The Power of Learning

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For me, learning signifies strength. It builds self-confidence, opens us up to seeing things in new ways and, in turn, makes our lives so much richer. Learning brings knowledge and with knowledge, there are endless possibilities.

But learning isn’t just about what we are taught in school or the information we receive from books or the news — although valuable as they may be. Learning is also about the life lessons we pick up along the way. In big and small ways, in the significant moments and in the tiniest details that make us see things differently, we are constantly learning how to be ourselves. This adult-ing thing can be kinda hard sometimes and each of us are learning every day how to respond, adapt and keep moving forward.

So I wanted to share some valuable lessons I’ve learned, some I’m still learning and some I’d like to learn:

Learn to let go. If it’s not working, let go. If it brings you pain, let go. Let go of grudges, mistakes, unhappy memories, your high school hairdo, anything painful. Letting go is a skill to be learned and put into practice and in doing so, you can learn to find peace of mind. “Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.”

Learn to say “no.” I’m absolutely still learning this skill. I’m a people-pleaser and I hate confrontation. But learning to say “no” to others is truly saying “yes” to myself. It means I value my own happiness as much as others’. And sometimes, I need to learn to put myself first.

Learn from the past. Good or bad, the past has given us invaluable lessons. Learn from those things. Retain what will help you to move forward. Use those experiences to enrich your current experiences. And let go of all the other nonsense.

Learn to walk away from people or situations. Whether it’s a job, a friendship, a relationship or an awkward group at a party, know when it’s run it’s course and move onward. It’s not easy at times, but the freedom that comes from knowing you deserve better will make it much easier.

Learn to be alone. “Learn to be alone and to like it. There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.” – Mandy Hale – Go to the movies by yourself. Eat at a restaurant alone. Be at home with no one else and be at peace. Bonus points if you don’t have the radio or TV on and you’re not on social media. Just sit and soak in the silence. Or the neighbor’s dog barking.

Learn something new every day. Get a “Word of the Day” calendar and learn a new word every day. Learn the top three ingredients in your breakfast cereal. Learn a new route to work. Learn the capital of a country. Research shows that learning something new every day will get those creative juices flowing.

Learn to not compare yourself to others.“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick – Ah, The Joneses. You know, they might not be all they’re cracked up to be. I’ve learned time and time again that the grass is absolutely not always greener on the other side. You never know the struggles others are facing. And you can never take for granted the blessings in your life.

Learn to pick yourself up after a setback. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou – Get up, take in your surroundings, dust yourself off and keep on keeping on.

Learn to follow your heart. Trust your instincts. Listen to advice. But when it comes down to it, you know what’s best for you and your heart will most often lead the way. Learn to listen to it.

Learn to listen. Learn to have a conversation with someone and truly listen to what they are saying. Don’t interrupt. Don’t wait for the slightest pause to throw in your opinion or make it about you. If you want to make someone feel truly valued and accepted, listen wholeheartedly and with no other distractions.

Learn through travel. The word is so much bigger than the four walls around us or the block that we live on. Traveling not only teaches us about other places, countries, cultures and traditions but it opens us up to how we respond to those things. We are enriched simply by being a traveler and navigating our way. And we come back with lessons that will last us a lifetime. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine –

Learn that it’s never too late. My grandmother’s sister learned to play piano at age 50. I just heard of Olympians who were in their 40’s competing in Rio. It is more true today than it ever has been, there is always time to start something new, change career paths, finish/start writing that book, even apologize for a past mistake. As long as we’re alive and breathing, it’s never too late.

Have any life lessons you want to share? We’d love to hear!

Learn Something New Every Month

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Hi, my name is Jen. And I’m addicted to learning. (Hi…Jen…)

Ever since I was a wee lass in gargantuan pigtails, I’ve held an endless curiosity about the world, a voracious thirst for knowledge, a deep desire to learn as much as I could about everything I could. I always loved school. Always. (Nerd alert.) After college, I attended portfolio school for advertising. After I left the ad industry, I did the Writers Program at UCLA for TV comedy writing. I told you I loved school. And man, I miss it. All of it. The classes, the assignments, the exhilarating feeling of my brain constantly expanding with oodles of new information and skills.

There are soooo many things I’m interested in learning about in so many varied areas, it’s a tad overwhelming. To gain a little focus, I’ve decided to learn just one new area of interest a month over the next twelve months. Somehow breaking it down by month by month, makes it feel more manageable and will keep me inspired by always having something new to look forward to.

SEPTEMBER: Learn to write a feature screenplay
I’ve taken plenty of television screenwriting classes, but never one for features. Since one of my biggest goals is to write a feature by the end of the year, I’ve just signed up for Aaron Sorkin’s Masterclass in screenwriting. He’s one of the feature writers I admire most and I’m hoping the class will provide me with fresh inspiration.

OCTOBER: Learn how to work my camera
I’ve had a nice Canon EOS Rebel T5 camera for a couple years now. And yes, I know how to take pictures on it. But not necessarily great pictures. Sometimes not even good pictures. And I use this thing for work! There are so many bells and whistles on my camera and I have no idea what 95% of them do. No idea. So I’m going to learn. And by Halloween, hopefully I’ll be able to snap a fabulous photo of Jack.

NOVEMBER: Learn cartooning
I bought some cartooning books months ago and have yet to set aside anytime to put pencil to paper. So November’s the month I’m dedicating to improving my doodles.

DECEMBER: Learn to bake a few signature items
What better time than the holidays to learn some new baking tricks? I’m not super into cooking, but I do love to bake – it’s so fun and relaxing. I’d love to have a few key items in my culinary repertoire that I can perfect and always go back to for dinner parties, pot lucks, or just to munch on as a special treat at home. I’d like to make one really great flavor of cookies, a killer cake and some sort of bread or muffins.

JANUARY: Learn to play better tennis
My 4-year-old son loves tennis. He took lessons all summer long. Now he’s taking them again this fall. I’ve played tennis off and on all my life, but I’m not very good and would love to sign up for some real lessons to brush up on my skills. Then Jack and I can play together. I have a feeling he’ll teach me a thing or two.

FEBRUARY: Learn to speak French
I’ve mentioned the Duolingo language app here on the blog before, but I’m telling you again, it really is the best (and it’s free!). Since Valentine’s Day is in February, there’s no better time to learn French, the language of love. Oui! Oui!

MARCH: Learn self-defense
Light years ago, Gaby and I took a self-defense class together. One of the best tips I learned was to kick an attacker in the kneecaps instead of the groin. But that’s the problem, that’s about all I remember. There’s a particular class I’m interested in taking that not only helps you learn skills to defend yourself, but your kiddos as well in the event of an attack.

APRIL: Learn hand lettering
During an age where hardly anyone still writes by hand, I love the beauty of hand lettering and have always wanted to take a class. Not old school calligraphy mind you, but pretty modern quirky hand lettering. Skillshare has tons of great classes in the subject online. (In fact, Skillshare is a fantastic resource for learning about almost any subject.)

MAY: Learn to sew a button on a shirt
Okay, this is something super small I’d like to learn. But it’s kind of crazy that I’m a grown-ass woman who’s never taken the time to learn how to properly sew a button on a freaking shirt. It’s time.

JUNE: Learn floral arranging
There’s nothing that brings more beauty and cheer to your home than a gorgeous vase of fresh flowers. I would love to take a floral arranging class some weekend and advance my skills past “fill vase with water and stick ’em in.”

JULY: Learn to make a few signature cocktails
I can pour a mean glass of wine, y’all, but I’d love to learn how to make a few really fun cocktails for when we have parties or friends over. Maybe a really fab martini, a vodka gimlet, a Moscow mule and a super delish margarita.

AUGUST: Learn to surf
I purposely saved this one for last since it’s something I’ve been dying to learn ever since I moved to LA ions ago. Surf Diva School is supposed to be one of the best for lessons and is way worth a day trip down to La Jolla. Now, who’s with me?!

What would you guys like to learn? Tell us in the comments!

Lessons Learned

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learn
to gain knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something.

It’s time for school supplies, lunch boxes, homework and tests. It’s time for exploring, discovering and asking questions. This year will hold so much new information and skills to be practiced. Not just for the kids but for us too. As we approach September we are getting ready to learn something new or practice some of the things we already know.

Today we are sharing lessons we have recently learned. Some awesome and some tough lessons but each one makes us better, stronger and striving for more.

Jennifer

I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I think I am, and that when I feel like I don’t have anything left to give, I do.

My husband and I are officially on day 29 of the Whole 30 healthy eating program. We’re almost to the delicious finish line – a day at times, we felt we’d never see. As difficult as it was (cheese – I’m looking at you, you creamy dreamy temptress), I’ve done it! Of course, it helped to have my best friend by my side – going through it right along with me.

In addition to that, over the weekend, I participated in a Barry’s Bootcamp fundraiser to help fund a cure for Batten Disease for the Charlotte Gray Foundation . Since I’m just starting to get back in shape, I was terrified to take this bootcamp class. Ter-ri-fied. It’s that old illogical mindset of, “I really need to get back in shape before I can get back in shape” – yep, stupid I know. But I ended up pushing myself harder than I ever thought I could in class. With every, “You have 3 minutes left – take your treadmills to a level 15 incline and sprint!” insane request from our bootcamp instructor, I pushed through the pain, breathlessness and torture and did the very best I could. And yes, I’m hobbling like a 90-year-old woman today, but guess what? I can’t wait to take that class again!

Gaby

“At some point you just have to let go of what you thought should happen and live in what is happening.” Heather Hepler

I’m a planner. A thinker. And someone who likes to know what’s going to happen so I can be prepared. However, I’ve recently had to change my mindset and instead of getting frustrated because things aren’t working out the way I had anticipated, I’ve learned to adapt to the way things are actually playing out in order to be the most productive. I gain nothing but stress and anxiety by focusing on all the things that went “wrong.” But I can gain so much by working with the truth in the now. It’s become a productive “go with the flow” mindset and has made such a difference in my workplace, especially.

Gioconda

My husband came home after being away for six weeks. He was away for work and because of the time change, he was in Ireland and Toronto, it was often difficult to make a connection during the day. He was working or I was sleeping. But we would find a few minutes everyday to connect, even if it was just to say “good morning” or “good night”. It was hard on all of us. But I learned that we could manage. That any time was better than no time at all. That even if our Skype kept dropping out, getting to see him or talk to him for just a few minutes was enough. I learned to love him more everyday and to make every moment matter. Our school recently experienced the sudden loss of a parent. We are devastated and shocked. I learned that I must appreciate everyday that I get to spend with him, near or far. That life is not a guarantee and that we have to make the best of it. It’s a tough lesson but one that will stick with me.

This week we are sharing things we’ve learned, things we want to learn and things that teach us something.  Hopefully you will learn something new.

Photo Friday

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Today we’re sharing our happy moments of the week with a snapshot.

GIOCONDA

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I am so happy that Bobby made it home safe and sound. It was also a great first day of high school for the boys. And nothing makes me happier than a Friday together with my family!

JENNIFER

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There’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing my son set his mind to something and accomplish it. He’s worked SO hard all summer in his swim classes, and all that effort finally paid off when he got to show off everything he’s learned at his preschool’s end of year swim show on Wednesday. So very proud of you, Jack!

GABY

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Spontaneous date night mid-week! Having dinner and drinks while watching a movie was exactly what we needed.And we definitely need to do it more often.

What was your happy moment this week? Let us know in the comments below.

Happy List

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It’s a good time to focus on those things in our lives that truly make us happy. From a favorite tea to a wonderful moment with friends or family. No, life is not always sunny and roses. But we can focus what makes us smile. So here’s my list of happy things. And can i just say that making lists makes me happy? So list-making gets an honorable mention.

Adele I am a new Adele convert. After seeing her in concert recently, I have been soaking in the memories of the show and not only what a talented performer she is but how she made each of there feel like we were just hanging out in her living room, hearing her sing and chat. “Sweetest Devotion” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” have been on constant repeat on my iPhone.

30 Rock Boy, are we late in the game for this one. Jessie and I have been watching the show on Netflix and we love it. We totally get the hype and I just wish I could go back to all those Emmy’s and cheer them on. So good! We sing “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” all the time.

Bossypants It’s totally ok to start a book a gizzilion years ago and then finish it, right? Watching 30 Rock totally got me on the Tina Fey bandwagon again and I’m bound and determined to finish the book by the time we finish the series.

Mastros’ Warm Butter Cake Jessie and I went to Mastros for our anniversary recently and it was wonderful. I’d heard of the warm butter cake for dessert. But what was it? A cake of butter? And it was warm? Eeeww. So of course, we ordered it. Oh. My. Goodness. The BEST dessert ever made. I dream about it every now and then…

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Magic Lessons Yay! Elizabeth Gilbert’s podcast based on her book is back and in full swing. I loved the first season of this podcast and was totally inspired to unleash my creativity. And now I’m enjoying round two.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick I’m trying to get back into wearing lipstick but I like a more natural lip. I got the shade in Plumalicious and it’s been the perfect shade for summer.

Birkenstocks Gizeh The best sandals I have ever worn. Hands down. I got a pair of the Gizeh sandals during a weekend in Solvang. I had been eyeing them for quite some time online but wasn’t sure, especially considering the price. After trying them on, I was sold. Literally. So incredibly comfortable. I wore them on a recent trip to Disneyland and I could’ve walked all day in them they were that amazing.

Ingrid Michaelson I’m so ready for the next round of concerts. I had the same feeling after seeing Ingrid perform at The Greek that I did after seeing Adele—they connect with the audience so well that it truly makes it feel more intimate. My sister and I are going to see Ingrid perform in the fall and I’m waiting for her new album to come out at the end of this month to get ready for the show. Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to her new single, “Hell No.”

Iced coffee The days have been so hot lately that we’ve been making more iced coffee than hot. Coconut creamer makes it feel like we’re on a tropical vacation. Not really but it makes my coffee yummy and smells great.

Olympics Every day. All day. I could have swimming, gymnastics, diving, beach volleyball on the TV all the time. I absolutely love the Olympics. The events, the stories, the feeling that for two weeks, the world is truly connected. Makes me happy!

Happy Hour

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Need a pick me up? A little kick in the happy pants? Try taking an hour (or realistically, whatever you can spare) once a week to make a list of things that make you happy – big and small. There’s something about actually writing them down on paper that makes you more thoughtful, more conscious and definitely more thankful for the little nuggets of gold in your everyday life. So here’s what’s currently bringing me oodles of happiness:

I’ve purposely taken a break from the election madness for a couple weeks to focus on the Olympics. I love politics, but man, I needed a breather from the cray cray and Rio 2016 has proven to be an inspiring distraction. This is also the first year we’ve been able to watch the Olympics with Jack. Tennis and swimming have dominated our house – mostly because Jack is taking lessons (and is putting in so much hard work) in both sports right now. Who knows, maybe we have a future Olympian on our hands? Jack O’Brien 2032!

The only time I’ve let politics creep back in though is to watch Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. It’s pretty much the most brilliantly funny show on TV and gives me all the feels for The Daily Show’s glory days.

Speaking of TV, let’s talk about the Netflix series, Stranger Things. Please tell me you watched it! Sooo fantastic! It made me so happy and nostalgic for the 80s and films like Stand By Me, It, ET, Halloween and on and on. It’s pure genius and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Cotton candy grapes. Have you guys had these things? They’re ah-mah-zing and really taste like cotton candy! And the bonus for me – they’re Whole 30 approved. Hooray! Maybe if I stomp them, I can make cotton candy wine…

Speaking of the Whole 30 – the end is near. My husband and I are on day 24 of the program. On one hand, it’s been better this go around because we’ve done it together, but overall, I’m finding it much harder the second time. We’ve both lost some weight, inches, and feel much better, but I miss cheese. If I could write cheese a love letter, I would. Maybe I have. And I drooled over an Olive Garden commercial last night. And I hate Olive Garden.

Vogue’s September issue comes out on newsstands August 23rd and I can’t wait! In my mind, it’s always the official launch of fall fashion season. My favorite season of the year, not only because I’m so over the hella heatwave we’ve been having, but I’m psyched for boots, jackets and sweaters! I have my eye on a couple dandy items already!

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And fall doesn’t just mean fashion, it means football! Huzzah! LA finally has an NFL team of its own and we’re actually going to the Rams’ first regular season game on September 18th when they face off against Seattle. (Of course my loyalty will always be with the Dallas Cowboys – shhhh!)

September is also a month of milestones around here. Jack officially starts his last year in preschool (sniff-sniff) and our precious pup Mr. Pants is turning 10 years young. So there will be lots and lots to celebrate at our house over the coming weeks. Hey, by then I’ll even be able to have a cupcake!

And after all of that, October will be here before you know it! I’m looking forward to our annual trip to the pumpkin patch, helping Jack pick out his costume for trick or treating and maybe a trip to Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. Of course, I’d also love/hate/love to do Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios – this year’s theme is American Horror Story. Better stock up on some Depends now.

Oh and Joseph Gordon-Levitt played the drums on an LA subway platform last weekend. The best.

And if all else fails, the chicken dance from Arrested Development never ever fails to make me immeasurably happy. “Acucacha! Acucacha!”

What’s making you happy today?

 

 

 

 

Happy Thoughts

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IMG_4057This is a good week to focus on the things that make us happy. It’s been an emotionally tough few weeks around here but focusing on happy thoughts is exactly what I need to do.

I am soaking in every moment of the Olympics.  It’s been great to turn on the tv or computer and see athletes achieving their dreams. From 17 year old track stars, to Phelps’ amazing swims, to the 41 year old gymnast, it’s inspiring and fun to watch.  I really don’t want it to end.

It has been so hot lately and I’m looking for something to quench my thirst. My cousins recommended the Strawberry Refresher made with Green Tea instead of water from Starbucks. I’ve ordered it a few times now and it’s just what I need to cool down.

I got my haircut last week a little shorter than usual and I kind of love it.  It’s a little sassy and a little sophisticated. It’s got a definite style that easy to take care of. My hair grows very fast so it won’t be this length for long but I will enjoy it while it lasts.

I’ve been in the market for a typewriter to do some crafting. I just found out that We R Memory Keepers is releasing a new typewriter at Michael’s.  It’s super cute but a bit maybe a bit too expensive for me.

School starts for the kids over the next few weeks.  Really soaking up the last of summer while getting them ready to go back to work. Love that the boys have iPads at school and I don’t have to order books this year. It’s a quick download and we’re done.

My oldest played at the football kick off rally over the weekend. Talk about excitement. The band played stand tunes and cheers and got everyone in the gym excited for the start of football.

He also had his senior portraits taken last week. I’m not sure if this makes me happy or sad but we’ll go with happy. He’s worked so hard and is about to start his life as an adult. That makes me happy and proud.

IMG_4278My new coffee mug from the Louvre is making me happy. Sort of a joke souvenir but I had to have it.  Looking back we had an incredible summer adventure.

Skyping with my husband every chance we get. Love that technology lets us connect while we are hundreds or thousands of miles away. The kids get to say hi and he and I go over the necessary and not so necessary things of life.

But mostly I am happy that my family is safe and healthy. We’ve all experienced some amazing things this summer; together and apart.  We’ve all done some growing up and letting go. The fact that I get to kiss my kids everyday and know that I am loved is everything. We may not be together right now but we will be reunited soon and it will be the happiest moment of the summer.

Because We’re Happy

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hap•py

feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life; pleased or glad about a particular situation, event, etc.

We’re feeling pretty happy over here. Not because our lives are perfect and everything is going swimmingly. But because we are choosing to be happy. Instead of focusing on life’s little (and sometimes big) annoyances and in the midst of very stressful lives and busy schedules, we are looking at the little (and sometimes big) things in our everyday lives that are bringing joy to our minds, bodies, hearts and spirits. And we invite you to do the same.

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To start things off, us Sense & Serendipity ladies had an amazing girls’ night out recently to see Adele perform and man, oh man, we were blown away. Here are some of the highlights and moments that made us happy.

GIOCONDA

I have been looking forward to going to the Adele’s concert since we bought the tickets last December. I have all of her albums and have had them on repeat for a while. I couldn’t wait to hear her sing live. At the concert I was struck by how her show was not about a flashy production, costume changes, backup dancers and fireworks. She came on stage with a few musicians and she sang, beautifully, powerfully and emotionally. My favorite song she sang was “Someone Like You.” I sing that as loud as possible in the car every time it comes out on the radio. Listening to her sing it live was emotional and inspiring. Coming in a close second was when she sang an acoustic version of “Make Me Feel My Love.” And to go with it her hysterical explanation of why she loves Alison Krauss – so funny. This definitely ranks as the best concert I’ve been to.

JENNIFER

I’m still in awe of the incredible concert Adele gave on Friday night. From her first heavenly note to her last, she simply took my breath away. Her voice. Her talent. Her hysterical sense of humor. She truly is the best of the best, and I feel beyond lucky we were able to see her live. It’s an experience I’ll never ever forget. There were so many wonderful moments throughout the show, but if I had to pick one, it was when Adele sang “Rumor Has it.” It’s not even my favorite song of hers, but it was such a totally fun moment during the concert. It was all sorts of sassy attitude, hair flips with a wink, jamming beats and grooving along with Adele who made you feel like you could be gal pals. It’s the type of song you want to sing full-out into your hairbrush (or martini) standing on the bed with your best girlfriends. Such a blast!

GABY

I was a fan before going to the Adele show but I have so much admiration for her now. It’s not just what we know about her—her amazing voice, her songwriting skills, her ability to connect through music with so many emotions and so many people, etc.,—but it was her humility and down-to-earth perspective and sense of humor. It was almost as if she still couldn’t quite believe her fame. She gave stream-of-consciousness dialogues and then she’d belt out the most amazing song that left us in awe of her talent. Definitely one of the most memorable moments for me was when she sang “Chasing Pavements.” Not only because it was the first song I heard from her but she explained that she wrote the song as a 19-year-old because she simply felt the need to express her emotions through a song. She wasn’t trying to write a hit. Songwriting was her outlet and she found her creativity and value in that and that was enough. Little did she know that it would turn out to be her breakthrough song.

What’s Your Goal?

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We Sense & Serendipity gals each have multiple goals in different areas of our lives that we hope to accomplish this year. Things that are important to us, things that are close to our hearts, things we’ve been afraid of or procrastinated about for way too long. By sharing some of our top goals with you here on the blog, we’re putting it out there to the universe as sort of a public pledge to stick with it. Hopefully it will inspire you to do the same with whatever fabulous things you’re pursuing in your own lives.

So…what’s your goal?

Jennifer

Write first feature screenplay.
One of the most important goals I want achieve by the end of the year is to write and finish a rough draft of my first feature screenplay. I’ve only ever written for TV, so film is a challenge I’ve been terrified wanting to take on for quite some time now. To motivate myself, I’d like to have something in shape to submit to the Austin Film Festival, Academy Nicholls Fellowship and The Writers Lab who all have deadlines in March. Taking my already hectic schedule into consideration, I’m going to be realistic and take things in bite-sized chunks so I stick to it – committing to writing just 2 pages a day/5 days a week until I’m done. Here goes nothin’!

Gaby

Move more.
I have a few new goals for myself but one of the main ones is getting more movement and exercise into my routine. I remember going to a Weight Watchers meeting a while back and my leader speaking about setting realistic goals for ourselves. We need to challenge ourselves, but we can’t set ourselves up for failure. Not a morning person? Don’t say you’re going to workout before going to work when you know you most likely won’t. Hate going to a gym? Don’t lock yourself up into a year-long membership just to see your monthly payments go to waste. I took on this mindset and gave myself bite-size goals that currently fit my lifestyle and give me realistic goals I can achieve knowing I will increase as I get back into the habit. I have committed to moving/exercising three days a week, for 30-minute increments, with a rest day or two in between. These will involve a combination of walking around our neighborhood and going to the gym. The key for me is going to be getting into workout clothes as soon as I get home instead of my comfy stay-home clothes. I started this week and so far, I’m three for three!

Gioconda

Work on European travel album.
My goal for this month is to work on my travel album from our recent Europe trip.  I have a ton of photos that I need to print and my notes in my traveller’s notebook to help me document the trip.  I also kept a lot of tickets, metro passes, maps and business cards to include in my book. My plan is to print photos, put them in the album, journal and add the ephemera. I’ll do something like this and plan to keep it simple.  I can’t wait to see it all done.

Sleep Better, Do Better

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“I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.”
– David Benioff, City of Thieves

Let’s talk sleep, people. Sleep (or lack thereof more importantly) may be the one of biggest obstacles to reaching our goals. Getting plenty of quality snooze time is closely associated with maintaining a healthy body weight, boosting motivation and helping you make much smarter food choices. Ever been riding on fumes after only 4 hours of shut-eye and felt super psyched to whip up a healthy salad? Gurrrrl, please! Your tired bootay grabs an In-N-Out Double Double and calls it a day. So whether your goals include shedding some pounds, getting up earlier to squeeze in a workout or even just finding time to work on creative pursuits – solid slumber is absolutely key.

I know this because when it comes to sleep, I don’t. Yep, I don’t sleep well at all. Like hardly ever. If you’ve ever struggled with sleep issues, you know what I’m talkin’ bout, Willis. To start, all my life, I’ve been a night owl. Usually, I stay up way too late trying to catch up or get ahead on work after everyone in the house has gone to sleep and I can steal a few minutes of quiet time (this is never productive by the way). On the nights I actually do try to go to bed on time, I have trouble turning my brain off and falling asleep or lately, my 4-year-old has been waking up in the middle of the night needing a sip of water, a potty break or has had a bad dream and needs a hug. Now, there’s nothing in the world I love more than giving that precious little man hugs. However, I’d like to do it 7AM instead of 4. Over time, I’m beginning to realize what an impact my poor sleep habits are having on not just one of the goals I’m trying to achieve, but all of them.

So what can we sleep-deprived zombies do? I’ve been researching and sifting through lots and LOTS of advice to narrow down the best little nuggets that will make the biggest difference. Here’s to a good night’s rest for all of us!

BETTER ZZZZ’s SLEEP ROUTINE

– Eat dinner earlier. (This one’s tough for me since my husband often has to work late and we try to have dinner together, but hey, it may work for you!)

– Set a consistent bedtime every night and stick to it – even on weekends. To figure out your optimal bedtime based on sleep cycles, check out this super groovy calculator.

– An hour before bedtime, dim your lights. Awww, yea…

– Give yourself a curfew on electronics at least 1 hour before bed. The blue light from your phone and iPad keeps you awake. Even more importantly, late-night cruising of the Interwebs can be addictive – Instagram is the gateway drug to Pinterest and so on and so on.

– If you use your phone as your alarm, go ahead and set it now, using the same consistent wake-up time every day.

– Try sipping a cup of herbal tea (think chamomile) and eating a snack rich in tryptophan 1 hour before bed – like a banana, some yogurt or sliced turkey.

– Wash your face, brush those chompers and put in your sexy mouthguard – ooolala, hot!

– Stretch and do 5 minutes of meditation (without using an app on your phone, people. Remember you already put that evil thang away!)

– Crawl into bed with a book, get cozy.

– GO. TO. SLEEP.

– Come morning, avoid the snooze button like the plague. When you hit snooze, it preps your body for a new sleep cycle you can’t finish and actually makes you more fatigued all day.

– Even if the suspense is killing you to see what Donald Trump’s done overnight, stay off your phone for at least 15 minutes after waking. Use the time to open your curtains, let the sunshine in and stretch.

– Make your bed now and it’s done for the day, hooray! (Your mama will be so proud.)

– Give yourself a moment to sit on the end of the bed and set your intention for the day. Think about three top goals you want to accomplish.

Now, get out there and conquer the world!

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Have any sleep tips or struggles you’d like to share? Pehaps this blog post put you to sleep? Let us know in the comments below. 

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