Category Archives: Advice

When I’m feeling wise

sometimes life sucks, and that’s okay

Happy Friday, folks. Things have been crazy busy around here as I get ready to head off to Palm Beach next week. (I am so excited for some vitamin D.) We have a big gala down there on Thursday so I’ve been running around like crazy prepping registration lists, seating charts, gift bags, you name it. Before I head to Florida however, I get to head to PA for the holiday weekend & spend some much needed time with family and friends.

Anyways, onto the inspiration for today’s little blip of a post.

Last night I spoke with someone who’s having a really tough time with all of the things life has thrown at them. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own daily struggles that we may sometimes forget there are others who are fighting battles much bigger than we realize. Reach out to those people & remind them they are not alone and that they are loved.

It’s easy to let those crappy moments, the I’d rather-stay-in-bed-than-face-life days get the better of us. And sometimes, it’s okay to stay in bed a little later, or not feel like tackling the world – because we all have those days & those moments. It’s what makes us human. We can’t always be happy, or see the bright side of things. Sometimes life just sucks. You just can’t let those feelings consume you. You have to accept them, deal with them, and let them pass. I know, easier said than done, right?

Sometimes, when I’m having one of those days, I remind myself how lucky I am to be alive. How so many moving parts had to come together perfectly, just at the right time, to make up what and who I am. That if one teeny tiny piece of the puzzle hadn’t fallen into it’s proper place – I wouldn’t exist. And I wouldn’t be able to sit here and admire the miracles and complexities of life. So if you find yourself having a rough day, remember how the entire universe had to come together just for you to be alive.

life

TGIF everyone. Hope you all have wonderful weekends.

#35. play a sport

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’m the black sheep in my family. My brother was born with a football in one hand and a baseball in the other, while my sister was a young Mia Hamm in the making. My mom played softball growing up and my dad was on the wresting team.

Me?

I’m the least athletic person you’ll ever meet. I was born with two left feet and zero hand-eye coordination. I’d participate in neighborhood games of kickball and baseball but I have never, nor will ever, be the sporty type. I was much more the “creative type” that pursued dance and art, acting and poetry.

In a desperate attempt to make my family proud, I decided to join the tennis team in seventh grade. It seemed easier than baseball, there didn’t seem to be too much running involved and I really loved that the girls got to wear cute little skirts.

As the tennis team was brand new that year, and nobody really knew each other’s talent level, I elected myself as team captain. Mind you, I had never even played a game of tennis in my life.

I’ll never forget my first match, going up against the opposing school’s captain. A kid who clearly knew what the terms “love” and “fault” meant. I had spent the week leading up to the match finding the perfect navy blue tennis uniform, with crisp white visor and sneakers to match. I figured looking the part was half the battle.

Boy, was I wrong. My mom sat there clapping for me on the bleachers as I embarrassed myself over and over and over again, unable to return the ball and get a point for our team.

After the season was over, I decided I wouldn’t be going back.

Sports are completely unnatural to me. They make me wildly uncomfortable and bring out a lot of my weaknesses. Which is why I wanted to put “play a sport” on my 213 in 2013 list. Part of this entire process is about facing the things that I wouldn’t typically have the nerve to do.

It sounds so simple, right? Playing a sport that is.

Mike and I’s apartment complex has two tennis courts and rents out balls and rackets for free. With the beautiful weather over Memorial Day weekend, I thought it would be the perfect time to seize the opportunity and go out and play a game or two.

Before I turned into a grumbling grump.

Before I turned into a grumbling grump.

I threw on some oversized yoga capris and a t-shirt, put on my soaking wet (and filthy) sneakers (see my previous post about paintballing), and threw my hair up in a bun. In other words, I looked like a hot mess. But I told myself that it didn’t matter considering I was going to be running around on a court, not strutting down a catwalk.

One of the two courts was open and there were a few kids sitting on the benches around the fences. The last thing I wanted was an audience, but Mike told me I couldn’t yell at them all to go away, so I sucked it up.

After refreshing my memory on how the scoring works for tennis and getting myself in position, I served the ball. Fault.

Lots of faults.

Lots of missed balls.

I think I even tripped a few times and nearly fell on my face once. Oh and there was that time I hit the ball so hard it flew into the next court and hit someone on the head. Woops.

My shoes were bothering me so I took them off and played in my socks. But the ground was too hot from the sun, so it resulted in me jumping back and forth a lot. My hair was still wet and kept falling out of its bun into my face. My pants were too big and kept falling down. And I was out of breath and out of shape and sweating like a pig.

All the while Mike and I looked like fools as we couldn’t even hit the ball back and forth to each other more than once or twice at a time and the kids outside were snickering.

So I did whatever I do when I’m frustrated and things aren’t going as “picture-perfect” as I had planned. I threw my racket down and I quit.

And I walked away grumbling and angry and annoyed and embarrassed.

99% of my experiences for this 213 in 2013 have been positive ones. I’ve learned to relax, or let go or find more balance or happiness in the small things. But every once in a while, things don’t go as planned. And my weaknesses and my fears and my insecurities are thrown in my face and I can’t hide from them.

And I like when it happens.

I soak it all in and I take a good hard look at myself. And I think about how I can get over these insecurities to become a better person.  While it may be something as trivial as a tennis game that brought all of these emotions to light, it tapped into a much bigger issue, and that’s my problem with accepting that I can’t be perfect at everything, or even good for that matter. Or my frustration when something doesn’t come as easy to me as I want it to and instead of working hard and pushing through to learn it, I choose to quit instead.

comfort zone

I will never be an athlete. Nor do I want to be. But I hope that this experience has taught me to not give up so easily, to have fun instead of always seeking perfection and to challenge myself with things that continually put me outside of my comfort zone.

Because that’s the only way to grow.

instead of giving up, give back

Around this time every year, I see my Facebook and Twitter feeds blow up with what everyone is giving up for Lent this year. Every year the “sacrifices” people are making sound familiar to years before – chocolate, icecream, Facebook, pizza, sex. I should preface this post by saying I don’t partake in Lent, even though many of my family members follow the Catholic faith. I’ve had an aversion to religion my entire life so I’m not a big believer in everything that Lent is supposed to stand for.

With that said, I still greatly respect and admire those who do believe and partake in the season. I’m sure that giving up guilty pleasures and vices for 40 days does not come easy (I once tried to give up pasta for a month and failed miserably.) However – after those 40 days are over, everyone will go back to their usual ways. They’ll go out and buy a Hershey bar or they’ll log in and spend the next five days catching up on everything they’ve missed on Facebook. My point is: the sacrifice is temporary.

lent

Which is why I think that in addition to the sacrifices people make every year, they should consider another way to approach the season of Lent. Instead of just taking something away from yourself, consider giving something back this year too. Think about the impact and difference you can make by taking time to volunteer with a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, or participate in a neighborhood cleanup. Your actions aren’t just felt by you but by the people and the communities you touch through your acts of service, kindness and selflessness not to mention the impact will be felt much longer than 40 days. Instead of chocolate sales going down, people in need can receive help, streets can be cleaned up and lives can be changed for the better.

make a difference phrase on blackboard

To me, that sounds like a much more impactful way to honor the season. I know that Lent is supposed to be centered on the idea of sacrifice – so consider sacrificing some time for others this year.  I already have plans to volunteer with an animal rescue group and a soup kitchen in the coming weeks, which I could not be more excited for.

Volunteer opportunities are really easy to find. Check out the websites below to help get you started:

www.volunteermatch.org/

www.serve.gov/

http://www.idealist.org

How will you help make a difference this year?

even if you’re broken, you can pick up the pieces

If you’ve been reading my blog, you already know I have a bit of a crush on Kid President. And not in the weird, creepy – he’s only 9 kind of way, but in the “damn, I really wish I was that awesome” way.

By now, I’m sure most of you have seen his pep talk that went viral and if you haven’t, then you NEED to check it out. It’s the perfect remedy for those days that feel a little gray.

kidprez

Kid President has just released his latest video – a look at the behind-the-scenes story of how the awesome, do-gooder, danceaholic became a sweeping inspiration across the country.

If you’ve ever watched any of his videos, you’d never guess that he lives with a disorder. It’s called Osteogenesis Imperfecta — better know as the “brittle bones disease” which makes it very easy for him to break or fracture bones. You’d think with a problem like that it could really hold someone back from living life to the fullest, but it has never kept him from shaking his tailfeather and being an inspiration to everyone that watches him.

As he’s demonstrated time and time again, even if you’re broken, you can always put the pieces back together. A lesson all of us should remember on our roughest days.

Check out Kid President’s latest video and share it with your friends and family.

this is your life – so live it.

live the life of your dreams

All too often, we let life get in the way of living. I know I do. I see dishes that need to be washed, bills that need to be paid, to-do lists that need to be finished. I see paychecks disappearing quicker than they come in as I struggle to pay back my disheartening amount of student debt. To pay for gas and car repairs and groceries and health insurance. These responsibilities can eat you alive… if you let them.

Until the start of this new year, I was being swallowed whole by myself – my stress, my anxiety and my self-doubt. My friends and family didn’t like the person I had become. And to be honest, neither did I. Instead of trying to blame it on my job or not liking my new city or the stresses of post-grad life, I realized I needed to take responsibility for my own unhappiness. I was at the center of it. The one creating it and letting it manifest itself. I was the problem.

So I decided to come up with a solution. The 213 in 2013 Project. A list of things I’ve wanted to do my entire life that I’ve been putting off for years because I was always so full of excuses. Because I was too afraid or told myself I didn’t have the time. That it could wait. Until I realized that it can’t – because this is life. It’s happening right now. And you only get one shot to do it right.

I’m three weeks in to my project and I’ve already crossed 8 things off my list and have a queue of others already planned in the weeks and months ahead. I’m waking up every morning so excited about the potential each day holds. I’m letting the unimportant little messes like a sink full of dishes sit on the sideline while I revel in the messes that will leave a permanent mark on my life like getting paint under my nails or pizza flour all over my clothes. I’m letting my DVR fill up with TV shows I used to watch while I’m out exploring new restaurants in the city or strapping on a pair of skates to go ice skating under the stars instead.

My biggest wish for this project, besides regaining my own passion for life is that others who are experiencing similar ruts will find their passion for life again too.

Stop making excuses.

Stop telling yourself it can wait until tomorrow, or next month, or next year.

Stop letting your fears hold you back. From trying something new, chasing your dreams and achieving greatness.

This is your life and the time is now.

The time to become the best version of yourself.

To challenge, push, fail, and succeed.

To unlock your potential.

To do more of what makes you happy.

To seize the day.

To live exquisitely. Boldly. Fearlessly.

To live.

hey world — be my friend!

Remember the awkward days of middle school lunchtime? You don’t really know anyone, so you make a few laps with your tray looking for an open seat at a table where the people look friendly enough to welcome you in. Instead, you fail to muster up the necessary courage and you find a seat at a table by yourself, hoping that someone else who’s feeling a little lost and left out too will come join you. Or was that just me?

I’m kind of weird. For many reasons… but mainly because I’m painfully shy when meeting new people, unless I’m with someone I already know. Once I get to know you, you’ll have a hard time shutting me up but you’d never guess that from a first encounter. In fact, I’ve had many of my best friends tell me they hated me at first because they mistook my quiet demeanor and standoffish nature for bitchiness. Oops.

But the good thing about middle school, and high school and especially college – it’s so easy to make friends. From the classroom, to student organizations to dorm rooms… you’re surrounded and connected to others at all times.

I wish I had gotten the memo that making friends after college isn’t quite as easy as I’d hoped it would be. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to move to DC was to take myself out of my comfort zone. I had lived in Philly for the last four years and knew the city and the people like the back of my hand. As much as I loved Philly and the friends I had made, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in the same place, knowing the same people. All of those sayings that people Instagram and pin on Pinterest? You know the ones – “Carpe Diem,” and “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

Well, I actually wanted to live them.

So now I’m here, in this new city that I’m slowly starting to call home. I’m still learning all the neighborhoods and districts. I can’t quite get a grasp on the city grid yet either and get lost quite often. I’m not sure where the best hangout spots are or where I can find the best slice of pizza. Nor do I really know how to go about the middle -schoolesque awkwardness of finding new friends. Well… I do, but I guess you can just say I’ve been too afraid to try.

I’m well aware of different professional and social groups in the area that meet up on a regular basis. In fact, I’ve penciled in quite a few of these gatherings on my calendar only to come up with some excuse as to why I couldn’t go. “Oh, it’s too far,” or “I probably shouldn’t spend any money,” or “the traffic is too bad.” Ok – that last one is actually a pretty viable excuse for anyone who knows what traffic is like in the DMV area.

So I guess I really have no right at all to complain, or whimper or whine. I’m not in middle school anymore. Nobody is going to bring their tray to the table to sit with me and be my friend, as much as I’d like them to. Yes it’s going to be uncomfortable. Definitely even a little scary at first too. But that’s why I moved down here in the first place, and I can’t lose sight of that.

I guess it’s finally time I begin to “Carpe the diem” and get out of my comfort zone.

Isn’t that the only way we can grow?

Today is my six-month workiversary, and looking back, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come.

I was honored to be given the opportunity to guest blog for one of my mentors and fellow Temple Owl, Jason Mollica, about my experiences and lessons learned this past half year.

Before you pack up and spend the next few hours in traffic for the holiday commute, I’d love for you to give this post a read and share your thoughts!

Thanks again Jason!

One Guy's Journey

[Jas’ note: I’m thrilled to welcome Niki Ianni, a fellow Temple University alum, to the blog with a great and timely post.]

Six months ago to the day, I put on my new Macy’s clearance rack suit, smoothed my hair, double-checked my briefcase for all the basics and took a deep breath as I walked confidently into the next phase of my life – the start of my post-graduate career.

The all-nighter study sessions, thousands of draft edits and hundreds of internship hours… everything I worked for in the past four years had finally paid off. While getting here had not been an easy feat, full of dozens of applications, gallons of coffee and the occasional mental breakdown…with hard work and determination, I secured my dream job working as a public relations specialist at the largest animal protection organization in the country.

For those who are preparing to…

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