Happy Anniversary, New York City

Today I had the pleasure of grabbing brunch with one of my dearest friends, Karen. Karen was visiting from Louisiana and headed back after our meal. Seeing Karen and catching up was so special and timely. This week is my 5 year anniversary of moving to the city.

Five years ago, I was going through one of the toughest times in my life. It was during that time that I had no one to rely on and no where to go. My sisters and mother were beyond encouraging and supportive, I wouldn't have made it through that period of my life without them.

Then the universe sent me Karen. I don't remember how Karen and I connected, but we bonded instantly. My ex had always tried to poison me against her, but she ended up being one of the people who saved my life. That whole period of my life is blurry. I would go to random parking lots and talk to Karen on the phone bawling my eyes out. She was my safe haven and support system when my entire world was upside down. She allowed me to be open and honest and never once judged me. She saw something in me that many people couldn't see and she pushed me to move to NYC.

The past five years have been filled with insane memories. Things you just can't make up. A shared bunk bed, underground casino, nightclub brunches and people who make you question everything about yourself. It's been good, bad and ugly. There are days I've sat on a park bench crying and others where I've danced my way home.

I've had my heart broken and sewn back together more than once. I've also broken a few hearts as well. I've rocked short hair, long hair and every color hair. I've read more books and watched more shows. I've predicted my future better than psychics and negotiated half decks for $10 bucks. I've found the best places for tacos and margaritas. I've entered into an open relationship with Manhattan and Montauk.

I've swiped right to the wrong people and left to potentially right people. I've given my business card out to a cutie on the subway. I've written my number in eyeliner on napkins. I've become family with most doormen in NYC. I've toasted on rooftops overlooking the most beautiful views of the city. I've gotten lost and then found. I've ridden every subway line in NYC. I've lived in 8 apartments and a hotel across Murray Hill, Upper East Side, Midtown, Lower East Side, Chelsea, Upper West Side and had a sharehouse in Montauk.

I've had (not including temp jobs) 6 jobs throughout my time here. Some were absolutely wrong for me, but taught me all I know today.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life
If I hadn't catered, interned for a shoe designer, or worked at a million other places, I wouldn't be who I am today. I've learned that it's ok to hop around and find out what you like and what you don't like. I've learned that if you really enjoy something, you will be more successful. The only person you owe something to is yourself. Life is too short to be showing up to a place that doesn't value you, or see your potential.

Haters Gonna Hate
If I had listened to all of the people who told me I would never make it, I would've never made it. I was told I shouldn't even go to college. That I should work in a mall, because I love clothes. I was told I would come back with my pockets empty with copious amounts of debt and regret. Every job I left cautioned me against what the universe was moving me towards. People tried to make me afraid, but I let faith rule over fear.

The Universe Has You Boo
In 2012, the universe sent me Karen and 3 weeks later sent me to NYC. When you surrender to the possibilities life wants to open you up to, the universe shows up. Karen reminded me of times she was worried I wouldn't make it. There were so many times where I was beaten down by the man, homeless, broken up with, betrayed by friends, etc. There were times I thought I can't do this anymore. It's too hard to be supporting myself in this expensive city with no connections and no guarantor and no friends or job or love or hope. I'd let myself wallow, but eventually I got up again.

Get Back On The Horse
There were so many times that life just bucked me right out of the saddle. It felt like one day I'd be all trottin' along and the next I'm getting bucked off and stomped on. Regardless of how painful each lesson was I never questioned grabbing the reigns again.

Life Is Simple
We control our fate or we let our fate control us. Sometimes when you're at the lowest point possible the universe brings someone to pull you out of the hole. Karen did it for me and this weekend I saw strangers bond together to save a jumper in Nolita.

I was walking through the Broadway Lafayette stop when I saw people gathered around under a woman who was perched up on a beam. She wept so loudly as she shouted that no one cared about her. People below her talked to her and reassured her that she was cared for and loved. It was the most beautiful act of humanity I've seen in quite some time. I called the police and another person climbed across the beam to hold her and hug her. By the end of it, the police came and the woman rested her head on the stranger's shoulder.


As I celebrate my anniversary to my longest relationship yet, I'm filled with happiness and I'm proud. Nothing worth achieving is easy. I will be posting my plans over the next few weeks as I've spent this weekend evaluating what's next for me.

Thank you for reading and stay encouraged! The journey can be a lot, but it's always worth it.

Lazy Is NOT Sexy

I was in one of my favorite spin classes with my real life Ken doll instructor when he said something that hit me, “Lazy is NOT sexy”. Yes, we all know this, but something about hearing it out loud stuck with me. We want more money, abs, a rom-com romance, but do we really want to do the work? It’s easy to dream big and let wishful thinking take the wheel, but that’s like driving without a destination. You’re wasting time and fuel going nowhere.

Talk is cheap and without a planned road map, you’re gonna end up in the middle of nowhere having accomplished nothing but a burnout. Why do we stall planning? Why do we procrastinate? Personally, I do it out of fear. Sometimes it can be comforting to lean into complacency and hope that things will change and work out without you having to do anything. I do this and then I wonder why I haven’t lost a million pounds, or written a book.

The truth is we are the only things standing in our own way. We limit ourselves without even realizing it. Deep rooted beliefs can be transformed; we can rewrite our narrative and become someone new. I hate when people come to me with a problem and not a solution. If you’re going to complain and not do anything to change your circumstances then expect your circumstances not to remain the same.

I used to be so proactive and while I’m accomplishing many of the things I set out to do, I’ve become a bit complacent. Complacency is comfortable. Sitting on the side lines of your life watching it pass by without playing an active role is EASY. Playing the victim is EASY. Getting outside of your comfort zone is SCARY, but it’s doable.

For me, having a routine and a schedule is absolutely necessary. My extreme zest for life aka ADD aka FOMO loves the fact that I can wake up and book a last minute class, schedule a brunch, go to a gala… all on a whim, but when I live this way, I’m holding myself back from major success. Sure, scoring last minute front row VIP tickets to X,Y,Z is something I would not only welcome, but definitely pursue; however, it should be more of the exception and less of the norm.

There is so much I want to see and do that I tend to do it all until I’m completely depleted. I run and run and run until my gas is on E and I end up wearing my clothes inside out (symbolic of my life at times). The thought of structure kind of grosses me out and makes me want to hit snooze all at the same time. Meal prep? A calendar? Planned workouts, set days for laundry…. Dude, gag me. I hate it. It bores me, but it’s what I need and when I think of the ROI it’s massive. The few minutes it takes to actually plan out a week is invaluable.

The next piece is committing to your plan. It’s easier to achieve commitment if you have a plan in place and defined goals and purpose behind your decisions. WOOF. I used to be so overwhelmed by the thought of making long-term and short-term goals. This caused me to be very impulsive and blame others when the universe didn’t go my way.

We can't sit around and let life happen to us because we're too afraid to take the reigns and make the changes we truly desire. Relying on chance, or hope is a waste of time. Instead we should create a life that achieves of our deepest desires by proactively planning and setting ourselves up for success.

You don't wake up and run a marathon, preparation is key. As soon as we actively set our intentions and define our dreams the universe will guide us, so long as we are making effort. The decision to change is the hardest part. As soon as you decide, the execution becomes easier. As soon as you've figured out what you want the universe will see to it that you get it. You just have to truly want the change with every ounce of your being.

As I reflect on 2017, I feel extremely optimistic and excited for the future! As I discover what’s next for me, I will be sharing tips and tricks and lessons I learn along the way. I will be consuming my time with a new routine and reporting back to this blog to stay accountable. I’m on a journey to be in the best mental, physical and spiritual place I’ve ever been and I hope you’ll join me.

Let’s carpe the diem together <3.

 

Xx

The Rest Is Still Unwritten

Not to go all Natasha Bedingfield on ya, but really what a concept. We wake up every day with the freedom to choose whether we will carpe the diem, or just let it waste away. How incredible is that? Every single day we have the ability to rewrite our narrative chapter by chapter until our lives transform into a whole new story. I hear so many people complain about how unfair life is. I get it. If you want to be in a constant state of comparison then NYC is the place to be. Here in the big Apple, we're constantly striving for more.

The city is a buffet, but with the right moves you could potentially earn yourself anything on the menu. We've become so bored with the buffet and we want the next best thing. It doesn't matter the buffet is full of variety and able to sustain our needs, because beyond it lies the next best thing. None of us know what that thing is, but we can confirm it exists. For every apartment there is another with better amenities, location and offerings. For every job there is a competitor with better titles, compensation and perks. For every relationship, there is an illusion of someone else who checks every box and is somehow still intriguing and mysterious.

Nothing can be enough because everything can be improved. We have spin bikes in pools and DJs with strobe lights at HIIT classes. We have apps to help us meet our match. Each app promising to deliver your soulmate and competing with one another over features like your ability to hide your public profile and filter by height and alcohol consumption.

The world is our oyster. Anything we want we can have and yet we fixate on what we lack. Today is the last Sunday of the summer, which is the perfect time to start reevaluating goals for the fall. I've been in a somewhat transitional phase. Things have been absolutely wonderful and I'm extremely happy, but I find myself asking, what's next?

My 5 year anniversary of moving to the city is right around the corner, September 2nd. I think about how much I've changed in five years and it blows my mind. I don't remember being scared of coming to NYC, but I do remember being scared of the thought of staying in Louisiana. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that my dream life awaited me in NYC. I never felt anxious or questioned how it would work out. I was operating in fight or flight mode and letting the universe guide me. I trusted that if I set my intentions and lived by faith that I would accomplish my goals.

I broke the process down and though it was challenging and frustrating, I never gave up. I sold everything, found a roommate, created a budget, established goals and hopped on that one-way flight never to return. Was moving to the city without knowing anyone and without having a job or any proof that I would make it scary? Absolutely, but if I had never tried I would've risked so much more.

I definitely felt at times that I bit off more than I could chew. Everything in NYC is a process. Finding apartments, friends, boyfriends and jobs was overwhelming. There were and are days still where I come home completely defeated. When I feel defeated, or a funk coming on, I proactively fight against it. I remind myself of my past accomplishments and future goals and it gives me the strength to keep going.

So far, 2017 has been my favorite year in NYC. This is the year I feel I've grown the most and set the most boundaries for myself. I've stopped blaming others for problems I'm facing and begun soul searching to find out what it is that I want for myself and for my life.

Life is fast and fleeting, but we can make it beautiful. Regardless of your beliefs on after life there is one thing we can all agree to right now. That is that we are here and that's all we know and it's all we're guaranteed. What if the breath you're taking right now is your last? Are you pleased with your life? Is there more you could be doing? And I don't mean trading an old toy for a new fancier version. I mean what can you do to make yourself the next best thing? Forget your material desires and really envision you and your soul in the universe. What does that look like? What does it feel like for you?

I used to be scared to ask myself these questions. I had become so accustomed to living in survivor mode that I didn't know how to handle shifting into thriving mode. When you go from surviving to thriving you have the luxury of thinking about how you want to become versus who you simply have to be to get by.

My goal in moving to the city was to close a very ugly chapter of my life. I had a near death situation that jolted my psyche into a realization that if I didn't take control of my life, my life would take control of me. I closed that book of my life and decided to rewrite my story, but in doing that I forgot to remind myself of the pain.

Sometimes taking a quick glance in the rear view reminds you of lessons you must forgive, but not forget. That lesson taught me that life is precious. That people are humans capable of doing terrible things. That things aren't always fair or easy and don't always make sense. Most importantly that you have to forge a plan and trust the universe.

So go out into the world guns blazing and channel your inner badass. Don't cut yourself short and don't listen to anyone who wants to rain on your parade. Things won't always work out, or go as planned, but that's ok. Take that class, quit that job, kiss that man… just do it all, do everything now while you can. The most important part is to never stop growing.

Live Your Life

What a week, amirite? I'm not sure if something is up with the moon, upcoming eclipse, or if the universe was just kind of throwing an f you at all of us? Anyway, it was rough.

Today, one of my best friends reached out and told me she had been crying all morning over her ex-boyfriend. We talked for awhile and I told her that this would pass. I compared the end of a relationship to when you cut yourself. Initially the wound is all consuming, it hurts so much. Eventually it starts to scab and then it becomes less consuming. It's still painful to look at and sensitive to touch, but it's not an open wound. That said, every time you bump into it, or pick at it the healing has to start over. However, if you put a bandaid on it and do your best to leave it alone eventually it will heal.

Healing doesn't mean that the pain subsides fully, or that you won't have a scar. What it does mean is that over time the wound will become less and less painful. The scar will change what was once everything to a faint memory of what once was. Goes back to that old saying, time heals all wounds.

I promised her hope as I reflected on the loss of my first love. The relationship was something I never thought I would get over. I was certain there would always be a hole in my heart where he once resided. It took time, but eventually I moved on.

I moved on so much so that I realized while he was perfect for me then, he would not be now. We weren't soulmates, but he served a purpose in my life. He was a safe haven for secrets and a warm hand to hold. He happened to me when I least expected it and in the most unlikely of places. He was flawed and so was I, but what he gave me was priceless. For a time, he loved me in a way that I really needed. Sometimes we just need something for a certain amount of time to serve a certain purpose and then move on.

Eventually our expiration came and we parted ways. Losing him was one of the hardest things I've ever experienced. It wasn't just the loss of a relationship, but the death of a best friend. I kept the wound open for far too long. One of us always found a way to reopen the wound. By the end of it every day we were throwing salt in it. Eventually, I had no choice, but to remove him from my life. It was toxic and unhealthy. I was never going to heal and we had outlived our time.

I recently wrote him a letter and thanked him for the growth he helped me accomplish. He didn't work out. It just wasn't the right timing and now we've become completely different people. I would never be in that relationship now, but we gave it a good run.

It's crazy how the older you get the more you evaluate your relationships and the more you not only want but need for yourself. This year I've made a point to reassess every part of my life and rid anything/one who is no longer serving a purpose in my life. Creating boundaries and setting my intent for what I want in terms of everything really has been life altering.

Surrounding myself with positivity and people and places that are bringing me up has changed everything for me. I used to think being single was depressing, but now I celebrate it. I celebrate it because I'm actively choosing who I allow into my life. I don't need to have a mediocre relationship to feel validated, or even an amazing one that just isn't right for me.

Through doing the work and giving myself time, I've completely healed. Now, the person I decide to be in a relationship with will be one who celebrates me rather than tolerates me. Someone who is so excited to meet my friends, hear about my life and slowly, but surely emerge their world into mine. So much of what I sought in the past was validation through relationships, but now I'm perfectly happy on my own.

You can't possibly know how long it will take to recover, but if you trust in the universe it won't let you down. Eventually, you'll wake up and notice how blue the sky is, or how delicious your frosé tastes. You'll get comments in random places like the subway from strangers about how happy you look. You won't have to try to be okay anymore, because you'll actually be happy again. Until that day, just do your best to remember that you only live once and today could be your last day. Practice patience with yourself and don't beat yourself up if you reopen the wound a few times. Learn your lessons and realize what you deserve and don't accept anything less than pure magic.

The only thing I've become certain of is that when we are focused on living our best lives, our best lives happen. Grieve. Mourn. Do what you have to do, but then live your life. When I decided to live authentically and be unapologetically myself, my life changed. I have bad days, but I have good people to ride out the storm with me. Find those people and you'll find yourself and no wound will be too deep to heal.

Happy Friday, my loves!

Xx.

Avoidance

Yikes! Avoidance, I know it all too well. The funny thing about it is that sometimes you can't simply connect the dots on why you're avoiding something, or what at your core you're actually avoiding. Sometimes it just hits you like a sack of bricks and you're like… f&$@.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I had been avoiding something major in my life. I made excuses, I procrastinated, I blamed others and even got angry with others until I realized this was my beast of burden.

For me, I had lived in a delusional state thinking that if I ignored the problem long enough it would go away, it didn't. Instead, it grew bigger and bigger until I felt consumed by it and trapped. I felt overwhelmed and scared.

Last night, I talked to my best friend about this issue and she was so incredibly supportive. Sometimes just saying something out loud gives it less power. Sharing something with someone and asking for help made me feel more in control.

Apart from her listening and not judging me, she helped me think of next steps. This is what love is. For the first time, I felt cared for in a way that I hadn't in a very long time. My anxiety eased and I felt at peace with the universe.

I woke up today and a new day presented itself. A brand new chance to start over and to chip away at my now less intimidating monster. So, I started the day with a new workout class, Bari Bounce Lab. I entered the studio to open arms by one of my best friends who hugged me and loved me. I then got out of my comfort zone and bounced my heart out on a mini trampoline to amazing music and a bomb instructor.

When I walked out of the studio I felt an insane amount of gratitude. We get so caught up in the day to day. So caught up in avoiding the things we should be prioritizing that we forget to give thanks. Life is nothing without relationships.

The issue I had been avoiding made me feel alone. Today, as I walked out of the studio I realized just how far from alone I am.

I have best friends who are family who provide advice and help in times of need. I have mentors who advise me and deeply care about my professional success and personal development. I have trainers who fill me with inspiration and make me stronger each class. I have colleagues who hold me accountable and push me to be my best by stretching me. I have wonderful doormen and staff at my apartment building who keep me safe and listen to my stories. And biological family. The list goes on…

I owe it to myself and to the people who keep me going to embrace my challenges with a positive attitude. I don't believe in looking back, but every now and then it's nice to reflect on accomplishments. They can remind you of your strength and ability to crush any roadblock that comes your way.

So, I encourage you while encouraging myself to abandon avoidance and take back control. I tend to want immediate results and I'm learning that life is about consistency. You have to try and try and try until you see change. Nothing worth having/accomplishing comes easy anyway.

Xx.