I always take a time out between Christmas, and when the kids go back to school. A lot of that time is clearing up loose ends from the holidays, putting away Christmas, doing another declutter session, and prepping for the Spring portion of the dance season. But I also take a few moments to be lazy, kind of become a hermit, think about things, and set a mood for the new year.
Next Monday, I’ll be posting a video of my last thrift haul of 2017, but in all honesty, I can’t sit here and edit a video right now when I have such other exciting things to think about!
I was driving across the causeway towards the ocean, and the sun was shining in all its vibrancy, with the clouds looking quite majestic and heavenly. I was also admiring my new windshield (as mine spontaneously fractured while driving the Interstate, like the earth does at the time of impending doom in a cheesy action movie). The SPF at the top was allowing me to see the way the light shone through the clouds, presenting a delicate pink around the clouds. It wasn’t visible without that filter.
It made me think about filters, and how a filter can make things appear different. Like if you kept dark sunglasses on throughout life, you’d see it as a dark place, devoid of the light and color around you.
Then I thought about light, and dark. How you cannot create darkness. Darkness is only present when light is extinguished or blocked.
Therefore in order to be the carrier of darkness, you have to be robbing light from someone else, or yourself. There’s a lot of this in the world right now.
But when you think about it… you CAN create light…. with energy! And there I had my theme for 2018. Create Energy, Create Light!
In my blog, I always strive to share good things, positive thoughts, ways to make life less stressful, and more manageable, and enjoyable for you. We will all go through trials, and I’m sure there are many more to come. But we have the power to create light.
I’m working to create lots of exciting things in 2018 to bring you light and joy. So welcome 2018, and as always, thanks for being a loyal reader!
I had a whole play by play of our Hurricane Irma drama typed out, but then I decided that there’s been enough of that. Let me cut straight to the point…
Hurricane Irma was scary as H E double hockey sticks, and as of typing continues to provide struggles for many families.
Many have faced devastation beyond compare, and my prayers go out to them, and their families.
I choose to look on the bright side of my situation, so here’s my take on the positive aspects of the storm.
During the power outage, I looked at every photo album I own before putting it away. I had so much fun looking back on memories, and happy moments. I looked at my grandmother’s and my mother’s childhood photos with new eyes, swooning over their decor, and exclaiming when I realized my great aunt actually owned an aluminum tree.
I got to read a novel. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews reminded me of being at the beach and reading chick lit books, dreaming of my prince charming just like the main character in the novel. (Feels nice to know that I found him now)
I was surprised that I didn’t miss the internet, or the cable, but I was worried about using up my batteries for the light, only to read by. I really didn’t look much at my phone, except to text back to a few people that I was ok, and to call my sister. The heat was more of a concern to my furbaby, who seemed to acclimate easily after the first day. (We sat in the car a bit to cool off in the ac, and charge my phone.)
I was also surprised at the outpouring of generosity among my friends here and back in PA. A friend gave me the key to her home, for me and the furchild to stay there as an option to have a safe, hurricane shutter house to weather the storm in. Another friend offered me her spare room to power my cell phone and get cooled off a bit because she had power. And many of my friends and family in PA checked in on us to make sure we were ok. I am so touched by the wonderful friends I’ve made over the years.
Things are still getting back to normal here. Until then, try to look for the silver lining, and be grateful for what you have.
Two years ago, I came to Florida after a whirlwind of emotion and events in my hometown of Pennsylvania. I’d never lived anywhere else before. I’d never been a resident of another state, and I hadn’t much been on my own. After caring for him for years, and then quite intensively for weeks at home, my father had just passed away. My father’s side of the family did an about face on me for trying to honor my father’s last wishes. They aren’t the type of group to have anyone tell them no, so this did not go over well. I was quickly cast out, even at my father’s funeral. Despicable, I know, but I was ok because I knew I was doing what was right. My husband, who was already in Florida for work, quickly made arrangements to come to PA. While I was sitting in the funeral home making final arrangements, I got a call that my husband was being rushed to the hospital. Kidney stones… which required a few surgeries! SO…. we buried my father, had an estate sale, packed up my belongings, all while working around husband’s surgeries. When all that was done, we prepped for the two day drive to Florida.
With a deep breath, I knew I had a new chapter ahead of me. I was determined to finally start calling my own shots.
After arriving here, I quickly sent out my press kit, and proudly was hired by a local dance studio within 4 months. I let my passions and my heart guide the way while making smart judgments with my head. If it wasn’t good for me, I didn’t do it. I finally put me first.
It paid off.
From that one moment of making the decision to pursue the best for me, I landed that studio dance job. Then I landed a job teaching aerial dance. Then I landed a job teaching children creative dance for a summer. Then I landed a job teaching at the college level. Finally, I just spearheaded a dance program for figure skaters at a local ice skating rink.
I’m still going strong.
Last year this time, I was lost in an idea of something I wanted to do. I put it on a shelf, and focused on all the above stuff. The other day, the sidelined idea finally clicked… and now I’m pursuing that.
I’ve got other projects in the works too.
There’s a reason the end of something always begins something new. Sometimes the old junk needs to end, so you can turn your eyes to focus on the new stuff.
Don’t be afraid to state what you want out of life, and don’t ever be afraid to ask yourself if it is good for you… or not. If it’s not, say no. It’s really that simple.
I pride myself on my reliability. I guess that’s why my dad confided in me his last wishes. If I say I’m going to do something, I’ll do it. You can count on me. If I can’t do it, there’s a really good reason. I used to go into a long story about why I couldn’t do something presented to me at the last minute, or used to feel guilty if I had a way to change my schedule but didn’t feel like it last minute. Now, I don’t. I am not the world’s superhero, and I do enough. Know when to say no. Know when to take a leap of faith. Know when to close the book, turn the page for the new chapter, and know when to soar.
PS: The photo posted above was one of the first photos I posted on my blog. Still an ongoing project, (and aren’t we all?) I found it because I felt the blog marked the beginning of a new path… that started out with my bright pink (power) lipstick. The pink pathway that I decided to head down has led me to so many great things, and I can’t wait to see what else is around the bend!
PPS: I do have a few beauty products that I have been trying out … stay tuned!
Last Wednesday I had a bad day. It started out innocently enough, but I was depleted in the energy bank, and feeling rundown. I popped an echinacea, and started my busy day. I was off to teach a private lesson, then to another spot to perform in the silks and lyra. I underestimated my pale nature in the heat of the Florida sun. Hanging upside down, while spinning, in the heat for a few hours further depleted me. I wasn’t done yet. I was off to teach aerial and dance classes later on, and by this point I just wanted to lay down and take a nap.
Because of my loopy nature, I hit my head on the lyra after hanging it, which made my already splitting headache feel good for a second as it took my mind off the dull aching pain that I was trying to ignore. I mottled through that class, and actually was embarrassed at how off my game I was. I really strive to make every class worthwhile for my students.
Later that night, after making it home driving with only one eye, a blinding present migraine clouding the vision in the other eye, I lay on the couch trying to get the pain to stop. Drifting in and out of sleep, I had anxiety dreams about the horrible, horrendous, no good class I taught that I was sure no one would ever return for ever again!
The next day I woke up feeling pretty down about myself. Then I decided to perk up. I decided to make a plan for myself, and set out to draw up some ideas to better my teaching, and myself.
It’s important to remind ourselves that we all have bad days, and days where, because we are humans and not robots, we won’t be feeling at the top of our game. But your mindset allows you to stop that chain of bad vibes and to abruptly put an end to the thoughts that are haunting and clouding your judgement about how awesome you can be.
Remember to perk it up, buttercup, whenever you’re feeling low down and not so good about something. Put a plan into effect to change it right quick. Go out and be awesome!!!!
We all have our own aspirations and outlooks for the new year. It can be a daunting task to write those resolutions. I still remember that assignment each year in school. Rarely was there a follow up or a check in to that assignment.
So I’m going to give you 8 ways to better tackle your aspirations for 2017.
No Resolutions! You’ll notice that I’m very careful not to call them resolutions. When we make New Year Resolutions, we tend to distance ourselves from that word, reserving it only for the New Year. I like to use the words; goals, aspirations, and plans, but not resolutions. We tend to relate more to these words and I think they can carry throughout the year.
Don’t make a goal without a plan. If your goal is to “learn Spanish” (one of mine actually) then it’s not enough to say, “I’m going to learn Spanish in 2017.” How do you plan to do that? You’ll need a road map. Now the hardest part to this is that sometimes you really don’t know what you should be planning for. I’m still having serious struggle with this as far as my blog goes, mainly because I don’t know the tools available or what steps would be the most appropriate or efficient to get from point a to b. Talk to people who have accomplished this goal, ask in facebook groups, and research like there is no tomorrow. For the “learn Spanish” goal, I want to use a free service (naturally) and Duolingo is going to be my how to my point b.
Too broad a plan. It might be unrealistic that I learn to be fluent in Spanish by Dec 31, 2017. So in order to avoid giving up, or becoming discouraged, I need to realize that I get where I get, when I get there. If I think about checking into Duolingo daily, and see where the road takes me, I’ll be pleasantly surprised at my progress, instead of my frustration that I’m not a master at a second language. Which brings me to…
A major goal needs sub goals: Learn Spanish is a big goal to me. So for me, I’ll need to break that down into easier to handle chunks. I’ll start out by visiting Duolingo daily, even if that is to revisit lessons I’ve already completed just to reinforce what I have learned. I’ll not be in a rush. And once I’ve completed every Duolingo lesson, I’ll search for a better option based on my level of comprehension. However, I know where I’m starting (small) and where I can go next if needed.
Is it Hocus Pocus?: I miss that movie already. I miss the holidays already. And it’s scientifically proven that we actually get more enjoyment out of the planning of an event, such as a vacation or party, than we actually do living that moment out in time. It makes sense when you think about it. The anticipation brings us joy. So, let’s use this to our benefit! Journaling and dream board creations work. There are books and websites solely dedicated to the law of attraction, and therefore it is a commonly accepted term nowadays. Like attracts like. You get what you send out. Creating vision or dream boards, and journaling in the correct way, can be really good for us. Start thinking about what you want and be as specific and creative as you like. Journal daily or weekly, but always with the mindset that you already have what you want. You’ll get the feel good anticipation endorphins, and you’ll also send that notion into the world. If you need help getting started with this, be sure to join my list, because I’ll be sending out an email to help you grasp this idea.
Put some silly goals on the list. Start out with some goals you know you can accomplish. Wash the car. Clean out the junk drawer. They don’t all have to be long and laborious goals. As you cross off these more manageable goals, you will get the motivation to accomplish your larger goals.
Uh Oh. I haven’t logged into Duolingo in a week, 2 weeks, a month, 2 months, and I feel like just giving up. DON’T! “Better late than never”, should be your motto if it’s something you really want to accomplish. I would rather be a 6 month Spanish learner, than a zero month Spanish learner.
Priorities, Priorities, Priorities….. Everyone is busy. There are those people that tend to get more done in their day than others, and you wonder if they have some time machine that’s adding a few hours to their timeline somewhere. But here’s the non sugar coated reality. If you really wanted to make a change in your life, and it’s really an important goal to you, you’ll make the time to do it. Think of it as a job, think of it as life and death, put it before something you HAVE to do if necessary. Do 5 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch time and 10 minutes at dinner time, and 5 minutes before bed. That’s 30 minutes right there… and you can manage that! If you don’t see this as important, it will get overlooked. If it’s not important, it probably shouldn’t be on your 2017 goal list. So if it makes it there, it’s important.
Did everyone survive the Black Friday chaos? If you didn’t check off everyone on your list yet, or you avoided the chaos like I do, maybe you are at a loss for some gifts.
How about putting your funds toward a gift that gives back? Not only will you feel great about the gift you give, you will get extra good vibes by knowing you helped an additional purpose.
Sometimes we mindlessly get into the gift giving loop of getting something just for the sake of it. Here are some ideas for gifts that pack a one two punch in the giving department.
Pura Vida Bracelets You can select a favorite charity, or shop by color or style. They have so many to choose from, and they start at only $5 plus free shipping in the US on orders $25. These bracelets would make a great little token for some of those folks you don’t want to go overboard with, but need to give them a little something to show you care.
WWF Symbolic Adoptions A few years back, I got so fed up with buying stuff and instead did one of these symbolic adoptions for every member on my list. I selected animals that reminded me of the person’s spirit, and it was nice for them to know how I saw them. Whether peaceful and free like a dolphin, or fierce like a leopard, it allowed me to comment on the characteristics I saw in them. With a $55 donation, you also receive a plush.
Greater Good I’ve mentioned this site before because you can visit everyday to click for free and advertisers give a donation each time you do. For even greater good, you can purchase gifts and items that give back to your selected charity or group. You can support; Ending Hunger, Fight for Breast Cancer, Saving Animals, Veterans, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Literacy, and the Rainforest.
Bidding For Good I know you’re thinking, “ok but what about actual goods.” This site is kind of like ebay and an elementary school auction, that benefits non profits and schools by an online charity auction. There are everyday items here and unique and off the wall, like a visit from Henry David Thoreau!
Amazon Smile Looking for something specific? Amazon’s got it all…. and all you have to do is head to Amazon Smile first, and complete your purchases as usual. You select a charity and a portion goes to that. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Doll Kind A place to buy dolls, but with so much more. You see, The Doll Kind dolls come with 10 kindness coins for children to pass out to those that may need a little love, while teaching kids to pass on goodness. Not only that, but for every doll purchased, one is donated to a child in need. The dolls are super sweet looking, approachable, cuddly, and kid friendly. Head over to their site to check out their selection.
There’s so many ways to give a gift, and have that gift run the extra mile. Remember these sites all year long, and for every gift giving need. Let the Holidays begin!
Also stop in to last year’s gift guide post on everything Dollar Tree, plus some more ideas. Lots of folks are shocked at what you can find at the tree!
If you’re not signed up for the email list.. do it now! I have some ideas up my sleeve, and if you are new here, you might have already missed out on some good freebies. Don’t keep missing out, sign up here:
My second strong female entrepreneur in the series is Miriam Popp. Miriam contacted me, and once I read a little about her on her website, I knew she would be my next feature. The first thing that drew me to her was her clever use of her name in her tagline. Vibrant Lifestyle Coaching, Let’s add some Popp to your life. I love it when businesses do this, so much so that I named my blog/ business Nicolyndime. (I’m Nicolyn, nice to meet you by the way.)
Miriam is a Serenity Coach who encourages women to “throw glitter all over their life.” Glitter makes everything better. She owns Vibrant Lifestyle Coaching. We all feel a little lost sometimes, and it’s great that there are passionate people like Miriam who have paved the way for themselves, and walk their talk, to make it easier for those of us that need a little guidance to make something happen in our own lives. Miriam holds one on one coaching, as well as group coaching sessions around LA called Soul Workouts that empower women to glow and grow through exercise and deep real talk for self discovery and connection.
In her late 20’s she began to discover that she needn’t be a victim to her negative thoughts, and found new coping skills for her life. She spent a time doing fitness competitions and was completely involved in dieting and exercising, but felt completely disconnected from herself. Her life wasn’t at all what she wanted, so she did something about it. Miriam pursued an education in holistic wellness, which led her to her current work in helping other women.
She loves watching women come into the realization that they had the power all along. Sounds a little like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, but Miriam’s favorite character is the Little Mermaid because she went after what she wanted full force, and did not stop until she had it.
Miriam’s greatest joy is seeing women flourish as limitless and boundless beings who go out into the world and find their own answers.
When asked what she would tell her 10 year old self she said, “You are likeable, it’ll be so easy to make new friends. Just be YOU. Don’t worry you are safe. Get all the Lisa Frank school supplies you can and save them forever.”
Ah yes, I’d tell myself to save a lot of those kinds of things too, Miriam.
Her final thoughts: “You’ll find what you are looking for in life, good or bad. Go after your happy ending. What you seek you will always find.”
You can just feel her inspirational, can do attitude exude from her interview. Miriam’s journey is a lot like mine, and many others, which is why it’s important to find a coach that you feel a soul connection with. Either way, her words are true and hopeful, and we can all find a little hope in ourselves. If you need a little help, try contacting Miriam through her website above. I’m sure you’ll feel better just by visiting her website, but also be sure to stop by her Special Gifts page!
I truly believe that we should all lift one another up, male or female, instead of always attacking and dragging each other down. Who knows what kind of successes we all might achieve if everyone just helped each other out a little! Perhaps it’s my recent vulnerability in the blogging world, and how I wish someone were out there to help me out a little, but I wanted to talk about and spread the good news about women who share in my vision of confidence building, and self care.
That’s why I’m doing a special feature each month on female entrepreneurs, bloggers, game changers, and world changers who share my same excitement over helping women feel great about themselves. I’m calling it “Soul Sisters” because I believe we are all sisters in our soul if we are spreading that positive message.
The first in the feature is Melissa Prout, owner of Prout Portrait Studio & Design, LLC. Once I visited her website, and read about her message, I knew I had to feature her!
Melissa is a photographer, but it was her description of her subject that really got me. She specializes in photographing women, and providing them with a little self love in the form of a confidence makeover. We all need that sometimes!
If we could see ourselves through other people’s eyes, I’ll bet our perceptions would quickly change. I think that’s what Melissa does for her clients. She said she loves the moment when a client gasps, “oh wow, that’s really me!?”
She also has a passion for providing a special memento for generations to come and feels honored to be a part of such wonderful life milestones like wedding, maternity, and newborn photo shoots.
Like most of our callings in life, photography found Melissa when she was unhappy in her current life path. And also with many defining moments, came from a tragedy where she suffered the loss of someone very close to her. She set out to bring in a bit of happiness, and found her passion for photography. To this day, she continues to spread that happiness in her work, and her commitment and relationship with her female clients.
I asked Melissa to tell me what she would tell her 10 year old self: “Be brave. Don’t be so nervous to try new things. Quit worrying about looking weird. Play the sports, sing the songs, do the things! Oh! And be nice to your mom. And clean your room you filthy animal.”
Sage advice, Melissa!
What I love about Melissa:
She’s a confident woman who set out in a tough industry to pursue her passions and share those passions with women who need a little self empowerment. She creates memories; something that I am a huge advocate of, and finds the beauty and magic in everything which is also a notion I promote. I love that she was able to take her tragedy, and flip the script to turn it into a beautiful life, creating other beautiful moments for women.
*Note* I was not paid to promote this featured business/ entrepreneur, and it was solely my choice alone to select and feature said individual. They were selected for the message they embody, and not for specific works cited, or business services. All photos in this feature are solely the property of Prout Portraits and were used with permission.