c'est moi.

c'est moi.
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inspiration

Come sit down beside me with a dollar and a dime, we'll drink away our fortunes, here's to the meantime. -Grace Potter
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3.11.2012

quotes to live by.

13 comments
"Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition."

3.06.2012

expanding your horizons.

3 comments
Have you ever wanted to try something new but never got the courage to actually do it? Like taking a new class at the gym, trying out a new running route, traveling somewhere new, trying out a different church or religion, going skydiving, going out to dinner alone, giving a presentation at work about a new idea, eating a new cuisine, auditioning for a talent show, or submitting a piece to your local newspaper?

Every day we are given opportunities to break free of our comfort zone to do something different. We too often chicken out. We can't stand the idea of failure or embarrassment. In turn, those thoughts encourage us to live only within the familiar, rather than taking a risk. And it's only human to feel that way.

Let's step back for a moment and consider times we have been more or less forced to partake in something new. The first day at a job. The start of a semester at school. Moving to a new living situation. A trip to visit family in a location previously unvisited. An essential business trip to visit a client across the country.

For these types of adventures, we aren't really given a choice. We may feel uneasy, ill, shaky, flustered, or scared, but typically once we've actually jumped into it, that fearful feeling will subside. We adjust and become comfortable to a certain extent. Other times, we never quite reach that point. We fulfill expectations and then may choose to take another path instead. That new path may mean retreating back to the familiar, or it may require being back at square one; standing face to face with a different something new. We embrace routine so much as a society, that we give anything to get back to "normalcy" as quickly as possible once we've been forced [or fallen] off track.

I bring these forced efforts to step outside of our comfort zone to the forefront because these are things we've all had to do in our lives. We've had to make major transitions, whether between schools, jobs, relationships, or lifestyles. And guess what? We all made it to the other side. As previously mentioned, the process may have felt uneasy and downright scary at the time, but we did it. But, why is it that once we're given the individual choice to try something new do we hesitate so much? If we know it will all be okay in the end, what continues to stop us dead in our tracks?

Fear.

It's something we should strive to conquer.

Beyond anything else, we need to remember one thing. Every single one of us was the newbie, the rookie, and the beginner once. Each one of those people you see doing something you may be a little scared to try, was in your shoes once. They walked into something on day one with that same feeling of fear and discomfort. They too didn't do things perfectly the first time around. They too experienced a period of "unroutine," and lived outside of their comfort zone. But look at those people now- comfortable at the once new job, in the once new workout class, in the once new neighborhood, with the once new coworkers, in the once new classes, in the once new relationship, and in any other once new experience. Now those once new things are familiar and mundane. Even if these once new things don't permanently become established in our lives, they serve as great learning experiences and provide potential for individual growth.

Stop limiting yourself to things that are familiar and routine. You are losing too many opportunities to find a new hobby, establish a new relationship, land a new job, push yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually, and otherwise find new passions. Life is too short not to seek fortunes outside of your comfort zone. You won't know what you're missing out on until you try. Go try.

3.04.2012

it's ok to be selfish.

1 comments
Why do so many people struggle to put themselves first? Why does making a personal choice sometime result in a sense of guilt? Well, because social cues everywhere suggest that selfishness is ugly. And it can be. But there is a vast separation between making a choice that is best for you, and being selfish.

Life gets busy. Our commitments seem to grow at the speed of light. Schedules begin to overflow and we find ourselves having to make sacrifices. When it comes to having to make a trade-off, too many of us find it easiest to cut out our personal time. Or even worse, we end up swapping sleep for getting everything done. We have to slow down and remember that we can only be as good for everyone else, as we are for ourselves. In other words, if we are stressed and exhausted, it will absolutely affect how we are able to perform our daily tasks. Our work may suffer. Our energy levels will suffer. Our parenting may suffer. Our friendships may suffer. Our romantic relationships may suffer. Our health may suffer. If we don't practice a certain level of selfishness, it is easy to find ourselves drowning.

No person should feel guilty for scheduling in personal time. A gym session 3 times a week. A cooking class. Time to indulge in a good book. Whatever your medicine may be, make it a priority to drink it down.  And better yet, make sure the people around you (husbands, wives, friends, significant others, brothers, sisters, children, etc.) also have time for themselves. It may mean giving your significant other one night a week to have the house to herself. It may mean your husband agreeing to take care of the kids solo one night a week. It may mean telling your boss that you need to renegotiate your hours. It may mean having to trade in an excess commitment for some precious down time. And most of all, it may mean being honest with yourself; you aren't some sort of superhero that can function on little sleep and a diet of fast food between activities. Be reasonable.

Whatever you do, don't feel guilty for having to say no or admitting you are burnt out. The reason we strive so hard to maintain great relationships with our friends, lovers, and family members is so we can rely on them. We rely on them to pick up the extra slack, and be understanding of our wants and needs. Just like they rely on us to do the same. It's a give-and-take. Above all else, remember that life is too short to spend your time doing the things you don't want to be doing (within reason). Living your life to someone else's standards or expectations is just as ridiculous. At the end of the day, your priorities should include making sure you are living and happiest and healthiest life you can; and no, that's not selfish.

2.08.2012

why confidence matters.

11 comments

When you meet someone for the first time, what are the things you can't help but notice right away? Their smile? Their outfit? Their speech pattern? Their strut?

Whether this person is a potential employee, a promising love interest, a friend-of-a-friend, or anyone in between, you can tell nearly instantly what type of confidence they are radiating. Are they bubbly, smiling, and maintaining eye contact with you? Or are they staring at their feet, slumped over, and barely able to maintain conversation for 30 seconds? And what immense weight that initial meeting carries on your impression of that new person!

Having confidence is about believing in yourself and your worth. Being comfortable in your skin; whether you feel like you could afford to loose a few pounds, wish you had a whiter smile, or are a little insecure about your height. What you may see as flaws, others may see as beautiful. And what others see as flaws, you may see as beautiful. Embracing yourself for who you are can be one of the hardest challenges you'll ever face. Some of us spend our entire lives wishing we were something or someone different. Meanwhile, others come to terms with every single part of themselves, and appreciate flaws and perfections for what they are. In your lifetime, you will come across people who are confident despite the fact that societal norms say they are overweight, could use a nose job, or are handicapped. Confidence is often about defying society's standard for beauty; whether internal or external.

Just a quick search online will tell a story far deeper than you could possibly imagine. Statistics about what America's ideals of weight, height, and skin tone are. Ideals about eye color, facial features, sexual orientation, creed, and personality traits. What happens when we take a look at the real picture? If we were to take the population and pull the people out that fit the mold for "beauty," we'd see why so many men and women these days struggle with issues of self-confidence and self-esteem. Of course, some say society as a whole has come a long way in accepting and altering their idea of beauty. And that may be true. I think it's safe to say we still have a long way to go; but it has to begin somewhere. And that somewhere is within each of us. Next time you walk into a room, stand up straight and smile. Wear something that makes you feel good. Talk about your passions. Set goals and strive to reach them. Believe in yourself and your worth. Stand for something. Create a positive environment for the people around you. Defy others standards and write your own. The ways of changing your life for the better are endless, and it all comes back to one thing; you. Be confident in yourself and good things will come your way.

2.07.2012

songs to live by.

1 comments
Let Your Troubles Roll By- Carbon Leaf.

2.06.2012

keeping the faith.

1 comments
Faith may signify a relationship with a higher power, a particular religion, a spiritual following, or none of the above. Faith is a personal belief; it's having confidence and trust in something. And that something can be anything you chose.


Regardless of our individual beliefs, faith is what allows us to keep moving forward during times of uncertainty, confusion, and pain. We must confidentally believe that everything will work out. We must truly internalize that everything happens for a reason. We must trust deep down that timing is everything

Faith has this incredible way of changing our perspective. Rather than approaching a painful situation as simply life's way of wreaking havoc on us, we can use it as a reminder to appreciate how blessed we are when the going is good. We can see a challenge as a means of making us stronger people. And hardships as the best teachers of life; allowing us to move forward with the courage to take on whatever comes next.

Often times it isn't until the going gets tough that we recognize the importance of faith. Yet faith shouldn't just be something to carry us through the life's lows. Faith is about embracing whatever life throws in our path, whether good or bad. Being thankful for the little things. Testing our personal limits when we're faced with a terrifying obstacle. Believing that with a whole lot of perseverance, we can push through anything. We can experience and embrace joy. We can transform any situation into something worth believing in. We earn our happiness through sacrifice and hard work. We, as absurd as it may sound, earn life's challenges so that we don't become complacent. Give up the illusion that you will ever have a problem-free life. Rather than being disappointed by that reality, look at it as our one-way ticket to something better in the future. Because for every challenge we overcome, our faith will grow. We have the opportunity to believe in ourselves and in life, simply by internalizing faith. We can make peace with every one of our experiences. It's our faith that will allow us to look to the future with nothing but positive thoughts and big dreams. Dreams that will be reached by having faith.

2.03.2012

the ones that matter.

1 comments

We all know how quickly 86,400 seconds can pass by. That's the number of seconds it takes to fill a single day. 24 hours. Most of the time, our repetitive routines, overflowing schedules, and countless commitments keep us preoccupied from that simple fact. Our lives are full of times of immense joy, and moments of overwhelming struggle. But time beats forward, not stopping for anyone or anything.

Sometimes we have an experience, big or small, where we suddenly begin see things so clearly. What we realize was probably there the whole time, but we just were too busy to recognize it until that particular moment. It's like suddenly our personal "tunnel vision" starts to subside, and a new perspective takes flight. That tunnel vision is often a direct result of the profound bustle of our daily lives where we are busy just trying to get by. We rarely can find even a moment in the day to stop and reflect on life lately.

Times, they are a{lways} changing. During times of significant change in our lives, it's easy to find yourself full of several emotions all at once; joy, relief, sadness, fear. Change is often associated with the word bittersweet. It's leaving something behind so that something new can take flight. And it is during those moments of uncertainty; those moments where we stand face-to-face with the unknown, that we search for something familiar to hold onto. More often than not, we can find the greatest comfort during those times through other people.

Our friends, family, and significant others. Our children, mentors, and even our pets. The ones we trust the most. The ones that take care of us when we're unwell. The ones that support us through the highs and lows. The ones that race to our sides when we need help. The ones that laugh and smile with us during times of joy. The ones that give the biggest hugs and always seem to know the right thing to say. The ones that provide us with that last bit of strength to overcome any obstacle. We see them regularly, and talk to them often. They're the first people we call to share exciting news. The people we confide our deepest secrets in.

Those are the ones that matter the most.

I recently stumbled upon a greeting card that hit me like a ton of bricks. It was one of those moments where my tunnel vision ceased and suddenly it all became very clear.

The card message read:


And with that, I think we can all think of someone that's overdue for a thank you.

1.27.2012

songs to live by.

4 comments
Ain't Nothing Wrong with That- Robert Randolph & the Family Band

1.26.2012

alone doesn't mean lonely.

1 comments
When is the last time you sat quietly, alone, uninterrupted? No phone calls, TV drone, or keyboard typing to be heard. Complete silence. Aside from those few minutes when we are laying in bed falling asleep at night, we so rarely experience that void of noise and excitement. And it's not because we don't have the opportunity to have it. It's because we don't make it a priority.

Many of us don't make the time to just be alone, quiet, and content. The moment we could actually just be, we find ourselves instantly flicking on the television, flipping open our cell phones, or jumping onto the computer. And some of this comes with the era. Technology has allowed us to stay connected to the world at all times. Our smart phones firing off alerts of new tweets, Facebook status updates, emails, text messages, phone calls, blog posts, and voice mails. Our televisions with hundreds of channels filled with back-to-back movies and shows. Computers with a world wide web that never shuts off. It's very easy to lose sight of one small fact: Just because these things are always available, doesn't mean we always have to indulge.

Let me set a scene: A batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies is placed in front of us. Do we have to take a cookie? Well, of course not. Yet we'll find that many of us do take a cookie simply because they are there (and they will probably taste good). Just like we can pass on the cookie, we can choose not to fill our rare moments of silence and stillness with sound and chaos.

The ability to sit in a room alone and in silence with only our own personal thoughts is a luxury. It is often during those moments of isolation that we are filled with creativity, personal reflection, and life aspirations. Silence can evoke the deepest of thoughts when truly embraced as a vehicle for achieving them.

It has the potential to bring our inner passions and true self forward. We all should learn to sit alone in a quiet room. Learn to shut out the clutter and confusion. Trade the noise for silence, and the unrest for relaxation. It can be a window to your heart and the door to your soul. Seek contentment in that moment. Desire nothing more.

1.24.2012

it will take some courage.

5 comments
You hear of the people surviving in unimaginable situations. Being part of the 1% that recovers. The ones that fight an impossible uphill battle...but somehow, someway make it to the top. Those that defy the odds. The ones that push onward no matter what. And the ones that risk their lives. Those are heroes. Those are the ones with the courage to fight and the courage to survive.

You don't need to be at odds with cancer, fight a blazing fire, stand face-to-face with a criminal, or swim in shark infested waters to be considered courageous. Every single person will be faced with opposition in life. Every one of us will have to make a tough decision. We will have to decide where to draw the line. Determine when enough to enough. Stand up for something we believe in. Press forward despite others' opinions. Do something because it feels "right." Follow our hearts. Push our limits. Step outside of our comfort zone.

As we all know, there are repercussions for every action and decision in life whether good or bad. And that's what makes "everyday" courage so difficult to bear. I'm not talking about being brave in the romanticized sense. I'm talking about day-to-day courage. The courage to get out of bed in the morning. To face a tough situation at the office. To stand up to someone trying to drag you down. To cut someone out of your life completely. The courage to keep trying even after numerous failures. To run that whole mile. To lose that 5 pounds. To quit that habit that you've had for 10 years. To get back on the bandwagon after falling off. The courage to walk away. The courage to try something new. The courage to never look back. The courage to propel yourself forward in life, and as human beings. Emotionally, physically, mentally.

What requires no courage for some, takes every ounce of courage for others. 
Remember that we are all fighting our own battles.

Life is about pushing ourselves beyond our usual comforts. Improving ourselves as human beings. Too many of us stick to the high road and live in mediocrity. Why? Well, because we haven't mustered up the courage to be something more. We all are capable, but it requires us to dig deep within ourselves. Which is why you and only you will know when the time is right for an act of courage. You will have to accept that it may not be easy, it may hurt a little, and it may require a very large step outside of your comfort zone. But you can do it. You can muster up that courage and make that change. You can be something more. You can do something more. You can give something more. You can push your limits even more. You are courageous.

1.20.2012

quotes to live by.

4 comments
If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it.
If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
If you don't step forward, you are always in the same place.
-Nora Roberts.

1.17.2012

taking on the adventure of today.

2 comments
Every 24 hours we are blessed with a brand new day. A span of 24 hours that we too often try to rush though, getting only to the "good" parts. Wishing away the 10 drive to the gym. The 30 minutes on the treadmill. Maybe we look forward to a nice shower afterwords, but when it's time to flip off the water, we're back to wishing away our commute to the office and the 4 hours of work until lunchtime. And the 5 hours of work after lunch. Then wishing our commute home would be over so we can fill our stomachs with dinner. Veg out on the couch. See our significant other. Then before we know it, it's time for bed. Some nights we look forward to it; exhausted from the days stressors and hectic schedule. Other nights all that going to sleep means is waking up and doing "it" all over again. Until the weekend. Then maybe we look forward to sleeping in, seeing friends, and filling our days with fun.

Regardless of your daily schedule, you may find yourself wishing away all those "less-than-exciting" things to get to the good stuff. Think back on the past 3 days. How much of your time was spent wishing the minutes would pass just a little bit faster?

Of course, we all have to do things we don't want to do. Things we don't necessarily enjoy. Things which fill the time we'd rather be spending doing something else. And think we don't have much option except to do them. Yet, someday we'll reach our end, think back upon all our days, and reflect on our accomplishments, experiences, hardships, relationships; which, when combined, will make up your life as a whole. I urge you to stop wishing your minutes away. Every moment should be viewed as a new opportunity to experience and learn something that will enhance your life. If you notice your days are, more often than not, filled to the brim with things you dread, maybe it's time for a change. A new job. A new hobby. A new meaningful friendship. A new routine. Don't become complacent. Don't accept today as something you will spend wishing away to get to tomorrow, or get to 5 hours from no. No- make every single minute count. Life is too short to dismiss your moments away. Don't take the easy route through your day. Choose a path you are excited about. Choose a life of fulfillment. Get excited about life. Remember: Life is a matter of perspective. Get the most you can out of every single minute of every single day. Even during those times we aren't doing our most favorite activities. Above all else, remember to have faith that no matter what the present brings, it will help create a more enlightened you to take into the future.

1.12.2012

how do you cope?

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All of us deal with stress and hardship a little differently. Some of us hit the gym, while others eat entire pints of ice cream. Unfortunately, there is no way to shun stress from our lives completely- it's part of what makes us stronger and more well-rounded people. This little friend can reek havoc in our personal lives or professional lives. It creeps up on us when we take on too much. It knows no boundaries. It travels; stressed at work could mean stressed at home. Regardless of what aspect of life is stressing us out the most, the key is to have a coping plan in place to fend off those frustrations. Finding an activity that's healthy, positive, and gets those feel good juices flowing is going to help us not only keep our emotions in check, but allow us to witness a great life lesson; don't sweat the small stuff. We spend so much time getting worked up about things that are either A. out of our control, or B. are so minimal when considered in the grand scheme of things. So we bomb a test- guess what? It happens to the best of us and in 5 years, it won't matter anymore. So we are late to an important appointment- guess what? Nothing you can do but recover graciously. Same idea can be applied to anything. Ask yourself this: Is stressing over it really worth it? Sometimes, it is. Stress can actually be a very healthy reaction, but stressing too much and too often is very unhealthy. Once you've weighed in on whether or not having a meltdown over something in your life is worth it, look to your coping plan. What is a coping plan you ask? Well, it's a list of activities you can look to when you are feeling especially overwhelmed. We all know what our favorite things to do are, and there are no better things to do when we're feeling stressed out than those.

My personal coping plan includes running and baking; or even something as simple as indulging in a Starbucks latte can totally turn my anxiety level down a notch. Some of us have the tenancy to want to eat everything in sight, withdraw from our friends, drink heavily, or just become an absolute nightmare to be around. We take things out on our loved ones, get frustrated by absolute strangers, and let the stress consume us. This is no way to go through life. Start by jotting down the activities you enjoy, and also consider some of the following: working out, lighting candles, massage, hiking, writing, reading, yoga, meditation, cooking, listening to music, spending time with friends, going out to dinner, or playing a game. The key is finding what works best for you- if attempting a new recipe in the kitchen is only going to make you more stressed, then don't do it. We are all unique creatures, and we know ourselves deep down better than anyone else does. The next time you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, look to your list. Listen to your mind and your body, and become increasingly aware of how stress affects you. If you learn to channel your stress in a healthy way, you will see a big difference in your mood and outlook. And when all else fails, remember that "this too, shall pass."

1.09.2012

quotes to live by.

5 comments

When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment. I told them they didn't understand life.
-John Lennon.