Tuesday Tunesday: Summertime Madness

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Happy Tunesday, friends! Can you believe it’s already August??? Where did the summer, no, where did the year go??? It seems like just yesterday, I was ringing in a new year, and now we’re eight months in with just four to go. It’s insane! Ferris Bueller was right–

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Whether you realize it or not, school resumes for some of you this month and for most of you next month. We are officially in countdown mode to the end of the summer, so what better way to kick off the first Tunesday of August than with a few of my favorite summer tunes. Slow down, look around, take it all in. Pull out your best flotation device, lounge in the pool, click play, and don’t miss a thing because you can never get it back if you do. What are you listening to this summer? Comment below!
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Motivational Monday: A Tale of 2 F.E.A.Rs

IMG_8533I have a friend who is so terrified of literally everything, she practically sits at home and hibernates. She’s even rarely willing to engage in serious conversations because she’s afraid of the possible outcome. Sometimes it gets to the point where she sabotages her own relationships. Now, if you’re thinking “this doesn’t sound like much of a life,” then you’re right! It doesn’t! The thing about fear is that it’s totally natural and understandable. We’re all afraid of something, it just looks different. Maybe you’re afraid of scary movies or heights. Maybe you’re afraid to say no. Maybe you’re afraid of rejection or taking risks. Maybe it’s all of the above, and it makes sense! Life can be a pretty scary place and situations may arise that cause us to pause and maybe even retreat, especially when we can’t anticipate the consequence, but when we allow fear to control us to the point where we’re paralyzed, well, that’s when we’ve got to put in some work and decide to either Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise.

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Kermit’s Cup of Tea: Friday Findings

cup1Happy Friday, friends! How is it possible that time can feel like it’s both dragging along and flying by? I’ve been working at my old school in Massachusettes since late June, and here we are with just one week left before I head back home to Chicago. I honestly never thought I’d see the finish line. I love it up here and it’s been so incredible reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, but there’s nothing like being in your own bed and in your own space, right? We also have Saturday classes, so it’ll be really nice to have a real weekend and just enjoy my summer before starting a new graduate program this fall. It’s hard to believe this may very well be the last time I teach English, so I’m definitely savoring every moment. How are you spending your summer break? Comment below, and without further adieu, here are two of my favorite finds of the week. Have a great weekend!

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Thoughtful Thursday: Being Present is a Present, a Reflection and Life Update

IMG_6064Happy Thursday, friends! Apologies for the late post, but I didn’t know how to say what I wanted to say without being long-winded. That was a mountain I didn’t quite conquer, so bear with me. I don’t know much, but what I do know now is that for the first time in my entire adult life, I can honestly say that I feel happy, calm, and centered. I’ve always been the type of person who looks ahead in life and believes that if I have the next best thing or what my heart desires, then I can be happy and live the perfect life. The problem with this thinking, however, is that it means my happiness is solely dependent on the unforeseeable future and on what was not and could not be guaranteed. If I couldn’t guarantee achieving the next best thing, then I couldn’t be happy. Living in the future felt like a constant wheel I just couldn’t get off of–a state of mind I couldn’t escape. It was also an unproductive and unhealthy place to be. I can only imagine what I’ve missed out on because I was too afraid to be still and live in the moment. If only I knew early on how easy it could be to start over. I know it’s not this easy for others, but all it took for me was a conversation with a new friend, a new moon, setting new intentions, and intentionally practicing daily meditation to completely change my mindset for the better and recognize that being present is the best present of all. I hope this is a start for you.

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Wellness Wednesday: Build Your Tribe

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Just a few of my favorite people. This is an accurate depiction of our friendship captured in one hilariously embarrassing pre-college graduation photo (2010).

On a recently unusually cold morning in Massachusettes, I started the day like I typically do, listening to Pandora Radio. Scrolling through my 99 stations (of which I honestly only listen to like, 10), I stumbled upon and selected 90s R&B. After suffering through a series of commercials, I heard a familiar beat with synthesizers, baseline, and a kick drum that made way for melodious vocals. I recognized it from the very beginning: TLC’s “What About Your Friends” (1992). Now, I was only four-years-old when this song first hit the airwaves, but having older sisters pretty much meant that this song was on constant rotation at the time. 25 years later, and I’m still dancing around the room every time it comes on. The only difference is, I’m now more aware of and see the value in the lyrics because having incredible friends who stand by you at your lowest low and highest high is one of the most significant and necessary elements for one’s overall well-being.

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Tuesday Tunesday: Somewhere I Belong

Since starting this blog, one of my main goals was to address mental health, and I’ve been really candid about sharing my own ups and downs, much of which started, unsurprisingly, when I began my freshman year of high school (what is it about that age???). I was experiencing so much and wasn’t quite sure how to cope until I found unhealthy strategies that weren’t really helping me properly cope or heal, namely self-harming. Thankfully, I didn’t stay there long, and to this day, I firmly believe music is one of the things that pulled me from this darkness. It was one band, in particular, that helped me put into words what I was feeling inside, helped me know that I was not alone, helped me find somewhere I belong.

Last week, Chester Bennington, lead singer of Linkin Park, succumbed to the demons that plagued him for so long, the very same demons he helped save me from. I’m still processing and mourning such a deep loss, and as an adult who largely grew up with him and his bandmates, I know I can never listen to those albums the same. Chester left this world without a suicide note because, if you listen closely to those lyrics, every painful and angst-filled song was one. We found peace, understanding, and even hope within each album. And while I’m so thankful for what Linkin Park did for me and so many others, I only wish Chester had, too, been saved. I don’t know what support systems Chester had, but I hope you know that if you ever find yourself in the darkness, please look for the light. Seek help. Tell me. Tell someone you trust. You don’t have to walk this road alone. I promise.

In case you or someone you know needs support, here are some resources:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK
Crisis Text Line, the free, nationwide, 24/7 text message service for people in crisis, is here to support. For support in the United States, text HELLO to 741741 or message at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine.
For support outside the US, find resources at http://www.suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html

Now, to honor his work and legacy, here are five (plus two LIVE bonuses) of my favorite and most meaningful Linkin Park songs from their earlier albums. #RIPChester

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Motivational Monday: Embrace the New Moon and Celebrate New Beginnings

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Happy Monday, friends! It has been exactly 101 days since my last post, and while I never intended to take a break, particularly one this long, I need you to know that it was needed in a way I didn’t realize or expect. And it’s probably no surprise that my return is one day after the new moon–a point where we leave behind the old and make way for the new. I don’t think this period of the month or my life could have come at a more perfect time! Now, the break was hard, as are most disruptions and endings. But when we let go of that which does not serve us, when we leave behind the pain and suffering, we make room for peace, love, and joy. I’m feeling empowered and renewed this morning, and I’m so happy to be back, so here’s to this new moon and new beginnings. May goodness abound. And before I share all the goodness and positive changes I’ve encountered over the last three months, I feel like I need to explain my absence. In short, I no longer felt like myself.

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