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”

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.

When life hands you lemons, take a bath

Since I moved out of my parent’s house a few years ago, I have been renting apartments, and have moved pretty frequently. All of my apartments have had a shower/tub, which I’ve typically just used as the shower.

I miss baths. Occasionally, I do want to take a bath but have found myself avoiding these bathtubs that don’t feel like they’re mine. I know you’re probably thinking, just clean the tub? And yes, of course I do. But — I also don’t like the idea of bathing with bleach. I was looking to find a natural way to clean my tub, without then bathing with such a harsh chemical. I stumbled upon these instructions, which only call for two items: a lemon, and salt.

Cut the lemon in half.  Dip the open half of the lemon in salt. Rub the lemon on the bathtub, squeezing the lemon as you scrub to make sure you get the lemon juice out there. After you scrub the tub, let it sit for about 5 minutes and then rinse it out with water!


I also started cleaning our kitchen sink this way, and love that it smells like lemon afterwards!