Sunday, January 14, 2018

releasing habits in the new year to become your happiest self

New years have been pivotal moments in my life. I decide to quit habits that are not conducive to bettering me. Sometimes they are goals I set on new years day and it becomes a new way of living after enough time has passed. They don’t need to be considered a new year’s resolution. They can be set at any time because each new day poses as a new start.
When something becomes a habit, it is difficult to let go of. Habits range from nail biting to remaining in unfulfilling jobs. They are routines or behaviors we become accustomed to, such as repeating fearful stories to ourselves, a drinking habit or continuing in toxic relationships
Ending a part of your every day routine causes a shift. When you or others repeat words of doubt or negative stories they become part of your thoughts and you begin to believe it. Changing a habit or a lifestyle can be chosen or at times sprung upon you. Regardless of the way it occurs, it affects you. It is not easy! But these shifts become transformations of growth. By shifting to a new way, you are challenging yourself with new circumstances. You start discovering more about who you are and your capabilities.
Your current state is not your final self. Your mindset is always changing. You will not want to be around the situations or people you may be around now.

& it will be entirely okay. You can change. You are meant to.

I create big shifts, which in turn causes great transformations.
It begun when I realized I deserved better. I wanted to be my best & happiest self. Which involved trimming all the dead ends in my life from ways of thinking to habits that no longer made me feel happy.

I decided to start living my life for me. The relationship I needed to focus on was the one I had with myself, because that will be the one that remains forever. I needed time to heal. I quit beating myself up with negative stories of self-doubt and failure that had been engrained into me. I let go of a drinking habit. I ended toxic relationships. I removed processed sugar, meat and dairy out of my diet. I quit thinking of my self-worth so minimally.
I was finally able to give myself time. Time to discover me. Learning more of what lights my soul on fire. Being fully aware of the shift in emotions that occur and how much more alive I feel. This power, this strength, this is me. It’s always been inside me and now I’m letting it fully out.

My life is mine. I am living my life for me. Stop asking permission for your happiness.
I wasted too much of my life being unhappy and not liking the person I was. The people that surrounded me years ago never made me feel good in my skin. Working on falling in love with myself is an every day, in the moment journey. For old beliefs and ways of thinking tend to creep up and try to bring you down. Doubt and fear are loud and want to make you believe you don’t deserve to feel this way and question your worth. They can become too loud and cripple you with anxiety.
I am able to face them as they occur. Realizing the buried pain that stemmed the anxious thoughts. Observing the emotions as they occur. Then being able to face the demons head on without numbing the pain to be able to release it. Letting go of the stories I’ve grown to believe about the pain. Through the process realizing its okay to be a work in progress and let go of judgment towards myself.

Feeling the emotions as intense as they are. Growing from releasing what no longer serves me to be able to move forward. Clearing out the fear can push us beyond limiting beliefs that held us back before.
You can reach your full potential. Over time we slowly let go of the things that weigh us down and take us away from our true self. Whatever nasty habit, routine, or relationship in your life that needs to be released for you to reach your happiness must be done. Change is scary and the shift can result in unwanted emotions that you must face to be able to release. But you deserve to feel happy. To get there you need to let go in this new year of what no longer serves you. Give yourself the time to heal. While you heal and focus on your relationship with yourself, you’ll discover who you are in a whole new way. By granting yourself the freedom to live life for you.

Stop dimming your light. 2018 is ready to see it. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

a week off to cleanse & leave 2017 behind

I requested off the entire last week of 2017. To be able to spend time reflecting on the past year, and prepare for another. From now on I will try to make sure I have this week off every year so I can start off on the right foot. Time off and relaxation was all I had in mind, but this week ended up being far more than that. I feel entirely restored and ready. 

Twelve months happens quickly. So much transpires and it feels as if life is flying by. We need a break to just be and look back. Give ourselves a mindful pause to realize our growth, accomplishments, setbacks and all the ways to improve into the next twelve months.
I needed a pause to catch my breath before beginning yet another year. I needed time.

To be able to give myself more time I deleted all social media off of my phone. It is a time thief that robs you of the present moment and what is around you. It can fully envelop you whole throughout the entire day. Your few second scrolls become hours piled up at the end of the week. As social media swallows you, you begin to compare yourself. We become so aware of everyone else’s lives that we forget to pay attention to the moment in front of us. I gave myself time by being able to fully be present for my week off.

This past year was all about growth. Transforming and becoming my best self involves a lot of change. When change occurs there are parts of you or your surroundings that will no longer need to remain. This week was dedicated to cleansing in all areas.

It began with cutting the dead ends out of my life, starting with the mass amount at the end of my long curly mess. It always feels like a shedding of layers when I go to see my hair stylist and dear friend. She performed what felt like an entire baptism and I could shine even brighter. I felt beautiful inside my skin, as if all the growth I had made over the past year internally had finally shown on the outside.

Cleansing commenced in my bedroom. What started as a small reorganization of my closet turned into a full room purging. Through time we change, as do our bodies and styles. My closet and room had become too much. Drawers, cabinets and hangers filled with items I will never use. We keep things out of guilt or aspirations we will be able to wear it some day. Stories attached to garments are what keeps us staring at some things unsure we could rid ourselves of it. I no longer wanted to remain holding onto anything just because of the story attached to it. Nothing remaining would be just taking up space without a purpose. Minimizing what I had, to reveal what I actually owned. Purging things that just occupied room created so much more space.

My weeklong retreat continued with a trip to Miami with my childhood friend. We grew up together trying to learn who we were and taking different paths to get there. We were always considered sisters when we were children because of our brown hair, small size and loud mouths. We were very different girls who evolved down our own paths but always remained friends and loved the other. Through all this time, we have become incredibly similar in our beliefs. Our love for life and how we want to experience it makes me realize we are more sisters now than ever.
She always gives me the certainty to never doubt myself. She has assured me since I was a child that I was capable. A best friend who has stood by me through all of life as we both grew our own way. Who has watched me go through all my awkward phases into who I have become now and has loved me every step of the way.

We explored Miami in our own way, which included healthy food, yoga in the hotel room and being present with each other. We had both deleted social media off our phones. We were able to be free together and give each other undivided attention.
Our morning began with a plunge into the cold Atlantic Ocean to cleanse ourselves. We reflected on the past year and the all that we wanted to leave behind in 2017. Taking time to digest what could change in the new year and ways to improve. We looked out onto the water knowing the chill that will take over but knowing it was necessary. We sprinted in, submerging completely into the turquoise water. My heart beating ferociously as I fully plunged. The cold water couldn’t be felt because of all the excitement that was taking over me in the moment. This moment with my long time friend leaving the sludge of the year behind me and feeling refreshed.
Together we are sisters. Constantly pushing the other to be independent, strong and happy. We let our wild curly manes be free after our ocean swim. This was us at our truest selves.
Living this year with no expectations has been the most exciting life I have lived. My week ended with me in Miami again to celebrate New Years. I’ve always placed so much on this day and what it needs to involve. This year I have worked on releasing control and allowing things to happen. That means releasing expectations on a day that is always fully loaded with them.
My last meal of the year was a quick stop into a Middle Eastern kitchen. My belly was full of hummus and I couldn’t feel more myself. My hair was in full form with the beach wind to make it even bigger. Big hoops earrings and thigh high boots, this is the way I wanted to walk out of the year. Feeling my strongest and most true self.
Being fancy and over the top is not always our scene. We felt fabulous in our furry coats, and Miami views. We witnessed fireworks on the balcony of the party at eye level. The clock struck midnight and they erupted in between all the tall buildings celebrating a new year of possibilities to come. We laughed contagiously into the New Year. The laughs and love that surrounded me was all I needed. But the caviar that I added on top of my beets was the cherry on top.
As the rest of the group went out to party, I stayed back by myself. I went on the rooftop in my comfy clothes and make up free. All the buildings standing tall encompassed me. The full moon peering down with all the stars shining as bright as they could. Music could be heard from all the nightlife of the city.

A city is so alive and full. A roof top party of one that was so alive and full. I danced barefoot alone with the music of the city into the beginning hours of the new year. This is the way I wanted to start my year.
The next day I laid in the pool looking up at the huge tree that shaded most of the yard. Watching how the vines wrapped around the trunk and every branch. Seeing all the different leaves and plants that had come together to hug this massive tree. I watched the birds and the planes flying over the city making their way to warmer places. I floated feeling the effects of the past week of restoration. With each breath I felt present and grateful. I could appreciate all that was around and above me. My mind clutter had been cleared out.
This week I gave myself time to restore. Solitude had become far overdue. Life, routines, relationships and careers pull us in every direction possible. We need to take a moment to just be. In the stillness we can be able to fully feel what is happening. Know when you need to stop and remove the clutter. Take the time for yourself.

Pause & take a breath.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

falling in love in Chicago

I have learned to appreciate moments with the humans in my life that I value as friends. I appreciate the connection we have and how it differs from any I have with anyone else. Friendships can be as strong and close as family or a romantic partner.
Some friends are your soulmates. You have those that come into your life at the exact time you were meant to meet. Some move to new places but when you are both in the same city, you make each other the top priority. Friendships can be romantic in a sense. They are relationships where all you feel is love and wanting pure happiness for the other. I have learned to value all these connections and the time we spend together.
Spontaneity got the best of us and we planned a girl's trip without hesitation. The tickets were affordable and the weekend completely free for all three of us. No research was done or agendas created for the trip. Nothing was planned and we enjoyed every second of it. Each day unfolded with delicious food, long walks through the city and being present with each other. The city revealed to us all we needed to see. Art galleries lured us in with their colors from the streets. We all walked through in silence, appreciating what we saw and realizing the emotions it made us feel.
That is what art is. It’s created to make you feel something.

As I sat in the middle of a gallery in the city, I looked around at the art that surrounded me. The paint had made its way off the canvases with the soft fluid movement onto the walls and consumed the space it was in. Feeling calm and alive, I was certain I was exactly where I was meant to be. Detached from the world but so involved in what's in front of you
We were three Florida girls in the windy city experiencing winter with the opportunity to truly feel Christmas. The streets glistened with lights covering every tree, light post and window. Music playing everywhere you went to get you in the spirit. Even the shrubbery was decorated with pinecones. It was a complete holiday wonderland with chilly weather to match. It was the most amount of clothes I have worn all year and the most Christmas spirit I have felt since I was a child.
We have moments in our lives. Moments we don’t forget that stick with us, the ones that make you feel something. I was able to have alone time with each friend, which gave me a chance to adventure with each in our own way.
Becky and I explored Wicker Park making stops wherever struck our curiosity. When we needed to refuel, we stopped into a coffee shop with large cozy leather couches that we sunk into. Sipping on our caffeine while Beyonce played through the speakers, I couldn’t be happier with the moment in front of me. Our day ended with a gluttonous romantic pasta dinner. As I looked over the table during the multiple entrees we shared, I realized this was one of those moments. I was truly present appreciating our friendship and realizing how much it had grown over time. I fell more in love with her in this new city we were experiencing together. We have friends that we instantly connect with and over time we fall more in love with. This moment and the entire day will be part of how our friendship grew.
Kristen and I spent all of Sunday together. The sun rose lighting up the city through the buildings as we walked to breakfast. We sat at a French café with big cups of hot frothed beverages and discussed the future. Giving each other outlooks at where we saw the other and ourselves. Walking through the park in the morning light, I found a patch of grass that looked far more delightful to lie upon instead of having my feet take one more step. When I suggested the idea Kristen joined me on the ground. Starting my playlist up, we both listened and moved our bodies without speaking. I lay looking up at the cloudless sky realizing that not all friends will just silently do yoga by each other in different cities together. We understand the other and can flow without feeling the need to fill in space with words. 
We made our way to the art museum where we were the complete opposite of silent. Linked arms, roaming through all the rooms of the Art Institute discussing the art and laughing at the amount of nipples one museum could have. A day like this filled with ab inducing laughter and breathless cackles together is how I fell more in love with her. We were able to see a new city together and appreciate the morning light shining through the tall buildings.
Friends remind you of who you are and let you know that it’s entirely okay to be that way. They bring out the childlike soul within you and know exactly what to say to make you fall over in laughter.
Each soulmate comes into your life to make you feel happy and loved. Seeing you for who you are and knowing your strength. Wanting only for you to become more and be greater. You experience different things in life together and no two friendships are ever the same.
This girl’s trip was planned on a whim. Gallivanting a new city together all bundled up; I fell more in love with my friends and realized that we are soulmates. Appreciate the moments you have with each friendship. Realize they are all unique and each brings out different emotions within you. Surround yourself with only love and make to be present to feel it all.

Monday, October 30, 2017

music festival vibes

Music is intimate. It’s a connection between the musician and you. Live performances allow you to feel the connection even deeper. The melodies flow through our bodies, yet we all interpret music differently. There are those that enjoy standing upright and letting their ears be consumed by every beat. Both feet planted into the ground as if any movement would distract them from receiving the music. Then there are the ones that sway or two-step maintaining a steady beat, so their bodies can absorb the vibrations through the consistent movement. For some the music flows throughout their entire body, taking over and guiding different body parts to flow with the beat. At times even closing the eyes to shut off one sense to better absorb without the outside world looking back. Using the music to free you from your mind and bring you into your body.
Music festivals give you the opportunity to watch passionate creators performing for you to move to. The festival line-ups contain wide varieties of music for all to experience. We all come together to wander from stage to stage to find the music that makes us feel something.
We all groove to different kinds of music. It’s the ones that vibe on your same wavelength that accompany you through the multiple day fest. Always finding the ideal spot that gave us a view of the musicians while also allowing plenty of room to move our bodies as freely as needed. Dropping our backpacks to the ground to reduce the weight on our shoulders. The sweat dripped down our faces as the music washed over all of us in the heat of Texas. We survived on tamales for fuel to keep us going. Watching musicians we admire and ones we discovered that day leaving us inspired and exhausted.
My toothy grin went from ear to ear forcing my eyes to become small slits hiding behind my sun kissed cheeks. Behind my dust covered sunglasses I peeped at my life. Feeling my soul glow and my heart filling with immense happiness. I was by these women that I adore being reminded of our bond and how it grew stronger after this adventure.
In a new city with two of my closest girl friends surviving the heat to experience the whole weekend. We created our small circle in the head bobbing crowd where no one else existed but the music and us, dancing around aimlessly and laughing together.
It was by these women that I felt I could be my purest self. They see me for me and allow me to be. It is the women you surround yourself with that will inspire you to move forward. The close friends who want you to only succeed and live your truth. The friendships that always give each other the room to be raw and vulnerable with no judgment. It is the ladies that I idolize and can call my best friends.
Even though we can’t always be together at a music festival holding each other’s hands tightly as we maneuver our way in the crowds, I feel strengthened knowing their support is always holding me up. The music freed us from our daily routines and brought us into our present bodies. Allowing us to all vibe on the same wavelength.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

mother nature is unpredictable & powerful

Hurricanes are unpredictable. We are at war with Mother Nature, but we have no ability to control her. We are uncertain of what is going to happen and that is what scares us the most. 
This hurricane is serious. We started to hear about it in the beginning of the week and to be honest I didn’t take it very seriously at all. Being a Floridian my entire life I know how unpredictable hurricanes are and didn’t want to start panicking until I was sure it was coming for us. It seemed like a hurricane day that we used to get as children and I maximized the time I got to be outside.

Then Hurricane Irma made it known that she was coming straight for us and the reality of what could be started to sneak in. As a state we began to prepare by boarding up and escaping North when we realized the magnitude of her. Buying all we needed for just in case scenarios and bunkering down for what could be a few days of this. Gas and water became limited. Plane tickets skyrocketed in cost and the highways were crowded with everyone trying to leave. 
A violent hurricane coming towards your home really makes you change your perspective on everything. The small petty things in life disappear. The things that truly matter are what becomes your main priority; family and friend’s safety and getting through this. We are all in this together. With 120 mph winds and a storm surge that is estimated from 9 to 12 feet, this hurricane is no joke. Our eyes are glued to the news to be aware of what is happening while also praying that she shifts direction. Most of the city had to evacuate their homes. My family and I evacuated yesterday to Golisano Children’s Hospital, which has become a shelter for over 3,000 people and approximately 200 animals. The doctors, nurses and staff are doing all they can for everyone.
Strangers are becoming friends. Friends have become family. We are looking out for one another because we understand the worry that is in all of our hearts. Our actions are us trying to remain calm and comfort each other, but the fear in our eyes and our loss of words show what is truly in our hearts. The animals can feel it and I could see in their eyes their frightened spirit.

We are all in this together. We all took refuge & are here to support each other. 
I have lived and grown up in southwest Florida, this is my home. My family and friends are here. Florida you’ll make it through this! You are a lot more stubborn than most states and I know you’ll not let a hurricane with the name Irma take you down. All we can do is be as positive as we can. Hope for the best and when this is all done help those where needed.

Monday, August 7, 2017


People come into our lives at the exact moment we need them to and not a moment sooner. Friendships can last forever but some have an expiration date.
Regardless of their length of time, each one will teach you. The lessons are of growth, of life, and enjoying each other. Friends are those that come together to enjoy what life has to offer. For adventures, laughter, memories, and lessons.
When the friendship is no longer fun, and brings upon feelings of sadness, anger or irritability; it could mean that the friendship has run its full course for the time being. Its at this time of frustration that we decide if we continue with the friendship even though it has become more of a burden than an enjoyment or realize that its come to an end now. Even though you tried and you put forth the effort to hold you two together, the efforts went unappreciated and useless. At times you don’t have a say in the conclusion of them but the friend wanted it to not continue on. The friend decided that their life path no longer included you to be a part of it and they no longer wanted to put forth the energy required. Perhaps a fight caused the ripple in your friendship and they see no reason for repair. Whatever the reason is that caused the tear in your connection, it could just not be meant for you in this time of your life.

At the end of the day, friendships should not be hard or cause you to be feeling more angry than happy. This goes for all relationships. If the emotion you feel with this person is mostly a feeling that causes you distress or sadness then realize that this is not how it should be at all.
When the expiration date has arrived, it can be hard. Because a friendship ending induces heartbreak, regardless of it not being a romantic relationship. You have put love into another. You have shared moments and secrets with each other. Your friendship was a bond you once saw as forever. But now your time together has come to an end.
You may not both see eye to eye anymore. The love and energy you were putting into it may no longer be reciprocated. Life happens and people change, we become busy and no longer decide to put forth the effort. Friendship takes mutual respect and both involved investing into the other. It is about growth, and showing each other support and always pushing them to be their very best.
The memories you’ve had together showed you who you are. You both grew together. But now your paths are separating. We don’t always continue down the same paths. When we meet that fork in the road, we have to let go. For as much as we want this friendship to continue because its what you two shared together, you both know that it wasn’t fun anymore.
I’ve had many friendships end. Close and dear friends that I thought would be forever & always. But with time, we grew & we changed. We become different people than who we befriended at first. The effort and want for the friendship has to be reciprocated. We know that this person has come to our life for a reason. And for some reason, they are no longer to continue in the direction we are headed.
Friendships are made from similarities and likes. You grow a bond over your connection and the energy created when you are together. You can feel a bond with people. When you first meet them, a desire to get to know them, and hear their stories. For their story will include their trials and tribulations in life. Learning about this captivating person by hearing who they are, we absorb experiences and learn from them.
The friendships that are meant to happen for you will happen effortlessly and easily. Those you are meant to meet, you will connect with by no force. Conversation will flow clearly and a connection will grow with each time you continue working on this new found companionship. Stories will be shared of pain. Advice and input is given based on experiences. You feel safe and aware that this person will be there for you. They will help you when you need it and they will support you in your journeys on your path. Through celebrations and pain, friendships always help.
Friendships appear though at the time you are meant to have them. Regardless of you both living in the same vicinity for years before your friendship has started. You may run in the same circles, but your connection moment hadn’t occurred until it was ready to.
A few years ago I was dumped while doing an internship overseas. The justification was based on him being lonely and it being unfair to him. Knowing I couldn’t allow this break up to ruin my trip, I buried my broken heart and continued on for the next two months adventuring with my mother. I could not allow a cowardly breakup to take away from my mother daughter journey. Once I returned, he wanted to mend our relationship. Before going forward, I had to ask if there was anyone while I was gone and he admitted there was. Through his convincing explanation and apologies, I forgave him. In my eyes I felt the relationship hadn’t fully run its entire course yet, we weren’t completely done.
When confronting my girlfriend about this other woman, she told me they all knew her. At first I demanded to see a picture to see who she was. My friend insisted I sleep on it and decide tomorrow morning. After a full nights rest, I decided to not see who she was. With a full image of her, I would compare every finite detail of her to myself. I also did not want to see who she was, because it had nothing to do with her at all. She never did anything wrong. He was the one who pursued her while still having a girlfriend and representing himself as a single man. His actions and pursuits gave the impression that he didn’t have another love. Our relationship ended way after its expiration date, because I never wanted to fully admit that its date had come. When the emotion you are feeling is mostly sadness than happiness, that is when your life paths cannot continue side by side.
I created a friendship with the other woman. We never knew until the other day as we both realized together. A bond formed with a girl I ran in the same circles with. We both would see each other at different venues but there was one night that we both came together to talk. A friendship formed and we started making plans each week. It flowed so easily. We shared stories of our past, our self-journeys and our future dreams.
On a drive back from yoga, the name of my past relationship came out in conversation. She told me about a summer fling from a few years ago who bore the same name. We laughed at the outrageous realization we had. Bewildered at the coincidence, we knew we were always meant to be friends regardless of what happened. We came together years later by pure connection. I was never meant to see a picture of her because I would have never given her a chance and we would have never been able to form a bond.
Appreciate life’s synchronicities. The coincidences in your days are trying to show you, that you are on the right path. People come into your life at the exact time they are meant to. They leave your life at the right time as well. So forgive those that leave, because you should not have to force any friendship. Friendships come into your life to teach you and to show you who are you.