Rules to live by

Life is challenging in so many ways. I think of myself as rather optimistic going through life, but it’s still not easy. I see it every day — people who just aren’t happy. And it breaks my heart because whatever they’re dwelling on, LET IT GO. Don’t think about things that make you unhappy, don’t DO things you hate, and STOP going through life like it’s not YOUR OWN.

Thinking about that, I came up with some ways that I live my life. Here are some of the “guidelines” that I live by:

  1. Treat yourself very well. I don’t rely on anyone to make me happy, besides me. I try to cover all the fields: my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I’m good to myself and I try to do all things in moderation. I’ll eat ice cream one day, and then go for a run the next. I’ll buy myself a massage every-so-often. If I’m feeling in a funk, I’ll take a vacation day and have a “me” day. If I want something I’ll go light on spending the month before, and then buy it for myself. As they say, life is about moderation, and it’s true. Through life, be sure to take good care of yourself. If you don’t, it will come out in ways you don’t want it to – you’ll act negatively to your loved ones and through your work and then it’s a revolving cycle that you don’t want to be in. Treat yourself well.
  2. Be specific in asking for what you want out of your life. This is funny and I just learned it in the last 4-5 years. If you want something in life — to reach a goal, get a new job, change a B+ to an A-, improve a skill — find someone close to whatever it is and ask them for advice. Important: Don’t ask for it to be handed to you. Just ask for advice. And they very likely will help you way more than you imagined. The hard part is still on you, because you need to first figure out exactly what you want before asking. If you don’t know exactly what you want, the passion won’t be there and you’ll sound needy. No one likes a needy-someone. But everyone likes a determined-someone. Be that someone.*
  3. Don’t hurt others, even if they deserve it. Some people truly suck. Truly. If and when you think about being vengeful, just remember that we’re all human. Human isn’t a very easy thing to be for all of us. Some days are really bad, and for some people, you just never know how deeply wounded they can be from something else in their life, that in turn made them hurt you. Realize that life is hard enough, and you get out what you put in. People will have their own challenges — always. They don’t need you to add to them. Take your energy and put it into something else. Don’t waste it on bad people.
  4. Say thank you for your blessings before seeking what else you need. This is so important. Pretty much on a daily basis I say — out loud — “thank you for my blessings.” I feel like the luckiest person in the world, but I’m really not anymore than the next person. I just choose to look at all of the positives in my life, before looking at what I could have or do. I went to a Catholic high school, and I remember in faith class one day we were tasked with writing down our prayers and then asked to share them. People asked for health, wealth, stress-free days, solutions to drama, etc. I was the only one whose prayer was of thanks. I had listed all of my blessings and was simply saying thank you for them. I recall being so surprised to find that this wasn’t how others started their prayers. But to this day, I say aloud how thankful I am for everyone and everything I have in my life.
  5. Build your foundation and don’t let anyone touch it. Everything in life needs a solid foundation for it to be durable — your career, a new house, a relationship and your being. All of your experiences, successes and failures have led you to exactly where you are right now. Whether you like it or not, you have built your foundation. The important piece is making it strong, and making it true to you, and only you. It is very important to know who you are at your core. I have a solid knowledge of who I am, no matter the circumstances in my life (I think this is why I am so stubborn, lol). But seriously — I know who I am, and no matter what happens in my life, I have that, and that ensures me that I will always be okay.
  6. Be there. The people who you love, the ones who you call friends and family, they matter more than anything. If they need you, be there. The only thing I would ever regret in my life is letting down someone I love.

*Some extra motivation to get you to the weekend:

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

Randy Pausch, “The Last Lecture”

Oh happy days

Happiness. It can be a confusing emotion. I think we get so wrapped up in the material of what happiness could be — a nicer car, a new job, a goal weight. But that thinking doesn’t allow us to focus on the fact that true happiness is simplicity. It’s contentment, feeling safe.

That being said, we can be our biggest assets or our own worst enemy. Negativity about oneself can collapse a whole world. Don’t let it in. Those thoughts about how happy we could be if we had this, or did that… It will only make you feel worse about, well, everything. Instead, appreciate what you have — find joy in the little things, spend more time outside, and show some love for yourself.

Purposefully do this one thing for yourself today: don’t let one thought of self-doubt in. Let’s stop being so damn hard on ourselves.

“Happiness turned to me and said – It is time. It is time to forgive yourself for all of the things you did not become. It is time to exonerate yourself for all the people you couldn’t save, for all the fragile hearts you fumbled with in the dark of your confusion. It is time, child, to accept that you don’t have to be who you were a year ago, that you don’t have to want the same things. Above all else, it is time to believe, with reckless abandon, that you are worthy of me, for I have been waiting for years” Bianca Sparacino

Dig into your vice

Life isn’t always fair. We have bad days, good days, and “meh” days. One constant that complements any of those categories is ice cream. Ice cream is something that is shared whether you’re celebrating a big win, wallowing after a breakup, or bringing to a friend who is home sick.

Vice Cream Founder, Dan Schorr, saw the joy that ice cream could bring people when he was in college. Dan paid for school by driving a Good Humor ice cream truck during the summer. He served families, adults, and children, who would all stop by his truck and choose their favorite treat. He noticed how happy ice cream made people.

Years later, Dan was crushing it at his marketing agency, staying active, got married, everything was going right. But, as all things in life, we never know what is going to happen next.

One afternoon, Dan was perusing the aisles at Target when he received the phone call that no one wants: “we found something.” Dan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Lymphoma and was given 12 weeks to live if untreated. He didn’t understand. He had always been the healthy one in his group of friends. He did triathlons, ran marathons, ate well. How could this be happening? What now? As any of us would be, he was terrified.

Dan tried to stay positive. He decided to put all of his effort and energy into things that he felt passionate about, focusing on things that provided him more energy and brought him happiness. He continued his love of athletics – he ran, biked, and continued to work out. At this point, the product that he saw bring happiness to so many people, came back into his own life. Dan began thinking about creating his own company, and ice cream was a natural.

Dan wanted his ice cream to be REAL ice cream – not the low-fat, no sugar, dairy-free, fake stuff. Life is all about moderation. Be healthy – go to the gym, drink water, eat enough protein and veggies. But at the end of the day – dig into a pint of deliciousness, without feeling guilty. Thus, VICE CREAM was born with a tag line, Live Life. Dig In.

As of August, 2014, Dan is cancer-free. It was a long, hard fight. Dan feels both grateful and humbled that he is someone who gets to celebrate their cancer-free anniversary.

He now celebrates what he calls “miracle moments” – those moments throughout the day that you learn to appreciate once you realize that you could not have been there for them. These miracle moments are simple things, such as picking up your daughters from school, seeing the stars on a cloudless night, enjoying a day outside in the spring, listening to the waves of the ocean crush against rocks. Once you open your eyes to how valuable life is – and how quickly it can change – you realize just how many “miracle moments” pass by you every day.

And that is why Dan decided build a brand that simply makes people happy. Vice Cream also gives back to cancer-causes, by supporting cancer patients, doctors, nurses and organizations that care for patients and their families.

Vice Cream has flavors such as Choc of Shame, Higher Grounds, Afternoon Delight, Breakfast in Bed and Bourbon Mash that even just given the names, you know you’re in for an indulging treat. Vice Cream is now sold at Roche Brothers, Star Market, Big Y, Super Stop and Shop, and Tedeschi.

Look out for Vice Cream near you!

According to statistics, it should be a really nice day

Happy Monday! That’s an oxymoron for many, but I’m trying to not go into Monday’s so negatively.

I hope this helps:

I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths, and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that will win the multimillion dollar lotteries, 600 people will get promotions at work. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, and 800,000 skittles eaten. Plus, the words “I love you” will be said over 9 million times. So again, I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but just smile, because according to statistics, it should actually be a really nice day.

Shades darker

So many years. So much money. So many minutes in a TANNING BED. Seriously, in college, I was SO TAN. My Irish skin was turned brown. I am proud to say I never watched Jersey Shore, but still lived that GTL (Gym, Tan, Laundry – for others who didn’t watch) life. I spent *hundreds* of dollars to lay in that bed for ten minutes, three times a week. See below, that’s me, looking like me, in 2010. I don’t look like this in 2017, I am now white. This was probably in the middle of winter, yet – I am 50 shades darker than I should ever be.

I’ll admit — I loved it. It was a nice little “getaway” off campus for a few minutes, I got to relax, it was warm, they played great music. It was an awesome 30 minutes a week. We all did it, I definitely wasn’t the only fake tan walking around Bristol. But what I didn’t realize (or maybe just didn’t even care) was that it is so bad for you.

Tans look nice, they do. They make you look healthy (which is so sad because it’s the opposite), and skinnier. But, there are other ways to do it than to ruin your skin and put yourself in risk of developing skin cancer. It took me a few years to prioritize health over my tan.

Now, if I have a wedding or event coming up and I want to be “tan,” I will get a spray tan 1-2 days before the event. Spray tans are lovely. Getting them is not the same warm, relaxing experience – they’re quite cold and uncomfortable. But – it gets the job done. Many people also do self-tan, but I have failed at this many times and turned out orange. Now, I just stick to natural sun in the warm months, but still wear sunscreen (I wear 30 SPF on my face every day).

Also, we now live in a world of filters. You don’t even have to truly be tan for people to think you are — just choose Mayfair.

Hopefully one of these days the sun will make an appearance in New England. Sigh. Until then, I’ll (palely) look forward to some Vitamin D.

You are what you think

One of the easiest ways to be happy, is to simply allow yourself to be. Unfortunately, our brains can be the biggest culprit to making us miserable. Over the past few years, I have learned how to train my brain to react to positives, and not dwell on negatives. One major factor in this was learning how to control my thoughts. We (all of us, not just girls — many boys are more sensitive than girls, contrary to what our culture tells us) have the ability to control our thoughts, and in turn our actions, emotions, and moods.

We get in our heads. But – you have the ability to change your course of thought. Think of your thoughts as a television – if you don’t like what is playing, change the channel. It is seriously as simple as that. I have tried this out on multiple occasions, and it works wonders.

For example, the other day I was driving, and all of a sudden I had a negative thought cross my mind, out of no where. It started to layer and think of other terrible situations and then — I just decided to change the “channel.” I simply closed my eyes, told myself it was just a thought – not reality – and happily went on with my day.

Similarly to when I wrote about worrying less, your thoughts are YOURS. Use them wisely. They can either empower you with inspiration, or bury you with bad feelings. I think we all know which we’d prefer. Always know that YOU are the SOLE person in charge of every. single. aspect. of your life.

No negative thoughts today!