Tag Archives: Birthday

Hello Mid-Twenties!

I am less than a month from my 26th birthday. You probably just rolled your eyes. For whatever reason, being in my mid-20’s sounds so…grown up. Don’t get me wrong, life is fabulous, I couldn’t ask for more. But things feel real now. Does that make sense? If not, oh well, that’s not the point.

As I normally do around my birthday, I reflect on the past year…the good, the bad, the in between. As I was reflecting on this past year, I started thinking of the highlights from the first half of my twenties. Some are all about having fun and others are valuable life lessons. Of course, it’s going to look different for everyone but here are my favorites:

  • Move out: Obviously, only do this if the timing is right for you. There is something so liberating about living on your own and making your own decisions. You also learn real fast how to budget and deal with other human beings that aren’t your family aka your roommate(s).
  • Know where your money is going: Understand interest rates on credit cards, what you’re being charged for rent, how long 401K vesting takes at your company, etc. It’s super important to understand your money so you can create a realistic budget. Companies such as Personal Capital have great, free financial software that can help you manage your finances and even plan for retirement.
  • Explore the world: There is nothing better than traveling and experiencing new cultures. It gives perspective on how people around the world live. I also find traveling to be a great source of renewal.
  • Go to the doctor: All of them, including your dentist and eye doctor. We tend to fling our health around in our twenties only to be disappointed when we suddenly have high blood pressure by 30. Be proactive and see your doctors regularly. Figure out your own health insurance too!
  • Dance it out: Grey’s Anatomy reference here. But some of the best nights were spent dancing with my girlfriends and screaming the Beyonce lyrics. You need those carefree, anything goes nights to remember who you are.
  • Date: This one is hard for me. But, go on dates, meet new people who make you laugh. Relationships can be worthwhile adventures. Don’t be too jaded; we all have those failed attempts from college and our early twenties. Also, don’t knock the online dating websites until you’ve tried them. Even if you’re in a serious relationship, make time for date nights that don’t involve leftovers.
  • Find a hobby outside of work: When you’re starting your career, work quickly becomes a big part of your life. Nothing wrong with this but everyone needs balance. Find something you love to do (volunteer, exercise, knit, doesn’t matter) and dedicate time to it. You’ll appreciate the balance you’ve achieved as you get older.
  • Make peace with your family: Everyone has family drama, but yours is unique to your family. Remember not all drama is your drama and you can love someone while also creating some space from them. Also, spend time with your grandparents/elders, you will miss them more than you know when they’re gone.

S&TC.jpgBottom line: Do whatever is going to work best for you. I’ve spend too much time trying to please people and live a life that isn’t mine. Your happiness comes first, everything else is secondary. Sharing one of my favorite Sex in the City quotes too as a reminder for all of us.

Let me know what you would add to list in the comments section below!

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Motivation Mondays: Stop Trying to Control Everyone!

This past week, I celebrated by 24th birthday. I am blessed to have so many amazing people in my life. The amount of birthday wishes I received along with cards and phone calls was overwhelming. I also got to spend time with some of my favorite people. Overall, ringing in 24 was a huge success.

Every year around my birthday, I think about how I want this next year to be different from the last. What areas of personal growth do I want to focus on? How can I step up my game at work? I usually get overambitious and write a list of goals for myself. But this year there’s one thing I need to focus on: assuming everyone thinks like I do.

I’ve talked about the comparison trap, managing exceptions and professional F.O.M.O. before. But as I was planning out each piece of my week-long birthday celebration, this idea occurred to me. Not everyone operates like I do. No two people think the exact same thing about a situation. I’ve assumed the people close to me think along the same lines as me. But just because we’re close doesn’t mean we have the same opinion on birthday celebrations, politics or anything else. Diverse perspectives are what makes the world go around!

ThinkingMy consistent issue is that I assume people (mostly in my personal life) have the same values/intentions/beliefs that I do. I expect my family and friends to fall in line with my thinking. News flash Alex, the world doesn’t revolve around you. Sometimes it’s really hard when people don’t prioritize the way you do. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, upsetting and downright disappointing. But you live, you learn and begin to understand why that person might feel that way. Easier said then done most of the time.

Yesterday, I attended a brunch held by Temple Women’s Network, where their keynote speaker Yasmine Mustafa, a Temple alum, told a story about biking Death Road in Bolivia. Named appropriately, this path is along a steep mountain with a variety of twists and turns that would cause the most adventurous individual to become skeptical. Yasmine said once she “let go” and stopped trying to control the bike, she was in less pain. She moved along the mountain with more ease and less fear. She made a perfect analogy for life: once you stop trying to control everything and everyone, life become a lot less painful. JUST. THE. MESSAGE. I. NEEDED. TO. HEAR!

So my goal for year 24 is to stop controlling how everyone in my inner circle thinks. I can’t make everyone see things my way nor do I really, truly want to. Am I still going to do things I want to do? Absolutely! But I’m not going to expect others to follow suit or to prioritize the way I do. Do you struggle with expectations and wanting others to think like you do? Share your thoughts below!

Facebook Turns Ten

If you’re a Facebook user, you are aware that the website celebrated its 10th birthday earlier this week. In honor of this milestone, Facebook allowed its users to create “A Look Back” videos, which showcased their time on the website. From most liked posts to photos shared, users were able to travel back in time to see their Facebook milestones. Cue the nostalgia!

facebook-10th-birthdayMy newsfeed has been flooded with these videos over the last couple of days and I’ve loved it. From reliving my college days to seeing family members grow up, the videos certainly shared a wealth of memories with the Facebook community. It took me a while to jump on the bandwagon as I wasn’t too fond of my initial video. But last night, the editing feature was enabled so I got to choose the pictures I wanted to include. It’s a nice feature to have and gives people a little more control over their video. Overall, the “A Look Back” videos seem to be a huge success for Facebook. It has caught on like wildfire and makes users feel like they are a part of Facebook’s 10th anniversary. Well done!

For a while now, it seems like Facebook users and the social media community have been contemplated the website’s future. You always hear about privacy issues, spam and new features (like hashtags) that everyone isn’t too fond of. While Facebook isn’t my favorite social media site (sorry!), I do see its purpose for both personal and professional reasons. This blog gets posted to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and sometimes Pinterest. Over the last two years, the most clicks, likes, comments and shares have come from Facebook. Why? Because that is where I connect with my audience best.

My group of friends is larger on Facebook than other social media websites. Additionally, the people I am friends with on Facebook know me, know that I blog and enjoy reading. I’ve created a loyal group of people who consistently check my posts out. This is possible on any social media site but I’ve found it’s easier on Facebook. For one, more people, especially older generations, are on Facebook. It has been around longer and is easier to navigate. You can go over 140 characters and don’t have to choose a filter. Even my co-workers find my blog on Facebook rather than LinkedIn. I think they are just more comfortable on Facebook and know how to use it. Regardless of what social media outlet you use for yourself or for clients, having a loyal, committed audience will absolutely help your cause.

The “A Look Back” video campaign on Facebook definitely took off and spread throughout the website. I wonder if people creating the videos remember that they started because of Facebook’s 10th anniversary. I would have added something at the end of all videos connecting it to the anniversary, like animations instead of the hashtag. However, I still think Facebook did a good job with this video campaign and believe the website has a long future ahead.

Check out my Look Back video below and share your thoughts about Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/lookback/

Family Fridays: The Sunshine of My Life

Nine years ago today, a little boy with the sweetest smile was born. He stole my heart from the minute he wrapped his little finger around mine. Now, as a boy not a baby, he still is the most loving little man I’ve ever met.

Antonio1Maybe I’m biased, but how could you not fall in the love with the face you see to the left. That is Antonio, with his wild child hair and larger than life smile. He was about three in that picture but is still the same. Ask anyone who has met him even for a second and they will tell you how sweet and lovable he is. It’s true he’s a bit rougher than when he was younger. But, I still get hugs and cuddle time. He promises me that he will always hug and kiss me, even when he’s a “big boy.” I hope to the high heavens he will.

By now it’s clear how much I love my siblings. But, I’m not sure it’s clear how much they love me. Antonio loves me when I’m with him, when I’m gone, when I’m unhappy and even when I’m mad. He loves because I’m his big sister, not because I have a great job, or because I’m a good listener. He loves me just because. There isn’t any pressure to show up, to act a certain way or to be anyone but me. Spending time with him is the best stress reliever and lets me be a kid all over again.

I can’t believe my little man is nine years old today. Time certainly flies just a bit too fast. But, I have such an amazing relationship with Antonio that I kind of comfortable with him growing up. Whenever I need a laugh or want to shoot some hoops, I can count on Antonio. He truly is the sunshine of my life. Happy Birthday baby boy!

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Family Fridays: Young At Heart

For most people, today is just an ordinary Friday filled with fear of snow. But, today is a very special day for me. Today is Nana’s 86th birthday.

Nana is my mother’s mom who had lived with us for about ten years. She is 86 today but doesn’t look a day over 65. She is addicted to Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and usually is humming Frank Sinatra from my kitchen table. I have become Nana’s hair dresser as well as personal driver over the last few years. They’ve been the best jobs I’ve had yet.

nanaNana has shared a lot of pieces of advice through the years. Most are fun little quips but one has stuck with me for a while. Nana always reminds me to stay young at heart, to work hard and be serious but to also have some fun. She used Frank Sinatra’s song to reinforce her message. For me, it was an important lesson because I typically over think things and obsess on every detail. Nana’s message helped me to loosen up, laugh at the messes life makes and smile at the chaos.

I am beyond lucky to have my grandmother still with me today. She has seen all of my life milestones including my college graduation. It was such a big deal for me to have her there that day and in turn, she couldn’t have been any prouder. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Nana is older and cannot do everything on her own. I have at times lost my patience, something I always end up regretting. Today, I am reminded how much of a blessing my amazing Nana is.

Happy 86th Birthday Nana!

 

Family Fridays: Loving Angels Instead

Happy Friday everyone! I am going to warn you this post is very mushy and emotional for me. So, if that’s not your thing, thanks for visiting, but this post might not be for you.

uncle2I was three years old, with my head in the clouds, feet dangling over the shoulders of my best friend. We would walk up to my stage, also known as a slab of cement two blocks from my house in a school courtyard. I’d sing and dance and he would applaud, like it was the best thing he’d ever heard. He taught me how to make Chicken Francese and didn’t care when I got flour all over the kitchen floor. He would read me scary stories, paint my nails and is the reason why I am addicted to the Food Network. He was my best friend and today is his birthday.

Uncle David and I were inseparable, always together with him teaching me something new all the time. I was very little but I still vividly remember our times together. They were the best. He would pick me up and take me all over the place, sharing things he loved most with a child he wasn’t even technically blood related to. I had him wrapped around my finger; whatever I wanted, I got without question. Uncle David has been gone for ten years now and truthfully I miss him more than ever. Today is his birthday and I’d give anything to be able to sing to him.

Instead of being upset today, I think of the amazing memories I have of my uncle and smile. I was so lucky to have such an amazing man in my life. I firmly believe that he is watching over me every day, making sure nothing happens to me and guiding me each step of the way. While that doesn’t replace having him here, I do find comfort in knowing that I have an angel on my shoulder. I know he has seen every milestone and heartbreak throughout the last ten years. He has been there even though I didn’t see him.

uncle1Uncle David was only 56 when he passed away from cancer. His cancer was a result of smoking cigarettes for decades. If you’re a smoker, I am begging you to quit. It’s the best gift you can give your loved ones this holiday season.

Life would be different if Uncle David was here today. But I know he’d want me to happy and not miss him too much. While it is hard, I try to remember all of the happy memories we had together.Happy Birthday in heaven!

Introducing Family Fridays!

Anyone who knows me knows that my family (and friends) play a large role in my life. Collectively, they have molded me, challenged me and taught me invaluable life lessons. That’s why, from now on, each Friday will be dedicated to some story or lesson from the crazy bunch I call family.

For starters, you must realize how expansive my family is. I suppose the reason for that is I don’t consider just my blood relatives family. Of course they are my family, but I’m happy to say the title of family is extended to so many others who are in my life. You see, there is my mother’s family, my father’s family and my stepmother’s family as well as my best friends who have earned their spots within the crazy crew. For me, family isn’t defined by blood. It is defined by who consistently and happily shows up. Most of the time, that includes blood relatives but sometimes it doesn’t. I’m blessed and proud to say that in my world, my family grows and changes all the time.

Today is my grandmother’s 83rd birthday. Grandma Dee is the epitome of honesty. Gained a little weight? She’ll notice it. Accidentally burned dinner? She’ll let you know. The woman does not hold back and at 83, who would? It’s very easy for people to get offended by her honesty. Who really wants to be reminded that they gained weight?! But, I’ve learned to love her honesty. I go to her when I need a brutally honest opinion but prepare beforehand for the harsh truth. It is refreshing to have someone in my life who is upfront and does not sugarcoat things. Too often, people hold back and don’t share their true feelings at the risk of others being offended. While there is a time and place for bluntness, I’m glad Grandma holds nothing back and is straight with all of us. It takes some getting used to but she doesn’t mean any harm. I am so lucky to still have my grandparents are a constant part of my life especially my extremely honest grandmother!

Happy Birthday Grandma!!

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy :)

Grandma Dee & Papa Buddy 🙂

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