Monday, March 24, 2014

Scenes from the Holidays | Thanksgiving

Life has been moving so quickly lately. I realized I never even wrote about the holiday season so today, let's take a step back in time. As much as I love the West Coast, it was definitely nice to be back on the East Coast with family for the holidays. My grandma lives up on the Jersey Shore where my dad was born and raised so we made plans to go visit her and my uncle on Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful, beautiful day.

While my uncle was getting everything ready for Thanksgiving dinner, my dad, my grandma, and I ventured over to the perfect looking out point where I used to go when I was younger. On the crisp, sunny Fall day, we looked out at Manhattan's new skyline. The new One World Trade Center (on the left) stands tall above the Big Apple and it was so lovely to be standing there, a couple weeks after returning back from California.

We drove around the Shore, taking a drive down the beach my dad frequented as a kid. It was so sad to see how destroyed the area still was after Hurricane Sandy. Gas stations were still wiped out. Houses sat abandoned, their siding torn apart, windows missing. Beach clubs were still being rebuilt. You could feel the effect as you drove along the beach. It was still there in the air as lives were forever changed along with so much history.

When we got back to my grandma's house, I had some time to sit with her and talk. My grandma just turned 91 in January so her memory can sometimes be a little in and out. I explained to her how I had just moved back to the East Coast and that my dad and I (and my cat, Stella) had come up to visit for the day. Although I had to remind her a couple times, she would smile that beautiful smile of hers that gave me so much comfort.

I talked with her as we went through her wedding album and I saw pictures of her and my grandpa (who passed away when I was in high school.) She told me stories about her five children and the trouble my dad and uncle would cause :)

It was so wonderful to have that time with her. Especially since I don't have that time with my mother anymore and never met my other grandmother. It was just the two of us girls. Talking about family and careers and life.

Then, my dad took me out to the garage where I knew I'd find his old surfboards. His surfboards that are now worth a heck of a lot of money but don't worry - he'll never sell these bad boys. I just want him to fix them up and put them on display. My dad and his love for surfing are the reason I have always loved all things surf-related too. It's in my blood.

Eventually, the four of us sat down for dinner and had a couple glasses of wine. It was such a special feeling to have a glass of wine with my 90-year-old grandmother.

My great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Poland so my grandma grew up in a Polish Catholic household. We sat and spoke some Polish for old times' sake and broke the bread.

I was sitting there in the dining room where I had dinner with both of my parents, my brother, and both of my grandparents when I was a little nine-year-old, on her way to New York for acting. The same dining room where I had spent Thanksgiving with my aunt and cousins when they were visiting from Australia. The same dining room where my father ate every meal growing up. And although it was a small meal, and there were only four of us around the table, I was just happy and blessed to be there.

It was a wonderful trip and a wonderful Thanksgiving. I look forward to going back again soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Investing in Your Dreams

I'm a big-time believer in investing in yourself. I've learned, especially at this time in my life, how vital it is for me to be spending my money on my mind, body, and soul rather than just what's in my closet. 

I'm an even bigger believer in investing in your dreams. And I think often times, money can be our biggest "excuse."

"I can't afford it."

But if you're not living your dreams, what are you doing? Now, of course, we're all at different phases of our life. Some of us have families, mortgages, and other various factors that we must take into account. But, chances are, there's still something you can be doing to get yourself closer to that dream.

Don't let your circumstances define you. Defy the odds. Surprise yourself. Surprise everyone else around you by taking those dreams of yours and bringing them to life, despite all that's on your plate. 

One of the greatest, most worthwhile ways to invest in yourself is through learning. Invest in classes, training programs, seminars, one-on-one sessions to expand yourself. There is always something else we can be learning, developing, and studying to enhance our wisdom in our own field of dreams.

For me, this past year has been ALL about going big or going home. I stopped waiting for the "perfect moment" after realizing there was no such thing. After distinguishing exactly what my passions and purpose were, I took action and enrolled in a certification program (wow, almost an entire year ago!) Recently, I kept feeling that push for another program. B-School.

You know when you just feel the push, the pull, the magnetic energy that's bringing you toward something? And you keep saying, "But..." "But..." And then you realize no excuse is good enough to put off your dreams, what pulls at your heart, what ignites your soul... so you do it. You take the plunge. You take the huge, giant, larger than life leap of faith. And the free fall is scary and beautiful all at the same time. That's how it was for me with Marie Forleo's B-School. It was a huge investment. It IS a huge investment. But less than 24 hours after I enrolled, I realized how it was one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. The value that's jam-packed into B-School is out of this world and JUST what I need to get my life coaching exactly where my heart wants it to be.

Yesterday was the first day of class. I was filled with excitement, curiosity, passion, and some serious nerves but as I took part in the B-School Facebook community and then finally sat down to start module one, it felt like Christmas morning. It really did. Knowing that I am starting something that I'm hugely invested in and committed to. I already have some ideas about new content that I'll be offering through my business in the form of fun vlogs, workshops, etc. which I can't wait to share with you later on.

So here is where you come in:

I want this little part of the Internet and my coaching website to be of value to you and others who stumble upon them. I want to know what topics and questions have been on your mind that you'd like me to talk about. What has been pulling at your heart? What are you curious about? What areas of your life would you like to work on and make better than ever before? Maybe it's letting go of toxic relationships. Finding your purpose. Loving yourself again after a break-up. Learning to let go of what others think and expect out of you. Dreams. Fulfillment. Deepening your spiritual connection. Getting out of your own way. Those are just some ideas! Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email: or connect with me through the social links below!

As always, I love hearing from you all and can't wait to see what's been on your hearts lately!


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Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Letter to Myself One Year Ago

"If you could go back just one year, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you offer about everything you've experienced?" - Journal prompt from Sometimes Sweet.

I'm a big-time reflector. I am constantly going back to "where I was one year ago." It keeps me in check. It helps me realize two things:

1. Life is short.
2. A lot can happen in a year.

One year ago, I was living in San Diego. I had recently started dating a man who was a real breath of fresh air. It was around this time last year when things started to change for me. I started letting go of the fear of falling. I was finally ready to put my heart back out there.

He challenged me. In a good way. And it was at this time that I really started to come into my own. I started saying "yes" to new opportunities and experiences and started saying "no" to people and things that didn't align with where I was in my life. And I was at peace with that. For the first time ever.

I started putting my foot down and started standing up for myself. For my dreams. For what I believed to be right. For my previous pains. For my spiritual practice. For my fears. For my body. For my mind.

It was a wonderful, scary, beautiful time of my life. So many transitions were taking place. I had no idea which things were going to stick and which would dissipate. I get this gut-wrenching feeling in my stomach when I visualize being there in those moments one year ago. Gut-wrenching in a positive way. It was all so pivotal for me. So exhilarating. Even with all the challenges that come from uprooting your life again and settling down in a new place with new people, I just felt so alive.

So, looking back... there are some things I'd want to tell my "one year ago" self:

California is for you. It's the place where you flourish most, where your spirit radiates. Think about the people who you connected with. When you leave San Diego in late October, those people will continue to be a part of you. Remember the lessons they taught you. You will think about them each day. You will miss your memories. Your bonding. Your laughter.

And my gosh, you will miss the weather. Stop complaining about it being sunny and warm all. the. time. In September, you will be faced with a tough decision. As you find your purpose and decide to take a new route with your career, know that you are making the right choice to leave. And this will continue to be proven to you through the following months. Though you have to trade the palm trees, Pacific Ocean, and wonderful new friends for this opportunity to start a new business, you'll see these people again. And they will be the most supportive, loving, encouraging people during the journey you embark on.

But, most importantly of all, just remember the way San Diego makes you feel. That feeling never changes. From the second you first visited, to the way you feel one year later just thinking about it. Remember that feeling and carry it with you everyday. That's the feeling of passion. That's the feeling of your soul belonging. That's the feeling that will continue to remind you what it feels like when you're aligned.

Continue to let that feeling guide you. Be around the people who ignite your spirit. Do the things that ignite your happiness. Serve the people who ignite your purpose. Live in the place that ignites your soul. Never settle. No matter how hard it can be sometimes, you know how your heart wants to live. Follow that.