Power of positivity

We gon’ be alright, put that on my life.

Macklemore’s music fills every bit of my veins with energy. His words, his passion, his conviction. He is so true to who he is and shares his message with the world through impactful lyrics. I admire his ability to create music that resonates so deeply.

Take “Same Love” for example…

a song about being free to love who we want to love & not being confined to stereotypes that cripple our ability to keep an open mind about how life “should” be lived. His song “Good Ole Days” shares the message that we need to live for today; stay in the moment and enjoy the journey instead of rushing to get to the next moment. “Glorious” is filling my soul with all the words I need right now:

“I feel glorious, glorious

Got a chance to start again

I was born for this, born for this

It’s who I am, how could I forget?”

As I began the new year with renewed energy and optimism, I knew that I wanted to use this song to inspire others through music, dance & movement. It’s easy to lose inspiration when things seem to be falling apart, but teaching dance continues to remind me that the arts have the power to heal and transform hearts and minds.

I teach an adult hip hop class at my dance studio, Ohana School of Performing Arts and this year we have turned it into a performance team. This group fills my bucket each and every week. These adults are all juggling their own lives… as teachers, entrepreneurs, parents, healthcare workers, first responders; all coming from the chaos of their own lives once a week to dance together. One student even logs in to class virtually from Florida. They practice the choreography while at work, in a parking lot, in their kitchen making dinner for their family or in their head while driving.

We all come together to connect, learn and to allow dance to heal our souls.

Unfortunately, there haven’t been many opportunities to perform due to state restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to continue to carry out our mission of spreading peace & positivity through performance, we put together a video to showcase their passion and to inspire others.

No matter what sets your soul on fire … be it dancing, painting with watercolors, shooting hoops, playing an instrument … never lose sight of it. It’s never too late to try something new and you are never too old to do what brings you joy.

This song has so many important reminders for us to hear:

…things are just things, they don’t make you who you are.
…when I leave here on this earth, did I take more than I gave?
…I got my breath, I got my faith and I remember why I came.
…every day is a chance to start again, and no matter how dark the journey gets, the sun will come out and shine for us all.

Our wish for you is that you see the sunlight, even in the hardest times. And always remember, this life is glorious.

Power of positivity

Be ever-mindful of silver linings.

What is a silver lining? According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a “consoling or hopeful prospect. How many consoling or hopeful prospects did you consider in the past 9 months?

Throughout 2020, many people have referred to the silver linings in their life. Situations and conditions weren’t ideal, but so many chose to see the hope and the light during a time that felt dark and uncertain. I received an email on August 12th from a love warrior, fellow mother and friend of mine Marianna Litovich, in which she wrote, “I’m staying ever-mindful of silver linings.” I read these words and loved the saying so much. I wrote it on the chalkboard in my house and I repeated it to myself often.

I continued to remind myself that for every challenge thrown my way, someone, somewhere would give anything to trade my challenge with theirs.

And, I trusted that so many of the difficult situations I was faced with would eventually bring so much good. It was hard to see in the moment, but I held onto faith that even the toughest times would bring about a future of happiness. After all, I’ve lived through quite a few of these moments to confidently say “everything happens for a reason.”

We often hear stories about how one single moment or decision can drastically change your life. Just a few from my life journey:

  1. Sometimes a “mistake” can end up being the best decision you ever make.” – Mandy Hale

    For so long, my dream was to be on So You Think You Can Dance. I felt as though it was what I was meant to do, who I was meant to be. In January, 2010, my Mom and I stood in line in the pouring rain in New York City for over 10 hours. I wanted this more than anything I had ever wanted in my life. I had my 8 count routine ready to perform. When my chance came to audition, I fell on my butt in front of EVERYONE. I got cut. I was humiliated, devastated and crushed. I cried the entire 3 hour drive home.

    In February 2010, 22NEWS was promoting auditions for “Search for a Star”, a chance to host a brand new live TV show; no experience necessary. I decided to audition and ended up getting the job. A job that would completely change my life for the better. Funny how life works. If I DID get onto So You Think You Can Dance, I never would have auditioned for the TV host job. And my life wouldn’t be what it is today. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now I can say, “Thank goodness I fell on my ass in front of hundreds of people.” Never thought I would say that.

2. “There will always be a reason why you meet people. Either you need them to change your life or you’re the one that will change theirs.” – Angel Flonis Harefa

It was a rainy Wednesday night. I got out of work at 22NEWS at 5PM, and had plans to go to Unity Dance Spectrum in Chicopee, MA to shoot a story about a dance class for all abilities. It was after-hours and I had decided to do this story on my own time. I remember thinking, “I’m so tired, the weather is yucky, maybe I’ll just cancel for tonight.” But I knew that they were expecting me, so I went to do the story. I interviewed the studio owner and the class instructor, who were so dedicated to spreading joy through dance. I watched the joy on the dancers’ faces as they took their turn going across the floor; with ribbon dancers, huge smiles and loads of confidence. The energy was so amazing. I loved seeing these diverse dancers with so many different stories come together to dance & support one another. I wrapped up the shoot, got in my car and started to cry. I was so moved by this class, it was in that moment I decided I wanted to see more of this joy in the world. I decided to quit my day job and open a dance studio for all ages and abilities. 5 years later, one of the volunteer instructors from that very class, Danielle Stelma, now runs the class, “Western Mass Dance & Movement” at my dance studio, Ohana School of Performing Arts. Talk about life coming full circle, and one simple decision made all the difference in my life.

The universe has a plan for each of us. Even in our most difficult moments, we are growing, we are learning & we are paving the way for our next adventure. If you want to enjoy the beautiful rainbow, you’ll have to endure the rain.

As we rang in the new year last December 31st, did we ever even fathom what the year 2020 would be like? Who would have thought that that a global pandemic would be the catalyst for a year filled with animosity, hate, negativity and immense challenge?

If you lost your job this year, trust that it was the path you were meant to take in this life. As Gabby Bernstein says, “Obstacles are detours in the right direction.” As hard as it may be to consider, it could be the best thing that ever happens to you.

If you lost a loved one this year, trust that they will shine their light on you for the rest of your life. You will always have an angel to guide you as your continue your own journey. Trust that they are at peace in a place far more beautiful than this world.

If you had to close your small family-owned business, trust that you were meant for great things and the best is yet to come. Believe that this is not the end. Instead of seeing it as the end of something wonderful, view it as the beginning of something even better.

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself.
Walter Anderson

The most precious gift we all have is our life. So what? 2020 was challenging. It had some hurdles that we all had to jump over.

But if you are reading this, you are alive and that is truly something to celebrate, today and always. Let’s go, 2021!

Power of positivity

I’m not like Iggy Azalea. I’m not fancy.

My closet is about the size of my big toenail. For real though, I am constantly purging clothing because there just isn’t anywhere to store it. I’ve already taken over my seven-year-old son’s closet with my “part-time TV gig clothing”. My clothing closet is likely meant to store a couple of winter coats and old bridesmaids dresses, but it’s currently a healthy combination of flannel shirts, various gray sweaters in 50 different shades (ok, maybe more like 11), sweatshirts and Ohana gear. I have closet envy whenever I see a closet that is the size of my bathroom. Bad example. Most walk-in closets are bigger than my bathroom. You know what I mean… those closets you can “walk-in” to. Why am I envious? Is it because of their ability to organize their stuff so nicely, or because they can do a pirouette between their color-coordinated blouses and shoe shelves? I remind myself that having more space often leads to having more stuff; which isn’t always a good thing, as I have learned from 2 men who decided to change their lifestyle.

I recently watched “Minimalism” on Netflix, and was so inspired by their desire to live more freely with less material objects. In an effort to help people end their obsession with stuff, minimalists Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus share that, “Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom.”

Sounds magical, doesn’t it? Who would have thought that getting rid of material things and living more simply would bring freedom. They share that, “Minimalists don’t focus on having less, less, less. We focus on making room for more: more time, more passion, more creativity, more experiences, more contribution, more contentment, more freedom. Clearing the clutter from life’s path helps make that room.”

I need to be clear: I am certainly not a minimalist. I store my pots and pans in my oven because I don’t have any room in my kitchen cabinets. In my defense, I don’t have many cabinets. But, I am inspired by the message and working hard everyday to live more fully with less things.

Watching “Tiny House Nation” with my kids has been a real eye-opener, too. It’s amazing how people can downsize so drastically and find themselves happier than ever before. My kids keep saying “We want to live in a tiny house!” Dude, we already do! It’s like a human pinball machine over here. I easily get wrapped up in what I need to have to feel complete or accomplished as a homeowner (I talk more about my garage envy here). Yet, I think these shows serve as a healthy reminder to change the conversation that our consumer-driven society is having. Change our focus from “I’m better & more successful with a big house and lots of expensive stuff” to “I’m better & more successful with the happiness in my life and the people I share it with.” I try to always look at my home as the cozy place where we get to share memories, holidays, life. It’s not much, it’s not fancy, and I will be making a dining room table out of my kids’ 2 desks for Thanksgiving because we don’t have a table to sit at. Nor do we have a dining room. I don’t even have matching dinner plates or fine china (because I’m not fancy) so I got some matching ones at the Dollar Tree. And, I got some plastic champagne flutes. Boom. Done.

This Thanksgiving holiday, we will all be minimizing what we normally enjoy due to COVID-19. Let’s turn our perspective towards all the many wonderful moments we get to share and enjoy. In Josh & Ryan’s words: Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things—which aren’t things at all. Happy Thanksgiving to you & all the many things you have that aren’t things at all.

Power of positivity

You always have a choice. Choose to be kind.

Have you ever felt that yuck in your stomach… that moment where you wish you could take back your words? Take back that negative thought or judgment? Where you wish you would have thought a little longer before you acted a certain way towards someone? We all have. I am guilty, for sure. I have caught myself feeling terrible for judging someone before I really knew their story. But, then we learn and grow from the experience, and hopefully the next time we aren’t quick to be critical. We remind ourselves to choose again. Your decision to choose love might just be exactly what someone needs to turn their life around.

“You never know when you’ll be the person who ignites an awakening in someone else. That’s why it’s so important to weave kindness and love into all of your interactions. You can’t predict when you will be the catalyst for something wonderful to light up another human being – but there will be many such moments. And your love and compassion will be the exact thing someone needs to feel understood, and okay, and inspired. “ – Scott stabile 

Someone cuts you off on the highway. You want to honk and get angry. What you don’t know is that someone just got a phone call that their loved one has little time left and they are rushing to get by their side. They are trying to process their emotions and furiously rushing to see them. Take a deep breathe and be grateful you aren’t rushing to the same place.

Someone is callous to you in line at the grocery store. What you don’t know is that someone is at the store buying food for their family and they’re unsure if their card will decline. They are anxious, overwhelmed, stressed, tired and embarrassed. They need to bring food home for their children but are afraid they may not be able to today. Kill them with kindness instead of being rude back.

You are in your car at a red light. Someone is taking a long time to cross the street, and the light turns green. You get angry and impatient. What you don’t know is that person is blind. Be patient and compassionate.

You’re sitting in your living room, staring out the window, enjoying the sunshine as it warms your face. You see someone walk up to your mailbox and open it. You immediately think that they are about to steal something from you. You quickly run outside and yell, “What do you think you’re doing looking in my mailbox?” The person looks at you nervously, shaken up by your enraged energy. “I’m sorry, your mail accidentally got left in my mailbox. I just stopped by to bring it to you. I thought I’d just leave it here, in your mailbox.” Someone was actually doing a kind deed. Take a moment to consider what’s happening before assuming the worst. Approach with kindness.

While waiting in line to meet Mickey Mouse in Disney World, you see someone “cut” to the front of the line. You get angry, and march over to the cast member to complain that someone skipped the line. What you didn’t know is that the family who got to go to the front of the line are in Disney World because their 6 year old son has a rare disease that has given him months to live. The Make-A-Wish Foundation made his wish to meet Mickey Mouse come true. Be grateful. You get to be in Disney World with your healthy child.

We can all be so quick to judge others’ without knowing the full story. If we take a moment to stop and listen to others and hear it from their perspective, perhaps we would have more love in the world. I’m constantly reminded of this whenever things don’t go perfectly or seem to be against me. The reality is, life could always be so much worse. It’s a lesson in perspective & humility.

This is a gentle reminder for me, you, all of us: be kind to everyone. Be patient and understanding. If everything you see is rooted in your own identity, it will be impossible to see from another’s point of view. Consider what life is like for someone whose shoes you have not walked a mile in.

“We’re all going through shit. Each one of us, in our own way. Let’s remember that when we see each other on the street in stores at work and at home. Everywhere. Let’s be good to one another and cut each other some slack.”

Amen, Scott Stabile. Amen.

Power of positivity

Are you expecting? Or did you just eat a footlong sub?

What do you see when you look in the mirror? Do you see strength? Do you see beauty? Grace? A warrior? Or, do you see smile lines from the joy and laughter you’ve been blessed with? Or do you see someone who doesn’t fit the “mold” of what you think you should look like?

Real talk: I am constantly guilty of criticizing what I see when I look in the mirror. I’m working towards authentic self-love every single damn day. I’ve got lots of hang-ups and things I am self-conscious about: my big nose, my height, cellulite, my flat feet, my missing tooth. The biggest struggle is with the pooch-belly I have from bearing 2 children. Well, technically, diastasis recti, which by definition is “the partial or complete separation of the rectus abdominis, or “six-pack” muscles, which meet at the midline of your stomach. Six pack muscles? That’s funny.

That post-baby pooch belly is not just the result of having 2 kids. It’s also the aftermath of many “YOLO” moments. Oh, there’s homemade brownies for dessert? YOLO! There’s freshly-baked french bread with dipping oil? YOLO! Seriously though, doesn’t the phrase “you only live once” somehow make everything justifiable?

I’ve been the victim of a few “insert foot in mouth” moments. Like the time my son asked me if I had a baby in my belly because it was big. My son is my second child. I only have 2 children. That’s the thing about kids… absolutely no filter.

When I was working as a TV host, I was at a shoot with a client and had one of the guests put her hand on my stomach and, very excitedly ask, “Is that a belly I’m seeing? When are you due?!” Wow, lady. Actually, the only thing taking up real estate in my belly is a footlong subway grinder (…and nacho cheese doritos). Did you feel the kick? That’s gas bubbles from the processed American cheese and pickled banana peppers. So. Awkward. Imagine her back pedaling her way out of that one. “Oh! I meant food baby!” to which I wanted to say (but didn’t) “Oh really? You did? You’re wondering when I’m due. For what? My next trip to the bathroom?” Needless to say, I wore spanx to every shoot after that. I’ve got spanx in every form: the biketard spanx, the full body onesie spanx, the shorts, the corset. That shit is magic.

You know what else is magic? Spray tanning abs onto your stomach. For real. I’m no body painting expert, but a couple of kriss kross lines (3 rows, 2 columns) and you’re sure to look like Shakira at the big game halftime show. The trick is getting the spray that goes on golden brown so you can see where it’s going. Not sure that I’m really fooling anyone. Nobody has ever asked me how I got six-pack abs overnight. But, it makes me feel a little more confident in a two-piece! Or at the very least, prevents people from asking when my third child is due to arrive.

If you really wanna know all the answers to rock solid abs, just ask Alexa. “Alexa, how can I get a six pack?” She just told me that 7-11 sells 6 packs of beer, soda, malt beverages & water. Welp, she isn’t wrong. I could use a cold beer after seeing these photos:

Not a baby. –>

Definitely a baby. –>

Listen, the point is, this is something I struggle with everyday. But why? Is it because I feel the need to look like I did when I was 21? Or because I will be prettier with a flatter stomach? Or people will like me more? Will I be happier?

My dear friend & fellow local entrepreneur Melaney Houle (check out her blog here) is constantly sharing words of wisdom surrounding body positivity. She owns a boutique that focuses on celebrating individuality and empowering women to feel beautiful & confident in their own skin. Their mission statement preaches, “We believe that every woman deserves to feel her best every single day. We believe that women are powerful and beautiful JUST AS THEY ARE.” Melaney’s words advocating body positivity are so refreshing:

“I started to view my legs, which were often an area of insecurity, as powerful pillars of strength. These jiggly thighs have enabled me to climb mountains, kick my legs to swim in the sea, run in the yard with my babies. These legs, despite my own criticism of their appearance, have carried me through LIFE. They have walked me through the darkest valleys and back out into the sunshine. ”
– Melaney Houle

These worlds have inspired me to change the way I view my body in the mirror. I am a pillar of strength. My pooch-belly mom-tummy can be viewed as a trophy for safely carrying & delivering two babies into this world. It’s the belly that shakes with laughter from all of the joy I get the fortune of being surrounded by. This belly is healthy, even if it isn’t flat. This belly doesn’t define me, my character or my heart. This belly won’t be seen in a crop top, but will be celebrated in spanx.

Our insecurities are real, I get it. But let’s not let them consume or define us (believe me, I’m talking to myself here, too!). Our inner light is what reveals our most sincere, truest beauty. We can’t keep trying to be someone else’s definition of “perfect.” Be you, live a healthy life but don’t sacrifice the piece of cake because you want the world to see your abs in a two piece. Spray tan that shit on and call it a day. Who’s with me?!

Power of positivity

A timeline of my teeth and a lesson in perspective.

Let’s take a little trip down memory lane. The memories aren’t all sunshine & rainbows, because we’re going to be looking closely at my dental journey. Sounds boring, right?

Buckle your seatbelt. It’s a bumpy ride.

1985: I was born. I didn’t have any teeth.

1991-ish: Do you remember buying shoes at Caldor and they were always attached with a piece of plastic? I was about 6 years old when I realized losing a tooth meant money from the tooth fairy (cha-ching!) so I would hide behind furniture and use that plastic piece to pull my teeth out. I think I “lost” 4 in one week. Had I known that at age 34 I would be getting my permanent teeth pulled, I probably would have reconsidered. And, I apparently had not yet learned about entrepreneurship and that a lemonade stand at my parents annual tag sale would have been more lucrative.

This was me, in 2nd grade. Mrs. Goulding’s class. It was Halloween ( in case that wasn’t obvious) and that was not a wig, nor my attempt at witchy looking hair. That was just my hair. And my teeth pre-braces.

A year later… got the hair under control, sort of. And, all of my baby teeth are gone (because I yanked them all out).

1996: There wasn’t a question of if; it was when. The time was now. I was 10 years old and I got my braces. Funny that I used to want braces so badly that I would take bubble gum and put it across my teeth and stick earring backs to it. Yes, really. That’s what 8 year olds did before youtube & iPads.

On the left: Me with braces in 1996.

On the right: Lord Farquaad from Shrek.

Uncanny resemblance.

Me with my “brace face”… smiling big because I probably just had a dance party in my room, rockin’ out to “100% Pure Love” by Crystal Waters that I recorded from the radio on a cassette tape.

2000: After 4 years, I finally get my braces off. I smiled all the time; I felt pretty & confident for the first time in my life.

2004: I was chewing on a pencil while studying for an exam at Wagner College on Staten Island, and my back left molar breaks in half. I immediately drive 3 hours home to see my dentist. I get a root canal and a crown.

2007: I was smiling and dancing at my Mom’s zumba studio in Holyoke, when I looked in the mirror and noticed my bottom tooth was black. I thought I was hallucinating. I looked like a pirate. Turns out, a blood vessel popped underneath my tooth and the blood turned my tooth black. I had a root canal on that tooth and had it internally bleached 3 times.

2008: I didn’t wear my retainer as often as I should have (important lesson learned for anyone getting braces off!) So, my teeth shifted… and I got invisalign for 2 years.

2018: My back molar (the one that cracked and had a crown) had to get extracted due to an infection, and I had to get a flipper while the bone healed. If you didn’t know, a flipper is essentially a fake tooth that clips in. I called it my Glade plug-in. After 3 months with a missing tooth, I got a mini dental implant and a permanent tooth was put in.

2019: I feel like I have a loose tooth, so I get it checked out (no, I didn’t yank it out because the tooth fairy goes MIA when you turn 18). Turns out, I have another bone infection above the tooth next to my implant. I see an endodontist to have an apicoectomy (gum surgery) and have the infection cleaned up.

June 2020: The infection comes back. I have to get the tooth extracted, get a bone graft due to significant bone loss, get another flipper (glade plug-in 2.0), wait 3 months and get another implant. In the meantime, I order a tooth replacement kit on Etsy for $20 because my flipper didn’t fit great. Worked like a charm. Who knew?

That’s the black hole of bone loss caused from years of orthodontic work, tooth movement & infection.

Today: Thursday, October 29th, 2020, I went to the periodontist to get my implant put in. I assumed this meant that I would also be getting rid of the flipper and would be getting my permanent tooth installed. Big day!!
Turns out, the bone graft didn’t take. I had to get more artificial bone put in around the screw that was implanted in hopes that it will heal around the implant. And, I have to wait and wear the flipper for another 3 months.

X-ray taken today. The screw on the left is the implant that was just installed. The right is my implant from 2 years ago. I guess you could say I’m all screwed up.
If you look closely you can see my plug-in, Glade. Not to be confused with my boyfriend, Wade.

So, I cried in the chair. I cried because I am tired of clipping this tooth in everyday, after already having been through this once before. I’m tired of not smiling big out of fear that people will wonder “what the heck is that pink stuff” stuck above my tooth. I hated the sound of the drill, vibrating into my bone. In 34 years, I’ve seen a dentist, an orthodontist, an endodontist, a periodontist… how many dontists are there?
I hated that I have gone through so much with my damn teeth. I was angry and feeling sorry for myself. Until I checked myself up, gave myself a pep talk about perspective and was reminded of this analogy:

You are standing in a field, all alone. It’s cold. It’s raining. You are soaking wet. In the distance you see a tornado coming at you. What do you do? You run. You don’t even care that it’s raining, or you are cold, or that you are alone. You have bigger problems.

Now, take away the tornado. You are alone, it’s cold, it’s raining and you are soaking wet. You cry because you wish it would stop raining. That’s your biggest problem.

Now, take away the rain. You are alone, it’s cold. You cry because you are cold. That’s your biggest problem.

Now, take away the cold. You are alone. You cry because you are alone. That’s your biggest problem. However, none of these other problems even phased you when you had a tornado coming your direction. Our problems seem so big if we neglect to be grateful for what we do have.

If I had some of the problems that so many people are unfortunately living: job loss, loss of a loved one, a terrifying diagnosis, house fire… this tooth would be no big deal. Of course, we are all allowed to feel sadness, despair, frustration and feel sorry for ourselves. We are human. But as I came home to my 2 kids, safe and healthy, my warm home, a comfy couch, a cozy blanket and friends and family offering to help me out, I realized I can live another 3 months with this damn plug-in tooth, because I have so many blessings that far outweigh the negative. And it’s very ironic… a compliment that I often get is “you have really nice teeth.” If you ONLY knew. And now you do. And guess what? Teeth or no teeth, I will never stop smiling, because I get to live another day above ground. And because I no longer look like Lord Farquaad.

Power of positivity

The surest way to see love is to be love.

“Our world is not made beautiful when more of us are skinny, or smooth, or blonde. It’s made beautiful when more of us are happy, with less shame and more love for ourselves. And with deeper compassion and empathy for one another.” -Scott Stabile, “Big Love”

I met Scott during a short retreat to Canyon Ranch with a group of empowering, supportive women. There were so many classes and activities to choose from. The list included everything from Pilates to Zumba, cooking class to contemplative circles, astrology to seasonal hikes. Scott Stabile was a guest instructor, only staying at Canyon Ranch for a limited period of time. He was offering a soul writing course, and though it was later in the evening, I knew I wanted to take it. I had no idea who he was or what he was going to share, but the short description of his class was enough to tell me that he was someone I wanted to learn from.

Scott inspired me with his words and his energy. He was gentle, calm, warm and passionate about kindness & love. His class was emotional and powerful, and inspired me to start writing more. I bought several copies of his coffee table book, “Just Love” and refer to it often for simple reminders. I’m currently listening to his book “Big Love”… which shares stories from his life and lessons in how choosing love over hate makes all the difference in living a happy, meaningful life. And, why forgiveness is so crucial to living authentically. Scott’s words hold so much power, as he reminds us of exactly what we need to hear.

“ Love never recedes but only grows the more freely it’s given, so let’s be sure to share love with all we encounter. We are changing more lives than we know. We are love.”

-Scott Stabile, “Just Love.”

As we all experience the chaos and abnormality that is 2020; a worldwide pandemic, racial injustice, political turmoil, social media negativity…. we need to be reminded of what matters.

We get this opportunity to live & love each day, to make memories, to lift others up, to be kind, to make a difference, to feel full, to feel rich with abundance from connection rather than material things. What will hatred bring? More hatred. What will love bring? More love. BIG love. Just love.

Love perpetuates love. Whenever I see this word – LOVE – it makes me feel warm. There’s something about it that resonates so strongly in my soul. Meeting Scott was very powerful; his message was clear and made perfect sense to me. We all need to learn from his message, especially now. We can have opinions that differ, we can believe in a different higher power, we can have different political views, we can choose to live our lives in ways that are different from others but no matter what, treat others and the world with love. It will make all the difference 💛

For more information on Scott & his work, visit scottstabile.com.

Power of positivity

Time to make a “New Day Resolution”

Every year, as we inch closer to January 1st, we talk about making a New Year’s Resolution. According to the Cambridge Dictionary online, a New Year’s Resolution is, “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.” You know it and you know it well… the whole “new year, new me” conversation.

It’s interesting to me that we feel compelled to set these new goals with ourselves when one year ends and another begins. Quite often, we don’t follow through with the resolutions we make. Perhaps it’s because we do it out of obligation rather than a sincere desire to make a change. Maybe it’s because the resolutions are so incredibly unattainable that we end up giving up entirely.

I mean, can you really lose 30 pounds in 8 weeks? Can you really change your diet to eat healthy for the rest of your life right after a holiday season of indulging in Andes mints, Lindt truffles, homemade cookies and Mom’s famous meat pie?

Funny story about that:

My Dad is the classic New Year’s Resolution-er. Every. single. year. He puts on his gym shorts, sweatband and high top chucks and heads to the YMCA at 5AM before work. This happens from January 2nd through 17th. Now, if you know my Dad, you know he lives life to the fullest. He has garlic bread with his pasta, he really enjoys a good cocktail, he doesn’t say no to dessert. This past year, his resolution was to “eat healthier and lose weight”. At a family party on January 11th, tacos were on the menu. Instead of using a tortilla shell, he used lettuce. This stopped all of us in our tracks. Dad? Lettuce wrap? Fast forward 1 month at a family party in February, he was wrapping his tacos up in a flour tortilla shell. This dubbed him the name “January Jeff.” If I’m being honest, I like February-December Jeff much better.

Ultimately, the goal is to improve the quality of your life, in some way. If this is the case, why can’t we resolve to be better any day of the year?

Ok, back to my Dad.

Whenever I needed a boost of encouragement, for as along as I can remember, he always told me, “When you wake up in the morning, look to the east. The sun will always rise, I guarantee it. A chance to start again. A brand new day!”

Today is a new day, a chance to start fresh. It’s an opportunity to be a better version of yourself than you were yesterday. Why wait until January 1st? When you know what it is you want to achieve, make your “New Day Resolution”. Time to go from “new year, new you” to “new day, new you.” And guess what? That happens everyday.

Wake up, look to the east. Resolve to be better. The sun will rise, I guarantee it.

Power of positivity

If only I could park my car in my garage.

Jealousy. What causes us to feel this? And why does it seem to consume us and eat us up inside? I remember feeling lots of jealousy growing up.

Jealous of the girls with clear skin. Jealous of the dancers who were naturally flexible. Jealous of Linnea Bauer who always got a 110 on her tests. I mean, how did she ALWAYS get 10 points over perfect?! And, she was tall. Talk about double whammy of jealousy.

In many ways, those jealous feelings are what motivated me to work harder and be a better version of myself; as a person, dancer and student. It had me doing my splits to improve my flexibility, studying hard to get an over-perfect score on my test. I tried every acne medication to help me clear up my skin (literally, everything. Props to my parents for that). Can you remember back to what made you feel waves of jealousy as a teen growing up?! Funny how those things seem so silly now, but how important they were to us then. And, how they helped shape who we are today.

Fast forward to adult life: I still feel jealousy, not as frequently or as often… but about the most ridiculous things.

What am I jealous of now?

People who don’t have to clip a tooth in everyday. Broadway stars with voices that fill your soul with their power (though I do pretend I have the voice of an angel when I’m belting out show-tunes in the car). People who don’t have bunions (#dancerlife). Those who have the willpower to say no to a Wendy’s Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger with fries and a Diet Coke. Cars parked in a garage.

Do you hear how crazy that sounds?

Cars parked in a garage.

Whenever I drive by a house and see their cars parked IN their garage, I get jealous. Am I jealous of the cars because they look so cozy tucked in there? Am I jealous that the homeowner doesn’t have a slew of bikes, buckets, firewood and plastic lawn ornaments cluttering their garage? Maybe I’m jealous of their sheetrock walls with perfectly organized shelves. Why does it give me a feeling of not being good enough?

I’ve been obsessing over it and have made it my mission to clean out my garage, just to park my damn car in there. And then, of course, garage-envy leads to shed-envy which leads to shed-location envy which leads to how-is-their-grass-so-green envy which then makes me green with envy… it’s a vicious cycle! So, when I finally do park my car in my garage, will it make my life better? Will I be happier? I finally checked myself and changed my perspective. I now look at my garage as what I want to define it as: a tiny home for all the fun toys, gadgets, bikes, decorations and remote control cars that will bring us countless memories to cherish. My car is currently parked in the driveway and will be for the foreseeable future.

Funny how we can’t just be content with what is. All these things we wish we had or could do. But, look at all we do have; the blessings all around us.

I’ve done a lot of self-work, read a lot of books about focusing on what matters and have really discovered what it means to be happy and content with what I have. I have posted quotes on my vision board about how “we spend so much time worrying about what we don’t have that we forget about what we do have.” I’ve found so much truth in the blessings and fulfillment that “community over competition” brings. I’ve had the realization that I may not have everything I want or need right now, but what I’ve got is pretty damn amazing. We’re human, jealousy happens. But let’s check ourselves when it does. What we do and don’t have, eat, wear and own doesn’t define us. We define us. And that is a beautiful thing. 💛

Power of positivity

Positive words lead to a positive life.

Positive thoughts lead to positive outcomes.

Positive words lead to a positive life.

It’s easy for so many of us to get caught up in the day to day stress, especially during these incredibly challenging times. Without the ability to share dance with my students, I’ve felt very lost and unable to truly release. I believe in the power of movement & its ability to create long-lasting, powerful change. 

Without the ability to connect through dance, I’ve been seeking other ways to work through my thoughts & emotions. One thing I have been intentional about is staying positive around my children. Whether you call it an affirmation, a mantra or a declaration, simple words repeated often can make a big difference in the influence we have on those around us, and in the way we live our lives and treat others.  To keep myself in a positive mindset, I’ve been leaning into these mantras:

I create happiness by appreciating the little things in life.

I am enough.

I live to give love. 

Today I will not stress over things I cannot control

Our children are going to be faced with plenty of unknowns and will be uncharted territory for many. Encourage them to use positive affirmations. I found this list for kids online that I love! 

When you repeat them often, and believe in them, you can start to make positive changes in your own life and in the world. <3