What I learned in Italy: The Food Edition!👩‍🍳

What I learned in Italy: The Food Edition!👩‍🍳

Coming off a 10-day vacation in Italy with a 9.5-hour plane ride, a couple of blog ideas were bound to happen. For starters, the trip we had truly was a trip of a lifetime.

My family and our significant others rented a villa in Tuscany for 8 days.  We took day trips to the local towns, Florence, Luca, and Cinque Terre.  Then we ended the trip with two nights in Rome.

We were toured around by locals, taught how to cook pasta and pizza by a local chef, had multiple wine tastings at local Chianti wineries, and had some really interesting tours in the big cities.  We drank unlimited wine, Aperol Spritz’s, and ate homemade pasta and bread and oil Every. 👏Single.👏 Day👏.

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The best part was that the wifi and service at the villa totally sucked and I didn’t buy an international phone plan.  Therefore, for 7 nights I had little to no access to the internet, email, texts, and social media.  At first, it was infuriating but by day 2 I started to appreciate the lack of service because it truly forced me to unplug, focus and soak in all my surroundings.  It ended up being my blessing in disguise.

Being completely out of touch with my life back home, while experiencing new places, people and things, really makes you start to think about things more clearly.  It opens your eyes to another way of life and allows you to learn new things.  It’s one of my favorite parts about traveling.  Everything seems to get really clear for me.  Really simple. That happened on this trip.

 

I started to notice several things were different from my own lifestyle and the states back home, and since I am a blogger, I, of course, wanted to talk about it! 😊

There were two major differences I noticed when comparing Italy to the states.  As I am sure you can guess, one was the food because it’s Italy. Then the other was the lifestyle because again… Italy. I wanted to break it up and into two blogs so I can break down what I saw and learned!

 

Since Italy is most known for its food, I thought I would start there.

 

IMG_8407To give you a quick back story on me.  I am a food and health junkie; I love to eat healthy delicious food and I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  At home, I don’t eat any dairy and little to no meat and primarily fish and eggs.  For carbs, I mainly eat sprouted bread, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.  I even try to buy oil sprayers so that I don’t use too much oil.  I try hard to make as many healthy choices as possible in my day to day life.  I’ve watched one too many documentaries and have read too many books on the topic do otherwise.

So when I was heading to the pasta, bread, meat and cheese capital of the world, I was a little nervous about how it would affect my body because I obviously wasn’t going to pass up on any of it while I am there.

Not to mention that the last time I went to Italy with my best friend I gained over 10 pounds and it took months to work off.  Granted we were fresh out of college and totally reckless eating Gelato at 11 am, but it still happened!

Though, I had heard multiple times from a lot of people that the food is different in Italy.  The ingredients are fresher, and they don’t use the chemicals that we do.  I believed all of that to be true, but I still questioned how my body would react.

Would I still get breakouts when I ate the dairy products? 

Would I get bloated and sore after eating the bread and pasta like I did at home?

 Would I get super hungover from 2 glasses of wine?

 

But once I got there and ate and drank ALL of the things… I didn’t.  I didn’t have any reaction at all. I was perfectly fine, the entire time.

 

This was my first lesson.

The food is LEGITIMATELY better in every single way.

When I say we ate pasta, bread, and cheese every single day, I am not kidding.  But it img_8784.jpgwasn’t because we were in Italy, but there really weren’t that many other options.  Salads were available, but nothing fun like we do in the states with craisins, nuts, quinoa, and other veggies.  It was straight up lettuce tomato and maybe some cucumber.

It was the same with the vegetable options, they were very limited. They DID have unlimited options for cheeses, meats, bread, and pasta, so that’s what we ate.  So, as a result of my surroundings, I ate all the things that I almost never eat, every single day, and I was totally fine.  I didn’t have one break out or a hangover and never felt the bloated achy feeling that I get when I eat bread at home.

I want to say it was mind-blowing… but it’s really wasn’t.   I knew exactly where all the cheeses, meats and wines were coming from and how they were being made.  Then the bread would start to go stale after being out for just a couple of hours. You couldn’t even bite into day-old bread.  Compared to the states, where I have no idea how they make the cheese, preserve it or where it comes from, and then the bread lasts for weeks without going bad…sketch.

One morning we went on an olive oil tasting and the woman who gave us the tasting said that she stopped buying chicken from the store because she didn’t know where it was coming from or how the chickens were being treated. It mattered to her to know what she was eating was coming from.  I think that is a major difference. We DON’T really know where our food is coming from or how it’s being prepared.  So much of what we eat, and buy is made for convenience, speed, and cost.  But because of that something gets lost (or added) in between and we are physically affected because of it.

The whole experience just made me stop and think about the foods I was putting into my body in an entirely different way.

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Speaking of the lady from the Olive Oil tasting, she made a huge impact on me in the short time we were together so the next two lessons are from what I learned in my conversations with her.

To give you back story on her, she and her husband own an olive tree farm.  The farm was passed down to them, it has been in the family for hundreds of years.  It is 99 acres of olive trees that his family would organically produce into olive oil.  They continued to keep that tradition alive and produce thousands of cans of olive oil every year.  So, she clearly knew a thing or two when it came to olive oil.  What I found most interesting was what TYPE of olive oil you should buy.

 

My next lesson was on Olive Oil Purchasing.

She taught us that once olive oil is made it needs to be kept in cold and dark places so that it doesn’t oxidize and lose the nutrients and vitamins.  Because of that, we should NOT be buying any olive oil unless it is in either a tinted glass bottle or a tin can.  She told us that anything that ISN’T in a tin can or tinted glass bottle is NOT 100% real olive oil and has some sort of chemical or additive in it to keep it the golden yellow color, and it doesn’t have the same vitamins and nutrients that real olive oil has.

She also said that you should NEVER buy olive oil that is in a plastic container because the chemicals from the plastic seep in.  After she said that we all gave each other a guilty look because we all knew that we ALL buy the jumbo plastic olive oil containers from Costco…

So pretty much all the olive oil I have ever eaten hasn’t been the best quality…which is nuts to think about because I pride myself on buying high-quality foods but at least we all know now so we can make better choices moving forward!

 

Moving on to my next lesson learned…

During our tasting, the woman told us that she gave cooking lessons, so I was excited to hear about the different meals she made.  In that conversation, she mentioned how in Italy the foods they cook change every season and went on to describe the foods that they eat in each season.

They ate for the season.  That was my next lesson.

They ate what was available to them at that point in time-based off of what was growing IMG_4550that season.  They ate tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer, and then the peppers and eggplant in the fall, and broccoli and cauliflower in the winter months.

They didn’t have a grocery store full of cauliflower crust pizzas or a plethora of options of vegetables, fruits, and foods to choose from. They primarily ate what was grown and picked last week from the farms.  For whatever reason, that made me stop and think for the first time when should I be eating certain foods.

Is a tomato you eat in summer as flavorful and full of nutrients and vitamins as the tomatoes you eat in the winter?  Where are the broccoli and cauliflower coming from that I am eating all summer long when it’s not in season until wintertime?

I am not a nutritionist and I didn’t try to go find the exact scientific answer to these questions. But if you look at it simply, we probably should be eating fruits and vegetables when they are in season, local, and freshly picked because that IS when they are at their best.

From that conversation, I am much more interested in not only learning more about eating for the season but also, what vegetables and fruits are best in what seasons so I can start to implement more of that in my own life.

 

 

Then the final thing I noticed, which ended up being my last lesson was that there was,

NO Snacking.

If you think about a typical US grocery store there are aisles and aisles dedicated to different snack bars, to-go packets of nuts, chips, cookies, and crackers. There are loads of it and we are constantly craving it.  Partially because it’s filled with sugars that we are addicted too, but more so because it’s a part of our culture.  Snacks between meals is a common thing that most people do in the US.

In Italy, they don’t do snacks.

There were few snacks available to buy at small-town grocery markets or at the convenience stores of the side streets.  They didn’t have chips for you to buy or bars or snacks.  They had meals.  They had bread, pastries, a slice of pizza, and all types of sandwiches with prosciutto, but there is very little else to buy outside of that.  They are more focused on eating meals and more “real foods”.   Think about how differently your own day would be if your only option for food was “real” food.  Food that didn’t come out of a package or freezer…

 

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Overall, I truly believe that submerging yourself in another culture is one of the best educations you can get because you are seeing and experiencing it firsthand.

 

Those were just a few of the details I noticed and the lessons that I learned while we were away.  I hope that you were as intrigued as I was, and it taught you something new or simply was just some food for thought. 😉

 

Summer Picnic Essentials

Summer Picnic Essentials

Since this past weekend was Memorial Day, that means the summer barbeques and picnics have officially begun!  Praise the Lord our 3 months of warm weather is FINALLY here!!

Summer is my favorite time of the year for many reasons, but one of the things I most look forward to is parties with friends at the beach.  While this is super fun and an awesome time, it can be a little taxing on some of us with our health goals. Having pasta salad and hot dogs is great in May and then mid- July comes and you’ve already eaten 10 hot dogs over the recommended ‘1 hot dog a year’ limit, and it feels that if you just look at another pasta salad your shorts may bust open.  Or at least this is how I feel…

 

To keep myself on track with my healthy lifestyle during the summer party sessions, I make sure I always come prepared.  I come with healthy food options. I offer to bring foods and side dishes to share so that I know that I will always have healthy choices.  

 

Making these dishes delicious is a must so that you don’t feel deprived and everyone loves it and wants you to bring your “dish” to every summer party. Win/win. 😉

 

I am going to share with you my Summer Picnic Essentials, four things that are perfect for picnics, dishes that everyone loves and will be begging you to bring again and again.

 

A Salad the people can’t refuse.  

mediterranean-chickpea-salad-fb-ig-1.jpgI really appreciate a good salad.  Mostly because salads could really suck if you don’t put love and care into it.   My best friend Rachel and My Auntie Carol make the BEST salads, and if they make it, everyone’s eating it, even the guys.  They were my inspiration for this picnic essential because I have watched as people swarm around the salads that they bring to parties.  These are always healthy and delicious leaving you completely satisfied.

This weekend, for example, My Aunt Carol made a salad that we were all raving about.  It was a chopped salad with romaine lettuce, raw zucchini, blueberries, sliced radishes for a crunch, edamame and a poppyseed dressing… It was unbelievable.  We ate it on Saturday and couldn’t stop talking about it until, well, today. I am still talking about it and decided to base a blog around it.  It was that good.  Never underestimate the power of a good salad.

Some killer Kabobs

barbecue-barbeque-blur-604660I have always loved kabobs with chicken or shrimp.  Partially because it’s a fun thing to say, the pronunciation of ka-BOBs automatically puts a smile on my face, but it’s also fun and easy to eat.  When prepping for picnics I try to think about what would be the easiest dish to bring. A dish that’s either totally prepared or would be easy to cook once I get there with the least amount of prep and clean up needed.  Kabobs are a great option. All you have to do is defrost the shrimp, and cut up the chicken. Throw it in a bag of olive oil and an Italian seasonings packet or a teriyaki sauce, and mix it all up so it’s entirely covered and coated in the sauce.  Stick the shrimp or chicken on the skewer then pack it all up.  Grill it once you get there. Easy peasy, and a great way to get the protein in.

 

 

Guac and Veggies

guacamole-foto-heroe-1024x723-500x500Guacamole and cut up veggies is the best appetizer to have at any party all year long, but especially during the summer.  For starter’s, almost everyone I know loves guacamole. At any party, once the guacamole comes out people swarm around it, and you better run over too or it’ll be gone before you get there.  It’s a serious concern at every party we have.

You can serve it with tortilla chips or veggies.  Nothing really beats a tortilla with guac on it, but a cut up carrot or celery stick is still pretty freaking great and a healthier option.  Even if you bring both cut up veggies and chips, just decide to eat mostly the veggies with a just couple of chips. #balance. It’s all about balance and making small healthier choices.  

 

Cut up watermelon

blur-close-up-delicious-1070858.jpgNothing screams summer more than biting into a juicy ripe watermelon and having the sweet red goodness streaming down the sides of your mouth.  Having watermelon at a picnic is the ultimate summer essential. It’s the perfect dessert that leaves you hydrated, full and satisfied. I prefer to have watermelon up cut into chunks, but some prefer the quarter moon cuts.  Whatever tickles your fancy, or is easier for you, people will love it either way. It’s the great healthy dessert option for you to have over the plethora of sugar-filled store-bought baked goods that everyone else will be bringing.

 

Coming off a four day weekend, with three beach days filled with friends and family, partying and picnicking, I would definitely say that these are the four summer picnic essentials that will help you to continue choosing healthy options and staying on track with your healthy lifestyle.

 

I hope you enjoy and this helps you make healthy choices all summer long, but more than that, I hope you enjoy every minute of this summer time season.  It only comes once a year, so get outside, feel that glorious vitamin D seeping into your skin, play, laugh and let the good times roll.

 

Happy Summertime. =]

 

 

Level Up your Squad

Level Up your Squad

I was inspired to write this blog after seeing the ‘Avengers: Endgame’ movie.  I am not a crazy, obsessive Marvel diehard, but I am definitely a fan. I think they are funny and cool and if there is a popular Marvel film out I am likely going to watch it.  My all-time favorites are ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ 1 and 2. To me, they’re hilarious, light-hearted and have great endings, which is very important to me (otherwise I get pissed).

 

Without spoiling anything, at the highest level ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is the sequel to ‘Avengers Infinity War’, a pretty epic movie that brought nearly all the major Marvel superheroes together to fight the big, bad guy, ‘Thanos’, determined to end life as we know it.  Simply put, things didn’t so great the first time around, so ‘Endgame’ is their second shot to kill the bad guy.

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I don’t want to spoil the entire movie, so I won’t, but there was one scene in it that pulled at my heart and I can’t help but share.  It was actually the only part that I got super emotional during the movie, but MAN it was good.

 

At one point, Captain Marvel is getting ready to carry the Infinity Stones away from the enemy to safety, but what’s in front of her basically couldn’t be any worse. Rapidly approaching is a sea of evil, black creatures. Rabid Gargoyle-like soldiers, slithering alien warships, armored mutant gorillas all sprinting towards her. Now, Captain Marvel is pretty rad, but still, the odds didn’t look good.

 

Spiderman looked at Captial Marvel and said, “I don’t know how you are going to get through all that”.

But out of nowhere rolls in the ultimate SQUADDDDD.  All the female Avengers characters started flying in around her one-by-one, reassuring Spiderman, “Don’t worry. She’s got help.”  For a second, they all stood around her tall, proud for a glorious moment, and then proceeded to kick all ass in the surrounding zip-code  It. was. EPIC.

 

It’s a scene that probably no one is talking about except me, but in my opinion, it was by far the best scene in the movie and definitely one of my top 5 or 10 movie scenes ever.

 

I have been thinking about that scene for weeks now and have been trying to think about how I can write about it, besides the simple fact that I just loved it.  Then, I was on one of my lunch walks and it came to me. Leveling up your squad.

 

This scene hit me in many different ways because it show was a perfect women empowerment moment. It showed friendship and women supporting each other, believing in each other and standing up for one another.  Pretty much the best situation ever for all the girls out there that don’t always get the same superhero love as the guys. But, it didn’t really just stop at women’s empowerment.

It was the perfect example of what friendship and respect for a colleague SHOULD look like.  The only way to get a squad as epic as the Marvel squad here to level up your own squad.  Consciously surround yourself with people who believe in you and your dreams and who would fight through Demogorgon super creatures to help you succeed. Figuratively of course ;).

 

But, you all know what I am talking about here.  We all have different groups of friends or colleagues. There are some who you know have your back always and would fight for you. Then, there are others who are a bad influence or they make you feel small and think your dreams are dumb.   

 

When striving and working towards being the best version of ourselves we can’t have heavyweights like that holding us back.  Now, I am not saying to ditch all of your friends who don’t always see eye-to-eye with you or are exactly like you. Our friends come in all shapes and sizes and being different from our friends in ways can be healthy.  I am just suggesting to be mindful of how much time you are spending with the different types of people in your life and be sure you’re not surrounding yourself with negative influences constantly.

 

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.

 

Take a minute to think here. Who do you spend most of your time within a typical week?  Think about who they are, what they do and what they stand for. Do you want to become more like that person?  Do you want that person to influence how you treat others?

 

At some point in our lives, which will be different for all of us, it’s important for us to take a good look at the people around us and ask ourselves “How they are influencing us?  Are they building us up or bringing us down?”

 

I did this in high school, college, after college, and before I got married.  And it wasn’t something I planned. I just naturally started asking myself which of my friends I really trusted and looked up to, who I was a better person around and who I wanted in my life for the long haul.  I naturally wanted to spend more time with the friends who built me up and made me feel good because I enjoyed them and I was proud of the person I was around them.  I also look up to them in some way and respect the person that they are. 

 

The friends I have today and the people I spend most of my time with I truly do think that they make me a better person and I know they are ALWAYS there for me no matter.

 

For those of you who maybe have never even thought about how the people who you spend your time with influence you, I put together a couple of things you can start to do or think about to level up your own squad. 

 

  • Raise your personal standards.

To level up our squad we need to start with leveling up our own standards.   Think about the person that you want to become.  Who do you want to become or be remembered as? Maybe a great friend or the mom that has everything right or a badass businesswoman.  Whatever it is we want to be, it starts with us believing in ourselves and our ability to become that person, followed by raising our personal standards to help us get there.  

Then the question is, “Am I surrounding myself with people who are making a positive impact on my goals and the person I want to become?” “Do I personally know people that I can learn from and look up to?”  If you do, great! Become best buddies with that person and learn from them, look up to them and their awesomeness.  People who make a positive impact on our life are gems to be treasured.  Absorb and take in everything that they do and learn from them.  You may start to notice that the reason they are who they are and do what they do, is because they hold themselves to a higher standard.

By simply being around people who hold themselves to a higher standard it will help you do the same for yourself.

 

 

  • Make a conscious effort to meet new people.

 

This is what I want you to do if you find that you DON’T have the friends or network of people you want to become like. There are always different types of networking events in local cities where you can meet people. You can try to reach out to people directly via Linkedin or anywhere you go by introducing yourself and just putting yourself out there.  

But to be honest, I have never loved the whole networking events, introduce yourself to random people thing.  Some people love it and it works great for them, and more power to them! It’s just not my thing. What I do is start to follow someone I look up too, in a certain area I want to improve in.

For example, I love Rachel Hollis.  I think what she is an incredible business woman and has been able to do inspiring things in her career, so I follow her and am a raving fan.  I read all her books and blogs, I do her programs and follow her on all forms of social media.

This helps me in two ways, 1. Having a role model to look up to who lives a life that I respect, and 2. Has been a way for me to meet people through a common interest.  

This method of meeting like-minded people with common interests can be done in so many different ways.  My way of connecting with people has been through a business role model, but yours could be through a lifestyle blogger or an art class you are taking or even joining a rec sports league you are a part of.  They are all great ways to meet new people.

 

 

  • Lead by example.

 

Whenever trying to level up your squad it is important to remember to START being the person you want to be for the people around you.

Finding new friends that help you grow and learn is super important, but it’s just as important to be a great friend and person towards the people in your life today.   Regardless of how they treat you, make sure you always treat them with the love, respect, and support that you would want. Lead by example and show up as the best person that you can every day.  We can’t always wait around for our hero to show up, sometimes we need to be our own hero.

By doing this, you will turn into that person that others look up to, seek out, and try to befriend because you are the person that they respect and love most.  You will teach those around you how good friends or colleagues SHOULD treat each other.  You will show them how they should act to become the best version of themselves.

Someone out there that you already know needs you to be the person they look up to and learn from.

Funny how that works. 😉

I hope this helps and inspires you to level up your squad.  Surround yourself with people who support you, love you and believe in your dreams.  If we all just tried to be a little better of a person to our friends and those in our lives imagine the impact we could all make on our world.

We can save the world, just like the Avengers. =]

 

In loving memory…

In loving memory…

This blog is meant to be about work, life, health and how to not only get by but also to become the best version of ourselves in all of these areas.

 

My goal is to be completely honest with you about everything that I do and try, things that I go through and learn from.  Today’s topic is a bit of a personal one, but I think it’s important to talk about. It’s important because I learned so much from it and it caused such a sudden shift in my life that I know it made a permanent impact.  

 

It’s also important because it’s just about life. In life, we experience happy, beautiful times and losses that make us want to just curl up in a ball and cry.  We aren’t always going to be able to be go-getters and achievers, there are going to be low lows. This past April was that for me.

 

To say that the month of April totally sucked would be an understatement.  I lost my Uncle Jim and Aunt Donna exactly one week apart. Both of whom I was very close to growing up.  Both of whom I love dearly. One death was sudden and the other was more anticipated, but both hurt. Both hurt so badly that it felt like my heart was breaking.  I couldn’t control the tears coming down my face, I couldn’t believe it was happening and I had no words or thoughts. I just saw complete grey and felt a heavy cloud all around me that I couldn’t seem to shake away.

 

If you can’t tell already from my blogs, I am a “fixer”.  A “solution-oriented” person always trying to solve the problem or find the good in the situation.  With something like this, it’s hard to find any positives at all because there is so much loss, hurt and anger.  I kept trying and failing to at least find my silver lining in the clouds.

 

I had nothing until I listened to the eulogy at both of their funerals.

 

I really debated even writing this blog because I thought, “No one cares about this.”  “This isn’t important to your audience and it won’t help them.” But it’s important to me and it’s helped me. It’s important to me that I always remember them and what they each taught me about life.  What legacy they have left behind that I will hold onto, look up to, and strive towards forever.

 

Their legacy and memories are my silver lining.  

 

I’m not sure if some of you ever think about this, but I think about the legacy I will leave behind and the impact I will make on this world often.  I was so attracted to being a recruiter because I truly believe I am able to help and make a difference in people’s lives. That’s also why I love writing this blog so much.  But when I would think about the impact I will make in my life, it was always a far distant thought, nothing that would actually happen any time soon.

 

When I was actually faced with the end of a story for two of my close family members, I was saddened, but also proud of the people they were and what they brought to this world.  And I felt so, so lucky that I had them in my life for a time and that I was able to be loved by them.

 

jungle jim.jpgMy Uncle Jim had a couple of different people speak at his funeral, but the message was consistent.  He loved everyone, always. It did not matter who you were, what walk of life you came from, or whether you had just met on a plane.  He made you feel special, loved and like you were the only one in the room. He had an energy that would light up every room he walked into.  He loved to make people laugh and was the funniest man I have ever met. He was constantly cracking jokes, but never making fun, again leaving you feeling special and light.  Any time I would walk in the room he would start singing, “There she is… Miss America…” He would sing songs loudly, dance regardless of who was watching and dress up as a Teletubby or Austin Powers depending on the occasion.  He never held back his own joy and had the type of laugh that would make everyone laugh. He has always reminded you, without actually saying anything, to not take life too seriously. My dad was one of the last to speak and he ended it with saying that he was, “Our leader in happiness” and that he was. He truly was a light in all of our lives.

 

My Aunt Donna was my mom’s sister so my mom spoke at her funeral.  Her stories also aunt donnawere consistent with every person who came over our house to visit. All of us just spent a lot of time sitting around the kitchen counter telling stories of Aunt Donna, just like she would have wanted.  My Aunt was fiercely loyal, protective of her kin, unapologetically her unique self, and was always helping others. She would help me study for tests at Sunday dinners and was always there whenever I needed her even if I didn’t ask. She would proudly talk about all of my siblings and our cousins to anyone she would meet, just because she was proud that we were all related.  When she was younger she would help the neighborhood kids who were being neglected by bringing them peanut butter sandwiches and bathing them in her parent’s pool. And she continued to do that as she grew up. She never had much, but she would always take the time to stop and help the wounded, hurt or less fortunate. Doing whatever she could to make their lives better, even if that left her with nothing.  She did all of this without any care of what others said or thought of her. She was quirky and beat to her own drum. She was unique, interesting and absolutely wonderful in every way.

 

I think part of the reason I am so sad is not only because they are gone, but because they were such lights and warriors in our world truly making it a better place for us.  They each did it in their own way, but the impact they made rippled into all of our lives and made it a little brighter and better.

 

Death and the rainy seasons in our lives are inevitable.  It’s going to happen whether we like it or not, but when that time does come what do you want to be remembered as?  

What will your friends and family say about you at your final chapter?  

Did you fully live out each day you were blessed with?  Did you love as much as you could? Did you reach for your dreams?

 

So often we let ourselves get stuck in the small details of life.  We get upset or consumed by things that don’t really matter. I am totally a victim of this and do it more often than i care to admit.  Too often, I get upset about what my body looks like, or that I am not performing well enough at work, and I get annoyed with people I love for the DUMBEST reasons or give attitude to a stranger because I’m not happy about something else in my life.  

 

This is my choice and my mistake.  Our lives and our worlds are what we make of it.  The legacy we leave behind, what we are remembered for after we leave is by the actions we choose to make every day, the things we choose to say or not say, the way we treat others, the way practice patience, the way we give and receive.  All our choices, our actions.

 

Losing them, reminded me of that.  It made me really stop and think to myself, right now, this very day, have a lived out a life I am proud of?  Have I made the type of impact on the world that they did on ours? How do I show up for those around me every day?

 

My pause in my response was enough of an answer for me.  I am hard on myself, but it made me realize that I can get so caught up in being successful in what I do, sometimes I forget about why I want to be successful, which is so that I can have the freedom to spend more time with the people I love…  

 

At the end of the day, we aren’t promised tomorrow, we are only promised today, this very moment to show up as the best version of ourselves.  Since then I have tried to remind myself that every day. I have made sure I made more time to be with my husband and family, doing small things for them just because I love them.  I will continue to work towards that, trying to remember to stop and think what the result of my actions will be.

 

I hope if this blog does anything for you, it reminds you to stop and give gratitude for what you have in your life today and to take a minute to think of the life you are living, the impact you are making and the love you are giving.

In your final chapter, would you be proud of you?

 

I am so incredibly grateful for the time that I was given to be with my Aunt Donna and Uncle Jim.

They taught me to love with everything I got, be unapologetically myself, not take life too seriously, be a light for all of those I come in contact with, laugh a lot, and, at the end of the day, family and friends always matter most.  I promise to them, to never forget that and to do my best every day, to chose to live this way.

 

April was a hard month, a very rainy season in my life, really it was more like a downpour.  But this beautiful May day, with the sun coming up behind me, it reminds me that after every season there is another one waiting for you.  Another opportunity to try to rewrite the ending of our story. Another opportunity to start new, try again, and to stand back up.

After all, April showers bring May flowers.

Your Q1 Review – A step by step guide

Your Q1 Review – A step by step guide

This past December I noticed that all of my favorite podcasters were doing a year end review on their shows.  A year end review is when you would take a moment to reflect on what went well and what didn’t over the past year. The pod casters would go over what they accomplished and where they failed so they could learn from it.

At first I really wasn’t into the episode because I didn’t feel like it was something I could benefit or learn from. But, by the end of that first episode I realized just how wrong I was.  The whole concept of what they were doing was such a GREAT tool for improvement. Taking a minute to stop and reflect on the past year to get a better “birds eye view” of what ACTUALLY happened, rather than evaluating it while your in the middle of it.

I am not kidding when I say this, every single December I eat too much, I party a lot, and then January comes and I’m NOT happy and at that point I’m already starting to think about the year to come. Not once have I ever taken a minute to stop and evaluate the year that just happened.  It sounds bizarre, but I truly never take time for reflection. I am always too focused on how to fix everything I just screwed up in December and am looking forward to next years goals.   

Also, a year is a long ass time and I can confidently say I forget most of it.  I can barely remember my social security number and that never changes, let alone my weekly and monthly accomplishments over a year.  When an obstacle comes up I will figure out how to overcome it or just trudge my way through it. Whether  I fail or succeed, in the end it is over and I move on. I don’t really dwell on things too much, that’s how I have learned to survive.  I never take the time to stop and reflect on what just happened, unless there was a major blow up or something really bad happened.

But seriously, how often do we all do this?  How often do we not take the time to stop and reflect on what just happened in our life and just keep soldiering on? Sometimes that is completely necessary, even vital, but I think once in a while it’s good to force yourself to stop and think about what REALLY just happened.  Taking the time to pat ourselves on the back or figure out how we can do better is essential

As I mentioned before, a year is a really freaking long time and because I really do so easily forget everything I do, I thought it would make sense for me to try to do this quarterly.  The reason I thought of this was because in February/March I started noticing how “off course” I was in some of my goals and how “on course” I was in other areas of my life, and I started to change my ways a bit.  That’s when I started thinking that we should all being doing this quarterly review, so give ourselves credit where credit is due towards accomplishing our goals and then getting ourselves back on track in the area’s we were lacking.

Today, I am going to go through what I did for my quarterly review and will share the steps with you so that you could do the same.

Continue reading “Your Q1 Review – A step by step guide”

New Year, New You – Goal Setting

New Year, New You – Goal Setting

The holidays are finally over … and some of us may be experiencing the two-day New Year’s Eve “hangover”. Some may be totally relieved it’s over, and some may be slightly sad because the holiday season festivities have officially come to an end.

Since I LOVE Christmas, I am typically sad that the season is over. I’m sad because there are no more parties or fun foods. I feel sad while putting away Christmas decorations and taking down the lights (not going to lie, I cried a little while doing so this year). I really do feel a sort of magic in the air at this time of year and I don’t want to see it end!

However, there is one thing that gets me through packing up Christmas… NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS AND GOAL SETTING!!! 🙂 🙂 Continue reading “New Year, New You – Goal Setting”

The Best Present You Can Give This Holiday…

The Best Present You Can Give This Holiday…

… is your full attention, and presence.

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. People are buzzing about putting up decorations, buying gifts, planning meals, going to parties, hosting parties, and making holiday goodies. And that’s just in their spare time! In many cases, this is ALSO many companies’ year-end or quarter-end. This added deadline puts an additional stress on people to close out business and get those last revenue dollars in by the end of the year. It’s a lot, to say the least. Continue reading “The Best Present You Can Give This Holiday…”