What if you only had 3 years left?

I had a pretty significant situation happen in January of this year. One of my very good friends who is in their early 30s had a health scare that had the potential to significantly change their life, but thankfully it did not.

But, that situation got me to really think about life as it is lately and what I'm doing with mine. It can change for anyone in the blink of an eye.

I'm notorious for bookmarking personal development classes or articles to read them later. You should see how long that folder is on my Bookmarks bar.

I know I'm not alone by saying, "Diet starts on Monday!" I've been putting off getting my health and weight in check since my Dad died in 2016. I can't use his passing as an excuse anymore.

When it comes to work, I've been in a funk for a while now and always comparing my success to others while thinking I'm just not good enough.

And don't get me started on my dating life...

Think about this for a second. If you went to the doctor's today and he or she told you that, for whatever reason, you only have three years left in your life, how would you feel?

Would you feel proud of the progress that you've made up to this point? Or would you be disappointed that you had so many goals on your list but didn't accomplish any of them and now you're not sure you'll have time?

What would you change immediately? What is the first thing you would do?

2020 is the year of brave. My year of focus, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to make serious efforts towards the goals I have for myself.

I'll never forget one of the last things my Dad said to me before he coded in the doctor's office. He had a follow-up appointment at the Oncologist's office but was really not doing well. So he was set up in the infusion center to get fluids and avoid another hospital stay.

I popped onto my phone to let my job know that something I had planned on getting to them within the hour was going to be a little late, as I had not brought my laptop with me to the appointment.

My Dad looked at me point blank and said, "All you do is work. You're always on that phone. Why can't you just put it away and watch the TV with me? Live a little; it can't always be about work."

Life isn't all about work. About making money. And you never know when your time is coming to a close.

Live a little. Live a lot. Take chances. Push boundaries. Tell people how you feel about them. Life is so incredible, but only if you're living it to its fullest.

How I know 2020 will be MY year!

Happy New Year! I know that sounds silly, being that it's already FEBRUARY, but hear me out.

If you’re still following along with this little blog of mine I want to first and foremost thank you for your loyalty as I’ve been experiencing some growing pains and a lack of creative motivation lately. If this is your first time stumbling upon my little space on the interwebs I want to welcome you and promise that this year will be a year of excitement and growth.

With that said, I am stoked that it’s the year 2020. I’m a big numbers person and my favorite number is 2. I also prefer even numbers over odd, so naturally, this year is my favorite combo yet.

2019 was one of those years that no matter what you do, every step forward you take results in a giant leap backward. It was a year of toxicity, personal failures, frustration, and jealousy. But, it wasn’t all bad and for that I’m thankful. I mean, nothing can be worse than 2016 in my book.

The end of 2019 really opened my eyes though. Two relationships that I so desperately wanted to work ended up completely dismantling in December – one family relationship and one romantic relationship.

I really stopped doing a lot of the things that I truly love (for example, blogging) in the last year. I struggled to find happiness in myself and instead relied heavily on outside people, experiences, and material objects to bring me joy. But those fixes are all temporary.

Real joy, pride, happiness, love, and acceptance starts within. And if you’re not completely in love with yourself you can’t fully love someone else.

This year, I’ll be making some great strides towards big life goals that have been on my vision board for a while now, such as:
  • Become a published author
  • Start a podcast
  • Grow my Instagram following
  • Consistently blog 2-3 times each week
  • Get healthy and find joy in exercising
  • Spend less and save more
  • Launch a freelance consulting side hustle
  • Volunteer more with and outside of church
This year's word for me is brave. 2016 really threw me a curveball, and ever since then I feel like I've been faking it. I've been hiding from what I wanted out of life in fear of what people thought of me. This year, I'm putting on those high heels and red lipstick and really taking the world by storm.

Stick around, it's going to be a fun one.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person? A person who focuses on the positive or focuses on the negative?

In my full-time job, I focus heavily on employee engagement. And at times, I have to deliver news to the staff that I may not agree with or may not be highly positive. Over time I’ve come to realize it’s not the message that’s negative, it’s the outlook on it that will change how you feel.

I recently ended things pretty final with a man I’ve been dating on and off for about 2 years. My feelings for him are very strong, and same on his end (or so they were, unsure now). But, our glasses were very different.

I’m a cup half full kind of girl. And if your cup is half empty, I’ll do everything in my power to pour into you and fill you up. Literally. But if your cup has a hole, a roadblock that will allow you to be motivated in any way, then there is no way we’ll ever get to the same levels.

Ok, stick with me here. I’ve got a point. 

Since 2016, I’ve been on a journey of self-development and growth. And although I’ve taken some steps back at times, I feel as though I’ve changed a lot in the last two years.

I am constantly looking for new ways to motivate myself and to learn. I listen to podcasts on my way to/from work. I read those girl power, self-development books. I do my best to eat healthy and get my body moving. When I walk the dog (which I do daily), I typically don’t bring my phone.

It’s uncomfortable, it’s hard work, and it takes focus. But, I know that if I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone then nothing will change.

No one will ever love you as much as you love yourself. You can’t give your love to someone else and show them appreciation unless you can do that for yourself first.

So with that, I’m using the next 8 weeks to focus on a mentality shift in myself. On Wednesday I’ll be sharing more about what that means in the literal sense, in case anyone wants to join me on the journey, but also to hold myself accountable.

Until then, a word to the wise.

  • Take a look at your glass – whether you’re a wine glass, a mason jar, or a vase. Where is your water level? Ask yourself if it could be higher. 
  • Take a look at whose glass you’re helping to fill when they are need of a top off. Do they do the same for you? And if not, should you still be focusing on their glass?
  • What’s draining your glass? How could you focus on plugging that hole that’s slowly stealing your water (or wine)? 

Remember, self-care is important. 


Release the Negativity

Forgiveness is freaking hard. Although it sometimes feels easier to dwell on who has done you wrong, or the negative things that have happened in your life, the result can cause much more wrong than right.

It’s been close to three years since I lost my Dad from cancer (in September) and ended a long-term relationship (in July) – both of which I feel like I have not completely dealt with.

And frankly, the mind works in mysterious ways. I’ve been having nightmares lately. Every night. In fact, a few times I’ve woken myself up crying because of them. And I truly believe that my subconscious mind trying to release toxic emotions that have been sitting there stale for too long.

In order to overcome the negative, you have to focus on the positive. So, how can you do that?

Learn & Grow
Whether it’s a new book or a Podcast, continuing to learn about yourself and life is such a gift. I have a number of books on my Kindle and following a number of Podcasts that teach me something every time I turn to them.

If you’re curious where to start, Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve recently started to love Oprah’s podcast “Super Soul Conversations” and Brooke Castillo’s “The Life Coach School Podcast.”

Clean Up
Yes, it’s important that your space be clear of chaos so that you can have a clear mind. Clear out your closet, storage unit, kitchen cabinets, toiletry drawer, etc. Get rid of anything that you haven’t touched in the last 60 days and anything that has dust on it because it hasn’t moved since you put there in the first place.

But, the cleaning doesn’t have to stop there. Go to your Facebook, Instagram, and cell phone. Clear out photos that don’t serve you any longer, accounts you follow that you haven’t seen in your feed or contacts that are just taking up valuable memory space. If the account is not bringing anything valuable to your life, it’s taking up valuable space for something better.

You only get one life. Some people go to sleep at night and don’t wake up again the next morning. But you did, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Remember how special life is and how lucky you are to get the chance to have it.

Take yourself for a pedicure. Eat something that helps your belly dance. Press play on that work out that makes you feel alive. Turn your favorite song up on the radio and dance it out. Whatever it is, enjoy yourself.

Man. That’s hard. I listened to a Podcast the other day – “Elizabeth Gilbert: The Whole Human Experience” on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations that really changed how I feel about this.

In short, her comment was that when serving as a caregiver, you can’t give your all without someone caring for you as well. The animosity that I have in my heart is towards the one who I feel left me when I needed someone the most. But rather than focusing on the negative, I’m forgiving the fact that he was not designed for that type of task and instead focusing on those in my life who stepped up to the plate when he dropped out of the game.

You never have to lower your expectations and what you want out of life and a relationship because your current situation is not serving you in that way. Instead, forgive and focus on something greater.


Summer Time Life Update

I don’t recall if I did one of these posts with my re-vamped blog, but they were one of my favorites in the past. I’ve needed to write on this blog for a while now, but every time I go to hit the keys something “more important” comes along and my “need” becomes a “like to.”

In an effort to see if anyone still reads things I share, I thought I’d give you guys a quick update on life lately.

Binging my Bravo faves (Summer House, Vanderpump Rules, etc) but not really hooked on much TV. I tried out the series on HBO about Chernobyl but was bored.

A romance novel. No joke. It’s the second by this particular author. It’s called “Tied” by Carian Cole and I literally can not put it down.

I’m obsessed with Christian Rock music lately. It’s how we start out Sundays out at church and I find it so relaxing when I’m working away in my office or driving home after a busy day. It’s not all gospel-like, and Jesus-obsessed but rather really relaxing music that you may even have heard on your “regular” stations.

Memories! It’s the summer season and I’m all about being at the beach every Sunday. In addition, I’m really enjoying this season of being single and enjoying my life while still focusing heavily on myself. Granted, I’d love to find someone I could build something with, but I know it’ll all happen when it’s supposed to and for now I’m really just enjoying life.

Sunburnt! As soon as the temps hit a steady 75+ I need to be outside as much as possible. I laid out this weekend at the beach and at home and I can definitely tell those tan lines will be prominent.

Some changes this month in my health and fitness. I have a blog post coming up soon to share why I’ve been so unsuccessful with Whole30 after successfully completing it last January, but it’s no excuse for me to eat like crap and not get my body moving. I’ve been starting off slow, but I’ll be sharing soon what my journey looks like and hopefully encouraging some of you to do some sort of fitness challenge with me in July.

The fact that on Sunday morning, when my 6:30 a.m. alarm went off, Elphie (the dog) laid down right next to me and wouldn’t get comfortable until I wrapped my arm around her to snuggle. As she gets older (she’s 5 now), she’s definitely slowing down a bit when it comes to activity but at the same time, her affection is growing strong.

Do you guys enjoy these type of posts? If not, what are you looking for me to share on soon? 


Oh hello 2019

Happy New Year!

I have been off from work since December 21. It’s been such a blessing to be able to sleep until my body is ready to wake up, relax in sweatpants and walk the dog during the day, and just truly relish in being unplugged and relaxed.

I had so many intentions for my time off, most of which have not been done. Despite my lax nature over the last few days, I’ve used the end of 2018 and beginning of 2019 (as in yesterday and today) in full-blown planning and productive mode.

If you’ve been following along with this blog over it’s lifetime (pre-relaunch and as of late), you’ll know that 2016 was my most challenging year yet.  Further, 2017 was a bit of a fog as I lifted myself out of a deep depression and some crazy self-destruction.

I had every intention of 2018 being my best year. I even termed it “The Butterfly Year.” I was pretty much out of my fog and really started the year off well with doing the Whole30 and completely detoxing my life. But alas, the year did not turn out as I had expected.

Don’t get me wrong. The entire year was not a wash. I had a lot of highs, some pretty bad lows, and overall learned so much about myself and where my life is going.

So, as I embark on a new year, I’m not naming my year. I’m not choosing one word to set the stage for the next 12 months. And I’m not making any resolutions.

Instead, I’m stopping with the excuses. I’m going to be putting in the hard work to reach my goals and get myself healthy (emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially).

I’ve got some pretty exciting things on the horizon for 2019, which I’ll begin sharing in due time here.

I hope you all celebrated the new year how you wanted to, with who you wanted to, and did so safely.

In the meantime, there is a group of us starting another round of Whole30 tomorrow, and I am SO ready to see what this next round brings to me.

What are you most looking forward to in the new year? 


Breast Reduction Surgery: Your Questions Answered

If you’re new here, I had my breast reduction on November 23. I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately so I figured I’d just throw them all together and write a quick post in case YOU were wondering the same thing but nervous to ask.

You said your GYN wasn’t thrilled you were having the surgery. Any reason why?
She was not very happy that I wanted to get it done. She’s a close friend of my best friend’s family so she and I have a different relationship than most patient/doctor duos. She’s very opinionated, hilarious, and has a very strong personality. I was already emotional going into the appointment to talk to her about it, so that didn’t help the conversation go well.

Her concern was that I am still rather young, unmarried, and with no children. The procedure typically eliminates your ability to breast feed (although some women have been successful post-surgery). I remember her saying something along the lines of “God gave you such a beautiful gift, why would you want to take it away? He made you this way for a reason.”

I remember listening to her in the exam room, tears rolling down my face, and wincing at the pain in my back as I sat up on the table. She didn’t sway my decision, just altered the route. I still love her, and am still glad I went through with it.

How long is the recovery process (ie, how long out of work and till you can exercise again?)?
I’m not allowed to drive for one week post-surgery. I work at a hospital, so we have what is called EIB (Extended Illness Bank). It’s time that is accrued separate from vacation time so that I can use it if I have a surgery, an illness, or even a baby. So, I’ve been using that time this week.

Luckily, I work in a “desk job” so if driving this weekend is still not great, I have the flexibility to work remotely if I need to. However, I’m REALLY looking forward to getting back into the office and into a routine.

As far as working out, I thought I was going to want to start lifting weights and doing sit-ups immediately – match the rest of my body to the smaller boobs. I am actually terrified right now of even helping me dog up on the couch, so I can’t picture working out or leaning too hard on my arms.

After 2-3 weeks I should be cleared to walk with the dog (someone else will be holding the leash) and doing things like yoga. But, my research has found that I won’t be able to lift more than 5 pounds for around 2 months. So, I may look into doing some Barre3 online workouts for the next few weeks.

Have you pooped yet?
OH my god. If you’re getting ready to have this procedure done, stock up on all the Colace and MiraLAX you can. I’m not even kidding. Yes, after a few days things are finally getting back to normal.

What size were you? What size did you go to?
I was a 36H, but pushing out of it. I refused to buy larger bras since I was confident a reduction was in my future.

I’m pretty swollen right now but my surgeon said I’ll end up being between a 36C and 36D. Which I’m happy about. I requested a C and he said a D would look better on my frame.

Any post-surgery symptoms/needs you weren’t expecting?
The bathroom thing I was expecting but I was NOT expecting it to be as bad as it was.

My right thigh is also numb on the outside. Which is so weird. The surgeon said it may be because of the weighted brace they had on me during surgery. I think it also may be the way I sit/lay down. During the day it’s not a huge deal but at night when I’m trying to sleep it’s really uncomfortable.

Sleeping is also really challenging. I’m a belly sleeper, so having to sleep on my back and slightly elevated has been painful. Not literally, but literally annoying. I’m writing this less than one-week post-surgery and I was able to lay slightly to my left side, which has helped with the numbness in my right leg. But, it’s still not completely comfortable.

How much weight did you lose from the surgery?
I didn’t to this for weight loss. I did this because of the pain in my neck and my back, but I knew that it would help in my weight loss journey, since exercising was nearly impossible with torpedoes hanging off my front.

From 11/23 (morning of surgery) to 11/27 I lost 7.6 lbs. I think about 4 lbs is boob, and the rest of water weight. I’m on strict instructions to drink A LOT of water.

Did your insurance cover it? And if so, how did you get it approved?
This was quite a process. I have an OMNIA plan with Horizon BCBS of NJ, but also work for a large hospital system. So, I encourage you to do research with your insurance provider.

Last summer I reached out to Horizon customer service to inquire on what I needed to get the procedure approved. I was told that I needed it to be proven medically necessary. I would need 6 months of preventative treatment and letters from two medical professionals, one of which specializes in the spine, saying it is medically necessary as well as the information from the plastic surgeon (measurements, details on surgery, photos, etc).

From there I started going to the chiropractor. He then referred me to a plastic surgeon. And then I made an appointment with an orthopedist to make sure my spine was ok.  He prescribed physical therapy, so I started on that. We submitted everything to the insurance company and it was denied.

I went back to the orthopedist to see if any of my preventive measures (chiro and PT) were helping. Unsurprisingly, they were not. So, he wrote another letter to the insurance company. The resubmission was approved within 2 weeks and the plastic surgeon and called and got me on the schedule.

Some insurance companies require more documentation, some require less. Others base it off how much will be taken. I cannot express enough how important it is to call your insurance company and ask the questions. All of the them.

For example, my procedure was originally scheduled on October 23 at a location closer to my home. I called to find out if it was part of my plan and was told it was, but not at the highest coverage. So, I’d end up paying close to $7,000 out of pocket. Because I called to check, I saved myself A LOT of money.

Any tips for someone preparing to get the procedure?
Aside from the obvious of writing down your questions for your surgeon, joining an online support group, and doing your research? Do as many sit-ups and squats as you can every day until your surgery. I had no idea how much I was going to rely on my stomach muscles and leg muscles since I couldn’t use my chest.

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.