The Book That Changed My Life

book that changed_

I know, I know:  who is this  and when did she decide to write again?

Look, I had to focus on my real job- ya know, the one that has helped us BUY A MOTHER EFFIN HOUSE! (yep, see what I did there- just casually dropped that at 27/28 bae and I are homeowners in one of the most unrealistically expensive housing markets in America. Gotta love Long Island, amiright?!) I have been fortunate that my real job is very busy- since my last post, I have had at least 2 to 5 events every weekend. Communion season just ended this weekend, and while graduation season is upon us, no event is as stressful as communions. Lots of Italians celebrating this right of passage like a wedding. On top of that, we expanded to a new location, which has been an incredible adventure. It’s more farmhouse chic,  so it’s been fun entering a new wheelhouse. (I also realize this is all GREAT blogging material and great bloggers would have blogged about, but, my brain can only handle so much at once.)

With all that said, I have used my amazing journal to jot ideas for this very day: the day where I finally felt like writing again. I sat and made a lot of excuses for myself. Look, I’m not proud of it. “I can’t write because our space doesn’t feel like home anymore.” was the one I usually fell back on. It’s so lame, I know.  If it’s any consolation, I have about 20 drafts in this back office area that I just haven’t published yet. Any creative type will tell you that one of the most frustrating feeling is having ideas and not being able to fully formulate the thought.

I also realized I had to grow as person during these last few months. Every year on my birthday I set a new goal for myself. This year, my goal is to become more intentional.  Especially in terms of work, since I sort of grew this entire entity. Insert, the book that changed my life:


nice girls

I have never been a self-help book type of person. That’s not because I don’t believe in their power- it’s because for a long time I had a certain level of hubris. Doesn’t every young twenty something think they’re perfect at some point? And, while I have had creative pits and have read books like “The Happiness Project” this time, I needed something different. I wasn’t looking for happiness or answers I was looking to become a stronger woman. A stronger manager, a stronger leader, stronger in my convictions, and more resolute in how I address issues.

This books starts with an introduction about all the feminist statistics we’ve heard ad nauseum. We still have a glass ceiling, we don’t address situations the same as men, we are still not considered effective leaders. Yadda yadda yadda. Then, the reader takes a self assessment this is the part I loved the most.  After answering 49 questions, you fill in your score sheet and then read the interpretation of your scores. After all that, you read the chapters that correlate with your lowest scores. The author writes very conversationally and in a way that allows her words and tips to be easily absorbed. My copy has tons of notes in the creases for me to look back on.

Personally, I think any and every woman should read this book. It has given me the tools to correctly address situations both at work and personally. I have noticed that the words and advice from this book have seamlessly integrated into my life. I have implemented the changes without so much as a second thought. It has all been so subconscious.  It has taught me to stop prefacing sentences with “perhaps..” because I don’t want to come off as a bitch. My issues with the word “bitch” transcends this post. The rant is real and is one of the drafts that I’ll post another day.

Before I go too far off the cliff with another ramble, I’m going to leave a link to the book here.

(and, no, I’m not getting paid to promote this. Bloggers who don’t post for 3 months at a time generally don’t get paid to promote anything.)

Cheers to being better (and, hopefully posting more!)

(p.s.- I am all hopped up on pain meds and drugs for strep throat and an upper respiratory infection, so please forgive spelling errors. Or, really any errors.)

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The Importance of Appreciation

Startup Stock Photos

When I first graduated college, I started a string of subpar jobs. Admittedly, I’m still sort of embarrassed at how my “career” started. Not only was I underpaid, but I never appreciated my jobs either.  I worked as a Museum Manager,  a “Marketing Manager” for this sleazy man who eventually fired me (I was thrilled to be fired), and my last job was for an EMS company. My last job was the one that I liked the most of the three. Not because of the job: the role itself was undefined and strange, but because I had a boss who I actually admired and learned a lot from. To this day, I always cringe at the way I left. (when my ex and I broke up, there was no chance I was going to stay in Connecticut, so I just left and showed up at my parents doorstep with a dog and a duffel bag. I didn’t even quit the job- I just stopped showing up, sent an e-mail to my boss to which he replied ” you were meant to do so much more than this. Good luck out there, kid.”)

Each job for me started the same way; I was excited, enjoyed the “title” more than the job, and eventually would lose interest in the job and self sabotage in only the way I can. If you know me, at all, you know I’m not one to give up.  Throughout my time in Connecticut I just never felt like it was “enough”. In retrospect, a lot of that unsettled desire to quickly succeed at something was a sign of a deep rooted unhappiness that I just hadn’t discovered yet. There was also a boredom affiliated with the jobs for me. There was no incentive. I could do all my work on a Monday and the rest of the week float on through and still receive the same paycheck. Worse, the paychecks were so small that there was just no chance for me to ever get ahead. They became a way to pay the bills, but, frankly, they weren’t paying the bills anyway.

I moved home with only one bag, but a lot of baggage. I had $10,000 worth of debt to get myself out of, and no idea how I would. The morning after I showed up at my parents doorstep, I received a call from my dad. He said, “Come to Mac’s at 4:30. Wear all black. You’re going to make money while you figure out your next step.” That Tuesday night changed my life in two ways;

1. I spent the whole evening training with this really amazing waiter… who… you guessed it… is now my husband, Mark.

2. I walked out the door with half of my paycheck that I would receive in Connecticut. HALF. IN SIX HOURS.

That night, I bought a real apron, jotted down a “plan”, and started working towards it. The odds were stacked against me at work, but, that never deterred me. I had Mark, and a few allies throughout the staff that trained me on things I needed to know. Every mistake I made was ridiculed to the nth degree, but, that just motivated me to get better. I started selling wine, upping my average guest check, and was consistently making 25% each night in tips. Sure, I was the bosses daughter, but, I was doing better than everyone else. (except Mark. Don’t tell him, but he’s better than me. Even now, when he comes in to help us out on big nights, he outshines everyone) During the day, I wrote stories, articles, and more. I was consistently featured on a few popular sites. I was being offered contributor roles around the internet. And, I could do all of that and still make triple my income.

In four months, I was out of my debt and started to save my money. While that is a great end to this story, the truth is, that wasn’t even the biggest change that happened to me. Money no longer was an “obligation” to me. My job wasn’t an “obligation” to me anymore. I was finally grateful. I appreciated my money much more, and part of that is because I had to work so much harder for it. My mindset changed from “ I have to pay my bills with this money” to “I am so fortunate that I am able to take care of myself and Emmett with this money.”  Every dime I made was valued, and for once, it finally felt like “enough”.

Obviously, I didn’t leave Mac’s. I planned on it- I had a writing job lined up –  but, then the Catering Manager left, the job was offered to me, and that’s what I wanted to do when I graduated college so I took it. I failed miserably the first few months. After making a few tweaks for my type B brain, I finally have a nice flow to it. There are moments where I wonder if I should migrate to a “9-5” job. Actually, a month ago I was offered a 9-5 job. I considered it. But, then I reflected back on my time when I had a 9-5 job, and realized that I only succeed when there is an incentive, and politely declined the job.

While I realize the undertone of this post makes it seem like money drives happiness, that is certainly not my intention. The truth is, happiness is derived from appreciation. Appreciating the money that I earn (and, trust me… I earn it) redirected my thought process on money. Money is not an obligation to me- it is something I value, and in turn, allows me to value what I have because of it.

So, today.. while you read this post on your fancy iPhone, or computer, look around at all that you have. Yes, there are people that have more than you. However, you have clothes on your back, a roof over your head, and, mostly likely, you know when your next meal is. You have more than someone too. So, try to redirect your thought process today and value your paycheck. Value what you have because of it.

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Your Heart at the Center of Your Puzzle

soul is a puzzle

The following piece is a continuation from last weeks post, “The Soul is a Puzzle: An Introduction”.

Life is nothing if we don’t put ourselves out there.


Your Heart at the Center of Your Puzzle

 Take a second to listen to your body. Take a deep breath in. Hold it. Now exhale, slowly. Repeat that process a few times. Take a deep breath in. Hold that breath. Now exhale again. As you repeat the process take a moment to listen to your body. Feel the blood seamlessly pumping through your body. Focus your mind on the expansion of your lungs each time. Visualize your inner body working.

 Feeling relaxed? Okay. Don’t fall asleep on me.

 Our bodies are controlled by our heart. Our heart requires a lot to continuously pump blood through our brains. First, it seeks oxygen from our lungs. Then, it works tirelessly to pump that oxygen through our body. From the center of body, to the tip our toes, all the way to our brain, it is our heart that keeps us alive. Even the smallest blockage can cause massive repercussions.

 While science has always focused on our brains as the puzzle that creates the whole, I enlist in a different theory. I believe it is our heart that is the piece that keeps us whole.

 There is plenty of empirical evidence supporting the Broken Heart Syndrome. The idea that while some of us are resilient enough to overcome a broken heart, there are plenty of cases where a broken heart can lead to heart complications. In fact, researchers say that 1 in 320 people who are at high risk for heart failure, and 1 in 1,400 people who are at low risk will experience increased heart problems due to some sort of heartbreak. (fact check me here) Even more specific, a grieving spouse is more likely to die of a heart attack or stroke, accounting for 53% of their deaths.

 So, why is it that the heart isn’t more closely considered when we think of our overall health. Sure, we are taught to eat less bacon, do our cardio,  and take care of our body.  But, what about the connection between our heart and our emotional health?

 Think of how your heart and body feel when you experience different emotions.  Happiness leads to a light heart, which tends to lead to an overall healthier body experience. Perhaps your joints hurt less, old injuries flare up less, and there is a certain aura about you that projects to those around you.

 When your stressed, your body has a tendency to feel tired or drained more often. Sadness can lead to a literal heartache, which can lead to loss of appetite and a myriad of other issues. (like belly fat. oh, the belly bulge)

 If we’re looking at our life as a puzzle piece, we must first focus on the heart as the center piece of that puzzle. While we are attune to the importance of maintaining our mental health, we must always remember that it is our heart that drives our mental health.

 The two are connected on a string. Like how we wonder what came first, the chicken or the egg, there is no clear start or beginning on which part of our body drives the other. Those more logical will insist that it is our mind that controls our body. Yes, it does control our motor functions, this theory is not here to argue that. Here, we are more focused on the emotional content. Those more intuitive will insist that it is our heart that drives our decisions. Rely on your “instinct”, “believe in an outcome”, us hopeless optimists will insist that the root of our existence is right in the center of our bodies.

If our soul is a puzzle  piece, the heart is its own individual puzzle on its’ own.


Next Week: The Puzzle Pieces Directly Around Your Heart (and, how they impact your life)

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