Category: Personal Posts

Is Age Just a Number?

Let me preface this by stating this is not a typical post for me. This has been on my mind lately and I really need to express it and to what better audience than my amazing blog family?

It’s November. Yes, I am stating the obvious but that means that next month, amidst all the festivities of the holidays, I will be celebrating my birthday. My 33rd birthday. And yes, I actually had to sit down and think about what age I will be turning on December 31st (and nope, it is not a good day for a birthday but that’s for another rant). I can’t believe I had to sit here and actually think okay 30 years ago was 1989 and then another…

So what am I getting at? I don’t feel my age at all. I don’t feel 32. I don’t have any children yet and I can honestly say that 90% of my friends within the same age group have at least 1 child already -and some have a child that is already in grade school! Honestly, I look in the mirror and I still feel like a child myself so how irresponsible would I be to have a child right now? And yes, I know there is never “the right time” to have a child but bear with me – I am barely keeping myself afloat, how do I bring another life into the world to care for?

Is something wrong with me?

I look in the mirror and I don’t see a 32 year old looking back at me. What does a 32 year old look like? I don’t quite know, exactly. Am I supposed to cut my hair into a bob? Am I supposed to be getting botox? Am I supposed to wear a foundation every day? Am I supposed to take fiber supplements? Am I supposed to rock mom jeans (and not because they are suddenly fashionable)? Am I supposed to drink white wine or spritzers? Am I supposed to have 1+ child and wear athleisure attire?

Is something wrong with me?

Yes, I know I am partially stereotyping, but when I look around me, turn on the TV, talk to my friends and family…all I see and hear about are pregnancies, aging, and all that goes along with it. Instead, I am finishing my doctorate degree and starting my second master; I am moving to my dream city; I am starting a new job at an organization that is amazing; I am booking trips; I am literally working on being my healthiest self…

Am I being selfish?

I don’t know what 33 has in store for me. Maybe I’ll be writing a post in 6 months sharing with you all that my husband and I are starting our family. Maybe I’ll be sharing with you that we are traveling. Maybe we’ll be buying a house. I don’t know. But I can’t help but have this nagging feeling that I am not living up to expectations for someone my age.


I am sorry that this is not my normal content, but this is all a part of the healthy journey. Sometimes we have days that aren’t as strong as others. Sometimes we have bad mental health days. Sometimes we have doubts and want to be introverted. Sometimes we are exuberant and ambitious. Sometimes we just need to express what is weighing on our soul – talk it out and maybe, just maybe, find out we aren’t alone.

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you ever felt this way? How do you deal with societal expectations?

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Packing.

With just a couple of weeks left, packing is what the majority of my day consists of now! I cannot believe how much stuff we accrue over time. I swear I did not have this many boxes when I moved to California just a couple of years ago. This is why I have to stay away from Home Goods.

That used to be my living room…

There are a few things that we have developed during this packing/move experience that we did not previously think of – yep, surprisingly since we considered ourselves experts… I wanted to share with you all those few items that we have recently purchased that have been helping us as we gear up for the big move! These are outside of the normal bubble wrap, packing paper, styrofoam dish separators, boxes, and whatnot; the items below are things we did not think of before which are coming in handy this time around!

  1. Vacuum bags – Sounds silly if you’re only moving a couple of hours away or down the road, but when you have to scramble to pack a closet and don’t want all of those items crumpled up or damaged in boxes along with the 1/2 bottle of perfume or leave-in conditioner…these vacuum bags are amazing! I was able to pack 3-drawers and 2 shelves worth of sweaters into one bag which condensed down nicely and will stay until I can unpack them. As we get closer, I will pack a few of my clothes that I’ll need easy access to as well so they are safe!
  2. Mattress Cover Bags – We have two mattresses, not counting the box springs, that we don’t want stained or damaged, so we opted to purchase these mattress bags that are thick and with a little tape, essentially seal up the mattress entirely so it stays safe, dry, and dirt-free!
  3. Sofa Covers – Kind of like the mattress covers, we want to make sure our sofa (or couch for some) is protected! Because we have an oversized sectional, we bought two since the branches do come apart. Now I just have to find an everyday sofa cover that fits to protect from everyday wear-n-tear.
  4. A hand truck – I bet you are wondering why we bought a hand truck when we could just rent one from U-Haul, but this will actually come in handy for more than just moving! We have a lot of heavier furniture AND regularly shop at Costco, so making it easier for us to haul those items around is always a good choice. This one is great too because it’ll serve as a standard hand truck or lay flat for larger pallet items like cases of water.
  5. TOTES – Okay, so I hear you…where are you going to stick those after the move? Well, we have of fragile items we have acquired through the years and even with all the bubble-wrap in the world, I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting some of those priceless items in a cardboard box. So we opted to purchase a few heavy-duty totes that will be repurposed for off-season clothing and other items we do not use every day. These will be stored in one of the closets and we have a closet outside (but attached our apartment) that we can store items in as well. These will definitely be reused (house-ward bound in the near future) and will protect those precious items just a bit better.

Moving is tough. Moving in a short amount of time is even tougher! But every little trick or hack or tip that we can apply, the better!

So inquiring minds want to know…Do you have any moving tips that we should know about? What is the worst part of moving for you? What is the best part?

My 6 Tips to be Functionally Productive

Ever have those days where you realize that there are literally 30 things that need to be done and only roughly 10 viable hours to do them all? Ever see yourself sacrificing sleep or other vital healthy functions in order to get just one more task completed? Ever feel like you spent the whole day checking off “to-do” items and then feel like you did nothing at the end of the day?

That’s me…often. And whether you want to admit it or not, I know I’m not alone on this!

So how do I circumvent these feelings and regain a sense of accomplishment? There are a few things I do, and am working on new techniques to continue improving my balancing act, that I want to share because they have helped me immensely.

  1. Plan my day. Now, I know the big trend right now involves planners (and planner pens and stickers and glitter and unicorns…) but realistically in the days of technology, is it advantageous to keep a physical planner? In my opinion, no. So how do I plan my day? I use what I almost ALWAYS have with me – my cell phone; which in my case is an iPhone so it is synced to my laptop which makes recording the day a little easier.
    Anyway, I plan the next day in the evening. I type out my agenda on my calendar (work, appointments, grocery runs, etc.), enter my reminders with specific day(s)/time(s) notifications (pick up dry cleaning at 6 pm on Wednesday, for example), and I account for those little things like a 30-minute block for a workout or 1 hour to study (the life of a grad student). This allows me to visualize my day and make sure that I am utilizing my time effectively.
  2. Take breaks and utilize them. So often during a workday, we get so consumed by the task at hand that we forget to even use the bathroom until the situation is dire! So on my work calendar, I have pre-scheduled my breaks and blocked off my time. Those 15 minutes or 1-hour lunches are mine and I use them as I need to. There are days were I honestly take a naps or I make appointment calls or I take walks. Yes, I am very busy at work, but if I am not taking care of my physical/mental health during those times, I am a waste.
  3. Decide my ensemble the night before. As a female in a leadership role, I have to play a certain part in my job. With that comes a certain type of clothing as well. And while I don’t usually wear a lot of makeup, I do have to dress the part. So I strive to pick out my clothing the night before so there is no rush to analyze every wardrobe piece at 6 AM, in the dark.
  4. Meal plan. You knew this was coming, right? So many of you that have been following me for a while know I don’t eat lunch at work (or very rarely do). So what I mean by meal planning is I plan and usually prepare for my protein shake the night before so I can blend it all fresh in the morning. I also put aside snacks/fruits for the next day so it’s more of a grab-and-go kind of situation.
  5. Preschedule tasks. So you all know I am a coffee fiend, right?
    Well, what I make sure to do every night is to prepare the coffee grinds, set the timer, and fill the reservoir the night before so at 7 AM sharp, my coffee is brewed fresh and ready to drink!
    I also preschedule some of our other electronics, like the vacuum or the lights or the thermostat so they all go on/off as scheduled and are not things I have to fret over at the end of the day or in the morning – they are all things I really rarely think about nowadays.
  6. DVR. Sounds silly but there are some shows that my husband and I love to watch since we still have cable, but trying to get those when they are on air is difficult, so we DVR a lot of our shows so we can binge watch on the weekends. Plus we get to skip the 30 minutes of commercials.

Of course, there are a few other tips that I am working my way on implementing in the coming weeks:

  1. Getting up at 5 AM. This is definitely a work in progress, as I am NOT a morning person, but I also want that dedicated time to myself. What a conundrum! AND this means I need to be in bed by 10…10…okay, if I really want to feel good, 9:30 but realistically 11.
  2. Updating my productivity app. Yes, there is an app for that. I want to make sure that I can also reflect at the end of the day of all the things that I accomplished, still need to finish, and what may eventually come as well. I am looking at integrating Evernote into my daily operations so even at work, I can make notes to review later.
  3. Capsule my wardrobe. There is a lot of science behind creating a capsule wardrobe which makes selecting pieces to wear even simpler and requires more creativity! I want to condense my wardrobe and will definitely post more about this to come.

Inquiring minds want to know… What do you do to help you stay productive? Have you tried any of these tips before?

It’s Not Good-bye…

There are a few things in life that you can always count on – taxes, weather, and change. Sometimes it is for the better, sometimes it is detrimental, sometimes it is bittersweet… I am not that good with change, I’ll admit. I like the routine. I like consistency. I like patterns and knowing what is coming down the pipeline – don’t I just define a Type A?

And yet, I once again am embracing change and starting a new chapter. So what’s the change I’m referring to? Is the anticipation building up yet?

Without further ado…
I’m moving!

A little over two years ago, I relocated from Florida to California. I made that move with my husband and two dogs in just about 4 days just after we hit our 6-month wedding anniversary. Let’s just say there was a lot of silence for the majority of the drive. We uprooted everything we had, packed a U-haul, and drove…and drove…and drove. But once we got here, we knew we were home! California has been so good to us with adventure, travel, food, culture, and so much more. We have met some amazing people and been able to accomplish projects we had only dreamed of. Whatever came down the road, we knew that we were now Californians for life.

But just as life goes, we received opportunities we couldn’t pass up which is taking us from the Central Valley to San Diego! So yeah, we aren’t leaving California but we are about to embark on a whole new adventure with so much to see, do, try, eat, and enjoy.

The challenges?

  • Find a way to say good-bye without saying good-bye to the Central Valley.
  • Find a place and pack in less than 1 month so we can start work right away.
  • Move two adults & two doggies within that month!
  • Get our new home ready for the holidays.
  • Be home.

I am ready and not ready at the same time. I am excited and scared and nervous and anxious. I could not ask for a better place to move to and am really looking forward to the next adventure, but I feel like I am breaking up with someone that I don’t want to break up with – I guess this is where that “you can’t have your cake and eat it too” situation comes into play.

But I know this isn’t good-bye. Especially to all the friends, we have made along the way, but this is a new chapter that I am excited to begin.

In the next few weeks, I will be looping you in on the exciting relocation adventures and take you along on our journey to find a new home!

So inquiring minds want to know… Have you had to move recently? Any tips or suggestions to make the move easier?? What’s written in your next chapter?

Thank You

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you. Just yesterday, after having some personal doubts, I received an email that I hit my 50th subscriber milestone! While it may not seem like a lot for some, this is a huge accomplishment for me. This blog started out being a personal outlet for self-care and health promotion. And the more I wrote, the more time I wanted to invest. The next thing I knew I was investing money into it. Then I started to dabble in my creative side again. Then I started to feel like myself again.

Months passed where I was feeling like a different person – a partial person. I was spread thin and just incurred so many life changes some of which were personally inflicted while others were environmental. Regardless, I was starting to look in the mirror and not recognize who that was looking back at me. That was when I realized that I had to make some changes or I would lose myself for good. It started with reclaiming my health. Then it became sharing my journey to keep me accountable. Then I was told I was inspiring others and that was when I had an epiphany – I was not just doing this for myself. There are others like me in the world -others that were just maintaining the status quo but were unhappy.

And now I am here today. I am sharing, learning, and collaborating with so many bloggers and friends. Even if we haven’t met in person yet, you are allowing me into your life and for that, I am eternally grateful. I appreciate every comment and like because I get to engage with you. I am humbled that I get to share this journey with you.

5 Tips for a Healthy Relationship

Let me start off by saying that I am not an expert. I do not have a certification in relationships or marriage counseling or social work or even psychology (though I did minor in it). And I also have to admit to you that the title of this post changed at least five times… I hope that these are helpful tips that maybe you already knew and overlooked once or twice or maybe they are ones you overlooked altogether…

I have been married for almost 2.5 years (and counting) to a wonderful and patient man, though we have been together since 2007 (whoa). I have been in relationships in the past – some great, some toxic, some long and some short. But from all of them, including my marriage, I have learned a lot of lessons about myself and about what I want from a relationship. I have learned what promotes a healthy relationship and what are indicators of one on a downward slope. So I want to share my two cents, if you will, on the top five things that have helped me maintain a healthy relationship with my husband and continue to grow in love.

  1. COMMUNICATION – It might go without saying but having an open line of communication is fundamental in a relationship -regardless of if the relationship is romantic or platonic. And communication goes two ways. One of the things that my husband and I do every…single…day is we dedicate 10-15 minutes to talk -uninterrupted and without technology. Typically we do this when having dinner but other times it is on our way in the door, or when we are cooking, or getting ready to head to the gym… We always ask about the other person’s day and not just listen, but hear. And if something is really bothering me, I let him know right off the bat and he respects my decision to not talk about it outright and we move on. We also are not afraid to say “I love you” too often. It may sound morbid but you never know when that may be a last time so reminding that person that you love them, even if you said it 20 times before, never gets old. But if you don’t communicate and carry a grudge, silence will speak for you and it is never your ally.
  2. SAY “PLEASE” or “THANK YOU” – These may seem foolish but you were taught to say your “P’s” and “Q’s” for a reason. Think about that time that you held the door open for someone behind you and they just waltzed in without acknowledging you. How did that make you feel? Now if you’re from NJ like I am, you almost most definitely said something but that’s besides the point…So the same goes for your significant other. If she did the dishes and normally hates it, or he sets the coffee, or they heated up dinner, or he did the laundry -saying “thank you” may not seem like much but you are acknowledging that person and their actions. 
  3. JUST BECAUSE – This topic can be all encompassing really but don’t wait for a specific day or time or event to do something for your significant other. Sometimes getting a card to say “I love you” just because or giving them a peck on the cheek or holding their hand or coming home with their favorite dessert or going out to eat… All of those random moments add up and show them that you don’t need a holiday or important date to celebrate your love for them.
  4. THE LITTLE THINGS – Coupled with number 3 most often, doing those little things can surmount a grand gesture any day. For example, my husband usually packs our lunches and every so often I get a little surprise note from him -sometimes inspirational and sometimes silly but he still makes it a point to just do a little something (little does he know that I have a stack of all of them saved because sometimes you just have one of those days and need a little extra love). Or how about taking the dogs out and letting them get 10 extra minutes of sleep. Or how about playing their favorite song. Or texting them at 1:24pm because you missed them and wanted to say hello. Or getting them a little trinket that you saw and made you think of them… Those little things are nuggets that we carry around with us and remind us how much we are loved.
  5. RESPECT & EQUALITY – I grouped these two items together because you cannot simply have one without the other. You are with that person for a reason and if you cannot fully respect them and treat them as an equal, then turbulence is just ahead. Take my relationship as an example – my husband is well educated in technology and psychology while I like to think I have a strong foundation in science and literature but just because we are not both equal in the same realms, doesn’t mean we are not equal overall. I respect my husband on his opinions and his beliefs while he respects mine. He acknowledges my side of the situation, even when he disagrees. We also acknowledge our weaknesses and help each other whenever we can. Our goal is to lift each other up, not to stand on top alone.

There are so many other tips for a health relationship and this is just the beginning of this series! Though this post is mostly about a romantic relationship, most of these can be used interchangeably with friends, colleagues, and family. A random text or a phone call can go a long way. A simple gesture can bring someone back from the edge. 

Inquiring minds want to know… what recommendations do you have for a healthy relationship? What have you done to foster a health relationship, even if it wasn’t a romantic one??

March 2019: Check-In

I appreciate all of your patience and understanding during the past few months but it is time for me to come back to my blogger roots and really deliver!

I have written elsewhere under pseudonyms. I have watched *countless* hours of YouTube videos and envied each vlogger on their ability to express themselves. I have spewed information on to others offline and learned some new tips & tricks! But that is not what this is all about… It is truly time for me to reinvest my time and my energy for my readers, followers, and myself.

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I am starting back with a check-in for the month of March.

What have I been doing all this time? Well… I have been working on creating a schedule for what will become post series and been brushing up on some HTML and other blogging tips which I will share with you all as well along the way! I have been testing some new products and posting on IG. I will also begin posting some live videos on IG shortly and trying my hand at YouTube as well though I am certainly no expert there! I even hope to have some interviews in the near future on some topics that are normally outside of my knowledge so that this blog will be engaging for all.

I have also had some family health issues arise in the recent past which took a lot of time away from work and school. In fact I even opted to take a quarter off from my doctorate so that I could focus on my family. Now that everyone is on the mend and stability is returning, I am able to refocus my attention.

Then there’s me. I had been very neglectful of myself and it showed. I ballooned in weight and was yo-yo’ing with losing it. My skin was in shambles. My hair looked either like straw or limp spaghetti. I was having trouble sleeping. I lost motivation. I was depressed. I knew what I needed to do but doing it seemed impossible until I realized I was heading too far down the rabbit hole and I needed to get help and get back up.

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So that’s what I am doing. Getting back up. This is just the beginning but I am really looking forward to what is to come.

Here we go!

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