Relationships

Lately Around Here + Link Love

Lately Around here

This week really felt like it was the first week of summer to me.  The hazy, hot weather came around but the cool nights that came with it, made it more bearable.  Things are moving along with the house and starting to feel more familiar, more like home.  I think that any big move requires time to settle in so that you don’t feel like you’re living in someone else’s house.  (Which I feel like I’m doing a little of right now.)  The personal touches really help to make it more homey so I’m working on more of that these days.  I know it’s all a process and unfolding like it should.

My niece graduated from 8th grade!  I can remember the day she was born–so pink and pretty, I feel so lucky to watch her grow up into such an amazing, kind and spunky young girl.  And Grace isn’t far behind!  Both of my nieces are such a treasure to me.

The Girls

The babies finally flew the coop from the nest on our deck–mama bird kept careful watch over them for weeks, I can’t believe how fast they grew!  I was really sad to see them go, but I’m happy they are healthy and moving on.  Chris said he saw one fly off from the nest–poor little guy actually flew into the glass door, but he recovered quickly 🙂

Family of birds

Sunday Chris and I pretended we were on vacation–some good food and a beer overlooking the beach?  Yes, please.

Pop's Garage

A picture we took that day reminded me of this quote: “And maybe it is only by finding yourself that you can feel the true intensity of becoming close to another person.” (David Levithan)  There’s lots of learning and growing going on over here…

me and Chris

And how lucky are we?  A magnolia tree in bloom!  It’s actually our neighbor’s tree but it’s right on our driveway.  Still.  The smell of it is divine, and the sight of the blooms takes my breath away every time.  (Just to give some perspective–this bloom is as big as my open hand. It’s THAT big!)

Magnolia

 

Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

I love this instagram challenge–who doesn’t need some radical self love?  

Judy Blume is writing another adult novel.  I was obsessed with her in the 80’s!

At what moment do you finally become yourself? 

This lady has a beautiful way of creating art: Alana Hennessy.

Easing up on righteousness: may we all leave space to wonder.

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Lately Around Here + Link Love2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

Life Changes + Link Love

Lately Around here

This week was full of a lot of growth moments for me.  I’m making a lot of adjustments in my life, trusting the timing and letting things happen the way they should.  Sounds easy, but man it can be hard at times.

Patience is a tough pill to swallow when I want what I want, when I want it–but the truth is that we must trust the process.  I’m seeing that all of the moving, unpacking + getting used to living with someone, brings my fears and anxieties blooming to the surface; these little vulnerabilities are the ones that impact me the most–not big enough to cause major issues, but small enough to be annoying, like sand in the shoe.  Hello life lessons!  

But I am always reminded to have faith in myself + the world around me, and know that I am moving in the right direction (even if it’s not always a straight line).  I’m learning these lessons over + over lately and I’m being gently reminded that everything works out in the end.

I saw the gentleness of the world as Chris and I walked on the boardwalk this weekend.  There was a whole group of lovely people practicing yoga on the beach.  It was only about 8 am and it looked like a marvelous way to start the day: stretching your mind and body with the ocean as a backdrop.

Beach yoga

This weekend was also the Jersey Shore Triathlon and WOW were these people inspiring!  Men + women of all shapes, sizes and ages, came in droves to compete.  The sheer will to finish was breathtaking and I felt like I was witnessing some other people’s personal milestones.  This guy below was playing his trumpet to inspire the runners as they came into the home stretch–he got some laughs with his song choices.

Trumpet Dude

On Saturday, Lauren and I gave a workshop on how to heal your thyroid naturally.  It was such a lovely group of women that came to be healed–something we were stressing in the workshop is that when you care for yourself, you’re already on the path to healing.  Self-care is the vital to health and happiness in life, no matter what you’re working towards.

Workshop

Sunday I finally dove into setting up my studio.  I have missed painting so much these last couple of weeks but I know I’m almost back in the groove.  Granted the set up is pretty basic–a folding table from Target and a dropcloth on the floor–but I find once I start moving things in the right direction, it’s easy for me to keep the momentum going.  My next micro-movement is to find a chair to use so I can just sit and paint and stop thinking about making it perfect.

studio space

This sign at Whole Foods reminded me to keep on keepin’ on.

Do small things

 

Link Love

Some of my favorite links around the web this week:

I love these minimalist tips–I really want to put #7 into practice.

Our whole lives are relationships, love accordingly.

How to find your creative passion–and don’t worry, it changes as you grow.

Faced with a big decision?  Use the 10-10-10 rule.

Looking for love?  Prepare yourself first.

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Life Changes + Link Love2018-03-29T20:23:15-04:00

How To Move To A New Home And Not Lose Your Cool.

change is the essence of life 2

My recent move to a new home from an apartment was pretty wild. Not only was it very telling about how I handle change, but I realized the jump from living alone to co-habitating was more of a mental shift than a physical one.

Don’t get me wrong–I was beyond psyched to be moving into a house with Chris, it’s truly a dream come true!   But since we recently got engaged and bought a house in the same week, it turned into an exciting whirlwind of changes all at once.  I’m talking total craziness, guys.

Usually people freak out about this much change all at once, but chaos can be really good if you know how to handle it.  It shakes things up and shows you what you’re made of– and to be honest, I’m not sure I was so good at it, but I sure as hell learned a lot about how I handle stress and change.  I laughed, I cried, and with a little help, I made it through.

Here are some nuggets I picked up along the way:

  1. All change takes some getting used to.  Even amazing-knock-your-socks-off-this-is-what-I’ve-always-wanted change.  We humans are creatures of habit and even if your dream life is manifesting before your very eyes, you’re still going to have an adjustment period of freak outs. There’s just no way around it.
  2. Moving your stuff is more than moving your stuff.  As I went through literally everything I own, a flood of emotions and memories came up. It was like strolling down memory lane as I purged stuff I didn’t need anymore and made room for new memories. It was cool to see how I’ve changed and who I’m becoming– even the crappy memories have a place.  So as you sift through your belongings, be gentle with yourself.  Take time to ride the emotional wave and then move on.
  3. You need to rely on others. Moving is not for the faint of heart.  It takes patience and grit to get through to the other side and it’s not always a smooth trip, so don’t do it all yourself.  Not only are movers a great idea, but also an emotional support system can boost you up when you’re wilting.  Pep talks from my dad were a life saver.
  4. Communication is key. Chris and I had some good talks through the whole process: about overwhelm, home improvement + the whole change scenario. It was such a relief to just say what was on our minds and know we were on the same page, even though there were some uncomfortable moments. When one of us blew up, we knew it was the stress of the situation we were in and not to take it personally.
  5. You need some time and space to breathe.  I was so focused on getting things packed and moved, I became a nervous wreck. One night while schlepping some boxes down the stairs from my third floor walk -up, I tripped and twisted my ankle.  Hello bad timing!  And I spent the next day in bed with it elevated, on ice.  I thought I would be a total stressball from losing a day of packing, but that time to relax and regroup was pure awesomeness.  It refilled my tank and gave me the energy I needed to get back at it.  (A little slower, of course.)

It’s easy to look back and see that moving is an endurance test–it tested all of my emotions and tried my patience, but you know what?  Even with a bum ankle, it strengthened me in ways I didn’t expect.

Do you have an exciting moving story?  I’d love to hear about it here.

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How To Move To A New Home And Not Lose Your Cool.2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00

Share your Joy. {We Want to Hear About It.}

I was out with a group of women recently and the conversation shifted to one who just got engaged. As we dug into the details of the day and all of the glorious trappings of it, I couldn’t help but notice how she was tempering her excitement and downplaying the whole thing. “I don’t want people to think I’m bragging” she said to me later. “I remember what it felt like to be single and I don’t want to make any of my single friends feel bad.”

As one of those single friends, I really wanted to hear about her happiness. There’s something contagious about someone who is beaming pure joy; it’s catchy and I wanted some of it.

But I understand what she was saying. On one hand, no one likes a bragger. On the other hand, she was experiencing an amazing time of her life–if you don’t scream for happiness about this sort of thing, when do you? It got me thinking:

When did being happy become taboo?

Share your joy

I recognize that she was coming from a place of sensitivity. And that’s so considerate of her! But like my mom always said, there’s enough happiness to go around. There’s no limit on how much happy one person can experience + they can’t use it all up. We can all win.

And downplaying your happy doesn’t increase mine, it just decreases yours.

We don’t have to degrade wonderful moments so that others won’t feel inadequate or jealous. I get it–we’ve all felt jealous at some point of someone else’s good fortune; but tempering joy isn’t helpful.  In fact, quite the opposite is true. Feeling the full throttle of elation for your own life encourages others to do the same for theirs.

So let’s get back to basics, increase our overall joy and encourage others to do the same.  Here are some simple steps to do that:

  1.  Choose happiness.  It sounds simple, yet we forget that happiness is a choice.  There is a silver lining to every cloud.  Start cultivating a habit that always looks for the best in all things.  When you approach life this way, happiness becomes the norm.
  2. Stop comparing.  If you encounter someone that has what you want, remember that by virtue, the yearning you have was put there for a reason.  Your wanting and searching for it, means it was meant to be in your life in some way.  Be gracious.  Know your time is coming.
  3. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.  When you’re aware + grateful of all of the wonderful things in your life, it’s easy to be happy.  Make a list of all of these amazing things and reflect on it regularly.  It’s tough to be down when you’re feeling like a rockstar.
  4. Be the pied piper.  Moods are contagious so bring your happiness with you wherever you go.  Share your joy.   You can be an inspiration to others and create an environment that is fun and joyful.  You just might be that spark to give others permission to ignite their own happiness.

Next time someone starts leaning in to a joyful story, give them permission to wallow in that happy space.  When they try to divert to the negative parts or shut it down, encourage them to stay present and share more of their elation.  It gives everyone permission to feel good, then we all win.  And that’s the best reason to be happy.

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Share your Joy. {We Want to Hear About It.}2018-03-29T20:23:16-04:00

The Benefits of Being Vulnerable. {No Feeling is Final.}

No feeling is final

I saw an old neighbor/friend  in the grocery store recently and I ducked into the next aisle to avoid speaking with her.  The last time I had seen her, I was a bit of a hot mess and was embarrassed to confront the vulnerable version of myself that I had shown her during our last interaction.  That day had been a classic bomb–I woke up to an over-drafted bank account, my car was on the fritz and I had just gotten into a heated argument with my boyfriend–and then I ran into her.  Biting back the tears, I knew she could tell I was struggling, but I was afraid that the slightest inquiry from her would open up the flood gates and I wouldn’t be able to recover.

I often think about that day and how I held back on the honest answer to “how are you doing?”  I was upset, she knew I was upset, yet I maintained that strong front.  I look back in embarrassment about how I wasn’t honest with her or myself.  I was scared to be vulnerable because I wasn’t sure what would come up for me. Who knows what kind of help or gentle encouragement I could have gotten from our interaction, if I had just opened up a little and let her in.

It’s only after moments like these that I have learned a few things about vulnerability:

Vulnerability is the act of allowing yourself to be seen and heard. 

In the moments of my own tenderness (when I was feeling unhinged at the grocery store or less than adequate on a date,) I was able to see that we all have emotional soft spots, no matter who we are.   The sooner I embraced that life was full of growth opportunities which are a direct result from being vulnerable, the calmer I felt because I knew I wasn’t alone.

Being vulnerable is an ongoing process that we fine-tune over time.  It’s awkward, uncomfortable and it’s totally necessary in order to move forward.  It is only when I figured out how I personally handle vulnerability that I experienced true personal growth.  I realized I could ease up a bit on the inner critic and express my feelings as they came up.

Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a gift.

It’s about being who you really are.  In order to really connect in life, we have to be open to accepting all parts of ourselves–especially the ones that are cringe-worthy and not pretty; revealing ourselves to others is a result of that kind of acceptance.  I know it benefits everyone when I show the world who I really am because it builds bridges with others in a way that only exposing real emotions can.

And being vulnerable is not as scary/hard/dreadful as it may seem; we all fear rejection, but stretching our comfort zone and taking the leap again and again builds a strong level of confidence.  Courage is what we get after we do the scary thing.

Self-acceptance is the key to getting through the  feeling-vulnerable spot.  

I learned that when I accept me, it won’t rock my world when others don’t.   When I stand honestly in my vulnerability, I can see the vulnerability in others and relate more to them; it’s a common thread that connects us together.  We are all vulnerable in many different ways and when we share it, we allow others to do the same.

We learn more about ourselves when we’re being vulnerable because there’s no more hiding.  I know it’s hard to be open and show who you really are, but with each step forward it gets easier.  As you understand yourself better, you are more able to show that to others.  This includes showing your joy, too.

Rather than sheltering our feelings,  what if we could open up and reveal our true selves without rejection or fear?  How would being more vulnerable change your life?

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The Benefits of Being Vulnerable. {No Feeling is Final.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}

It’s that time of year when emotions are high and patience runs very low.  Gifts to buy!  Food to cook!  Pounds to avoid!  Relatives to manage!  How do you survive the pressure of it all?  Here are 5 tips on how I get through the holidays without an emotional or physical hangover.

1) Put the fork down. Whenever I think of the holidays, all I think about is the food.  Am I the only one that thinks this way?  I have so many memories of sitting around the table enjoying a feast, but these marathon family sessions lead to eating with total abandon.  At every meal.  I literally have to remind myself that I’ll most likely eat another meal in the next 3-4 hours, so I shouldn’t eat like it’s my last one.  Eating recklessly only makes me regret it the next day so I try to put the fork down sooner and chug water whenever I can.

2) Stick to a workout routine.  I normally go to the gym 5-6 days a week; it keeps me sane and helps me avoid the dreaded muffin top.  When the holidays approach, I start saying things like,”I deserve a few days off” or “working out is overrated”; I know it’s my own slippery slope.  For example, I recently took a couple of days off in a row from the gym and I actually had thoughts like, “Maybe I don’t even need to workout anymore.  I can just wing it.”  That’s laziness at it’s best!  I know that working out in some shape or form is not only good for my health, it’s good for others’ health as well because I will be more pleasant to be around.

root of joy3) Create a tension release valve.  Holidays are an interesting mix of happiness mixed with starter fluid: you never know when tempers will flare up.  The slightest comment from a relative can set off the calmest of folks (even me).  I try to give myself an out for times when I feel I’m reaching my boiling point.

Do you know that song, “Happy Holidays” by Bing Crosby?  It’s a silent rule around the holidays in my family that before you blow up from a stressful situation, you have to sing the chorus to that song really loud.  It’s a funny warning signal to others in the vicinity and it’s so ridiculous that everyone starts laughing; it always breaks the tension.  For moments of stress that are greater than the song– step into a different room, take a few deep breaths and remind myself it’s just a moment and that moment is passing.

4) Check-in.  I tend to get caught up in getting the perfect gift or making sure the food is just right, so I often forget to enjoy the moment.  I’m so embarrassed when I catch myself obsessing over something like the perfect holiday shoes to match my dress. (But you know what? I give myself a pass because dresses are fun and I like fun.)  As a rule,  I try to check in with myself periodically about how I’m feeling, what my needs are and how I can be more helpful to others.  This awareness helps me stay in the moment and enjoy myself.

5) Go with the flow.  There will be glitches in the plan. Like an oven on the fritz Christmas Day (yup, that’ happened to me).  Or a relative that gets drunk and won’t shut up about why I’m not married (again, a stellar moment).  But you know what?  This is life, things happen out of our control.  Sometimes you just have to let go and let it roll.

The holidays can be nerve-wracking but I try to remember to loosen the grip and enjoy the ride– broken ovens and drunk relatives included.

Happy Holidays!

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5 Ways I Handle The Holidays Like A Boss. {And You Can Too.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00
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