Me + sports = NOT awesome.

Gym class was my worst enemy. I was always picked last for teams. I despised wearing the ripped mesh, stretched out overshirt thingy that smelled like stale sweat. I wanted nothing more than to dodge dodgeball. And, somehow, for some strange reason, I was always constipated, had cramps or sprained my ankle on days when we had gym. I think everyone was fine with my excuses, including the gym teacher. Having me sit on the bleachers was safer for everyone.

Dance was my passion, no doubt about it, but one year I decided to try softball. Why?  Because the cool kids played sports. I felt like one of the popular kids, rockin’ my purple & green sting rays uniform. My friend Leanne’s Dad was the coach, so I would hitch rides with them to practices and games. Before heading to the field, I would do my hair and makeup and douse myself in cotton candy scented body splash. No wonder her Dad nicknamed me “stinky”. My memories of softball involve getting attacked by bees in the outfield while rehearsing choreography for dance routines and dreading any cute boys showing up to watch me embarrass myself. Whenever a ball would come my way I would either duck and cover or run the other way, screaming in fear. When it was my turn to bat, I was told to never swing, but to bunt. So I let the ball come to my bat and I would run for my life. Literally, for my life, out of fear of being totally humiliated because my outfield skills were less than satisfactory. I had to make up for it with my non-swinging, running skills. The coach nicely encouraged my parents to have me stick to dance. 

My only other experience playing sports was dribbling a basketball in my driveway growing up. I remember watching Space Jam and thinking I could be a pretty sweet basketball player because I got super fired up whenever I heard “Whoomp, there it is.” I didn’t think that being in the  10th percentile for height would ever work against me. Or the fact that I had zero coordination when it came to sports.  

My son is a huge fan of sports; thank goodness his Dad was a star athlete and can help him in that department. I do try: I bought one of those ball-pitching machines on amazon. I throw the football with him but it’s always him teaching (or laughing at) me. And, tossing a lacrosse ball to each other has turned into kick-ball-change lacrosse. It’s a new jazz dance-lacrosse hybrid sport that I invented. 

I can’t tell you how many times I have had the game of football explained to me, yet I still pretend to watch and understand it. I’m 35 years old and am pretty good at understanding things that are explained to me. For some reason, my brain rejects the understanding of sports. When I was in middle school I was a cheerleader, for football. That’s how I thought I learned to spell the word rowdy with confidence.  “R-O-W-D-I-E, that’s the way you spell rowdie!” No, no it’s not. That’s a lie.  I would yell “first in 10, let’s do it again” like  a bad-ass. Like I know what that meant.  I still have no idea. Or “Hey, hey you, get out of our way because today is the day we will put you away.” Where are we putting you? What does that mean? I actually have no idea what is happening. At all. What are downs? Yard lines? And quarter, running, full…so. many. backs. I own a few Patriots shirts. I think Edelman is hot. Tom Brady is the GOAT, apparently. I love going to football watching parties. For the taco dip. 

Seth Stutman & I when we hosted Mass Appeal on WWLP 22NEWS together.

As much as I joke about how sports and me just never got along, I never realized how distressing it was until my kids started playing basketball. 

From 5th-8th grade, I was bullied. I was called names, made fun of if I still had makeup on my eyes from the dance competition I was in the weekend before, laughed at for the way I dressed. I confided in “friends” about a traumatic situation that had happened to me, and they shared my secret with the entire school and spread rumors about me. I cried everyday, begging my mom to let me stay home. Our school guidance counselor, Mr. Freeman, became my best friend. I would eat lunch with him everyday in his office. Everyone was afraid of him, but to me, he was my go-to for encouragement and support.  It was during this time that I realized I didn’t fit in there. The gymnasium, where everyone loved to go to play sports, have gym class and went for pep rallies, was my most despised place to be. Eventually, I transferred to Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School and found my people. 

Fast forward 20 years, I brought my kids to basketball practice;  into the same gym in the same school where I grew up. I had a physical reaction, hearing the balls bouncing  on the echoing gym floor made me stop dead in my tracks. I couldn’t bring myself to enter the gym. I noticed my eyes were filling with tears. It triggered all of the memories of middle school; days I didn’t want to remember. It was the first time I realized just how much I negatively associate sports with such a difficult period in my life. 

Interestingly, life has a way of showing us signs when we need them most. Just today, I had a video from 2 years ago pop up on my newsfeed from my Facebook memories. It was from when I was filling in as co-host on Mass Appeal with Danny New, and was all about the fun things you can buy to celebrate the Super Bowl. I shared it, tagged Danny and proceeded to scroll his page to see what he has been up to since transferring to his new TV job in Tampa, FL. My heart fell heavy when I read that he had recently been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He wrote about how it was discovered:

“A not-so-fun life update: I have thyroid cancer. It was discovered on an MRI after I threw out my back golfing. The bad news: I suck at golf. The good news: Sucking at golf possibly saved my life.” – Danny New

This response from Danny is no surprise, as he’s always a “glass half full” person. But, the irony: I sat early this morning to finish writing this blog post, took a short break, find a video memory with Danny, share it with him, do a little Facebook stalk, only to discover such difficult news about my friend and to learn a valuable lesson that relates to exactly what I was writing about.  I read his words: “sucking at golf possibly saved my life.”

Interesting that I never thought about how I can turn my disdain for all things sports into a positive; appreciating the ways it helped me to grow, learn & chase my true passions. As Gabby Bernstein says, “Obstacles are detours in the right direction.” Perhaps my brain will give understanding football another chance and I’ll actually take a break from the snack table to learn what 1st in 10 means. The biggest lesson learned:  your life can change drastically in a single moment; a single diagnosis. So live for now and embrace all that makes you who you are.  

Sending all my love & good vibes to you, Danny! You can conquer anything with your positive mindset & optimistic view on life! You’ve got this! <3


Can you call it “beauty sleep” when you’re wearing anti-snoring devices and bunion correctors?

Experts say … sleep is important. Ever heard of Sleeping Beauty? How long did she sleep for? I just googled the question, and apparently in the original fairy tale, it was 100 years. Now I want to know, how did she look so young and glam after being asleep for that long? I just googled “beauty sleep” and it’s a real thing, for sure. According to Michael Breus, PhD, a board-certified sleep specialist, if you start getting 1 to 3 more hours of Zzz’s, and you could see some improvement in as little as a day. Keep it up, and “within 2 to 3 weeks, people will notice that you’re sleeping better by the way you look,” Breus says.

Okay, so remember when Beyonce said “I woke up like this.” That’s a bunch of BS. Who really wakes up like that? I mean, I go to sleep looking far from flawless, never mind how I look when I wake up.

Here’s my prepare-for-sleep-routine:

First, I snore. I only know this because I’ve been told that I do and because I wake myself up from snoring, especially when I get a massage. I’m just waiting for someone to buy me a “I don’t snore, I dream I’m a chainsaw” tee-shirt. I saw my doctor for the issue years ago. I was hoping for some miracle method to help me with the struggle, but he just told me to put tennis balls in a backpack and wear that to bed. He was serious. What? Dude, I’m dating. What am I supposed to tell my boyfriend? Oh, don’t mind the knapsack, I’m just packing my bag for sleepytown.

So, then I got some breath right strips, which I quickly found out do not work. At least for severe cases like mine. Who knows how long it actually stays on your nose, because I usually wake up with it stuck to my forehead. See how she isn’t smiling…and then she is. It’s a lie.

I decided to try this “silicone anti snore nasal dilator stop snoring nose clip.” I chose the red option; go for the “Rudolph-chic” look. Bonus: it also doubles as a runny-nose deposit reservoir.

I’ve got a backpack, a sticker on my nose and a device that plugs into my nostrils. Alas, still snoring. So, I decide to splurge on the “Аnti-Snore Stop Snoring Chin Strap.” I looked like I had shiny blue child-size speedo underwear around my head. The snoring continued.

On to the next contraption… ever heard of the “Anti Snoring Tongue Retaining Device Snore Solution”. It’s like a condom for your tongue. Look at this guy, snuggling his girlfriend like it’s no big deal. Also, extra comfort? Nothing about a rubber jellyfish shaped mouthpiece around my tongue was comfortable.

In addition to all of my anti-snore devices, I use zit cream at night, because sleepy time is when you really take care of those pesky pimples. I also have my retainers in so that my teeth are kept in a straight line. And a silky hair cap to keep my hair from frizzing even more than it already does.

And my Mom had bought me a pair of bunion correctors. Well, it was an entire kit (clearly she was trying to tell me something. Hint taken).

The issue with those is that:

  1. They are painful to wear.
  2. They are difficult to figure out. So many straps and so much velcro.
  3. They are made with hard plastic, so I click when I walk. Sounds like a horse is clip clopping to the bathroom to pee at 2am.

Now you’ll never see a picture of me with all of my sleep equipment. Just paint the mental picture for yourself:

A backpack with tennis balls, a breath right strip stuck to my nose, a red nostril piece plugged in, a shiny blue chin strap, a tongue condom, zit cream, retainers, a silk sleep cap and bunion correctors.

I look like an exotic backpacking sea creature from a horror movie.

What I’m saying is, perception is not reality. What you see on the outside is how everyone “shows up”. On social media, at events, on television. There’s photoshop, filters, fake eyelashes, perfect angles, bomb lighting. Don’t let yourself get wrapped up in the perfection that everyone else seems to flaunt. Don’t let their seemingly perfect figure/ complexion/ hair/life make you feel less than. You are the only YOU there is and the only YOU there ever has been or ever will be. Embrace it. Even the most flawless humans are human. I guarantee Beyonce is headed to bed wearing zit cream, a breath right strip and shiny blue underwear around her head too. Love who you are, always. Bunions and all.


Living a “good vibes” kind of life.

You see it everywhere now, right? On pencil bags. Embroidered on hats. Shirts. Mugs. Socks. Flags. Frying Pans. You name it, I guarantee you can find it. It’s shared by people on social media. It’s preached on car magnets. It’s even on underwear (I know, I have a pair). What is it, you ask?

These two words that are thrown around like pennies, yet hold such important meaning: “Good Vibes”.

But, what does it really mean? You can’t say you’re all “good vibes” and then bash someone on social media. You can’t say you live a “good vibes” life and then try to break down another small business by saying unkind words about them.

Leading a good vibes life is about LIVING it. A wise woman once said, “You preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.” You can say all the words you want, but if you don’t stand behind it with your actions and your example, the words are empty. So, what does that mean?

Treat everyone you meet with kindness and love. It doesn’t matter who they are, how long you’ve known them or whether or not they can do anything for you. They deserve a smile and a kind soul to greet them. Lift up the underdog. Support those in the SAME industry as you because if you truly believe in your work, then you should want to see MORE of it in the world.

Build people up. Not always “oh, your makeup is on point today”… (which is totally cool sometimes, because it would certainly give me a pick me up!) but with a sincere comment about their character: “you make a difference in this world in all the ways you give of your time and your love. I’m grateful for you!” Good vibes means not being jealous of others, but using their inspiration and greatness to fuel your own soul. Good vibes means to celebrate differences: what makes us different and unique is what makes us beautiful.

Good vibes is loving who you are. Accepting your whole self – for your mistakes, for your triumphs, for overcoming obstacles & for your strength.

Good vibes is bringing good energy into every room you walk into. No one likes being under a storm cloud. Bring the sunshine.

Good vibes is listening to others, hearing their story and having empathy. We all need to listen to each other more.

Good vibes is respecting everyone. Welcoming with open arms.

Good vibes is living a humble, grounded life. Being happy with all you have, and truly believing that life just can’t get any better. The grass is greener where you water it. And guess what? Good vibes will make your grass the greenest green you have ever seen.

So the next time you see that mug that says “Good Vibes Only”… buy it. And then, spread nothing but good vibes, always.