August Already?!?

Where did the year go? Wasn’t it just January yesterday? That’s how I feel.  I’ll wake up tomorrow and everyone around me will be playing Christmas songs.  Slow down! Did your year move fast too? Since we’re already into the last half of 2019, I thought I would take a moment to look back on what I have accomplished this year.

At first glance, it doesn’t seem like much being that January was just yesterday.  Still let me take a look back.  In January I was able to shoot two commercials before eloping, honeymooning, and then heading to Superbowl Live for a ten day gig.  That was a busy month.

February moved in slow motion.  It’s the shortest month of the year but it felt like the longest.  March through July were basically one month.  Though during that time I was able to add a few more clients to my promo resume and meet some wonderful people at tradeshows.  I ran into some of my favorite artists/actors while working background and going to auditions.  I was even able to sneak two more getaways in.

Now that I’m looking back I see I have actually made some moves this year and I am adding to my calendar every day.  I woke up feeling somewhat defeated by time but that was the wrong attitude.  That’s something else I have been working on this year, perspective.  Someone told me I should approach tasks with the perspective of “I get to” instead of “I have to.” It’s a way to find positives in things I otherwise wouldn’t.  I could easily focus on things that went awry but that does not benefit me.  In fact, it harms me. Instead I choose to shift my focus elsewhere.

That’s how I plan to spend the rest of the year, focusing on the positive.  Whether the rest of this year flies by or drags on I will make it my goal to find good in each day.  Some days may be a challenge but I happily accept that challenge.  I am so looking forward to what is ahead waiting for me.  May you spend the rest of the year getting to do things that you love.

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Tips for Travel Planning

Travel is rewarding but the planning can sometimes be a headache; especially if you are planning for a group. I have a few vacation planning tips that make my travel planning experience a pleasant one.

  1. If you know where you want to go, start planning early.  You don’t have to book early but start comparing pricing.  You’ll notice patterns.  Historically, I have found the best airline pricing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  If you don’t have a destination in mind and just want to get away, you can save big on last minute bundles.  Nearly every travel site has last minute deals.
  2. If you’re not yet ready to book, do your searching in an incognito tab.  When sites collect cookies they also adjust prices on what you’re searching.  Using the incognito tab will help you avoid price hikes.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for extras, free extras.  I have gotten my hotel upgraded from a King to a Suite just by asking.  If you are checking in and there are upgraded rooms available, the hotel isn’t losing anything.  I have done the same with late checkout requests. Just ask.  While you’re at it ask for car rental upgrades and flight upgrades as well.  The worst that can happen is they’ll say “no.”
  4. Make a packing list.  While most hotels will have anything you forget, it’s best to just have it in the first place.
  5. Take pictures of your passport and any other important documents and email them to yourself.  If these items are lost or stolen, having those photos could save you.

 

Lastly, once you book relax and start your countdown.

 

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It’s June Ya’ll!

June has arrived and my smile could not be bigger.  This is the best time of the year to be in the Mid Atlantic.  With the sunny days, relief can be found from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  The sun is my serotonin.  I am filled with excitement at the thought of all the outdoor festivals ahead.  I can already smell the aroma of food trucks in the air and hear the live music.  Just the thought of it brings me joy.  Of course, it’s not all good.  Warm weather comes with some negatives as well.  I choose to focus on the good.

For now, my focus is on all the positives.  I’m looking forward to long walks, beautiful landscaping, staycations, vacations, and flip flops.  Let the festivities begin!

Grateful for My Village

Few things are more devastating than plans gone awry but life happens.  The good news is if you are wise enough to learn from the challenges you face, you will come out a better person.  I try to use these experiences to positively add to my character and to be of assistance to others that are facing similar situations.  Doing this allows me to stray from feelings of anger and bitterness and instead express gratitude.  I know when you are pained or disappointed the last thing you’re thinking is to be grateful.  However, when the dust settles you will be able to identify the positives.  Here are some of my tips for overcoming.

Self reflection is key.  I try to take a step back and examine the role I played.  I also look for missteps like signs I may have ignored.  Taking responsibility for how my actions may have contributed to an outcome will assist me in not repeating the same mistake.  At the same time I want to avoid beating myself up.  This serves no real purpose.

Next I allow myself to be in my feelings.  Anger is okay.  Sadness is okay.  I just remind myself not to live in these feelings.  Acknowledge them, experience them, and then move on.  Never allow yourself to stay down for too long.

Now this is where my village comes in.  Talking to people you trust helps immensely.  I am grateful to have a small circle of people who I can depend on.  They always know what to say and what to offer.  For me it’s usually just a listening ear or another perspective.  The people who love you generally will not steer you wrong, at least not intentionally.

As my life changes in ways I could not have expected, I can not help but smile and feel joy when I think about the people that love me.  It is a beautiful thing to love and to feel love.  That love allows me to keep my smile throughout all things.

Life Hack: Lists

Making lists has made some of my most stressful days more manageable.  This morning at 3am I was already dreading the day ahead.  I was repeatedly running through the days to do list and growing more tired every time I thought about it.  Then I remembered how listing helps.

A few weeks ago I was preparing for back to back trips and feeling overwhelmed.  Then I wrote out everything I needed to accomplish before traveling.  For some reason writing it down felt like a transfer of the burden.  The responsibilities were very much still mine but the weight felt of my shoulders.  I no longer felt the need to constantly recall the list in my head.  I took it one step at a time.  I crossed things of the list as I accomplished them.  With the list, my overwhelming day was no longer insurmountable.

Today is going to be a list day.  There is power in writing.  Whether you’re writing a list, a goal, or a journal entry; there is power in pen and paper.  The next time you set out to accomplish something, write it down.  Watch how much more manageable it will be.

Tips For Those Who Journal

These tips are meant to assist both new and veteran writers with consistency. Choose the ones that work with your lifestyle.

  1. Decide how often you should put aside time to write.  My personal preference is daily.  Others may choose to write weekly.  Decide what works best for you and make an effort to keep that schedule.
  2. Choose your writing style.  I’m freeform.  Others need outlines or guidelines.  For instance, you may want to start with a recap of events. Next you could outline goals.  Your next entry could track progress on goals set etc.
  3. Choose your writing format.  This goes hand and hand with setting a schedule.  I journal manually.  If you journal daily and manually, it’s a good idea to keep your journal in plain sight.  My ideal writing time is right before bed.  Keeping my journal on my nightstand keeps me consistent.  (Worried about privacy? I’ll address that in my next post.)  If you’re a spontaneous manual writer, consider a small journal that can easily fit into a purse or pocket.  The same concept applies to those who journal electronically.  Keep your laptop or tablet near something you use daily.  Make sure your platform is mobile friendly for spontaneous posts.
  4. The most important tip is to not allow yourself to become discouraged.  You will miss a day, or two, or three.  That’s okay.  Life happens.  What’s important is that you return to your routine.

 

 

How Journaling Saved My Life

Everyone needs an outlet. Sometimes life can get the best of you. The good news is you always have a choice in how you respond. Admitedly I haven’t always chosen the right response.  Fortunately I’m able to recognize my missteps and learn from them.  Self awareness is imperative in growth.  It is my hope that sharing my mistakes will prevent others from making those very same mistakes.

One of the most beneficial lessons I’ve learned is also the simplest.  Slow down.  That’s it.  For me, slowing down simply means not making major decisions when emotions are running high.  I have made the worst decisions when I was angry, sad, overly concerned, or depressed.  Taking a moment to live in the emotion helps.  I use the time to explore how I got to that emotion and if I should even be there.

Then there are my dark days.  They are not ominous as they sound.  My dark days are just an extension of me slowing down.  For me a dark day is a day of quiet.  It’s a day focused solely on meditation and prayer.  Dark days work miracles for my anxiety.  The thing is, with scheduling, dark days can sometimes be impossible.  That’s where journaling comes in.

Journaling is therapeutic.  It provides much needed release. It creates a record that can help in reaching self-awareness.  It can be done nearly anywhere.  It doesn’t have to take much time and best of all it doesn’t cost a thing.

The release I get from writing out my thoughts is priceless.  I started writing poetry at a young age.  Unfortunately I didn’t save my work.  I wrote to heal and would discard it afterwards.  I wish I hadn’t.  There’s so much value in written word.  I’m making a commitment to myself to stick to my writing and to save it.  I know in my case it will ultimately lead me to find peace during the darkest storms.  Perhaps journaling can do the same for you.