A California Sweet Sixteen Celebration!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Since my daughter was a baby I have been planning her sweet sixteen! It was going to be a winter wonderland theme with pink and white snowflake decorations...the works! So you can imagine my surprise when she informed us last year that instead of a party she would like to go to California to celebrate her 16th birthday! So I ditched the winter wonderland theme and started planning our California Sweet Sixteen Celebration!

When we got to our Hollywood Hotel room she was greeted with gift of chocolates and a birthday card signed by the staff! We were all pleasantly surprised!

One LA landmark my daughter always wanted to see was the Hollywood sign so she was thrilled that it was in clear view from our from our hotel room window.

In the seven amazing days that we spent in LA we traveled in style, hung out with a few "stars", and ate ...A LOT!

We window shopped on Rodeo Drive, went on a tour of Hollywood Star homes, toured the Warner Brothers studio and drove down the pacific coast highway!

We were so glad that we were able to give our daughter this birthday gift. She has been such a blessing to us these past 16 years! Thank you Hollywood California for helping our Star celebrate her birthday in style!

What you see is what you get.....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Have you ever had one of those days that you  just say to yourself...can this day get any worse and then it does? Well, yesterday, I had one of those days. To be honest, lately I have been having a few of those days but yesterday was the day that I realized the reason I was feeling this way was not because of one event but a series of small, annoying and very frustrating ones. So, I took some time alone to really think about what was causing me to feel this way and to see if I needed to change my approach or reaction to these events. However, after doing some real soul searching I came to the conclusion that the only thing I need to change is me thinking that I need to change and that maybe others need to finally learn to accept me as I am....flaws and all!

I won't bore you all with the details of my intense soul searching but what I will share are  3 of my conclusions:

1. No matter how much I try someone will always find fault in my efforts. I am learning to be okay with that because I am not changing! The truth is I can't please everyone but that will not stop me from speaking my mind, doing my absolute best and standing up for what I believe in even if it makes me seem "too nice" - remember that even the nicest people have their limits.....which brings me to #2.

2. People should really learn not to take my kindness for weakness. Seriously, I feel like I have been dealing with issue all my life. Growing up  I was called the "goody, goody girl". Hey, there are worst things to be called! But just because it is my nature to be kind, caring and not a big fan of unnecessary aggressive behavior that by no means makes me weak. When necessary or pushed I am as strong a fighter as the people who may think their confrontational behavior can intimate or change my opinion. Just because your voice is louder than mine doesn't make you right. My opinion is MY opinion and no matter how many times you state yours or in what tone you state it in....I am entitled to my opinion and you will not change it. Period.

3. Last but not least...I am a good person. No, let me change that.... I am an amazing person!!!  I try my best in everything I do, I am a giving person and I have a good heart. I love the woman that I am and what I believe in. I love that my values are ones that I can be proud to teach and hopefully pass on to my daughters. I love that I can still learn in every situation that I encounter good and bad. I love that I can still find the good in people when there is good to be found. 
I love me!  period.
With me what you see, is what you get. Flaws and all.
And if you find fault in my opinion of me...that's YOUR opinion..and we are ALL entitled to our opinions.


Let's Talk!

Monday, October 15, 2012

"If I can teach my daughter one thing, it will be the love of self unconditionally!"
 ~ Asa Brown.

Last weekend, Dove celebrated its third annual Self-Esteem Weekend, a nationwide effort to help young women develop a positive relationship with beauty. If you know me then you know that inspiring girls to love themselves unconditionally is one of my greatest passions so, of course, it was only natural that I took part in this year's celebration.

As a mother of two daughters I know the importance of teaching girls how to love themselves unconditionally. Did you know that 7 out of 10 girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, their performance in school or their relationships with their families and friends? When I read this statistic it made me wonder just when do our girls lose their self-confidence? When do they go from little girls who do not have a care in the world filled with confidence and self-esteem to girls who are filled with self-doubt who do not love what they see when they look in the mirror? According to The National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, the self-esteem tipping point happens during the transition to teenage years. These years are the most crucial for girls; this is when they stop communication with us - the adults in their lives.

Let’s Talk” was the theme of this year’s Dove® Self-Esteem because you can help a girl develop a healthy self-image of themselves simply by having conversation.  These conversations can be in the car while you are running errands, while you are cooking dinner or watching TV together. You may not realize that each of these are special bonding moments and can inspire a girl in your life to reach her full potential. I started a conversation with my daughter while eating our weekly Friday night Chinese food take-out. I simply began by asking her "what qualities make you unique?" That one question began an easy and honest conversation. It was that simple.

So how do you begin to talk to the girl in your life about beauty, confidence and self-esteem? Here are some steps from the Dove website to help you bring your conversation:

1. Ask- The first step is to just ask a girl in your life about her relationship with beauty - don’t simply assume you know or understand because you have experienced it too.
2. Share- Rather than give her advice or tell her what to do - pick up on her answers and share some of your own experiences. 
3. Listen -Allow yourself to take in her responses to what you shared. See what else your comments may bring up for her.
4. Act- Follow your conversations with some actions.

Visit the Dove website for more tips on how to start the self-esteem conversation with a girl in your life.  http://www.dove.us/social-mission/

Making Memories!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The older I get the more I LOVE TO CELEBRATE MY BIRTHDAY! I mean...yeah the gray hairs are making an appearance ...and if I want to hang out later than midnight I have to take an afternoon nap but other than that I am confident and secure about being in my very early forties!

This year I decided to celebrate my birthday by throwing a food and wine event at one of my favorite places...... the local winery in our area. So I invited some close friends  to help me celebrate another year and I must say it was one of my best birthdays by far.

Let's face it these days most birthday wishes come in the form of an impersonal text or Facebook post and I am guilty of sending a few of those myself. But I have to say nothing replaces getting together and sharing good drinks, food and company while making some awesome memories. Receiving real hugs and kisses while hearing real laughter can not and should not be replaced with emoticons! We should grab every opportunity to make good memories, not the ones that get deleted but the ones that stay with us forever.

So I don't know about you.... but I am going to continue to plan and attend as many formal and informal get togethers with the people that are closest to me and I really don't need a reason on the calendar.

Memory making is enough of a reason! 


What this summer taught me

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tuesday will be the end of my summer vacation as I go back to work after 2 months of freedom from routines, schedules and lesson plans. This summer has been exactly what I needed after a very challenging school year, it was the perfect combination of relaxation and recreation.  

As a teacher, I am a true believer that we should always be exploring new experiences to stimulate our personal growth. So I allowed the summer to be my teacher and let it use my own experiences to educate me. I won't bore you with the actual situations, observations and conversations that lead me to my summer education but what I will give you are the outcomes.

1.  My resilience is what helps me to embrace all that I am grateful for in my life; even when I am faced with the most stressful situations.
2. My determination drives my success.
3. Afternoon naps aren't just for growing children they are also good for women in their 40s.  
4. The lessons that I have learned from my failures are proof that I haven't completely failed!
5. I will never be too old to look or at least feel sexy!
6. Fear can be my enemy or it can be the motivating force that makes me an unstoppable being! 
7. The best way for me to be a motivation to others is to lead by example.
8. I am a stronger and more flexible than I look. (Thank you Pilates Classes)
9. Whenever self-doubt creeps in I can always count on my hubby's reality check pep talks to put me back of the road to keeping it all in perspective!
10. I have an addiction to handbags and I am finally embracing it.
11. It's not just a saying ....the best things in life ARE truly free.
12. Listen more. Talk Less. Not everyone wants or needs my advice.
13. Freezing fruit to make breakfast smoothies are not only yummy they are a good way to maintain a healthy diet.
14. Making others happy makes me just as happy as they are.
15. I have a new addiction to wedge heels and I am starting to embrace it. 
16. I have a serious problem with telling others ...NO! But I am working on that.
17. My vision, passion or dream doesn't need the approval of others so I will stop seeking it.
18. My bedtime is really 10:00PM and I need to stop fighting it especially when I can never sleep past 6:30AM. 
19. As much as I try to fight against it...it's time for me to embrace that it is my "job" to keep everyone on time in my house or else we would be late to EVERYTHING.
20. Sometimes a glass (or two) of wine can make it all better. Trust!

Are you proud of yourself??

Friday, August 3, 2012

We all love to hear someone say the words "I am SO proud of you!" But it's an even better feeling for you to say those words to yourself. Think about it...when was the last time you felt super proud of yourself?

A few years ago I decided that it was time for me to focus on living my life in a way so that I could love myself...inside and out. So I re-evaluated the decisions I was making that directly impacted my social, emotional and physical being. I started by taking a good look at who I surrounded myself with, adopted a healthier lifestyle and doing my absolute best to try to live my life on purpose

I am still a work in progress but I can honestly say that these days I am super proud of me!  This summer I started taking more difficult, challenging classes at the gym.  At first, I was a bit intimated by the more fit, flexible women in these classes and then became even more intimated when I realized that some of these women were old enough to be my mother! But I am determined and every time that I complete one of these torture classes I feel such a sense of accomplishment! It is a amazing feeling to be proud of yourself!

So know it's time for a little honesty ....how proud of yourself are you right now at this very moment? Are you proud of the decisions you make on a day to day basis. Are you doing all that is in your power to be happy, healthy and fabulous?  Are you proud of the people you call friends are they lifting you up or pulling you down? Are you proud of the way you look and feel no matter what shape or size? Are you proud of the relationship that you are in, is it a healthy one? Are you proud of where you are in this season of your life, is this where you want to be?

If you answered no to any of these questions maybe it's time for you to re-evaluate your life. Trust me this will take some serious soul-searching and complete honesty with yourself. It may even mean you will have to get rid of some thinking, some things or (dare I say?) some people that you have been holding on to.

So where do you begin? I say just start with one small attainable goal but I have to warn you once.... you accomplish one proud moment for yourself the feeling will become addictive and you may not be able to stop!!

So think of one thing that you can change in your life that may make YOU proud of YOU. It may be enrolling for a class you wanted to take, joining the gym, or just telling that friend/lover/family member what is really in your heart....finally! Even though that may seem easier said than done believe me those obstacles may be just what is holding you back from experiencing some incredible proud moments for yourself!

Living in the Moment!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

At first I thought it would be good idea to begin this post by listing reasons why it's been over 2 months since my last post but honestly I really couldn't think of any reason other than I have just been living in the moment.

As soon as school ended I held the 2nd Annual I Love Me Unconditionally! Summer Workshop and it was a huge success! The daily workshops consisted of engaging and relevant topics lead by positive female role mentors to help educate and empower 8 young ladies. I had so much fun with the girls and I guess I could have written a post about it then but....I didn't. Instead I took the time to reflect on the amazing week and lived in the moment.

My family and I went to a vacation to St. Maarten.  Every night we sat on the beach and listen to the waves as we talked and laughed. On one of the nights I watched my hubby teach my daughter how to skip rocks in the water. As I watched this perfect bonding moment I began to get upset because I didn't bring my camera to the beach that night so I can take pictures of this precious father/daughter time. Then I stopped and lived in the moment and it was amazing.

This summer is all about taking it all in as I  enjoy every.last.minute of it because let's face it before I know it September and I will once again be busy with students, lesson plans and schedules and living in the moment will become a little more difficult. 

I even started Pilates and Yoga classes- which is really teaching me to shut out distractions and just savor the moment I am in. Not to mention  I am the most flexible I have been in years but I digress.

Living in the moment isn't always easy for me because sometimes life can get so busy that I forget to stop.breathe and enjoy the little things in my life that usually bring the most happiness.

So I guess the reason that I have been missing in action in the blogsphere is because I am learning to be present in my life and I can't think of a better reason than that!

Taking it all in


Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love these girls!!
I Love Me, Unconditionally

Re-evaluating Family Relationships

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Family *sigh* 
These relationships need to be given check-ups very often in order to keep them off of life support. Communication is the best way to keep these relationships healthy. I have found that when we don't communicate with family too many things are left unsaid...and that my friends....almost always leads to assumptions.

If you are fortunate enough to be part of a supportive close-knit family where there is communication, respect and an abundance of unconditional love then that is wonderful! I admire those kinds of healthy family relationships!

However, if you have reflected on the relationships in your family and you can name a few people that have caused you hurt or just continue to suck the joy out of your life....then this is unhealthy!  Usually, when there is a conflict within a family it is because someone doesn't agree with a choice the other person made, there is hidden jealousy or resentment or both parties are waiting for the other person to admit and apologize for something they did.

So how can we fix these relationships?

Communicate, communicate, communicate- IF the relationship is important to you then you need to be the bigger person and open up the lines of communication. If you do that and the person doesn't return the effort then at least you tried.

Respect- You may not agree with the decisions they made in their lives but you have to respect them because well .....it is their life. In other words...agree to disagree and live your life not theirs!

Let it Go- I must admit this is a tough one for me. But it order for us to move on in life we need to let go of some of the baggage. So if you can't communicate and you can't get the respect you think you deserve from them then have a little talk with yourself and decide once and for all to let it go! 

I am no expert but one thing I do know for sure is most of us really want to be close to our families. However, I believe that certain behaviors should not be accepted from anyone...not even family.  Many of us tolerate these behaviors from family members out of a sense of loyalty, obligation and guilt.  We need to ask ourselves is the type of family relationship that we really want? If not, is it worth trying to fix?

Lastly, we all have to come to the realization that not all families are perfect! I read once the difference between relatives and family and I never forgot it.

  • Family are those people we have a true bond with by choice not circumstance. We can't wait to spend time with simply because we choose to.
  •  Relatives are those people we are connected to by blood or law and associate with them simply because we have to.


Relationship Check-Up- Colleagues

Thursday, May 3, 2012

From work relationships to marriages sometimes it is necessary to give our relationships a "check-up" to see how healthy they really are. In all relationships we want to make sure that the parties involved are getting everything they need out of it. Sometimes we are in relationships that start off very healthy but for some reason they begin to slowly deteriorate without us even realizing it. These relationships might need a check-up to see if they can be brought back to life or maybe we just need to "pull the plug" on them.

A true sign of a healthy relationship is when it brings  more happiness than stress in your life. Every relationship that we are in will require some work on all ends in order to keep it healthy and thriving...but it shouldn't cause us stress. Constant stress in a relationship is a good sign that it is time to re-evaluate it. quickly. The next few posts will focus on some of the relationships in our lives and ways we can try to keep them healthy.

Work relationships
These are always tricky. For the most part work relationships are just temporary situations, you may feel a connection with your colleague during the time you are working together but as soon as the jobs ends..... so does the connection.  However, there are times when these relationships do morph into real friendships and that's fine too!  The way I check to make sure my work relationships stay healthy is to recognize the difference between my friends and my colleagues. Doing this has allowed me to have meaningful and respectful relationships with colleagues and also make a few really good friends. Because let's be real ladies...not every colleague was meant to be a friend and when we make the mistake of trying to turn a relationship that was meant to stay at work into a bona fide friendship it can lead to a stressful situation in both your work and personal life. 

So here are three simple check-up questions to ask yourself to make sure your work relationships are healthy.

1. If we no longer worked together would we still be friends?

2. Do I have much more in common with this person then the fact that we choose the same careers?

3. Can I share personal things with this person and still feel comfortable working with them on a daily basis?

If you answered "yes" to these 3 questions then you may have a real friendship. This means you feel comfortable discussing more than just work with this person and that the feeling is mutual.  It also means that at your next Girl's Night Out when you might have had one too many and did that thing that might be frowned upon by your colleagues... you are confident that it will not be the next topic of discussion at the water cooler Monday morning. 

If you answered "no" to these 3 questions then maybe you should keep that work relationship friendly yet professional. Enjoy daily casual and professional conversation that is respectful, comfortable  and not too deep. Of course you can still go out for after work cocktails in my opinion that's always acceptable but just know when to say "when" and keep the tequila shots to your next Girl's Night Out! 

*Next Post*- Relationship Check-up- Family Members

What's in your bag?

Thursday, April 19, 2012


We are all guilty of being a bag lady at some time is our lives. I am not talking about carrying actual baggage but emotional baggage. Every single one of us carry different emotions in our bags sometimes without even knowing it.  If we could open up our proverbial bags we would find that regret, anger, disappointment, hurt and shame have been stored in all the compartments. 

The scary thing about these bags is that most of us don't even know that we are carrying them until it's too late and we have traveled with them from relationship to relationship. Emotional baggage stops us from progressing or moving on to the next step in many different aspects of our lives. For example, if you have been hurt in a relationship it's more likely that when you enter into a new relationship you still have that hurt somewhere hidden in your bag and it can subconsciously sabotage that new relationship before it even had a chance to grow. Think about all the good relationships that just never had the chance to become great because of the baggage that was brought into it from past relationships. What a shame.

I know this woman...let's call her "Mikki" who many years ago almost missed out on the love of her life because her bag was filled with disappointment. So instead of waiting for the fabulous guy she just started dating to disappoint her she decided that she would not get serious....you know not fall in love under any circumstances. Fortunately for her Mr. Fabulous helped her to slowly empty her bag of disappointment by proving to her that she can trust not only him but her own ability to let go of the past.....and 17 years later that compartment of her bag is still empty.

So ladies....what's in your bag? What are you holding on that is stopping you from being happy or just progressing in your life? Do you have regret in there? You know...the shouldas, wouldas, couldas. Is anger and/or shame hidden deep in there? Maybe you have not been able to forgive someone or yourself for something that happened in your past. Whatever is in your bag...let it go. I know it's easier said than done but we have to realize that holding on to all these past emotions become heavy burdens and make us miss out in all the wonderfully fabulous things that life has to offer us.

So ladies I will leave you with a few verses from one of my favorite  Erykah Badu songs Bag Lady!

Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you

One day all them bags gone get in your way
One day all them bags gone get in your way
I said one day all them bags gone get in your way
One day all them bags gone get in your way............so pack light!



Dove Clear Tone Deodorant-Giveaway Announced!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Congratulations Meredith M. your on your way of becoming de-funk-defied!

Look out for my email!

Winner chosen randomly by RANDOM.ORG
True Random Number Generator  4

Dove Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant - Giveaway!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

By now you might have guessed that I LOVE Dove® products. So when I got the opportunity to sample the New Dove® Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant I was so excited! Especially since Dove Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant is the first and only U.S. deodorant designed to reduce red and dark marks and even skin tone thanks to Calendula, Sunflower Seed Extracts and unique Dove® moisturizers that help accelerate the natural skin renewal process. 

Be honest....how many of us take the time to moisturize under our arms? It is one of the most neglected areas of skin on our body. Yeah, we may shave and put on deodorant every day but how often do we take the time to do anything to reverse the effects that shaving and dryness may cause.

Not only does Dove® Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant restore skin to its natural tone, it also provides the same benefits women expect from all Dove® Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant products, including: 

·         24-hour odor & wetness protection
·         Care for delicate underarm skin with Dove® ¼ moisturizers™
·         Alleviate the formation of white marks on clothing
·         Dermatologist-tested

With summer right around the corner don't we all want clear and even toned underarms as well as light scented 24-hour odor & wetness protection? I know I do!

Dove® Clear Tone is available on shelves this month in the following formulas:
Skin Renew Invisible Solid – Light floral notes of violet, lilac and rose with vanilla musk
Sheer Touch Invisible Solid – Light citrus notes with hints of almond and coconut milk
Clinical Protection Renew – Offers prescription strength wetness protection with the maximum level of active ingredients (20%) available without a prescription.  

So to get you ready for summer I will be giving one lucky reader the opportunity to try the new Dove Clear Tone Anti-Perspirant/Deodorant yourself!

Entering is easy all you have to do is leave a comment telling why you want to try out these new deodorants and your one step closer to taking better care of your underarms! 

I’ll randomly select and notify a winner at the end of the day on Wednesday, April 18th. You must be 18 years of age to enter and a resident of the US.

Visit www.dove.com for more info.
Disclaimer:  I received this product to review.  However, all opinions are solely and 100% my own.

Have you got a minute?

Monday, April 9, 2012

How many of you have a daily to-do list? I am sure we all do. Whether it's electronic, on paper or in our heads we know what needs to be done every minute of the day and usually try to get it all done in those 24 hours. But if you are anything like me "uninterrupted free time" for yourself is usually no where to be found on that list. This free time consists of those rare and precious moments where we choose to do the things that we enjoy for ourselves without any constant interruptions! How many of us are guilty of postponing our free time until everyone else around us is well-taken care of? (raises hand) The trouble with that plan is that usually by the time we take care of everyone else we are too exhausted to do anything for ourselves.

Recently when my daughter asked us to take her and her friend to the car show...I decided to opt out of this trip and stay home...alone. As much as I loathe love walking around for hours looking at fancy over priced cars, I grabbed this rare opportunity to have some free time. As soon as I heard the car pull out of the driveway I asked myself what was it that I really wanted to do. Of course, I had to fight off the urge to tackle the load of laundry that needed to be folded.

Then it hit me. Watch a movie. That was what I wanted to do. Watch a movie uninterrupted. I was so excited.

You see I like to watch different types of movies than my family. I love foreign movies...(yes with subtitles and all), B-rated movies (the ones that go straight to DVD) and Lifetime Movies (all of them). Usually, when I watch these movies I have to hear all the comments about my choice of corny and predictable movies...so I decided that for my free time I would watch the movies that I like and that is exactly what I did. And I didn't just watch 1 movie....I watched 4!! And it was blissfully wonderful! When my family came home I felt very satisfied with the use of my free time and was ready to hear all about the car show.

Now these opportunities of leisure time do not always fall into our laps most times we have to create them. Decide what it is that you want to do for yourself and then put YOU on your daily agenda. Your idea of free time may not be a movie marathon it might be taking a nap, reading a magazine, getting a massage, taking a walk or just being alone with your own thoughts for a few minutes. Whatever it is... we need to learn to put off or delegate some of our daily responsibilities for a few minutes a day. Let's face it most of our to-do-lists are overwhelming and unrealistic anyway. As much as we hate to admit it we can't always do it all without burning ourselves out. We need to prioritize and schedule in even a few minutes of downtime for ourselves daily.

So I will ask you again...have you got a minute...for you?

Discovering my Brand

Saturday, March 24, 2012

They say that in order to become more effective in business or in life we should first discover what we stand for or in other words discover your "brand". A brand is not just an image or a logo...it's more than that. It's how we are perceived by the people we connect with everyday. So I asked myself what exactly is the definition of my brand. What do I stand for? Is my message clear? Do others find me credible? Do I motivate others? Not just in the blogosphere...... but in my everyday life!

On Blogger, Facebook and Twitter I can tell whether or not people relate to my message. That's the beauty of this social networking thing....you get instant responses. However, real life doesn't have a list of followers or a "like" button, and it is important to me that people know what I stand for, find me credible and are motivated by my actions in even the smallest way. I believe each and every one of us has a brand that comes with a story and a purpose attached. Our story usually consists of the struggles and successes we have experienced in life. Then we take our story and find our purpose. In other words how can I use my experiences to help others?

Here is a short synopsis of my story:

Like most women I have many different titles and play many different roles from wife, mother, daughter, friend and teacher. However, over the years I allowed these roles to define who I am and control my level of happiness and contentment with my life. Although I loved my life....I didn't always love myself and as a result neglected my needs. So I had to find time to just be me again. The me that didn't have all these other roles and titles...the me who only had herself to care for.

A few summers ago I was determined to find the time to get to know me again and to find time to acknowledge and celebrate all the things that make me fabulous. I began the amazing rediscovery of me and learning to love myself from the inside out! I am still a work in progress but I am so excited about the rest of the journey!

So then I decided to take my story and start a blog and what do you know?....there were so many women out there who felt the same way I did and who shared their stories and experiences with me. They too were ready to love themselves unconditionally and celebrate all that was fabulous about being a woman!

And ta da....a brand was born!

So now I had my brand. The next step was to find my objective. What did I want to accomplish? What steps could I take to make sure I was living my life to fulfill my purpose? Then one day it came to me through a dream or...more like a vision. If I really want to help women love themselves unconditionally why not start instilling these beliefs to young girls so they can grow into confident women! So then I started I Love Me Unconditionally a mentoring program where young girls are empowered, inspired and educated to love themselves unconditionally!

So I guess you can say that I have discovered my brand and even though life doesn't have a retweet button...I am confident that my story and message has reached and inspired some, and in turn I have been empowered and motivated to keep marketing my brand!

And as I always say...the best is yet to come!

Today she is 22!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's hard to believe that 22 years ago today at 10:11 pm I gave birth to the most beautiful baby in the world. I can still remember the overwhelming feeling of love I felt when the doctor handed me my little bundle of joy wrapped tightly in her hospital blanket. As soon as I our eyes meet for the first time. It was love at first sight. I was so excited to be her mother and could not wait to teach her everything about life. Funny thing is we taught each other! She taught me how to be patient, resilient and how to love unselfishly.

As I watch her grow into a woman with her own creative ideas, strong opinions and need for independence...I still can look into her eyes and see my baby girl. It's an amazing feeling to know that I love her as much today as they day they handed her to me in the delivery room...maybe even more.

Our Mini Date at the CVS Minute Clinic

Sunday, February 26, 2012

This morning I woke up feeling horrible. I just knew I had strep throat, just one of the many perks of being a teacher. So I rolled over and told my hubby that he is going to have to take me to CVS Minute Clinic to get a strep test since my doctors office was closed. So off we went. When we got there 4 people were waiting to be seen before me. Great! What a way to spend our Saturday morning. So we took a seat in the waiting area and just talked.

Without the television, ipad, laptops distracting us we sat in the CVS Minute Clinic waiting area.... and chatted about everything and nothing at all. For the next hour we talked as though there was no one else in that waiting area but us. Funny we never even realized that we were sitting there for an hour...that is how engrossed we were in conversation and I can't really even tell you what we spoke about. But before we knew it they called my name and confirmed my suspicions...strep and an ear infection. As we waited in line at the pharmacy for my 5-day antibiotics treatment I told my hubby that I enjoyed our Minute Clinic date. He laughed and said, "only the best for my wife!"

Marriages need times like these to keep them strong. Sometimes we don't have the time to schedule as many date nights as we would like so when opportunities present themselves to just sit and talk and laugh..... why not take advantage of them! Although, I really wish that I was not sick.... I was glad he was there with me. The truth is it's all about how you spend the time together that matters more than where and when!

The Greatest Love of All

Monday, February 13, 2012

As I drove to work this morning I was listening to a medley of Whitney Houston songs that WBLS was playing as a tribute to her extraordinary musical career. I sang every song loud and off key as if I was performing at my very own private and personal tribute to Whitney. After all many of her songs could be played as the soundtrack for my teenage to adult life. Then the “Greatest Love of All” came on. Now I must have sang this song hundreds of times throughout the years but for some reason this morning the verse “learning to love your self is the greatest love of all” had a new meaning for me. Self-love IS the greatest love of all but it is also the most difficult form of love to give. Many of us struggle with self-love because we think it would be viewed as self-centered, vain or just selfish. But I believe in order for us to receive the kind of love that we deserve from others we first must learn how to fall in love with ourselves. If you can't love yourself how in the world can you expect others to really fall in love with you?

When I was younger I had a very warped view of what I deserved from a relationship. In fact most times I never really thought about what I deserved. I knew I wanted to make the other person happy and never really gave much thought into what made me happy. Now I know that self-love is the foundation of all loves and without it any relationship that we are in will be an unequal one. In my marriage my husband and I have no problem catering to each others needs because we both have a strong sense of respect and confidence in ourselves and for one other.

So what does self-love mean to you? Does it mean you love yourself enough to take care of your mind, body and soul by any means necessary? Does it mean you put your needs first even if sometimes.... just sometimes the needs of others have to go on back burner? Does it mean you let others know how you deserve to be treated and you refuse to settle for less?

Ladies, this Valentine's Day why not give yourself a gift...the gift of the greatest love of all....love of self. I promise you will not be disappointed!

"And if by chance that special place that you've been dreaming of leads you to a lonely place find your strength in love!"

Thinking Positively!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Please bear with me as self-indulge: I am as fabulous as I let myself be. Let me repeat that. I am fabulous as I let myself be.

This was my positive quote for this week and you know what I learned....I am freaking fabulous and I shouldn't wait for someone to compliment me when I can do it myself! So this week I consciously replaced all of my negative thoughts with positive ones and let me tell you it wasn't easy but well worth it. One thing I learned this week is that having positive thoughts when you are under stress is difficult but it can help you put things in perspective.

So here are some things I did to keep me thinking positive this week!

1. Don't allow what people think and say affect my mood. This was very challenging especially at work when this happens often. So example, when I said good morning to someone and they barely parted their lips to say it back I responded with, "Have a great day!" and I meant it!

2. Associate with people who bring something of value into my life. One thing I learned is that sometimes you can't avoid being around negative people but you can learn how to ignore them graciously when they are in their company.

3. Say positive things about myself. Instead of looking in the mirror and finding all the things I could change about myself. I looked in the mirror and really saw how amazing I am inside and out.

4. Compliment people when I feel they deserve it. I really liked doing this one. Giving compliments not only helped boost the person's self-confidence but it has a way of making me feel good about myself too!

5. Have faith in myself and in my abilities. Self-doubt is a silent dream killer. It can creep up on you when you least expect it and fill your mind with negative thoughts of yourself and your abilities. But I know I am fabulous as I let myself be. Let me repeat that. I am as fabulous as I let myself be and so are you!

Learning to Cope with Stress

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One thing I learned from looking over my journal from last week was that I desperately need to set some health goals and since Week 2 of my Feel Fabulous Makeover is about setting health goals now is a perfect time to start! However, my health goals are not all about improving my physical health. Keeping a daily journal helped me to realize that I needed to set some emotional/mental health goals. Lately, I have been taking my emotional health for granted not realizing that I need to give it the same effort that I give to to maintaining physical health. Don't get me wrong I strongly believe that physical and emotional health go hand in hand but most times we pay so much attention to the exterior us that we forget about how important the interior is. For example, how many of us talk to our family doctor if we have an ongoing emotional problem? However, the minute we feel sick we make an appointment. Same thing goes for taking a sick day from work, I believe sometimes we also need to take an emotional health day!

So what exactly is an emotionally healthy person?
An emotionally healthy person:
~is in control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
~can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from disappointments.
~is able to balance stress and emotions.
~is resilient.

Wow! I used to be all those things! I used to be able to cope with stressful situations while still maintaining a positive attitude. However, lately, I have lost my ability to leave my work stress at work and I find myself being emotional, irritable and stressed. I stopped paying attention to my own needs and feelings. I let stress and negative emotions build up without talking about them as often as I need too. Suddenly it just became harder to maintain a healthy balance between my daily responsibilities and the things that I enjoy doing just for me.

Now this is not at all uncommon. I did a lot of reading on building and maintaining emotional health and the one thing that I learned was that we all go through a time where we just get overwhelmed by the day to day stresses of life and find it hard to cope with these stresses in an acceptable and healthy way. So it is time for me to take control and set some emotional/mental health goals for myself.

1. Make leisure time a priority. Do things that I enjoy doing for no reason other than it makes ME happy!

2. Manage my stress levels. I read that the body responds to stress by making stress hormones which over a long period of time can wear down your body so it’s important to keep it under control. I know that not all stress can be avoided but I need to reactivate my stress management tools that help me bounce back from stressful situations.

3. Learn to express my feelings. Sometimes I just need to let the people who are close to me know when something is bothering me. Keeping feelings of sadness or stress inside takes too much energy and can cause us to feel alone which can lead to depression.

4. Focus on the positive things in my life and there are a lot of them! I need to start paying attention and appreciating what is good, positive, and beautiful in my life.

I know that whatever negative factors have allowed me to neglect my mental and emotional health can be counteracted with just focusing on more positive factors. By learning to cope with stressful situation as they arise in a healthier way I will become resilient and feel fabulous again!