Getting Quiet

If you happen to follow me on Instagram you may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t posted in a week.  If you know me well, Insta is my favorite slice of social media.  I started blogging back in 2011 and I believe it was that year that Instagram made its debut.  I loved my little blogging/insta community. It was real, raw, and pure.  Friends from all over could share their photos instantly with adorable captions.  I had so many amazing connections with women over fashion, food, family, husbands, you name it!!

Fast forward to 2018 and my feed was filled with overly airbrushed images, ads to buy something and picture perfect squares of everyone’s perfect lives.  I knew that when I would scroll, put the phone down and then only to pick it right back up and scroll again, it wasn’t making me feel good.  I kept brushing it off because I still do have some amazing, inspiring and uplifting people that I follow—but that wasn’t how I was left feeling after looking at Instagram.

Instead of feeling empowered, I felt insecure, jealous, envy and literally joy was being sucked out of me.  I’d wish that my house was more perfect, that my kids could strike amazing poses for photos and that I must not really be inspiring anyone because, well? To be honest, I was hung up on the numbers.  I don’t have 21k followers.  Hell, I don’t have 1,000.  And I was beating myself up.  I must not be helping enough people.

Regardless, I was going through a low point, feeling sorry for myself, oh woe-is-me, playing the victim, and if I’m being brutally honest? I was ready to go to a Dr and ask for a little magical pill that would maybe make me feel happier.

All because of Instagram? No.  Absolutely not.

But I can say that taking a little fast from Instagram, helped me quiet my mind, soul and allowed me to truly listen.  I have never been addicted to anything, but I believe that I had a problem with incessantly checking this silly app! So once I removed it off my phone, a lot of things happened.

Instead of mindlessly scrolling, I picked up a book:

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This book seemed to speak to me and allow me to reflect on what the hell was going on inside my mind.  I didn’t read it cover to cover, but I don’t think that I needed to or was meant to.  I got what I needed out of it.  People need other people in order to not only survive but also thrive.  Staying home I clearly don’t get as much social interaction as I used to when I was a teacher, but somehow I stopped going out pretty much all together.  I’d get the groceries.  Visit my husband at his work.  Do the school drop off/pick up.  Take the kids to the occasional park or library.  Dance class.   But when was the last time I did a mommy meet up?  Play date?  Had fun with the kids some place other than home?

I immediately decided to take the kids to the Museum of Play that very next day since Brooke had a day off.  We had so much fun.  While they played in the “Vet clinic” for no joke, 45 minutes, I decided to look up the local gyms in my area.  Interestingly enough, the gym I was interested in was having a $1 sign up fee and $20 a month membership.  What?!  You know what I did? I took immediate action.  Why? Because that is how you conquer fear.  Anxiety.  Stress.  You do something. Anything!! After we left the museum I went straight to the gym and signed up. I knew that the classes would be excellent for me, I’d be more social and around happy, energetic and healthy people.

Know what? It’s working.

I’m not saying that medicine is a bad thing; if you honestly need anti-despressants or anti-anxiety meds then definitely take them!  I was at my OBGYN’s office Wednesday of last week telling him about how I had been feeling.  It seemed to coincide with my monthly cycle.  The sadness, crying, overwhelm.  He suggested I figure out the root of my problem, come to a solution and execute!  If that didn’t work then he obviously suggested that I go and talk to someone and maybe explore medicinal options if need be.

I can’t explain why I was feeling the way I was.  I have a beautiful life and everything I have ever dreamed of.  I listen to positive podcasts.  I read leadership books. I was grateful, writing gratitude lists, trying to cling to anything that seemed to try and help pull me from that funk.  The guilt I felt about just not feeling happy or well, was becoming overwhelming and only when I took the bull by the horns and acted upon something did it all change.

While I have only been going to the gym for a week, my body, mind and spirit are in so much better of a place.  I feel as though I’ve cleared some cobwebs, decluttered the social media accounts I choose to follow and have really begun to listen to what matters most.

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I’ve also started to listen to a little meditation on you tube each morning. Maybe about 10 minutes or so, and I just allow myself some time to wake up and listen to good things.  I feel like it helps our crazy morning routines go by with more ease, less stress and certainly more smiles.

As women, we can sometimes take other people’s problems on as our own.  It’s our job as a mom to fix boo boos, wipe tears and lend an ear.  I tend to be overly empathetic and while I know watching the news isn’t great for me, I didn’t realize how much toxic energy I was absorbing through social media apps.

I’m a little apprehensive in sharing all of this publicly, but as Brené Brown keeps speaking into my ear, the power lies in vulnerability. (I’m currently listening to her newest book, Dare to Lead.)  So I suppose I am sharing all of this on my blog so that if you’re feeling stressed, sad, overwhelmed or just not happy, I am suggesting that you get quiet.  I went and got a pedicure and put my phone down.  I read some of a book.  I listened to that still small voice that I don’t make enough time for.  It’s never too late to start something different.  To make one small change.  One step leads to so many more. After you get quiet, I also highly suggest you force yourself to work up a sweat.  10, 20 or 30 minutes whatever–get your body moving! Just as we were intended to be social creatures, our bodies crave movement.

I think I’ll be taking more “social media cleanses” and I know that checking myself has done more wonders than I could have imagined. Once I realized that time is our biggest gift and the one thing we can never ever get back, I knew I had to be more strict with my time.  Where my time goes, my energy flows.

 

And of course, in Jenn fashion, there are a few quotes that really resonated with me…

 

 

 

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You matter. You are beautiful.  You are strong.  You are brave.  You are real.  You are living this one life that is truly a gift.  When you fall down, brush yourself off and get back up.  You are not a victim; you and you alone are responsible for your happiness.  Happiness is your birthright.

All my love,
Jenn

Turning 37

I am 37!!

Holy cow.   I cannot believe I am so close to 40. (I still can’t believe I’ve made it this long without Botox, what is going on!?)

I have always loved my birthday ever since I was a little kid.  My parents did a great job of always making us feel special and enjoying our day (month!)

I remember growing up I’d request my mom’s Stuffed Shells and a homemade German Chocolate Cake.  Sometimes we’d go out for Mexican too!

This year we were supposed to go to an outside twinkling lights fancy dinner put on by one of our favorite local restaurants, Good Luck.  Unfortunately, as beautiful as a Summer that we have had, it was predicted to rain 7/24, the night of the dinner.  We were both really looking forward to it, and hope that we can try it again sometime!

We still kept our sitter and decided to hit up my favorite restaurant, The Revelry.    We go there a lot and love the staff, the food and the ambiance is always fun.   As soon as they heard we were celebrating my birthday, out came two glasses of complimentary bubbly.

Cheers to that!

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We started with the oysters (obvi!) and I went with the burger which did not disappoint!  Joe usually get Duck, but there wasn’t one on the summer menu so he enjoyed a pork chop.

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We kept laughing and saying, “it better rain if our other dinner got cancelled!” and rain it did.  Just drizzle, but still it wouldn’t have been enjoyable to sit in and try to dine on a wine pairing & 6 course meal outside!

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We went for a little drive around the lake and honestly listened to this Jim Rohn recording.  It’s a 20 minute listen and totally worth every minute!

 

I kept tearing up thinking how happy we were, how good our business is going and life is just getting better.  We reflected on my 36th year and the challenges we faced and how good it felt to be on the other side…

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On my actual birthday, my sneaky hubby set up a sitter and sent me to the spa for the day!  It was a really relaxing time away to recharge and spend time alone.

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He arranged to get out of work early and had fancy dinner plans with my family, but things happened and we ended up heading to Mexican & Margs.

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My sister was able to join us still and we made the most of it, because what else can you do when life throws curve balls?

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Both kids got a kick out of the Spanish “Happy Birthday” song and the sombrero they brought over.

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Not to mention the ice cream that accompanied the song and hat!

 

I’m not going to lie, I was on quite a “high” and so excited to turn 37.   I had this feeling of, “I can do anything and all things, and this will be an amazing year–nothing bad will happen and life is perfect–!”

But reality is, life is never perfect.   I will have moments of joy, sheer bliss, and bubbles of perfection, but rolling into my 37th year, literally on the day, we’ve experienced bumps in the road.  And while I thought I had my semi-perfectionist ways under control, I’m once again being put in my place, humbled and always continuing my learning and growth.

I have noticed that I have been severely hard on myself lately and I’m working through that; I’m leaning back into some meditations, breathing exercises, yoga practices & listening to my personal mentors, especially Gabby Bernstein.  I need to not judge myself for every imperfection, and go back to my ‘word of the year,’–

BE.

I believe that we are taught lessons over and over (and possibly over) again until we learn them.  So I will brush myself off, and get back up again.  “The enemy attacks those who are next in line for a promotion…”

So for 37, my major goals are to

  • live in the present
  • forgive (myself & others) quickly
  • stop comparing
  • be more grateful
  • stop complaining
  • be happy
  • rest, but don’t quit
  • work on my writing
  • nourish my body with food that is good for me
  • sweat daily
  • spend quality time with my children
  • continue working on myself
  • work on our real estate business
  • wake up early
  • stay connected, calm & centered
  • get outside in nature, daily, no matter what!

Girl Code {Book Review}

TGIF lovies!!

I don’t know about you, but this week tried to kick my butt.  Seriously.  I am super glad Friday is here so that we can get to the weekend! It continued to snow all week, nothing stuck but my booty is frozen from trying to get the puppy to go outside and I’m so over it!

I am extra excited that our first book club meet up is tonight.  We are hitting up the wine bar around the corner from my house and I’m sure that it will be awesome to get out for awhile, chat bout #momlife, girl talk and I’m pretty dorky so I’m sure that we will talk about books too!

I have my list of books I’ve read so far in 2018.  This book, Girl Code was book 11 of 52!

I have the hard copy that my girl Lindsay gifted me, but I just never made an effort to pick it up, so I decided to try it on audible and I LOVED it!! I am so glad that I have the hard copy honestly, so that I can go back through from time to time.

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Clearly the author had me at her blog/brand, “The Champagne Diet.”  You know I love me some celebratory bubbly and if you’re a girly girl like me, her verbiage will speak to you too.  She is witty and cleverbut it’s not all glitter and champs.  She really is a fantastic business woman; there is something powerful about a female entrepreneur. She is also a Master Life Coach and just has so much valuable information to share.

 

What I loved most about this book were the interviews with other leading ladies.  Each gal had her own little story to tell and it’s nice to know we girls are never alone.

As per usual, the English teacher in my comes through and I had several quotes speak to me.

The first quote was, “Her success is not your failure.”

Whoa.

She was referring to those moments where we scroll through social media and find ourselves getting mad or jealous when we see other girls living their best lives. You know, that girl who promotes to the highest level in her company.  The bombshell who is flaunting her perfect body on a beach in the Caribbean. Whatever your trigger is, realize that just because she succeeded at something, doesn’t mean you’re a failure.

I guess I had not thought it through like that, but yes!  Sometimes I do find myself feeling awful, simply because she’s making a dream come true and I’m probably in day old sweats, 4 day hair and cleaning up poo.   Maybe I’m not exactly where I want to be (literally or figuratively!) but that doesn’t mean I’m a failure!

Each of our journeys is so unique and it’s super hard and tempting to compare ourselves to others on social media.  The highlight reel is great, but it took a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication for these people to get to show off their rewards.

“Why be envious when you can have the same, or not more?”

I feel like that kind of piggybacks off of the first quote.  Jealousy comes in all shapes and sizes, but instead of sitting there hating on someone, turn it around and really think about it.  What’s stopping you from having what she has?  Couldn’t you even have more? There is no limit in life.  We can make as much money as we want, there’s certainly enough to go around.  Most of these #bossbabes are most likely not choosing #netfilxandchill, so if that’s what you find yourself doing on a weekly basis, maybe it’s time to switch out some habits.  That’s what I tell myself when I start seeing posts and feeling less than.

“They don’t serve champagne at pity parties.”

Which leads me to my next favorite quote from this book.  Sure, you have a moment where you’re down and not feeling super fabulous.  I try to tell myself, it’s ok! Feel what you are feeling, but then get over it.  Sitting around moping and crying and doing the whole, “whoa is me” thing doesn’t get us anywhere.  Misery loves company, so you’ll attract that low vibe energy and miss out on some amazing opportunities.  I love me some champagne, so if I wanna be poppin bottles, I can’t cry too big of a river.

The last thing I took from this book was really what Oprah would call an “Aha moment.” The concept of a “Seasonal purpose vs a life purpose” really resonated with me.  Sometimes I get all caught up in “my purpose” and start a freak out session.  I dwell on the fact that thousands of dollars were spent on an Undergraduate and Masters Degree to teach here in NY.  I taught English for 8 years, but don’t really any desire to go back into that teaching world now.  I know that raising our babies and staying home was/is my purpose.  As we are nearing the end of that ‘stay at home’ period, I’m starting to really develop a new vision of where I want my life to go and what I’d like to spend my time doing.

This idea of a seasonal purpose just makes so much sense to me.  We are evolving creatures and the more we learn, the more we grow.  Our minds can take us anywhere and if we place all this pressure on ourselves to only have one purpose, it just sucks the fun out of life.  This is my opinion at least; I love knowing that I can keep developing into better versions of me and that as I grow older, my life’s purposes will too.

I haven’t read her other books yet, but I am definitely keeping them in mind! I love a quick listen, and this was a great one to hear.  If you’re in direct sales or in business for yourself in any fashion, I highly recommend this book.  If you’re not into champagne and some of the couture glitz and glam, I think you could still get something out of this book, if you have an open mind. It clearly spoke to me and I will be flipping through these pages again and again!

 

Happy reading my friends!

Be

I get asked quite often, how do you do it all?

I don’t.

I find that in this season of my life, I simply do the very best that I can each and every day.

I’ve always been a type A over-achiever.  I put more pressure on myself than my mom, dad, grandparents, teachers or anyone else I ever encountered ever did.  I like to be really great at things, not fail and I used to try to be perfect.

I will say I have officially thrown my perfectionist hat out the window.  I have my daughter to thank for that.  My husband would tell me not to stress over things and to stop beating myself up, but I would roll my eyes and still meticulously plan out certain events, meals, get togethers, and try to create that picture perfect scene that laid out in my head.

This was before Pinterest people!!

I will say that the first time I realized I really did have the power to control my own mental attitude, was walking down the aisle to marry my husband.

The DJ played MY song when my bridesmaids starting walking out.  I may have screamed and dropped the F bomb while waiting next to my father and the poor wedding coordinator.  They both looked at me like—what are we to do? Stop him? Tell him to re-do?  But I simple paused, took a deep breath and put a smile on my face.  I knew that if I walked down the aisle with a bitchy look on my face, my fiancé would NEVER marry me.  So I took it in stride, realized it was out of my control, and that at the end of the day, no one would know that it was a mess up.  In the end, we all walked down to, “Lucky” by Jason Mraz. I can laugh about it now, but really that moment was a huge turning point in my mental thinking.

A few years later, along came our beautiful baby girl.  As much as I tried, there was no trying to get her to conform to what I wanted.  She slept when she wanted, ate when she wanted and eventually potty trained when she wanted.  God used her to really show me that I am not in control and that all of the stress I put on myself to try and control things, was really really bad.

A few more years go by, we add a baby boy.  I totally thought I had this mom thing figured out!  Turns out, baby boy was a total different experience than baby girl.  He had terrible reflux, I had to stop nursing him after 8 weeks and switch him to Nutramigen formula, and I don’t think he fully slept through the night until well after the first year. Funny how things work…

In the last 10 years I have been with my husband, I have learned so much about myself, life, being a wife, and eventually a mother.  I fully admit I DO NOT have this whole thing figured out, but I have learned to give myself a lot of grace.  I have learned to laugh at myself.  I learned to be more open to experiences, situations and let go of the ideas of what I want people to be, and just let them be who they are.  Accept them, or don’t. I have begun to embrace the chaos of my messes and though it be tough at times, view the chaos as a blessing.  I turn on the jazz music on the surround sound.  I tackle my to do list, one thing at a time. I stop to do something for me, to fill my cup.  Like blogging; right now there are mountains of laundry to be done, but my fingers needed to feel the keys for a few moments…

My life is filled with oops, and uh-ohs.  I just learn to do my best, try very hard to do it with a smile and save the worries and stressors for when I really need to.

My word this year is “Be.” (Yes, I am a huge dork and pick out a word for each year…) It’s a simple word but when I find myself getting out of alignment, uppity, stressed, or freaking out (probably for no reason) I try to quickly check myself and breathe so that I can just be.

…be in the moment

…be still

…be happy

…be healthy

…be joyful

…be confident

…be grateful

….be humble

…be helpful

…be aware

…be present

…just be.

Stress is SO bad for us, and the more we can become aware of our thoughts and shut them down before they take us down the rabbit hole of angst, the better we will be.

My top 5 tips for getting back into alignment

  1. Let go of expectations and accept where you are.
  2. Do something that makes you happy, self love.
  3. Get outside, preferably barefoot (weather permitting)
  4. Sign off social media for a bit.
  5. Acknowledge how you feel, but then let it go.

I also truly believe who we spend our time talking to, listening to, reading about, watching, helps us form our thoughts.  I am human, I love a good TV drama, but I also love a peaceful and happy life.  Just making small changes over time helps our overall mindsets so much!

Is there something you find yourself doing, to just be?

52 Books in 2018

I set a lofty goal for myself this year.  I have always loved to read, but I will admit, in the age of social media, I found myself scrolling more and reading actual books less.  I will say it was a lot harder to even try to read when I first had my babies too; when you’re sleep deprived and overwhelmed, it’s not easy to pick a book up from beginning to end.  Somehow though, I’ve found ways to sneak in books over the last few years; mostly through Audible (I LOVE it!)  My mom gifted me a Kindle for my birthday and well, I am an old fashioned reader by heart; I love a good hardcover and the smell of a new book in my hands.

Here it is January 31, and I have finished 5 books.  Three I listened to on Audible and two I actually read.  I have started listening to a new book and I am halfway through a new thriller novel–so to say the least, I am super proud of myself!! It helps that I have found some really great books and some friends have started a Book Club on Facebook.

My biggest question is, “How do you have the time to read?!” As with all things, I don’t.  I make the time.  You won’t find me bingeing on Netflix or sucked into too many TV shows. I am usually quite busy, so I listen to books quite often.  I used to say I couldn’t, but then I tried it and it’s actually really cool!!

I find myself plugging in my earbuds as I vacuum, fold laundry, wash the dishes, clean up the house etc.   Sometimes I’ll listen and walk on the treadmill at the gym.  I’ll even listen in the car sometimes!  My mom inspired me because she always listens to books at night, and I finally tried the whole audiobook thing.  Really, if you look for ways to sneak in reading/listening time, you’ll be surprised.

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Braving the Wilderness

I do appreciate Brené Brown’s books.  She puts forth a lot of research and shares her thoughts unapologetically.  This book was really worth the read, especially if you’re someone who struggles with the past election.  She talks about how we can all be different, have different viewpoints, but we must stop attacking each other.  While I am not here to debate whether our president is a good fit, she makes some valid points about how we should act.  If you get offended over mockery of Hillary Clinton, then as a HUMAN you should get offended over mockery of Donald Trump.  I had a photo I thought about sharing, of a bunch of Women marching, with signs of genitals and horrible things said about Republican women and such.  It proves Brown’s point of, how is that acceptable? What are we teaching our daughters by tearing down other people simply on their political views?  My favorite quote from this book, “Stop looking for ways you’re not belonging.”  Wow.  So true!! If you look for it, you will find it.

 

UnFu*k Yourself

This was my first read of the new year.  I didn’t find too much new information in this book, but it was a good kick in the pants to start off my 2018.  He states in there, if you’re getting offended then maybe gift this book to someone else, as you’re not ready for the next level.  I didn’t get offended…Actually, maybe I should give this book a little more credit, as I bought my domain name after listening to the first few chapters New Year’s Day.  I did tear up a bit as he makes the reader picture herself on her deathbed…it sounds morbid but man it made me think! Am I doing all that I should be with this one life?  A few of my favorites, “Take out a piece of paper and write down what your life was supposed to look like in one area of your life that sucks.” — Yeah. Do yourself a favor and do that real quick.  Quotes from the books, “Accept things as they may happen.”  “Accept everything, expect nothing.”  Total game changers.

A Simplified Life

I LOVED Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection and was pretty excited over this book.  In my opinion, it was good, but it didn’t have that “wow” factor that her first book gave me.  She went through simplifying routines that I honestly rolled my eyes at. I am not downsizing my makeup or getting rid of my clothes. I try to not have an overwhelming amount of “stuff” but I really love that my kid are super creative and play with their toys, over them being glued to the TV or electronics. While I don’t love “messes” I know that they create a happy and stimulating home.  What I do love is her approach of just being ok, with not doing it all.  I used to be so hard on myself for not cooking a 12 course meal, coordinating napkins, decor, fine china, bla bla bla…if you wait for things to be perfect, (especially with kids and busy schedules!) you’ll never do anything! She suggests pizza night on Friday on the floor.  I took that idea for Mondays, when Joe works late and we get back from dance class late, I spread a blanket on the floor in front of the TV and the kids munch on fruit, veggies and fish sticks while watching a movie. Win win all around. It’s about giving ourselves the pat on the back and saying, “It’s OK mama!!” Kids won’t remember all of the small irrelevant details.  They’ll remember moments, and how you made them feel.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, I’d suggest Grace Not Perfection and then this book. Simple and easy to listen to while doing pretty much anything.

The Wife Between Us

It’s been awhile since a book has really held my attention and made me devour it in a sitting or two.  This book did exactly that!! I couldn’t tell who was who, what was really happening, who was the crazy one?! It had so many twists and turns, that it kind of did feel a little loose at the ending. I won’t give anything away, but I am still left with questions…that are unanswered and that always annoys me!  However, this book was JUST what I needed to get back into the reading saddle.  I despised some characters, felt sorry for some, and really was thrown off by a few things that came up.  There was some bothersome subject matter, but overall this book kicked off our book club and if you like Gone Girl type books, I’d say totally pick this one up or at least at it to your TBR pile.

The Last Mrs Parrish

Coming off of The Wife Between Us I had a total book hangover. I wanted to call the characters and see what was going on.  I didn’t think this next book could hold a candle to it as far as keeping my attention or desire to read another book right away. Boy was I wrong!! I read this one probably even faster?! It had such great detail, and right away your instincts and detective skills are trying to figure out what this main character is up to and what is really going on.  You love to hate some of these people and you really develop a desire to know how it will all unfold.  It will keep you up reading til midnight.   I loved how the book ended, and while I won’t give it away, I will say it was a little over the top…but in a good way.  Sometimes what seems perfectly perfect, may not be so perfect after all.  Definitely a must read in 2018!

So what’s next?

 

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This strange book!! I am about halfway through and all like what the what?! It’s got me thinking differently about everyone I meet and all of my neighbors.  It’s a little freaky and best read at night, if you like to creep yourself out a bit.

 

I’m thinking after this one I’ll lighten it up a bit because man, January was a wild ride!  What a way to keep your brain sharp though; read mystery novels/thrillers.  You’re always trying to guess the next move.

I can’t wait to see what I read in February. What is on your To Be Read (TBR) list?