“Reflect upon your present blessings-of which every man has many-not on your past misfortunes, of which all men has some”- Charles Dickens

When I woke up this morning, I had every intention to write on a completely different topic, however, I was on my blog *waves cheerfully to all my new followers* and on my timeline I came across something that piqued my interest greatly; The Daily Post is a blog that I follow (and one that I recommend you guys follow as well!) that provides inspiration, writing topics, various writing challenges, and numerous other blogging goodies 🙂 © Copyright 2010 CorbisCorporationWhat caught my eye was their weekly writing challenge for the week of September 30th: DNA Analysis. Now, they are asking for more than simply describing your physical features…rather, they want to know: Who do you see in your face? In your personality? I decided to give this challenge a go and will also provide the link to The Daily Post at the end of this post so that you may do the same!

My mother. These two words come to mind whenever I look into the mirror. I see her big brown eyes, her smile, her light skin (although I’m a tad lighter), and the quirky facial expressions that she makes. When I was younger, and perhaps up until I was in my early adult years, I didn’t believe much that I looked anything like my mother. Not in a negative way of thinking or anything, I just simply felt that I didn’t physically resemble either one of my parents. However, as I became older, I realized I couldn’t my mother if I wanted to 😉

When I look pass my physical attributes, down to my personality, I see significantly more. I see my mother’s pride and stubbornness, I see her sense of humor and her ability to be “superwoman”. I see my father’s temper (although I have made tremendous strides in THAT arena 🙂 ), I see his quietness and reserve….well, unless he’s had one too many strawberry daiquiris. I also see his love for new places and things, his independence, and love for old school music (I can listen to the Gap Band all day). Lastly, but unfortunately, I can see his negative thinking and the burden of letting his circumstances dictate his life (although, as with his temper, that is another trait I refuse to acknowledge).

Its funny because as I look at all the things that I “see” when I look in the mirror, it also made me realize the things that I do NOT see, however that is neither here nor there, the reason for this being that, simply put, I have the POWER to put the things that I do not see…THERE. Although this is knowledge that I have gained before, I thank The Daily Post for reminding me! Instead of constantly acknowledging the things that I feel are lacking in the mirror, I can now recognize the great things in me that I received from both parents: a courageous, determined, and beautiful young woman. Capable of pursuing and achieving her dreams with a quiet passion and determination that many do not have today.

Now THAT is what my reflection looks like….

What do YOU see when you look in the mirror??

Visit The Daily Post at the link below and let us know 🙂

The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge

Til’ next time….

“Food is like sex: when you abstain, even the worst stuff begins to look good”- Beth McCollister

tumblr_lxe2lbPhEs1r8jhklo1_r1_500Weight loss. Fitness. Diets. Green smoothies. Insanity workouts. Body wraps. All things that have tremendous meaning in our society today, right? I wanted to share something that is fairly personal for me…an area of my life that I still struggle with from time to time. When I was a junior in college I went to the doctor for a routine check up…I went through the usual stuff and when it was time for me to step on the scale, the doctor’s exact words were “Oh, you’re a bit on the heavier end of the scale”…..I was 159 at the time (I’m 5’3ish by the way, just to give you a visual) . Needless to say, that statement traumatized me more than I realized at the time….I became incredibly self-conscious, insecure, and obsessed with my weight. Looking back, I know that I had no one to blame for my weight gain but myself (I was roughly 120 coming into college)…I mean, I was your typical college student…living off burgers and pizza while staying in the dorms, gorged on the local taco shop every other night after the bar…drank like a rockstar every weekend, and had absolutely no clue on how to even begin getting both my weight and confidence in order; other than what I discovered on Google, I didn’t know the first thing about weight loss or fitness. As time went on, I became more depressed and frustrated about my weight…prior to that doctor’s appointment, I never considered my weight to be an issue. I knew I wasn’t the smallest person in the world, but I was comfortable with where I was. I am certain that that doctor forgot me as soon as I walked out the door, but his words stayed with me for a very long time. *takes sip of imaginary wine* Fortunately, there was a light at the end of the tunnel…I made the decision to get off my butt and do something about it…I was beyond tired of feeling sorry for myself. I took the first step by enrolling in weight training class with my boyfriend, at the time, during my senior images (1)year. Having someone there that I knew to support and motivate me got me through a lot of the rough moments in the beginning, in addition to helping me get  over the initial embarrassment of working out in front of a room of complete strangers. The class ended and I still kept pushing (thankfully my determination lasted longer than my “then” boyfriend); I hired a personal trainer that happened to be in my Psych class and who, fortunately, didn’t charge a million dollars an hour. To say this is where it became challenging is an understatement…unlike before, when I was able to control my own workouts and the duration in my weight training class, I now had someone pushing me to do workouts that I had never even heard of for lengths of time I was NOT used to.

On the flip side, however, I became more obsessive and determined to achieve my weight-loss goal. Even so, there were plenty of days I wanted to say “eff” it and go the hell home. Fast forwarding about 6 months or so, I went from 159-135 by the time I parted ways with my trainer. Most would probably be satisfied with these results right? Nope, not me…I still wanted more; when I looked in the mirror I still felt like I “needed” to lose more weight. I joined a gym near my place and kept pushing myself…and this involved me beginning to use diet pills…something that I have never told anyone before. By the time it was all said and done, I was at 123…fairly skinny, even for my height. As I said, I was obsessed…at the time I equated beauty (at least for myself) to be a size 0. It was a tough point in my life, and as I think back on it, I probably would have never been satisfied with my weight and body because I wasn’t confident in myself to begin with…. In April 2011 I got pregnant so naturally, the weight that I loss, plus some extra goodies came back; I became my heaviest ever, 174, then dropped down to about 155ish once I had my daughter. Unfortunately the insecurities came back along with the weight (I no longer had the excuse of pregnancy). These insecurities, and my renewed obsession led me to attempt the Insanity workout series, barely a month after I gave birth (insane, right?). download

Anywho, I have shared all of this with you guys because I wanted to tell you all about my journey to this point in my life; I realized that if you don’t like something about yourself, or your life, or whatever it may be, you can make the conscious choice to change it. I can’t lie and say that my insecurities no longer exist, they do…however, I am not the same girl that I was who felt she couldn’t do anything about them. This time I put down the diet pills and I started off slow doing simple at home workouts…Jillian Michaels, Jeannette Jenkins mostly. I don’t diet at all, but simply monitor my eating habits and practice moderation….oh, and I drink a crap ton of water, which was always a challenge for me! Of course it didn’t happen overnight but I went from 155-140…this may not seem like a large number but it has been a huge accomplishment for me…mainly because I know that I achieved this all on my own and I’m still not done! (I have been attempting to upload a progress pic for hours but this laptop is disagreeing with me for some reason, but I promise to put one up soon!)

For all my bloggers out there that are pursuing fitness goals, whether its to lose weight, bulk up, or just to get in better shape, hang in there!! Lord knows its not easy, but when you finally see those results it will be beyond worth it:-) I will post any fitness info as I come across it, including recipes and whatnot…I have a ton of those myself! Just for starters though, I have provided a few links below for the home workouts that I used starting out…I have used each one from beginning to end so please let me know if you have any questions! (*Note: I do receive a small commission from the links below via Amazon, but as I said I have personally used each one and would not recommend anything otherwise)

Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30

Jillian Michaels – 30 Day Shred

Jeanette Jenkins / The Hollywood Trainer: Bikini Bootcamp

Til’ next time….

-Me

Surviving Motherhood: things to get excited about, right now

Onward, Curiosity!

A friend’s dad, visiting from the UK, told me he thought that women made better stay-at-home parents.  This was within the context of my friend, his son, taking 6 weeks off in-between jobs, and going on and on about how great he would be at stay-at-home-dad-ness.  His father didn’t agree.

“It’s just natural [for women to stay home to take care of kids],” he kept saying.  “It’s biological.  It comes naturally to you.”  (By “you”, he apparently meant “all women, everywhere.”)

Really?  Because I don’t know that it comes naturally to me, let alone to most women I know.  Sure, we can give birth, and breastfeed, and all those hormones can make us superhuman, especially when it comes to getting up in the middle of the night.  But being a full-time parent is hard, people!  It’s not the running-about-after, cooking-for, cleaning-up-after a toddler that does me in; it’s the mental…

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“We used to want it all…now we just want to pee alone”- Motherhood

supermomOk so before I begin let me throw this out there: with this post I am in NO way taking the spotlight off all the superdads out there…I know a few personally…however as I do not have a penis, I can only speak from the role of mothers (although I guess to be truthful, having a penis doesn’t automatically mean fatherhood, does it?). The inspiration for this post came out of nowhere the other day…like literally out of the blue. It was just one of those days where I felt like I was doing EVERYTHING…cooking…homework…putting the little one down for a nap…loading the dishwasher…walking the dog…unloading the dishwasher…you get the point; now, before I go on let me say that I have been blessed to have my daughter’s father in my life…I know that there are a ton of single moms out there (and I have MUCH respect for ALL of you) and to be fortunate enough to have him here…I can’t fathom otherwise, he is an amazing man and father. However, I still have my days where I feel like I am taking on the whole world….while trying to keep up with Burn Notice on Netflix at the same time…

I have to be honest and say that I was never much of a multi-tasker or even someone who FELT like she could handle a million tasks at once. Once I crossed into the beautiful, and slightly insane, world of motherhood, however, I discovered just how many hats I am capable of wearing. Girlfriend, student, mother, daughter, housekeeper, entrepreneur, sister, yada, yada, yada…

Although I have been a mom for a whopping two years now, it didn’t really hit me until recently just how super us moms are. We carry on a lot throughout the day…raising a family, being an awesome girlfriend and/or wife, while maintaining our sanity, and pursuing our dreams/goals at the same time. (Once again, kudos to all my single moms!) I struggled quite a bit to find myself once I became a mother (and Lord knows I still have my days of confusion). This probably had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn’t a 100% sure of who I was even before I brought my daughter into this world. Either way, it took some time, some patience, and quite a few frustrating/tearful moments fro me to discover who I was outside of my “standard” hats, and to this day I still discover something new. 0871-mom-doesnt-care-funny-talk-bubbles-mothers-day-card

I am sure not every woman doesn’t experience this “absolutely clueless” feeling once becoming a mother, however for those that do, (1) you are not alone, and (2) don’t lose hope! While being a supportive mother and spouse, dutiful daughter, or whatever else your “duties” may be, it is also crucial for yourself, and you family, not to lose sight of who you are and what your purpose is here on this beautiful earth. If your goal is to be a successful, stay-at-home mom, AWESOME! Just put your all into it! But if you have other dreams as well…starting your own business…going back to school…moving up in your career…whatever it may be, don’t lose sight of it! I mentioned this in a few posts already, but just as a refresher, something that I currently make a habit of doing…I write down all my goals (financial freedom, starting my own wellness center, just to name a couple) on index cards and I tape those cards (in an organized fashion…I am slightly OCD after all) on our bathroom mirror so that I see these goals every single day. By doing this they remain fresh in my mind and makes me remember that I am more than a mom and girlfriend…we were ALL put on this earth for a reason, although that reason may not be clear at times. Whether its to be a great mom, CEO, alligator wrestler…whatever….we all are here for a reason!

Being a mom is a blessing….more women than you think aren’t able to get this opportunity…even so my fellow ladies, remember that your identity and self-worth does not stop at motherhood. You are beautiful..you are smart…you are 100% awesome…remember that:-)

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Til’ next time…..

-Me

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice….its conformity”- Rollo May

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Ok so before I begin, I feel the need to just throw out another disclaimer regarding the purpose of this here blog. About a month or so ago, I had a rough week. Not a rough day, but a whole rough week; looking back, I can’t really say what triggered it….I was just feeling down and out about life, I hit a stressful parenting roadblock, and I was just in a complete and utter funk. What brought me out of said funk, which ironically was the same day that I decided to start this blog, was that I realized that I could be an inspiration to others who may experience, or have experienced, the same feelings and emotions that I had. Even if I never get a chance to meet them, I know that I would be honored to be someone’s inspiration story  and the reason that they kept going. And that my friends, is what I hope to accomplish here! So there will not necessarily be any type of structure to this blog…just whatever I feel may be helpful and motivating to others:-)

So, with that being said, I read The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale the other day (for the 17th time) and I felt that it would be a great topic for my next post. In a previous post, I confessed my prior “personal” perception on what I considered to success to be…simply put, I used to believe that success was automatically equated to money, and at the time I believed that the only people who made real money were athletes, lawyers, CEOs, and Beyonce:-) However, this perception was obviously wrong and was changed dramatically, thanks to The Strangest Secret. Success, as defined by Earl Nightingale, is “the progressive realization of a worthy ideal”. Although this is obviously a very simple definition, it was a fairly difficult concept for me to grasp. What exactly constituted a worthy idea?? The cure to cancer? Developing flying cars?? I had no clue so I read further….magnify-question-mark-1

“A success is the schoolteacher who is teaching school because that’s what she wanted to do. A success is the woman who’s a wife and a mother because she wanted to become a wife and a mother and is doing a good job of it. Success is the man who runs the corner gas station because that’s what he wanted to do”. What does all this mean?? It means that success is considered to be anyone that deliberately dos a predetermined job because that’s what he/she wants to do. I believe this is where society gets confused. As Nightingale states, you can ask most individuals today “Why do you work?” and most will not have a clear idea as to the answer. Sure, they will say, “To pay bills, provide for my family, etc.” but in reality most will really not have an answer to why they are doing a job that they really do not want to do…or why they are doing any job for that matter.

Nightingale asserts that there is one key to success or failure, (depending on the individual) and this is simply: “We become what we think about”. I’m sure this is familiar to some, right? The Secret? Law of Attraction? I’m sorry to all my non-believers (it took me a while myself), but there is nothing you can do to convince me that we do NOT become what we think about. This is something that I personally have realized, both in terms of the positive and the negative, and it was four simple steps that brought me to these realizations (similar to the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, but more straightforward).

One: You will become what you think about (good and bad)

Two: Imagination…let it soar!! Always!!

Three: Make sure that you concentrate on your goal, whatever that may be, every single daythe_strangest_secret_to_success

Four: Save 10% of what you earn (even it may not be much, start somewhere!)

And that folks, sums it up!! Now just let me say, in previous posts I went over the Seven Spiritual Laws of Success…I am not saying that you HAVE  to apply all these laws in your life in order for you to see change within your self, however you will begin to notice that they all kinda tie in together….just different titles:-) Either way, follow these steps…remember that nothing happens overnight, but notice the change that will begin to take place in your life, on both the outside and the inside:-) Before I say goodbye, however, I just wanted to direct you guys to the links below as a reference to where I purchased my own copy of The Strangest Secret, as well as The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, in case you would like to do the same!

The Strangest Secret
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams

*Note: I do receive a small commission for all purchases through Amazon.com, however I will not recommend an item to anyone that I have not personally viewed myself*

Be blessed! Til’ next time….

-Me

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page” ~Augustine of Hippo

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Happy Friday world!!!! I hope you all have had an amazing, productive, and blessed week:)

So….what’s on the agenda for today?? Perhaps you can blame it on my recent trip to Boston, MA, but I wanted to discuss the amazing world of travel, something that up until recently, I majorly took for granted. I didn’t travel a lot growing up…partly due to financial issues, but mainly because, for whatever reason, I had no real desire for it (I know, right??). It wasn’t until after I graduated from college in 2010 that I truly realized there was a WHOLE world that existed outside of Lansing, Michigan. While working at my old job I had the sudden desire to get the hell out of dodge…I had no clear idea of where I wanted to go, I just knew that I needed to see more than the bipolar weather conditions and 3pm-11pm shifts that I was working at the time. I hopped on the computer and was compelled to two places: Texas and North Carolina. Now, keep in mind that I had never been to either of these places….there was just something that drew me to them, I couldn’t even explain it. Long story short, I met my boyfriend several months later, who ironically lived in North Carolina, and from there I began exploring the world of travel. Since then I have been to North Carolina (place of residence, obviously), Atlanta, South Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Boston, as well as a few other random places in between. Now I know that these places may not be considered exotic or luxurious, but for someone who rarely got out of Lansing, let alone Michigan, I was blessed and excited to visit all these places. As a result, I have met some beautiful and great people…all with different cultures and backgrounds than my own. Going to all these places did nothing but increase my thirst to travel the world (I have yet to travel outside of the country…..yet). It made me even more infatuated with all the beautiful, historic, and awe-inspiring locations that are all over this great earth…some well-known….some not so much. $(KGrHqZHJDgFC7lch,w9BRsoHd3epw~~60_35

A couple of months ago  I purchased a LIFE magazine dedicated to the 100 most beautiful places on earth….Paradise Found…in this post I will briefly touch on a few of my favorite places described in the book (obviously I won’t go over all 100:). I hope that this gives you the same inspiration and motivation that it did for me….to discover the great beauty that exists all over…

  #1 Antelope Canyon Arizona:  This gorgeous creation is located in northern Arizona, it has been opened to the public since 1997 and is considered to be one of the most popular destinations in the southwest. How could you now feel the stirring in your soul to visit a place like this?? Right here in the U.S. too….*sighs dreamily*

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#2 Pisgah National Forest North Carolina: I’m embarrassed to say that I have not made it to this gorgeous location and I reside in the great ol’ state of North Carolina. This amazing forest is located in northern North Carolina and houses glorious waterfalls, sensational mountain peaks, and hundreds of trails. As I look back at the pictures of this place, I have made the realization that the hubby and I will have to make a trip here in the very near future.

download (2)#3 Isla Espiritu Santo Baja, Mexico: So as I have said, I have not had the pleasure of traveling out of the country as of yet, but this destination is at the very top of my to-do list.  This little jewel is located in the Sea of Cortez, in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. Its accessed mainly by kayak, and known for its crystal clear waters, bands of dolphins, and giant turtles.

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#4 KII Mountains Japan: Although my traveling has been limited, I have become infatuated with the serene beauty of Japan over the recent months. However, as I looked through the magazine, this particular location stood out significantly to me. The KII Mountains are located right off the southern coast of Japan and is primarily known for being the sacred ground of Shinto pilgrims. There are three scared shrines and two temples that are located within 25 miles of each other; this tranquil place is filled with a mystical peace that I have every intention of exploring.

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Now, as I said earlier, I wasn’t going to touch on every single location that was listed in LIFE…I simply wanted to give you all a glimpse of what is out there…just in case you needed a nudge or whatnot:-) Life is too short not to take advantage of the beauty that God has placed on this earth…be inspired and motivated by these photos, just as I was, and maybe…just maybe…we’ll meet on the mountain ranges of KII or on the islands of Baja, Mexico!!

Til’ next time…

-Me

 

“Mothers are all slightly insane”~ J.D. Salinger

funny-parenting-cartoon

Happy Tuesday folks!!!!

So out of all the numerous topics that can be discussed, talked about, and “dwelled” upon, I decided to approach a topic that’s rather personal for me. I explained in my very first post that the purpose of this blog is to reach out to individuals all around the world in regards to the various components of life: health, wealth, happiness, personal development, lifestyle, travel…everything. My goal is to Reach Out…Motivate….and Inspire….

This particular post will be geared towards a topic that I have learned much about over the last 21 months, and that would be the joys and frustrations of being a stay-at-home mom. Now, before I begin, let me make a few disclaimers: (1) I understand that there are mothers out there who LOVE being a stay-at-home mom and that is COMPLETELY fine…I am simply speaking from my own, personal experiences that I have had thus far (2) This post is not just for my fellow stay-at-home moms…this can apply to my working moms, and even the stay-at-home dads that are out there…whoever can find motivation from it (3) This post will be one of rawness and honesty….in no way am I saying that every stay-at-home mom (or moms period) feel these things, but I am also not naive enough to believe that I am the only woman that experiences these emotions and feelings (4), Lastly, what I hope to accomplish with this post is to motivate and inspire women (fellas too if applicable) by voicing my own challenges and accomplishments that I have achieved (challenges can be achievements too because I’m still here to talk about them) in the world of parenting. Feel free to share any of your own feelings and/or experiences!!

So…my first year of parenting was rough. I won’t give you guys all the gory details but to say it was a struggle would be an understatement; my boyfriend and I became parents unexpectedly and fast. Moment of honesty #91: we had only known each other for a whopping four months before we discovered that we were pregnant.On top of this little fact, we moved 750 miles away to North Carolina a couple of months later. So, it goes without saying that we were still learning each other and our quirks, while also preparing to be newbie parents, while I was 6 months preggo. Therefore, I was bitchy, unstable, sober, and emotional at the same time that I was miles away from the only support system I had ever known. Once I had our daughter in December 2011, things did get a tad bit more stable, less bitchy, and less stressful (a bit) however, I was still both emotional and sober. I was now entering into the world of post-partum depression, something that I did not even believe truly existed until I witnessed it firsthand. I experienced severe frustration about my body not being my own (that whole breastfeeding ordeal), frustration about being at home, and not having an outlet for said frustrations (“stay-at-home mom” was not a title that I willingly chose), in addition to a host of other frustrations that I don’t need to go into. There were a lot of tears, cussing, and wine bottles in the trash that year (I didn’t stick with breastfeeding…..obviously). However, the BIGGEST struggle for me was that I simply did not know who I was outside of being a mother and a girlfriend, and I had no clue how to discover the answer, If you were to ask me today I would say that I was a pretty good newbie mother and I truly did my best, but it was a daily struggle on the inside….

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So…let’s fast forward to now (you guys won’t miss much)…I still have my days. Although I am doing way more with my time (blogging, starting a business, 3 months from getting my MBA, conquering the Insanity workout series), I still have my days. We are currently in the process of finding some local early head start programs that do not require the sacrifice of a child to attend (because let’s face it, $857/month???) so until that happens I am still holding the title of “stay-at-home mom” and it does indeed get challenging. But come on, my fellow parents know that it is also a blessing….there is truly nothing like watch a child, that you and your partner created, grow and blossom each and every day. Our daughter has, and is, developing her own personality with each day…I see both myself and her father in her so clearly.

I did not write this post to go into the stressful aspects of parenting, I did so because I wanted those out there, parents and dads, to know that they aren’t alone in there frustrations and feelings. I know this because there have been numerous occasions when I might as well have been the only mom on the face of the earth. I learned to grow as a mother…my boyfriend and I have learned to grow with each other…therefore providing a support system that I did not have here at first. I also have been blessed to meet some really wonderful and beautiful people that also has helped me feel less alone…

That is what I would advise anyone to do….get out…find outlets….talk to your partner. If you are a single parent talk to family…friends…hell, see a therapist if need be. Just do not get caught up in the frustrations and stresses that can come from being a parent. Enjoy the daily growth of your child/children…if you pray, do so….I can’t tell you the number of times prayer has saved me from putting my daughter in the dishwasher.

Please, please feel free to leave any comments or feelings…I would love to hear them:) I hope that by sharing part of my story, I have inspired yours….

Til’ next time everyone…..

-Me