SELF LOVE SATURDAY

This is only the title because today is Saturday. Self love should be practiced E.V.E.R.Y. (damn) D.A.Y.

2018 is going to be a crazy, hectic, beautiful, AWESOME year. But there’s a LOT going on. I am trying to make it a priority to take care of myself, mentally, physically, emotionally. I’ve been looking into *simple* ways to practice self-love and self-care. I don’t want to add to my list of things to do, so I’m really keeping this simplistic. I will create another post about some of what else I’m incorporating into my routine, but I wanted to first tell you about this one because I’m obsessedddddd….

I bought fresh eucalyptus, from my local Trader Joe’s ($2.99), and hung it in the shower. Walking out of the store I couldn’t help but keep leaning into the bag for a few sniffs – this plant is heavenly! I used twine – 2 pieces: one to tie the bundle together, and the second to hang it in our shower. Try to hang it just behind the shower head, out of the way of the water flow. It should stay good for 1-2 weeks. On top of the benefits, it adds a “spa-like” feel to your home.

Benefits:

+The heat and steam help to activate the herb’s essential oils which can ease congestion

+Anti-inflammatory elements

+Natural de-stressor

And here was E’s reaction to coming home to a plant hanging from the shower head: “I don’t hate it [several seconds later]…. I definitely don’t hate it.”

(I think that means he likes it.)

Please note that eucalyptus oil is toxic to dogs. Don’t leave your dog around this plant if he/she may try to chew it. 

Do something for yourself today. And tomorrow. Do something for yourself every (damn) day.

Cheers!

Friday finds

Tranquility. Last week, I told you that I was going to a bachelorette party in Vermont (Quechee). I never thought I’d find so much peace at a bachelorette party.

In between the craziness, I found myself feeling so calm and content. Living in an urban area, I don’t often find time to appreciate the outdoors like I once did. But this trip to Vermont brought my appreciation for nature back in .2 seconds. We even saw a Bald Eagle fly right over us while we were tubing down the river!

Waking up to this in the morning was so peaceful.

The boy in the blue shirt

It was in 2011 that I first met Evan. I met him in the driveway of my childhood home. I remember it well, because while the four of us (my friend Julie and I, and Evan and his friend Steve) were going out for the night to meet up with other friends, I was supposed to like Steve. Imagine a world, where you’re supposed to like someone? I wish I could go back then and kick myself for allowing myself to feel like I had to do anything to please anyone else. Anyway…

I remember Evan because I thought he was cute right away. His shirt though, it was bright blue and two sizes too large. I knew he knew that too because the arms were rolled up and he kept tugging at it. He didn’t like it either, our first agreement was within seconds.

We went out that night and met a few other friends at Ladder 133 in Providence. I drove us all, in the cute little blue Audi I had, and it turned out to be a great night. We laughed all night. But the person I was focused on was Evan. He made me laugh the most. It would be the first, and last, night that I saw Evan for three years. I hung out with that same crowd of people we were mutual friends with, but we always missed each other. Whenever I was there, he wasn’t, whenever he was there, I wasn’t. Eventually, the boy in the blue shirt slipped out of my mind, after all … he was never supposed to be in my mind to begin with, or was he?

Three years later, I had recently moved to Boston. I was shopping after work one day, looking for the perfect throwback outfit to wear to a theme party I was going to that weekend. I had never been shopping where I was that day, and usually just went for a run or walked Cooper after work. But not that day, that day I went over to the BU area, and shopped around longer than I expected to. I was ready to head back home. I walked over to the MBTA train (the ‘T’), and waited for the next green line to take me back to my Cleveland Circle apartment. It came quickly, but was jam-packed with people heading home after work. I was deciding which car to get into, but they were both equally packed, I just picked one. I went up the stairs to the standing-room-only T, and found myself face-to-face with Evan Matzell.

He looked different but the same. He was wearing a light jacket this time. It fit. It looked great. He looked great. We talked the whole train ride. As people got off at each stop, seats opened up, but we just stayed there, face-to-face, talking. We talked all the way up until it was his stop. But it was also my stop. We learned that we lived within two blocks of each other. A week or two later, Evan and I went out on our first date. We quickly went on our second, then our third, then I met his mom, and then it was my birthday and he met my whole family. We quickly became a huge part of each others lives and neither of us wanted to slow down.

Over three years later, I still don’t want to slow down. I’ve never felt so right with someone, so at home. Who would’ve known, all these years later, that I’d be marrying that boy I met in my driveway. Life is funny that way. You never know when it’s going to zigzag and take you through a journey you wouldn’t have imagined. You have to trust your journey. I am so grateful that I’ll never go three years without seeing Evan Matzell again. My journey and his journey are now one, and I’m so excited for where it will take us.

I’ll take a summer hiatus with a side of change, plz

As you may or may not have noticed, I accidentally took a hiatus from writing. Whenever this happens, I start to get antsy about writing again, because it is truly my outlet. A lot happens each summer, but especially this summer – it has been a major time of change in my life. Pretttty much everything changed, actually — most of which I plan to catch you up on.

But first I want to just talk about change for a minute, because I’ve experienced a lot of it lately and it can really be overwhelming. I am pretty accepting of change. I hate to feel stagnant, so I urge change quite frequently.

Over the course of your life, you will change, change and change again. But, it is important to remember that no matter what change comes about, you have the power to walk away if it does not suit you. Never allow yourself to be in the passenger seat of your journey. It is yours, remain an active participant. It is kind to please others but never in the dispense of yourself.

I urge you that when you are going through change, to look at who you are, and where you want to go. Ask yourself if the change in your life supports your core values, your vision for your future, and also your wellbeing. And if there is any doubt in your mind that what has just come along will hurt who you are in any way, it is completely fair to stand up and respectfully walk away.

“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”

Brené Brown

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