2014 INSPIRATION

Happy new year!

It is the year 2014, unbelievable right? Every new year everyone seems to be inspired to reach their goals and have a fresh start. I love it – the renewed feeling of hope and the inspiration in the air is totally contagious. Goals, hopes and dreams are always nice to share and instead of sharing my “resolutions,” I will share my thoughts upon waking up on this first day of the year.

Typically – losing weight, getting healthy, living a more balanced lifestyle is on the new year to-do list. Of course, that is all very cliche and is not usually followed for more than a couple of weeks (if that). I was thinking that we can all make 2014 the best year yet very simply.

HOW!??!?!?!

Be happy. Spread happiness. Enjoy the moment, this very moment. Life is so hard, we all know that. Lots of tragedies, lots of fears, lots of disappointments. I have a secret. There will always be things that upset us and scare us and frustrate us. SO instead of dwelling on these things that give us anxiety and make us worry – let’s be kind and make it our mission to spread joy. We can help others feel better and in return WE will feel better.

What do we do everyday? We wake up in the early morning to get ready for work. Then go work all day. Then come home exhausted. Then to go to bed and do the same thing over. Dwelling on how much we hate our jobs, how tired we are, what could be or should be.,.. not the way to go. I have done this the whole past month by the way. It doesn’t matter your job or what you do on the daily basis – school or whatever – we can, believe it or not, make the best out of what’s around. To quote Dave Matthews Band ๐Ÿ˜‰ย 

I’ve been living in New Hampshire for about a year and three months now. I love it here in Portsmouth and it is absolutely crazy that I ended up here. I know that I won’t be here forever and I know I want to be back in NYC pretty soon(ish) and travel, etc. We all have these lovely hopes and dreams, right? I have made the mistake of hating my job, getting angry at people that are angry (customers, coworkers) and letting that affect my all-around mood. I’ve had a lot of downs these past few months, mostly evolving around work. I’m actually lucky, though. I get to help people on the daily basis – the retail industry is tough especially during the holidays but I have had my fair share of heart touching stories and have met some great folks. I’ve also had the pleasure of truly making peoples’ days brighter.

This is where my point of this whole blog comes in. When you treat others, ESPECIALLY ย strangers who would never expect it with kindness and care – it is the best feeling. I’ve had people make comments to me after working with them that have truly made my day. For example, I had a gentleman come into the store (I work in a jewelry store) and I helped him find some nice charms for his wife’s Pandora bracelet. I was perfectly happy to help him and did not really do anything out of the ordinary. As he was leaving, he looked me in the eye so genuinely and said, “You are very sweet.” And with four words from a stranger, my day was made.ย 

He had no idea that he actually impacted me. It was so simple and it meant so much to me – mostly because he does not know me at all and that was the type of person he saw me as within the ten minutes we were working together. It’s the little things like that, ya know?

So from someone who experienced some slight kindness from a stranger, I know how much of a difference it could and will make in someone’s day or even life. If we do this everyday with each person we meet – be kind and genuine – it will come back around and it will be a domino effect. Simple acts of kindness are wondrous things, too. But it is even SIMPLER than that. Just be nice to strangers. Make others smile.

Why does it feel so great to give gifts? It is the same exact concept. We can be giving “gifts” everyday. In turn, we will feel happy! It is the easiest concept but this is something that us as an American culture should be reminded of once in a while.

Here’s to making people smile and sharing happiness in the year 2014 and many more years to come! CHEERS ๐Ÿ™‚

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Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual POV

I haven’t done a photo challenge in quite some time. But today I’d like to share my beautiful Godson with the world. His name is Hudson and I happened to take some photos of him today while his parents were out and I was babysitting.

He is almost a half of a year old! Crazy how time flies, I remember it was just like yesterday getting a call from my best friend that she SURPRISE SURPRISE was preggers! Unbelievable.

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And here he is, Hudson Chase, all bubbly as he gazes at the television. Looking at babies real real close is really cool, especially when you can see them starting to understand the world.

Hudson has changed my life. He has opened my eyes. I appreciate him, I love him and I feel so much joy just when I see him smile.

I can’t get enough.

To participate in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, click here.

Review of Dr. Oz’s 3 Day Detox Cleanse

Last week, I was watching Dr. Oz and his 3 day detox cleanse totally caught my attention. I had been eating complete crap and felt pretty much disgusting. Low energy, very bloated and simply didn’t feel good about myself. I thought that it was a great way to focus and get my act together to reboot my healthy lifestyle. So I went to Trader Joes (& another store, because they were out of a couple of things) on Tuesday March 12th and began on Wednesday March 13th.

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Each day, you drink 4 smoothies (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack). The snack is which ever out of the three ‘meals’ is your favorite. Also upon waking each day, a nice wake-up tea is in order (green tea & lemon). So if you are switching from coffee, this is the caffeine alternative which is in fact kinder to your body.

You can find a breakdown of exactly what is in each smoothie, including exact measurements right here from DrOz.com. [The cleanse calls for a nighttime bath, but frankly my bathtub is not in acceptable condition for me to sit in so I didn’t do that.]

DAY 1

For me, this was the toughest day. The biggest thing about Day 1 is that I felt so hungry. I was used to eating tons of food so I knew my body was just adjusting. I also did not prepare the smoothies up to par. What I mean by this is- I didn’t use any frozen fruit and also didn’t blend them well enough (especially the lunch smoothie which contains lots of celery, kale and cucumber – blehhh).

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But I had to just suck it down, even though it took me an hour. I wasn’t home so I couldn’t reblend it or even refrigerate it so it definitely was nasty.ย Day 1 was definitely a learning day, so if you are reading this before trying the cleanse – make sure most of the fruit you use is frozen (because you don’t add ice) and also blend them realllllly well. ESPECIALLY the vegetable-y lunch drink.

DAY 2

Day 2 was a huge improvement just because the smoothies tasted better to me. I blended them better and used frozen raspberries/blueberries/pineapple which made a HUGE difference. I actually enjoyed the morning drink immensely! I had to bring two smoothies with me to work so I put them in thermals and also in the fridge. This is key – seriously, drink these bad boys cold otherwise ya might gag. I learned that from the first day.

And as for the dinner drink, it was actually quite good…except for the cayenne pepper. If you know me, you know I love spicy. Turns out, I do not enjoy it in my ‘refreshing’ smoothies. I didn’t like the combination of a cold, fruity drink with the cayenne pow in it. It really turned me off of the dinner drink but without the spice, I would have liked it. I will probably try that same drink sans cayenne sometime soon.

So on Day 2 I was definitely feeling better and wasn’t as hungry as the first day.

DAY 3

I felt great when I woke up and was excited for the morning deliciousness.

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I sipped down smoothie #1 as I prepared my next couple of drinks for work. Another thing I learned in the past two days, leave yourself lots of time for preparation! You can even prepare beforehand by bagging things together/freezing ingredients/etc. Basically anything to alleviate more work for yourself. If you are literally not doing anything for three days straight, then don’t worry about it – just make them as you go because they do taste better fresh.

At work I definitely felt more focused than the weeks before. I was able to concentrate and felt all-around good. Someone actually said to me, “So…why are you so happy today?” I blamed it on the cleanse. Although I am a very happy person in general, I exuded even more delight-fulness and my coworker even noticed!

POST-CLEANSE

Throughout the 3 days to be honest, I didn’t really feel much lighter. BUT on day 4 (yesterday) is when I woke up feeling like I did lose a bit of weight. Turns out I lost about 3 pounds.

I was so excited that I could finally eat food, but frankly by eating completely raw the past three days in smoothie form made me think before I grabbed the first thing I could bite into. It made me more conscious of what I put into my body. I had been feeding myself nutrient-rich foods that were fresh, healthy and easily digestible. So what did I do? I made myself a green tea with lemon and a damn smoothie for breakfast!!! I used a lot of the leftovers that I had – spinach, lemon, banana, raspberries, blueberries, almond butter, flax seeds, and almond milk. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS. I am now on a smoothie-for-breakfast kick and I will definitely be having at least one per day especially now that the warmer days are coming it’s perfect. I had one today with kale in it – let me tell you, the almond butter + banana + berries (of any kind) eliminates the taste of the greens in there. But they are in there all right!

SO all-in-all I think this cleanse was definitely worth it. I’d definitely consider doing it again. I am now consistently (well, its been two days) taking my supplements (multivitamin, omega-3, probiotic) and also going for tea rather than coffee. I have not gravitated towards coffee once since last Wednesday. I also really want to keep eating healthy. Everything tastes better too! That’s another perk! All I want to eat is fresh fruit and salads – they taste amazing.

OVERALL ADVICE

-Use at least 2 days before the cleanse to eat clean by cutting out sugar, alcohol & caffeine. It is a much easier transition. Trust me.

-Blend smoothies very well for better texture.

-Prepare ingredients/Leave yourself enough time to make the smoothies.

-Buy big enough To-Go containers if you have to bring them to work, school, etc. I found a couple of awesome ones at Wal-Mart! I got a big (and cute) tumbler with a straw for about $5 and a HUGE thermo (called Bubba) for approx $9. I will use them again for sure and they are definitely necessary.

-Freeze all of the fruit.

-Drink a ton of H20. My body ended up craving water nonstop. It’s important to stay very hydrated because it helps flush out the toxins more efficiently and faster. You’ll be peeing a heck of a lot but it’s a cleanse so what do you expect?

-Power through it! It’s really not that bad, like I said it’s worth it so keep your eye on the prize [feeling healthy, clear-minded, happy, lighter].

I highly recommend this detox cleanse especially as winter comes to a close. It’s time to get out the shorts and tanks so why not do this now? It’s perfect. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I’d also love feedback from anyone else that has tried this.

Now go get your smoothie on! Good luck ๐Ÿ™‚

Weekly Photo Challenge: Hands

Jessica Levitt to the left.ย Me to the right.

Jess took this photo after finishing a little manicure session on National Best Friends Day in New Hampshire!

This is the only pic I have of hands. I could have easily taken another one, but I miss Jessica and I thought this would be a nice little way to say so. I also miss her tiny hands. Okay this is getting weird.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

xo

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

I have been meaning to write a post for a while now. I feel like this blog is a really great way for me to get some things off my mind and by pressing “Publish” and putting it out into the world makes it feel more meaningful than a secret diary. Ever since I have started my blogs, I definitely lost my need to write in my journal, although I still do at times. And even when no one reads – it’s there, and I can always go back to it like a journal but there are times when people do read and it makes my problems/circumstances/whatever it is that I am writing about that much more significant.

ANYWAYS!

I have graduated from college!!!! Wow.ย 

[Technically, I still have credits to fulfill this summer, but they are online classes and they are in the summer so I don’t even count them.] August is my official grad date but whatev, I walked across the stage of Radio City Music Hall and I wore my cap and gown and I DID IT! How did it feel? It felt SO surreal, that is when I didn’t feel very bored. It didn’t last as long as I had expected but it was impossible not to zone out during a few speeches. I did take a lot of it in and I do appreciate the advice from those that spoke to us.

Basically – I should take risks. I need to be patient, no need to decide right now what my career will be (this makes me happy), be courageous, have the right mindset, and use my time wisely. I know all of these things, but hearing them at Radio City Music Hall directed at me makes the messages more meaningful and more connected to my life. I feel as though right now I am doing none of this – well because I am now moved home and in search of a job that will pay me a decent amount of money and will be tolerable. I am not taking risks or any of that because right now my only goal is to make money so I can leave in order to do those things.

Utica, NY is nice for a week or two. But I know I am certainly not meant to stay here. I have a goal to move to California in one year. I always set goals like this and they never seem to work out but now I seriously have nothing holding me back (except for money, ick). But I figure that in a year I can make enough to get a car and grab an apartment across the country. When people say Cali is too far, I shake my head. Ever since venturing to Australia last July – nothing in the United States seems far. Hell, even Europe doesn’t even seem that far (I would like to go sometime in my near future).

Why California? Well, I have already experienced the best city in the world (NYC, duh) for years now and I have had my share of wonderfulness there. I would have liked to stay but alas my pockets are more than empty. But now that I was forced to leave after graduating Pace University, I see that there is so much of the world and the country that I have yet to experience. The weather of course adds to the pull that I have towards the west coast. The biggest reason I have always wanted to move to L.A. specifically are the opportunities. I have always been interested in acting and quite frankly it is one of the only careers I can actually see myself doing and loving 100%. Although I do not think I have had a big enough taste of it yet, I do feel a huge desire to pursue it. People in NY had looks of disgust on their faces when I mention L.A. but HEY to each their own and I have always wanted to go even before going to NYC. I actually was accepted into a school in Santa Monica and had roommates set up, but my parents decided to forbid it.

I cried for a few days but eventually I got over it when I got accepted to a school in New York City.

I did not love the city at first but these past couple of months especially made me appreciate it and love it for the perfect place that it is. NY has some odd quirks to it but it has helped me become more confident, take risks, explore new places, become a very fast walker (seriously though – now slow walkers make me cringe), and I now have an extremely large connection to The Big Apple. I feel like it is my city. I am not happy to be upstate when I would be much happier on my own there, but I am glad I left on a positive note. Before I left for Australia, I thought I would never go back. I was frustrated with the fast-paceness and just the whole hustle and bustle of the place. Yet, after being in Australia for over five months, my desire grew to go back to my city. I realized how much others would kill to just visit, and to know that I have completely took it for granted made me feel bad. I wanted nothing more than to get back and jump right into the hustle and bustle after laying on the beach for five months.

It’s crazy the revelations that occur. But it is necessary to embrace them, follow your instincts and take your own advice. Taking my own advice has always been a hard thing for me to do. I can give my friends and family so much advice that is very helpful, but it is very difficult for me to take my own damn advice. Why is this? Now I am veering off into another direction of thought, but seriously this is something that I will add to my list of graduation advice from those speakers – Take your own advice, Casi!

Okay back to the topic – – – being home is actually very nice right now. The weather (the nature…grass, animals, trees, etc.), seeing my family and pets, getting back to my roots, and all of that “No place like home” stuff. But having the pressure of needing a job asap in a town that seems so uninteresting with way too many familiar faces, it’s hard to say how long I will last without exploding.

Oh well. I’ll embrace it!

If you read this, I thank you for ‘listening’ to me ramble on about my life.

Be back soon.

Weird Opportunity

Today I had a weird opportunity. It’s “weird” because it is something I – years ago – would never see myself doing. Heck it’s something I never would ever be caught dead doing.

I auditioned for a reality show.

I know! It’s such a controversial type of television that I have always been a viewer from the outside, enjoying as others make fools of themselves. I’m talking The Bachelor, The Real World, The Kardashian shows, etc., etc.

[Why did I audition? Because I am about to graduate with a degree in Communications from Pace University and I have ZERO clue what I am doing with my life. My plan right now is to move to California after making enough money to possibly pay off my credit cards and buy a car. Now is the time to experiment with where I want to live and make a career for myself. We’ll see how that goes…]

Anyways, you’re probably wondering what show I auditioned for. I mean…well it wasย technicallyย called “an interview” but we all know that within reality shows, there’s not much reality. Therefore it was an audition. Although I was told it is going to be legit…

SO I don’t know exactly what goes down on this show. All I know is that if I get it – I will be flown out to Los Angeles for three days with all accommodations paid for. That in itself is a winning opportunity! But the show in itself is basically a competition between ‘regular’ people to have a date with a celebrity. I have no idea who these celebs will be or what exactly will entail, but it sounds interesting. Obviously very superficial, but fun!

Yep, I totally auditioned for this today. Haha I honestly do not even expect a call because I’m probably up against gorgeous model-like girls from all over the country. But hey, I gave it a shot and it was a cool experience.

Just thought I’d share.

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P.S. I am SO excited because Loretta (my roommie & sorority sister & friend) and I are going to see Tyler Hilton tomorrow! I really want to meet him! It’s his album release party along with a concert. It’s also 21+ but only $10 and a one drink minimum (which will also probably be $10) and I am so totally stoked.

Who is Tyler Hilton?

The first time I ever saw him was in Taylor Swift’s music video “Teardrops on my Guitar:”

Then I started watching One Tree Hill, and he is one of the characters on the show:

Stephen Colletti, Paul Johansson, Tyler Hilton

He was also just in Gloriana‘s newest music video (Kissed You) Good Night. And by the way, I LOVE that song and I love Gloriana. Tyler has also played lots of shows with them and also with the very popular Taylor Swift, among many other artists. His music is fantastic and I have recently become a big fan of it.

Hence, my excitement to see him live tomorrow. YAY!

That’s all for now, folks ๐Ÿ˜‰

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*GOODNIGHT*

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual

In New York City – NOTHING is unusual.

These are a couple of my childhood favorites that I found in Times Square that I happened to stumble upon one fine night.

If only Disney characters actually existed and walked amongst us.

I’d say that would be…unusual.

XoXo

V-Day is What YOU Make it.

[Disclaimer: This post is mostly directed towards my fellow single folks!]

I really just wanted to do a quick post on Valentine’s Day.

OH YEAH – Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

K so I’m sure we have all had the dreary-type of vdays and I’m sure we have had really very nice vdays. Now, it doesn’t matter if your amazing Valentine’s Days have been in elementary school when your whole class was forced to bring in valentines for every last person in the class and you sat there with your homemade “mailbox” waiting for your crush to drop in the extra-special note. Seriously though – that was the best.

But now that we are grownups, it seems as though the couples are the only ones that can be happy on this very day that is completely centered around hearts and flowers and love. Let me let you in on a little secret, that is not true.

Yes I am single (believe it or not) and I can honestly say that today was perfect. I didn’t receive any special notes from my crush, nor did I receive chocolates or flowers. I did receive a special card in the mail from my Grandparents that brightened my day! And I did pass out lollipops with my Sigma Delta Tau sisters at school that made others smile. I also interacted with people that just seemed happier today. There was an ora on the streets and in school that was just jolly. People seemed to be extra nice and all-around brighter!

I can tell you that my attitude this year definitely changed my whole outlook on this lovely day of February 14th. I feel that YES it is a Hallmark Holiday – but what isn’t? And I have heard many times that we should celebrate love every single day, why do we need just one day blah blah blah. I believe that having a day to wear pink and red where there is an excuse to buy yourself & indulge in a box of chocolates (yes, I did this) is perfectly acceptable. Plus – like I was just saying, everyone is simply more loving on this day.

And ya know, there is always a hope that your crush will give you a wink, a rose or a note to let you know how he (or she) truly feels. And these are the things that make today non-hatable.

Let’s stop being bitter about seeing others in love! Let’s look at those people and use that as inspiration. Let’s use today as a great reason to eat as many pounds as chocolate as we possibly can! But not in a depressed kinda way. All I’m saying is – let’s embrace February 14th with love and who knows, maybe we can find it!

To all of my exquisite single friends – love yourselves first. Then everything else will fall into place. It’s amazing that I can say all of this yet somehow have a hard time following my own advice. I guess that’s the Aquarius in me? Excuses…

But seriously, I hope everyone has had a magical day!

XOXO

Tao Restaurant

Tonight – Sarah and I went out for sushi and we decided on a place towards the Upper East Side. We arrived, sat down, looked at the menu and were slightly turned off. There was not a large selection of sushi, at least not much that we could understand. It was expensive. We were the only ones in the restaurant. Plus, no servers came up to us for about ten minutes.

We left.

We wandered and stumbled upon a big sign that said “TAO.” Since it sounds Asian, we decided to check it out. We looked at the menu before deciding, looked inside and we were sold. The location to be exact is 42 E 58th Street.

There are two floors and this place is HUGE. It has a vibe that I have never experienced within a restaurant. I felt like I was either in a movie or a dream. Here is the view from our seat.

I’ve never seen such a large Buddha in my life.

The pictures do not do Tao justice, but it’s better than nothing I guess. No – you should just go and see it for yourself. It’s an expensive place but the sushi and dumplings that Sarah and I had were amazing. I actually loved my sushi even though it cost way more than I would usually pay. I’d say the whole experience was totally worth it!

I kept saying, “This is so cool.”

Turns out, I’m not the only celebrity who has dined at this unique place. On Tao’s Website, the description includes, “TAO New York is frequented by celebrities on a regular basis from Nicole Kidman, Tom Cruise, Robert DeNiro, Beyonce and Jay-Z, to Britney Spears, Madonna, Paris Hilton, and members of the NY Yankees, Giants and Rangers.”

Damn.

I gotta go back when I maybe take out a new credit card? No, but seriously when I get a job and have some ca$h flow rolling in, I am coming back. I won’t tell the paparazzi though…nah – I’ll leave them out of this.

If you are in New York, craving some Asian food, looking for something different, and possibly into stalking celebrities…come to this restaurant. You will not regret it. Oh and bring me ๐Ÿ™‚

I forgot to mention that I went to the restroom and looked at the two doors in awe for a second. One was labeled “Yin” and one was labeled “Yang.” I forget which was the women’s but at the time I had to just go for one because I had no idea. I, of course, chose the men’s room first. When I saw the blue walls, I immediately shut the door. I went to the other and saw red walls and figured that was the more appropriate choice. Jeez I didn’t realize I needed to brush up on Asian culture in order to use the bathroom. Eh, it was a cool adventure at least haha.

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Sunday Funday is almost over, let’s make this week a wonderful one!