Love & Death

I am very lucky. I have not had to deal with too much tragedy in my life that has directly affected me. Recently, I had my best little buddy pass away – my kitty Stella. All my pet lover people out there know how these fur babies are truly best friends. Stelly was the first pet of my own – she was my baby! She was always on my mind even when I wasn’t with her. Leaving work, friends houses, barre, bars, etc. etc. I would always leave saying, “Going home to my Stella!” And now when I come home, she is not here. Well at least not physically.

She is surrounding me and with me always, I feel her presence in the best way. It is super strange…I am very sad that I do not have her to pet. But I feel her like crazy within me. She fills me up with joy and there are times where she almost makes me feel so happy that I need to dance or hysterically laugh. It is hard to put to words exactly this feeling – but basically I just feel so much love that it tickles me. Is that weird? That’s fine if it’s weird because I so appreciate my Stella sticking with me and pushing me forward, actually making me smile. She makes me feel so much love that all I want to do now is hug everyone. And I do.

After losing Stella, this love that I had for her and that she had for me is still here. I want to spread this love. That is all I want to do! Death is apart of life and Stella’s life definitely ended early (she was only four). But she lived the life that she was supposed to and didn’t let the cancer take the joy out of her life. Once she was too sick, she let herself go. She didn’t suffer very much and that comforts me. She was comfortable and happy as she left her physical body. Lolly (my roomie) was the last to see her before she let herself go and let me know that she seemed really happy. That’s amazing.

Anyways, with loss – you learn a lot about yourself. I am learning that I am a very very loving and soft person. It is so crazy – maybe 5 years ago even I felt like I had a dark heart and couldn’t really love. I had a hard time hugging people. But now that I have my Godson (who is four – hey HUDDY) and little “niece” (Delaney Kay) and of course STELLA (my baby girl), my heart is so warm and full. I want to give love to every single person, animal, etc. that I come across. This world needs more love and it is so important to be kind and hug people and tell your friends and family how much you truly care about them. Life is too short and unexpected things happen.

I hope that you will make someone else’s day today. Small gestures of love and gratitude will change the world if we all take part and love one another. From the people that are in our lives on the daily basis, to a stranger that you will never see again – make an impact! This is always my goal – when someone leaves my presence I want them to leave smiling. I still remember strangers that I have come across in the past and only met them for minutes, but they made an impact on me. I want to be that person. Everyone should want to be that person.

KAY let’s get to spreading happiness and joy! Lots of people need it, even when you don’t think they do.

I love YOU! ❤

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Caution: Gushy Post. Shout out to ALL OF MY PEOPLE!

Lately, I have been feeling extremely inspired by the people around me in my life. From my coworkers & brides at Madeleine’s Daughter Bridal, my fellow teachers & clients at Pure Barre Portsmouth and to my dear friends and family – I am surrounded by strong people constantly! BOY do these people just make me want to be better everyday, in every way. It is so stupid cheesy but it is so stinkin’ true.

Let’s talk Pure Barre, my newest love! I have only been coming to PBP for a couple of months and since have become a teacher and am honored to have this position. Every single person that I have gotten to know has her very own story. I say HER because the clients at barre are women (typically). Each person has her own struggle, whether big or small. But no matter what, these people show up to LIFT TONE BURN (#LTB), giving everything they have. It literally gives me chills thinking about them. Some of these women are moms, some are pregnant too! By the way, taking Pure Barre classes while pregnant is said to help with pregnancy in general and also the process of giving birth. The types of exercises we do help with the pelvic floor strength…nice. The other day I found out that one of our clients is a mom of a 2 month old and I was shocked. She not only looks amazing, but I applaud her for taking the time out to focus on her own wellbeing. It is super hard as a mom to take the time out and away from babies and kids, but it is imperative to be the best YOU in order to be the best MOM or SISTER or AUNT or whatever. The stronger you are, not only physically but mentally especially, the stronger those that are looking up to you will be. NOT that I am a mom, but I have dozens of people in my life that are. I applaud ALL OF YOU!!! And to those that aren’t moms, you have so much going on with work, school, pets, relationships, etc. – but you set the time to be badasses and commit to pushing yourselves. You make me so damn proud (tear).

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And as for my fellow teachers, you inspire me! Taking your classes has given me the confidence to pass along all of the inspiration and energy to our clients. Teaching gives me life and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the amazing owner, Anne, or the other incredible teachers at our studio. I bow down to you all! Teaching is definitely NOT easy, it takes so much hard work and dedication and I appreciate each and every one of you. I cannot say enough positive things about all of the women of Pure Barre Portsmouth. I love ya’ll! If you are looking to become a part of a community of positive and awe-inspiring women, come see us. I’d love to have you.

Okay now let’s talk MD. Madeleine’s Daughter has changed my life in the greatest ways. While I am “working” I am helping brides (and bridesmaids and moms) find their perfect dresses. The person I was before stepping foot into MD is completely different than the woman that I am today. I came into this job feeling defeated by my previous job, sort of looking for some light. And by golly, did I find that light. This definitely happened over time & through some challenges, but now looking back I see the clear shift that occurred through the past 3+ years. On the daily, I watch women looking at themselves in the mirror. It is rare to find a woman that is 100% confident in her own skin. So I am constantly telling my brides, “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Just the way you are!” Everyone wants to tone up and lose weight for their big day, but it is so important to find your health, balance & happiness with yourself for LIFE, not just for the wedding day. These are the things I tell my brides, so overtime it has sunk into my own brain. I have found my very own confidence, no matter how much I weigh, no matter how many “flaws” I find – no one else is focusing on those silly things at all. It amazes me to see size 2 girls pick themselves apart. This goes to show that no matter how skinny you want to be, you have to be happy with yourself starting NOW. No one else is focusing on armpit fat, okay? Plus, it’s really just skin. You so pretty, just accept it.

Each bride has her very own story and I LOVE hearing about the engagements, looking at their rings and best of all how they meet their fiancés. It is so fun and I do live vicariously tehe. I had a bride who met her guy at a gas station. Another met her fiancé playing on a dodgeball team. Lots of brides nowadays meet their lovers online – ALL of the sites. Tinder, too. Yep. Lots through school and work and another big one is through mutual friends. I feel like I should keep stats, it is so interesting to hear – one of my very favorite parts of each appointment is asking about the bride’s story. SO FUN.

As for my boss(es) and coworkers, I love you all so much!

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I love our family dynamic and I couldn’t picture it missing any one of us. The owner, Elizabeth and Store Manager, Juhree have been the best bosses a girl could ever hope for. Thank you for setting a prime example of leadership. To my fellow stylists, I appreciate our camaraderie and how much we push each other, whether it is at work or in real life. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten comes from these ladies and I would probably go insane without ya’ll. I would go insane. Well, I am still insane, but you know what I mean. Friendly competitions are always my favorite, too. Again, these are the women that push me to be better. I share my life with them and they share theirs with me, too. We not only see each other at work, but also choose to spend our time together sipping wine and enjoying each others company on our own time. I do happen to be moving in with our lovely front desk manager, LAUREN aka Lolly.

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I met Lolly at my past shitty job, but now know I was meant to work there so I could meet her. She has changed my life and is my partner in crime. She, along with all of my friends, seem to know me way better than I know myself and sometimes it scares me. Thank you for keeping me in check. It’s appreciated.

And last but DEFINITELY not least, my friends and family. It is super hard to watch when my friends or family are going through a tough time. I feel for all of them, and I wish I could be by my Mom‘s side when she needs, but she is all the way in New York. I must say, my mother is unlike any other mother out there. I am very lucky to call her my best friend. Even though there is distance between us, mom, I am so happy that our relationship is super strong and I can always rely on you if I need to talk. Thank you for all that you do on the daily, and all that you have done for Hannah, Ant and I (and continue to do). You mean the world to us and cannot even put into words how amazing you are. You are a shining light and seriously make me laugh.

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Thank you for giving my my humor, laughing with you is one of my favorite things EVER. And there are SO MANY times when I have to stop myself and be like, wow I just sounded like Mom. It is happening, I am turning into you. And that’s a really good thing. Love you more than you will ever know.

Same goes for all of my other family members in NY and everywhere else – I want to be there for you and just be with you physically but I hope that you do know, I am just one call away! Through all of the struggles that we have all been through – we are coming out stronger and better!

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Josh was the best. We were so annoying to work with, thanks for dealing with us. These tats will always keep us together! Us 3 have to much fun together ❤ 

We have thick skin and can get through anything, I am proud to be a DeSarro. Dad – no matter WHAT I feel like doing with my life, I always have your support 100%. I so appreciate that and love you oh so much! Hannah – I CANNOT wait to see what you do in Florida and I COULD NOT BE prouder. Watching you grow and become the woman you are is so amazing and I love being your big sister. Cody is lucky to have you. And you are lucky to have him. I am here for you always, as you know. I wish we lived closer but I cannot wait to visit. Ant – I always tell people with pride that you are a NY State Trooper and you are doing big things, living the life with Sarah, your perfect match, and your new kitty and new house. New York Mills ain’t ready.

All of my cousins and their kids, etc. – my goodness! I can’t believe my little baby cousin Angela (who I remember holding way back when) now has a gorgeous daughter, Santina. And Missy – your family inspires me. You are stunning, as are your kids. Lamar is an amazing father. I am so proud of you for the life you have created for yourself – like, you seriously are such a strong person and inspire the hell out of me. To each and every one of my friends and fam – love you so much.

Aunt Mary – you are one of a kind. I want to tear up right now thinking about how much of a fighter you are. My Aunt Mary has been diagnosed with MS. A diagnosis that no one wants to hear. When life throws you curveballs, you swing super hard and crush those balls. Lol.

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You motivate me to live a healthy lifestyle, pushing myself to do things I might not necessarily want to do. Why?? Because even though you were dealt a shitty card, you have decided to do everything in your power to not allow MS to define you. You work hard at your health, mentally and physically and it shows, even from hundreds of miles away. I believe that my creativity has stemmed from you, I love your writing and that you have your own community online with likeminded folks. I am proud to call you my aunt. Love you!

My friends that live nearby, who I consider my actual family, mean the absolute world to me, The Gallison’s. Jess, Jay, Hudson, Delaney & Tom Brady Cat – I would definitely not be here (in New Hampshire) without you.

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Jess has been my bestie since 5th grade and moved me out to Portsmouth after I graduated college (almost FIVE years now?!). She pushes me to do what is best for ME and I honestly have no idea where the heck I would be without my Jacinta. You keep my head on straight (or at least try to), thanks pal. I would also like to point out the fact that Jess puts everyone before herself. No matter what issues she is dealing with, especially recent health problems, she powers through fiercely and is seriously a SUPERMOM. I have NO idea how you do it. Praise you!

I am SO HAPPY that I was there when you met Jay for the very first time, he is now one of my very best friends. Jay, you are seriously one of my favorite people in the entire world and I hope you know how incredible you are. God this is so cheesy, sorry! I mean it, though.

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These two have made the most gorgeous kids, Hudson Chase and Delaney Kay. Huddy is my godson and is 4 years old. He is also one of my best friends.

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We have so much fun running around together and playing. He keeps me young and I appreciate this kid so much. And he has just declared himself a vegetarian (HAHA, he kills me). Good for him. Smart dude! He is also starting a new school super soon – ya make me proud, kiddo. And to little DKG who is ALMOST A ONE YEAR OLD, you are a princess and your constant smiles give me so much joy in my heart. I can’t wait to take you shopping someday. Thank you, Gallison’s, for including me in your family. LOVE YOU!!!!!!! ❤

This post totally took a turn and I really didn’t mean to do that, but glad it did. Everyone should know how much they mean to me, even though this is all so mushy and gushy. Sorry not sorry!

Also – shoutout to Stella (my kitty) who has so graciously brought me another live mouse this morning. Thanks, girlfriend. Mama loves you.

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I hope that you take the time to appreciate all of the people in your very own lives that have gotten you where you are today. If you are feeling sad, write a note to a loved one. It will make you happier. The people that mean the most to you should know how much they mean to you. This life is too short to focus on the shitty shit & negative people. The more love we spread, the better this world will be! Let’s make this earth a better place.

I’d like to end by saying that my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. My heart aches for you all. The rest of the country has your back and we will do everything we can to get you your lives back. If you are able to donate, please do so. Every dollar counts.

Thanks 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

My Experience Taking Part in a Boudoir Photoshoot and Why EVERY Woman Should Do It.

I never in my life imagined myself in minimal clothing posing in front of a photographer. Hearing or thinking about the word “boudoir” always made me think about brides posing for their grooms or simply scandalous people trying to be more scandalous. Now, I have a very different perspective when I think about these types of photos. I want to share my experience with the photoshoot and I do hope to shed some light on preconceived notions that may be out there.

Recently, I had a photoshoot with Kyle Burnell. We did a shoot for his boudoir division of photography: Flirt Boudoir. I am proudly one of his Spokesmodels! Here is a link to his Instagram …username @flirtboudoir .

Before the shoot, I met Kyle at his studio in South Berwick. We talked about everything I would be comfortable with and even talked outfit inspirations. He also made sure to ask what I would like the photos to accentuate. My answer? My shoulders, butt and back. It was nice for me to feel like I had some creative input in choosing what vibe I was going for. It is important to feel comfortable with your photographer, and there were zero points in time where I felt uncomfortable. Kyle is a very chill dude that really knows what he is doing.

SO on the day of the shoot, I was nervous. This is super normal and to be expected. We arrived at the location (it was basically a room in a Mill building). I checked my makeup and got myself into outfit #1. Of course it was a lingerie set and I took a deep breath and worked it! I told Kyle that I needed lots of directions, since…ya know…I don’t do this very often. He gives really good direction and truly knows angles and lighting. He is a talent and that is very clear especially when you see the finished product.

Here was my first look:

12 (Victoria’s Secret lingerie set with a robe that was a wedding gift I received as a bridesmaid from Macy’s. Thanks JESS!)

I felt a little extra sweaty while taking these because I was so nervous at first. But DANG those nerves slipped right away pretty quickly. Kyle played music which definitely helped so much. Music always gets me going and it was key to have upbeat and fun background music.

I decided to bring that little silky robe last minute. I definitely recommend to bring more rather than less (clothes, props, makeup, jewelry, etc.) because you never know what you can do with them. Photographers are creative people, give them something to work with!

Another item I grabbed as I was walking out the door…this tank top:

3Did I mention I love music? How perfect is this shirt. USE ITEMS THAT SHOW YOUR PERSONALITY AND WHO YOU ARE. Because that is what these photos are about – being yourself, letting loose and feeling empowered and badass!4Arch your back and you’ll be sore but you’ll have great photos. Kyle will make sure of this.

There is so much that was going through my head during these four hours of shooting. I was given SO MUCH direction that at times I lost where my legs should be or let go of the arch in my back. It is definitely harder than it may look but again, it was so worth it. I will be doing another shoot with Kyle and I couldn’t be more excited about it.

I brought five outfits and it is hard to pick a favorite.With the way Kyle edits the photos and captures lighting, he makes sure that you and your body are the stars of the show. Outfits give a certain vibe and confidence to the model, but ultimately shadows and angles tell the story:

679See what I mean? So sexy. So sensual. So cool.

Looking back at the photoshoot – I had fun and I was comfortable. There was no rushing to get things done quickly – we just wanted to make sure the sun didn’t set before we were done. We had a solid four hours of shooting and it flew by!

There were certain times where my body felt funny and I wasn’t sure how I was looking. But because I followed directions and trusted Kyle, I didn’t question anything.

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I highly recommend booking your shoot with Flirt Boudoir ASAP! There is a special that is happening right now and you should totally take advantage! If you book by this Friday (June 23rd), you will get a session that includes a little black accordion book of 3-5 photos which is normally $475. Up until Friday, it is $249!!!! This is a killer deal to work with a seriously amazing photographer. I couldn’t imagine doing this with anyone else.

This will be one of the coolest experiences you will ever have. This will be your chance to feel empowered and will give your confidence a huge boost. It sure did with me! I mean, look at these photos! Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and find a part of you that is a little wild. SO FUN! Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at all. Here is the website to check out Kyle’s stunning work: Flirt Boudoir.

I shall leave you with my favorite picture from our shoot, which is now my prof picture. Totally captures my badass demeanor…hehe!11Fierce betch, amirite?

I hope that you will take after me and step outside of yourself a bit and go for it! I’m telling you…it is so worth it! I so have a huge appreciation for Kyle Burnell and Boudoir photography in general. I cannot wait to shoot again!

Flirt Boudoir Photography Website: https://www.flirtboudoir.photography/

Flirt Boudoir Instagram: @flirtboudoir

Body Image

Everyone has their own journey. Everyone has their own issues. I have been on a journey with my biggest issue: body image and being completely happy with myself.

Most people know me as a very confident and happy person. I would say this is true to a certain extent. People do not truly know that deep down, I am struggling every single day…as most women and most people are (at least in one way or another). I am not 100% happy or confident with myself. I’m not sure I ever will be. But I do my best to make myself a better person on the inside and on the outside as much as I can.

It’s easy to talk about exercise and having a really great balance in life with nutrition and all-around wellness. I do talk about it a lot because it really helps me a lot. I have finally gotten to the point in my life where there is definitely more of a balance of having fun while working hard and keeping disciplined. I feel like finding balance in life has a lot to do with growing up and becoming an adult. Womp womp. No one warned me about this!

It’s been extremely hard for me to watch celebrities walk the red carpet or grace the covers of magazines because to me, they are perfection and they always have been. I have so many IDOLS!!! But in reality, I know that they are just people and there is no one person on this planet that is absolute perfection. BUT they are portrayed as being perfect with photoshopping and all of their aesthetically-pleasing Instagrams. Ugh, SO MANY CUTE INSTAS with so many followers!!!

My whole life I have spent obsessing over celebrities. I love them and I am fascinated with them. I want to be one of them…I have always had a dream to become perfect. To become one of these glowy people that is considered IDEAL! Ideal in all sorts of ways: body, money, lifestyle, hot boyfriends, etc. There is so much out there that I do not have that I have always longed for. It’s really difficult when you look in the mirror and you’re like, “Oh my goodness…I am almost 30 and I am nowhere NEAR where I want to be! And goddamnit I need to put the fork down.”

But you know what…fuck that notion. I have come a long way and support myself 100% and should be really proud. And I am proud! It’s honestly time to let go of what others think. A wise woman once told me, “It’s none of my business what other people think about me.” I think this is the best way to go about life. I’ve gotten better at not caring what others think, but again, deep down I am always looking for assurance. It is probably the middle child inside of me. I want to make myself proud, along with everyone else in my life: family and friends.

I am taking steps to get rid of the negative body image that I constantly battle. “Battle” is the best word to describe my inner-ness. I hate that, but it is true. I am always at a battle with myself. “You really need to get a little more fit…well NO you are beautiful goddamnit…eh well don’t get too confident – look at that cellulite….but so many people have cellulite! Just work harder. But I’m tired…it doesn’t matter you need to get your ass in gear….wahhhh!!!” It is constant. A constant battle for sure.

Well, a good start to a better life is getting rid of the goddamn scale in your bathroom. I haven’t weighed myself in years (although I have had to step on the scale at the doctor). The issue with scales is that they are sometimes mean and do not tell you what you want to see. Sometimes this is because the FUN outweighed the DISCIPLINE that week. OR it’s that time of the month so there is water retention. OR MAYBE the discipline outweighed the fun and muscle mass happens to weigh more than fat. Either way, the scale doesn’t give us much information about what is really going on inside of us. Unless you’re a wrestler or you are looking to lose a huge amount of body fat, then you really shouldn’t be a slave to the scale.

If you are interested in tracking progress, track inches lost. Track your BMI. Track things that mean something! Not the number on the scale. I used to weigh-in every week for a long time and it never gave me any kind of success. Never. I never lost enough or I gained a pound. This gave my brain more fuel to talk down to myself, which is not very nice. Self-hate is the absolute worst!!!

When I moved into the apartment that I live in now about 2.5 years ago, I thought, “OH I should get a new bathroom scale!” And then I suddenly felt a little nauseous. I realized that the feeling I felt even when I THOUGHT about stepping on the scale, was a negative feeling. SO I said eff that- I am so not getting a scale! And it has made a difference for sure because I no longer measure my goals or successes by weight – I measure these things by the way I feel in my clothes, the way my skin glows when I drink my smoothies and tons of water, and the way I feel after a really intense workout.

I’m not exactly sure the purpose of this blog post, but I just was thinking about these things. I guess I just hope that it helps people feel like they are not alone in their battles with themselves. Even though I come across as the most confident person, I am not. No matter how skinny I have been in the past, no matter how big my paycheck was that week – none of it matters unless you are truly happy with yourself. And I am getting there – right now is the time where I am figuring myself out, making strides NOT to perfection, but to the place where I am truly at peace. I am so getting there!!! 🙂

I hope that you find your peace and contentment! And remember that when you see someone that looks like they have the most perfect life, they probably don’t. Never go after what someone else has – set your own goals and you do YOU! I’m really giving this advice to myself. It’ll be nice to look back on and be like – OKAY stop it, Cas. You are fine. 😉

P.S. Another step to being OK with myself: I am doing a Boudoir photoshoot in a few days. YES. Me in very little clothing with a photographer snapping away at me and my body. This will be good for me. Stepping out of my comfort zone and allowing an artistic photographer to make me feel amazing for who I am. I think every woman should do this. Talk about empowerment. Wish me luck..!

I’m going to channel two of my favorite models who are all about body positivity: the STUNNING Marquita Pring and Ashley Graham.

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My Fitness Journey

Throughout my life I have been into fitness in one way or another. I danced for over ten years starting at the age of 3. I then moved onto playing basketball through High School. From then on, I would take some dance classes when I lived in NYC (hardcore hiphop – loved it – I am really good btw ;)), had a personal trainer at one point, got heavy into running for a while & always dabbled with the gym mostly focusing on cardio. I have tried yoga, Insanity & even barre classes. The list goes on and on! I was always interested in learning more about nutrition and fitness. But I definitely went through too many times where my fitness slipped and fell into major slumps. I never seemed to find something to stick with. I also have always yo-yo dieted, which is super duper unhealthy.  It was kind of all or nothing for me. I remember watching Oprah and relating to her when she said, “UGH I hate working out but I just want to lose weight!!!! Wahhhhh.”

BUT over the years I have learned a LOT. And until only recently I have learned the best thing EVER: lifting/weight training/pumping iron/whatever you like to call it….is the only way of life! And I don’t know why more people and more women in particular do not partake. I am here to tell you why you should start, my friends!!!

I signed up at Planet Fitness at the end of October and have been going regularly since. I recently gained a partner-in-crime (HI LOLLZ). We have been going together for about a month now and let me tell you – doing this with someone else is really helpful! Ever since Lolly started with me, I have seen more results!! We go more frequently and consistently (4x per week for about 1.5 hours…I was going previously 2-3x per week). We lift HEAVY and it is now just a part of our lives. We motivate each other. It is no longer an option to go to the gym – we just go. Like it’s our job. Today Lolly was congested and not feeling totally amazing & for me, it’s that time of the month! We could have easily slept in (it’s our day off) and skipped – but ALAS! We went and demolished it and had an amazing session and feel so much better! It is truly medicinal. Like…fureal.

One of my favorite things ever is seeing women killing it at the gym…and being one of those women. Especially when I glance over and see some dudes casually moving on the elliptical or bike. HEHE. Makes a girl feel like a bad ass bitch! This is where the addiction comes in to play. Once you go a couple times, you get addicted. It feels sooo empowering in every way to lift. And on our days off, we crave to go. I have now added in running a couple times per week as well – so I really only have one solid rest day. Which usually is on a work day which means not really a true rest day. I feel like I have gotten to the point where I NEED to workout because my mood is much better and I have way more energy! Like I don’t really want or need too many rest days. I have made lots of progress physically and continuously increase weight, which is important to maintain progress. It’s seriously insane the difference it has made in my life. This is why I need to share this information!

If you are intimidated or not sure what do to – soooo many resources are available online (youtube, bloggers, etc.) OR you can just ask people at the gym. At planet fitness, there are trainers that you can use for FREE (if you have the Black Card). There are lots of tools out there, ya just gotta find them and use them!

Especially since it is International Women’s Day (HELL YEAH), I encourage all of you ladies to get out there and start pumping iron if you aren’t already. Cardio is wonderful – it is. BUT here are the differences from my experience that make me want to lift things up and put them down rather than run forever and ever:

Running (or whatever cardio you like) is also addicting and is wicked healthy for your cardiovascular health. It is important to incorporate cardio into your workouts (warm-up, warm-down) definitely. When I used to run, I did miles and miles and had a few times where I lost lots of weight. But that was combined with eating MUCH LESS and not feeling totally energized. I actually felt pretty tired. But I liked the results and I do love running outside. This was at the time in my life when I ran a lot and was really trying to lose weight and that was a success…but only for a little while. Once I started eating a little more and running a little less I gained the weight back almost instantaneously. It was demanding on my knees, too.

When I started to mostly lift (incorporating some cardio), a change happened almost immediately. I remember it was my third time at the gym and I felt so super strong. It was my THIRD time there. But I felt it working. I was getting stronger and the addiction began. The amount of energy that I was feeling – so unreal! The best part of this – I ate more. I eat more. It is seriously important to up the protein and calories in general when you are lifting regularly. I feel like a machine and need to eat every two hours or so. My body needs fuel always. After a hardcore gym sesh, your body will continue to burn dem cals for another 24-48 hours. Another reason lifting is way more effective than cardio. My metabolism is through the roof!

Life became easier. Carrying groceries – ummm yeah lemme carry every bag in at one time! Lugging my laundry is much easier (I unfortunately do not have a washer/dryer in my apartment dammit). I dress brides for a living so carrying heavy ass dresses ain’t no thang now! The list goes on and on..!

Naturally after exercising, I really do not want to ruin my hard work by eating processed yuck food. I do not skimp on carbs because my body does need it…I just try to stick to complex carbs like sweet potatoes, whole grain bread & brown rice. Along with lots of fruits and veggies and PROTEIN!!!! But ya know, if I “cheat” once in a while and have some ice cream…whatever! My body is a goddamn machine and it really doesn’t make much of a difference, as long as it’s once in a while. OH and hydrating is so important…that helps with having lots of energy throughout the entire day. Water is your friend. I also love flavored seltzer waters (black cherry in particular yum yum).

So YES! If you lift, you can eat more and lose weight and feel better and everything will be just dandy! Again, I have now recently incorporated running outside 3-4 miles 2x per week as well (mostly because it is getting nicer out and I have serious seasonal depression so that helps a ton). I have even had a week or two off from the gym since I started and there has been zero weight gain and no real setbacks – that would not have happened when I was simply a runner (NOTHING against runners, just comparing and sharing). ‘Cause like, I am still a runner, too.

Anyways, if you have any questions – feel free to reach out to me. I am no doctor but I am here to help inspire, motivate, etc.! I have been on the up and up with this and I really felt compelled to share to my fellow people. And to my fellow womenlet’s show men what we are really made of (flexing emoji, dancer emoji)! Wooooo!!!!

TNT

I have an idea. Something so simple. Something that will make you happier. Something that is quite easy to do:

TRY NEW THINGS aka TNT.

Let me start by telling you about the new things that I tried this weekend. Yesterday, my gal pal and I (HEY LOLLY) had a wonderful time. We had new experiences and loved every bit of it. This is how we thought up how important it is to TNT. Here was our day:

To start, we ventured to a new coffee shop located in Downtown Portsmouth. It is called Profile. It is sort of a modern-looking coffee bar that is pretty darn big. We had large non-fat lattes and they were great! It’s also nice to shop local, especially at a fun new place in the area.

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Then we were off to try a new spot for lunch (new to us, not the area). I am so sad that I have never experienced this place before: Ceres Bakery. Right in Downtown Portsmouth. SO GOOD! We each had a delicious strata and then shared a perfectly just-sweet-enough raspberry rhubarb tart. I wanted to try EVERYTHING. The list of savory foods and baked yummies is endless. And especially for Portsmouth, it is not bad price-wise! Bonus.

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If you are in the area, go there. You’ll see me in front of the counter trying to figure out what the heck to try next.

From there, we ventured to a sweet little Asian market, Lo’s Seafood & Oriental Market. And by sweet I mean super sketchy looking. It is quite the gem, though! So many interested treats, snacks, rice noodles, sauces and great finds! I haven’t been to a market like that since I studied abroad in Australia.

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Look at all of these goodies! The Thia Coconut Swirls and the Choco Boy treats were a couple of my favorites. I’m excited to cook with my new sauce and rice noodles. The picture is cut-off but the sauce is a ginger soy sauce…I’m stoked to try with my new rice and/or buckwheat noodles. Woo!

And we also walked around Portsmouth, explored a couple streets that Lolly and I haven’t had the chance (or reason) to travel upon. We were feeling inspired by the brilliant Sunday that it was and felt that our day was just getting better. We stumbled upon some stores and even this cool truck. So many things!

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All-in-all, it was everything a Sunday should be. Like I said, we were feeling super inspired and our new experiences helped us open our minds and want to explore more.

This is something we should all do! There are so many places that are nearby that should be found and admired (no matter where you live). It’s nice to give business to places that aren’t necessarily corporations. Mom and pop shops have wonderful character and are great places for the community. Taking a walk in a different direction is a perfect start. Simple, I know.

Trying new things is really enjoyable because you never know what to expect. New adventures, whether small or big, are so worth it! They will naturally open up your mind which will get you talking about different things. Your newest endeavors will help you think differently, too. Doing these things will certainly help you become more enchanting because damnit you’ll have tons of different experiences oozing out of your ears. The stories and epiphanies that may occur are so valuable! The more you learn, the more you know which means that you’ll have more knowledge to share with others. This includes bravely exploring a new culture like Lolly and I did (at the asian market) and finding some sweet gems and new favorite treats.

I hope this inspires you to try something new the next time you have a free day or even a free hour.

Time to explore . . . x o !

Choices

What should I study? Where should I shop for my clothes? Where should I apply to work? What should I eat for dinner? Should I workout today? WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Oh my goodness. This life is filled with all sorts of tough choices. From little ones to big, it seems as though one can never escape from making decisions. I suppose that is called being an adult. But – I found this Ted Talk that puts a different perspective on making choices.

This is what I took from it:

I am a very independent, single 25 year old woman who lives by herself. So, I have lots of room to make a super duper amount of choices on the daily, as most people do. Unless, of course, you happen to be a child.

I choose to feed my cat…therefore I have a living cat…therefore I am a cat lady. NOT REALLY, but…yeah kind of. I also live in Portsmouth, NH which is not where I grew up. I chose to move here after my best friend (HEY JESS) moved here to pursue a man (HEY JAY). And I recently chose to start eating oatmeal again (HEY HOT BOD, I’M COMIN’ FOR YA).

Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?

I have lived many places throughout my life. I have had many friends throughout my life. I have studied at a bunch of different schools. Although I would probably consider myself a wanderlust, I have been faced with tons of really hard decisions that I have had to make. Every single decision has gotten me to the place that I am now. The amount of options in life is totally incredible. Hell, I could be in Arkansas working as a lawyer if I really wanted to be. But, nahhhhhhh.

What I’m saying is this: Do not think of choices as a bad thing. Choices are blessings in disguise! Each and every choice that you decide upon make you stronger and allow you to become who you are. The possibilities of who we can become are infinite. And ya know what…to me, that is so super exciting (like oh mah gawd)!

If you are a father and would rather go to a bar after work instead of going to your son’s soccer game, then that is the kind of father you are choosing to be. If you decide that you will not show up to class because you don’t care about your grades, then that is the type of student you are choosing to be. If you decide to go to the gym every morning before heading to work, then that is the type of physically fit kind of person you are choosing to be. If you are not in a position in your life where you are happy, you need to know that you have made every choice leading up to that point to get you there. Instead of dwelling on your unhappiness, change it! Make a bold choice and change your life. Move somewhere warm. Listen to happy music. Spend your time doing something that gives you energy and ambition. And most importantly, choose to be happy. Yeah that’s right, your happiness is in YOUR hands. Crazy, huh?

Gosh. Let’s just be awesome people…’cause we can be! Hopefully this helps when it is time to make that decision. Go with your gut instinct and you do you!

This is just a little food for thought. Below is the video that I was inspired by.

xo

5 Reasons You Should Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I have just finished reading Big Magic (Creative Living Beyond Fear) by Elizabeth Gilbert. I would like to share with you why you should read it, too.

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1. If you keep hearing, “Follow your passion” but you do not know what the hell your actual passion is! Liz explains that it is an overly-used sentence given to young people at graduations, etc. to help inspire and give direction. But, no. This does not work if you are not exactly sure what your “passion” is. Instead, follow your curiosity! It is your curiosity that will lead you to what your passions actually are. Whether big or small, if you have just a figment of curiosity to try something different – do it! Try a new restaurant. Try an art class. Try yoga before work in the morning. Seriously, the world is your oyster! During that art class, you may find out that (oh-em-gee) you are a spectacular painter. If it doesn’t work out or you feel a different hint of curiosity coming on, then go there! Do that. Follow the gift within yourself that is curiosity.

2. If you feel like you are living a boring 9-5 life and feel super BLAH on the regular. The beauty about being human beings, Ms. Gilbert explains, is that we are naturally creative. It is engrained in us to bring Big Magic to the world. The universe is filled with ideas that come to us as individuals on a constant basis. What you need to do is listen to these ideas and by golly follow that intriguing curious thought in your head! Elizabeth used an example in the book about herself, she took up gardening. She ended up becoming more and more curious about the flowers that she was growing and through this, ended up figuring out what her next book would be because she followed that little sprout (pun-intended) of curiosity. The book she created, “The Signature of all Things” ended up being named the best book of 2013 by The New York Times and gained tons of recognition. All because she took up a random hobby and listened to herself. The point is, if you are tired of your one-dimensional life of blah, you can change that. Just follow your curiosity and pick up a hobby that you have always wanted to try. It can be anything that brings your mind to a different (and happy) place that will allow inspiration to flow right in! It may not lead you to write a book, but it will lead you to a more fulfilled life of passionate creating!

3. If you are a writer or are curious about becoming a writer, please read this book. Although I simply dabble with writing (mostly blogs), I definitely took interest in learning about some of Elizabeth Gilbert’s processes of writing (like the gardening story). What you need to know as a writer, is that you do not have to be a “struggling artist” or have the stigma of being all angsty and depressed in order to produce interesting and valuable work. In fact, you need to be writing only if it is fun! Why do it if you are just terribly angry that you cannot seem to write anything that is any good? What is “good” anyway? That is not (and should not) be the reason you write. You need to write because you enjoy it as a creative outlet. Ms. Gilbert warns to stick to your day job and use writing as an amazingly expressive escape from reality. If you rely on it for a paycheck and give everything up to pursue the dream of becoming an esteemed writer, you are probably setting yourself up for failure. If you do not enjoy the process of writing, then…don’t do it.

4. If you are into the arts. As an aspiring actress, a lover of drawing and painting, obsessed with photography, and a non-stop dancing queen, this book rang a bell in my noggin. On a creativity scale of 1-100, I am at LEAST a 98. It’s just who I am. I’m always looking for an imaginative way to express myself. So again, this book was a great push to use this and not let it go to waste. Going back to the notion that all humans are creative beings, you can fall anywhere on the scale from 1-100. But that’s okay because no matter what degree of creative you think you are, you can be so much more, simply by doing something new and listening to the ideas that you may have been pushing away for years. This is why I love people like Justin Timberlake (love you, JT). He is a quadruple threat. He loves to write, sing, dance and act. He shares his gifts with the world. Ms. Gilbert uses James Franco as her example. He does whatever the hell he wants because he is a creative being and does what feels good to him. This ranges anywhere from texting a random fan from his Instagram following (lol) to becoming a teacher at NYU. How can you not love Mr. James Franco? Well, lets just say these two dudes have followed their curiosities and we get to be the lucky people that enjoy the outcomes of their creative outlets. Many are diehard fans of these guys, yet others do not approve of their use of certain projects that they get their hands on.

5. If you are scared of rejection. If you are creating works of art to solely gain popularity and praise, then you are doomed. Since celebrity lives are utterly fascinating to me, I will use Taylor Swift as an example on this one (I love you, Tay Tay). Ms. Swift has seemed to recently become the music industry. She has persevered almost her whole life to make music and inspire the world with her magical lyrics. She is a huge success and has actually made this creative outlet a (very high) paying job. But, guess what? There are people that actually do not approve of her music (GASP). If the critics had halted her creative outlet, there would be no Shake It Off (ugh, I cannot even). Tay Tay followed her curiosity of seeing if she would be a successful pop star after having years of contentment in the country world. She tries new things with different collaborators and even her whole style of music. Do you think she did this asking all of her fans if it’s okay? Hell nahh! The only person you should seek creative advice from is yourself. If you are worried that others will disapprove and you will become a failure if it doesn’t work out, you need to stop that! Gilbert explains in Big Magic that when you receive negative feedback or a rejection letter from a publisher after you have worked for years on a book – you keep going. Keep sending the book out there. Or keep singing what is inspiring to you! Keep doing what makes you happy. There will be people that may fall in love with your work. You may become the next Taylor Swift. You may become the next Elizabeth Gilbert. Or hey, you may not become a celebrated entertainer of the world. You may not ever sell 1,000,000,000+ albums. But that is okay because the point of creating art in any form is to use it as an outlet; to feel great about it. NOT to be praised. Every person is unique so it is important that whatever you do, you need to share it with the world. These are your gifts! Do the world a favor and share it! Please. There will be people that will hardcore love what you do and there will be people that hardcore think you are absolutely ridiculous. The critics do not even care about you, people are too concerned with themselves anyhow. If you do things to prove to everyone that you are nothing short of amazing, then you need to start re-thinking your life.

Back of BIG MAGIC

Clearly, I gained inspiration from Big Magic. The first idea that came to my mind while reading this book was to write about it (this very blog post). I enjoyed reading this book and I enjoy writing about it to recap some of the inspirations that I have grasped from Ms. Elizabeth Gilbert.

I am going to stop rejecting the silly ideas in my head and instead use them in creative ways. And I will share them with the world, whether ya’ll like it or not.

I hope you do, too!

Please feel free to leave comments about what resonated with you the most in Big Magic and if you had any lightbulb moments during your read. I’d be interested to hear 🙂

Xxxx

YOU ARE EXACTLY WHERE YOU NEED TO BE

Today    I    came    across    this    photo    on    Instagram   :

instagram.com/thesecret365

instagram.com/thesecret365

For some reason it struck something within me…it really had me thinking.

Personally, I have a huge issue with commitment. I rarely stay in one place for a long period of time – whether it is where I live, or the job that I have, I am always moving and changing and going. I grew up moving around for what it felt like almost every year. I’ve lived in just about 20 different houses/dorms/apartments throughout my life. Keep in mind I am 25 years old. Pretty nuts when you think about it. This may be due to the fact that finding something and sticking to it seems almost odd and uncomfortable. I am a free bird that just wants to keep flyin’!

Anyways…back to the, “You are exactly where you need to be” – it could not be truer. Like I said, I am always wanting to move and go and change things up. It is more than just getting bored, it is having this deep desire within me to find a new something. BUT, it is super necessary to realize that each place that I am & every job position that I have, really does mold me into the person that I have become. My character is getting stronger and each step that I take is a step closer to the place that I am meant to be. Although I have had tons of shitty jobs, they have each taught me something different. Every person that has treated me poorly only has made my backbone stronger. So thank you 😉 !!!

Seven years ago I was a completely different person. Not that I had it easy, but looking back I had just begun my journey. Turning 18 was huge because I felt that being in college I had so much responsibility. I had a new independence that was slightly scary. From that time until right now, I have transformed into a much more capable, confident and tenacious person. I am greatly proud of that. I have gone through so much, as most people do in their lives. Through all of the bad (and good), I am thankful for each and every piece of this journey that I have been through. The knowledge that I have gained & the passions that I have realized have developed immensely. I am who I am because of everything leading up to this very moment.

And so are you.

🙂

Just a little food for thought. Thanks for reading!

Self-Perspective

One of the most difficult tasks in life is figuring out who you are. A student? A teacher? A dog trainer? A waitress? A mom? A brother? A nurse?

Yeah, you may be one or more of these things. But that is not WHO you are. These days we all define ourselves by our jobs. And many times we don’t even like our jobs, trying to move on to find something better. That is reason enough to NOT define ourselves by what we do for money (unless maybe you are a prostitute, but that is a whole ‘nother level of issue my friend).

It’s funny – we can spend all day looking at others, knowing exactly the type of person they are. But it is not the same when we look at ourselves. I don’t think that we spend enough time looking in the mirror. NO, not in a vain way. And NO not in a skeptical way. When was the last time you looked in the mirror and actually thought about what you stand for; about who you really are? Instead of looking at your nose, thinking it is too big. Instead of wishing you had the body of Halle Berry. Instead of staring at your ass wondering if your jeans suit them well.

Enough. Once we start accepting ourselves for who we are RIGHT NOW, we will start realizing who we are. We will start believing that we are good enough. And we will naturally become happier, because happiness comes from within. If we are not happy with ourselves, what else matters? It all starts with you. Just you. Not you and your boyfriend, your family, friends, or your pets. It is just you.

That is why we are so messed up with defining ourselves. People think that having the most amazing boyfriend in the world is all that matters. These people define themselves through their partners. Same goes with mothers, fathers, uncles, etc. We are so much more than titles. Of course the people we value in our lives are extremely important in making us happy, even determining what we are doing with our lives. But that is not everything. It is not who we are deep down.

I am going to use myself as an example. I am a 24 year old cat mommy, sister, daughter, friend, godmother, and sales associate. These are all descriptions of myself that do not define me – but describe me on the outer level. All of these titles mean nothing without what I actually bring to them. Someone that comes into the jewelry store that I work at can clearly see that I am a sales associate at a jewelry store. Fortunately, that is not all that I am. Who I am is how I treat the strangers that I help each day. Who I am is what I decide to do with my time on my lunch break. Who I am is my stream of consciousness when good, bad and even normal life stuff happens. And who I am is partially defined by how others perceive me. Because others perceive us as how we portray ourselves, for the most part at least.

This is a tough task, figuring out exactly how we come across. Comparing the way you feel about yourself, about your being, to the way others see you is something that many people do not even care to think about. But I think it’s important. It is crucial to be yourself. How many times do we hear that? Especially when graduating High School about to head to college – parents and mentors will constantly tell us this. BE YOURSELF. How could we be ourselves if we are not quite aware of who we are?

This is life. Life is a journey. Life is figuring out what we want and ultimately, everyone just wants to live a happy and fulfilled life. There are obviously drastically different goals for everyone on this planet. But if and when we reach our goals – what will we achieve? Happiness.

The best example that I can use is confidence. What is confidence? It is portraying how great you feel about yourself. I guarantee that no one is 100% about the way they feel about themselves. That is why “faking it until you make it” is key here. People have always told me that I am so confident. In reality, I have never been completely confident in myself. But I have been working at my confidence for years, most of the time faking it. In the past couple of years it has become more and more true because I have been portraying myself as a confident young woman. This is helping me shape who I am – by defining how people see me. Now – at 24, I do believe I am confident. Although I have my many flaws, as most of us do – when I go out on a Saturday night, nothing can stop me. And that is all in my mind-set. Say, for example, I have a twin and she wears exactly what I am wearing from hair to shoes. I am the confident one and she is the shy and introverted one. Who will attract more friends, smiles and conversations? Me as the confident twin of course! It really has nothing to do with what we wear or what we do with our hair – but it is all in how we own it.

A great example of this is the jewelry that we wear. I use this as an example because I sell it. I sell it and see that everyone’s taste is so different & it is very interesting to see. I have women come in looking for very simple, plain, nothing-to-them pieces. I have women coming in looking for WOW pieces that are conversation starters. And as for engagement rings, i have women looking for the simplest setting and then those that want to be different and stand out, with a huge rock in the center of course. This has made me realize that the jewelry (and clothing, etc.) we wear does say a lot about how we want to be portrayed. We are deciding to wear bold or boring pieces. Those that come in looking for simple engagement rings, many of the times, do not have the confidence to rock a huge rock. Those that agree with me when I say “Hey, the bigger the better…” have the confidence to bling it up. It is all in how you carry yourself and feeling that you are worthy of that huge ass rock of an engagement ring. Obviously not everyones style is the same – that is what makes the world go round. But, I find it interesting and almost sad when women say “Oh my gosh I could never wear that.” When in fact, it would look lovely on them.

With all of that rambling – all I am saying is that we are all worthy of the upmost happiness we could ever imagine. And it all starts within ourselves. It starts with looking in the mirror – into our own eyes, seeing and being who we are and who we want to be. Confidence is a biggie in showing that we deserve what we want. And if being confident is too difficult – fake it ’til you make it! Take one step at a time. We are all works in progress and that is the beauty of life. If we are all the people that we were five, ten, fifteen years ago – life would be quite stagnate. But alas! We are an ever-growing species and it is time for us to realize that! It is time to realize that we have the potential to be the people we desire to be.

It is time to realize that happiness is right around the corner and the way of finding it starts by simply looking in the mirror.