobe

Do you dream of a basic coordinated wardrobe with just a few essential pieces? You are not alone, but I do advise against adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. There isn’t a universal formula. Instead, your capsule should be custom to you and your:

Take the Next Step

If you want getting dressed to be FUN and easy again, I'd love to help you. When you know your WOW colors and develop your personal STYLE, shopping and dressing are no longer frustrating or draining. Imagine that! The investment in personal styling helps you feel most confident and visible, and it results in a savings of time, energy, and money.

About Heather

Heather Hope is a personal stylist and image consultant. She brought the UK-based franchise House of Colour to Denver two years ago and has served over 250 clients with the company’s world-class color analysis and personal style services. She is a Denver native with over 20 years of professional experience in PR and strategic communication, which now translates to personal branding. Heather’s aim remains steadfast: to help you be your very best – with confidence and authenticity. You can find her here:

House of Colour - Heather Hope | Facebook

Heather Hope (@houseofcolour_heatherhope) • Instagram photos and videos

Heather Hope | LinkedIn

[email protected]

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Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC, a registered investment advisor. GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC and Aspen Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.

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