Feels Like Home (#16)

After a long day of traveling and some time away, it’s good to be back.

Home to me is a really special word. Home can be a place but it can also be a feeling. It can be where you grew up or it can be a feeling you share. Home can be something you always return to, where you feel safest. For me, being an introvert means it’s important to have time to recharge on my own. I do that when I’m home and I know it’s what I need to be my best self. Whether you find solace in surrounding yourself with the people you share a last name with or your secret place in the park, it’s important to recognize and be grateful for it.

01.08.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Having 4 safe flights and returning home to my cat
  2. My dad waiting for me at the airport to pick me up and returning home to my family
  3. Time by the ocean and the smell of the breeze
  4. Dancing of all kinds
  5. Sleeping in my own bed
  6. Buffalo Chicken anything
  7. New England Patriots football
  8. A new semester at UMass
  9. A good cheeseburger
  10. Listening to vinyls on the record player
  11. My friends who support and encourage me
  12. Sports and how they inspire people
  13. The warmth of the sun
  14. A good pen to journal with
  15. Comfy pillows and long socks
  16. Free samples in the super market
  17. How much a couple deep breaths can help
  18. A good show to binge on Netflix
  19. Sunsets and mountains
  20. Feeling cozy
  21. The feeling after a hot shower
  22. Vacations on the cape
  23. Chocolate desserts
  24. The little moments
  25. Being exactly where I’m supposed to be

Why Reflection Is Important (#15)

Tonight is my last night in Los Angeles and there is a lot to be grateful for. Each day was beholden and full of new learning, new experiences, and new people. This was so far from what I expected when I got on a plane two days after booking my flight and planning my trip.

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I need to thank my Uncle Jeff and Karen for letting me stay with them for this amount of time. Typically, I only see my Uncle on Christmas so spending this time with him and connecting with my family has been incredible. Karen has been such a bright light and we have had numerous conversations about life and spirituality that I will remember and appreciate.

DSC_0240.JPGI want to talk about reflection because it is an essential part of learning. You don’t need to journal daily or write a blog about your day, but it is important to think back on experiences you’ve had and what you took from them. Maybe those instances did align with your expectations, maybe it was completely different similar to my situation. Whatever it was, learning happens when we go over what was presented. It almost is like homework for yourself in a sense to remember everything that happened in a day but can be crucial to your own development.

fullsizeoutput_3852I got to do so many cool things this week in LA and will definitely be making time to come back and visit again. We meditated every morning, I tried new foods and drank more tea. I was open to new experiences and because of that, I felt like I got more out of the trip. There were times my Uncle and I didn’t see eye to eye but we were both spending real time together for the first time in our lives as adults. There are things I’m going to hold on to and bring back to Massachusetts that I want to share with my friends and staff. I’m grateful for so many conversations that changed my perspective and opened my mind.

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Tomorrow I head back to Massachusetts to start up my second semester of Graduate School. Going to LA for a week was a great escape but I am excited to come home. In many different ways, my 2018 starts again. I’m excited about the new opportunities and challenges with my staff, with my family, and with my friends. I’m excited about new learning and fun memories with all of those same people. I just have to remind myself to be patient and take it all one day at a time in the process.

01.07.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Flourless chocolate cake
  2. Playing soccer growing up
  3. A day at the spa
  4. My family
  5. In N Out Cheeseburgers
  6. Comfy sweatshirts
  7. The neck pillow I’ll use to sleep on the plane
  8. Late night diners
  9. New Music Friday and Spotify Discover Weekly
  10. Time at the gym
  11. Waking up moments before my alarm to turn it off before it wakes me up
  12. The feeling after 10 deep breaths
  13. My time in Los Angeles with my Uncle, Karen, Erica, and my dog cousin Shayna
  14. Clear days and starry nights
  15. Dinsey and Pixar animated movies
  16. New England sports teams
  17. Having my mom work at the school that I attended K-12
  18. Whenever my brother sends me his artwork
  19. Happy dreams and unmistakable signs from the Universe
  20. A good pencil box in elementary school
  21. My mom’s cooking
  22. My student staff that I work with at UMass Amherst
  23. Patient people
  24. My newest pair of noise cancelling headphones
  25. My west coast adventure and the people who made it special

Take A Moment (#14)

Today, my plans changed. I was originally going to go to Catalina Island and was very excited about the hike I had planned. Instead, I spent the day getting a much needed massage and my first day at a spa. I did in fact spoil myself but I’d rather focus on why these plans changed.

For me, I found what I needed to on my first hike. I learned so much at Joshua Tree and didn’t want to spoil anything by going on another glorified day hike. I learned this wasn’t the experience I was looking for and felt like I was failing to meet my morals and standards by doing this hike at Catalina.

Today, I want to emphasis taking a moment. I personally went to the spa but you can take care of yourself in other ways. Self care is extremely important and should be a staple of your routine. Sometimes it’s nice to indulge and take an entire day at the spa but there are other ways to do this. Watching your favorite series on Netflix, cooking your favorite meal, sleeping in, are all ways you can take care of yourself to find easier ways to recognize gratitude. Ultimately, it’s up to you and that choice gives you power.

01.06.17

Today I’m grateful for….

  1. Late night pancakes
  2. A day at the spa
  3. Eggs of all shapes and sizes
  4. Seeing new places
  5. Self-care and self-love
  6. My family and my uncle
  7. Playing Soccer growing up
  8. Good music and Spotify
  9. The moon and the stars
  10. No traffic
  11. Staying in LA for free
  12. Peanut butter, always
  13. The geek trees and color in Southern California as Massachusetts continues to be hit by snow
  14. Dogs that let me pet them
  15. Cereal after school
  16. Trying new things
  17. Live music and artists that play with passion
  18. Meet some YouTube idols
  19. The existence of Chicken Parmesan
  20. For my bed after a long day outside
  21. My grandparents
  22. Be there for my family and my younger brother when things don’t go according to plan
  23. Popping your ears after a long day
  24. People who reach out when you need support
  25. Today and every day on vacation with my Uncle

Be Kind, You’re Learning (#13)

I haven’t been able to truly express just how different this trip to LA has been then I expected. I’ve written about living in the present and being adaptable but today was something else. I had a complete mental shift coming down from my hike today and it was more than I could have hoped for. Today was filled with learning and the time and grace to process all of it. I made a mistake in some ways and I need to own that. I have enjoyed every second so far of this trip but I was wrong for other reasons I’m still processing. I have a lot to learn and so much life to live. I’m still developing my personal identities and have a lot of maturing and growing to do as I enter the next phase of my life. I’m excited to share more with you all. Be kind to yourself and find gratitude in all of the little moments.

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01.05.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. My time at Joshua Tree National Park
  2. My family for letting me process with them
  3. Getting In-N-Out Burger twice today
  4. Killer Sunsets and long drives
  5. Learning from mistakes
  6. Water
  7. Time to journal
  8. Meeting new people and making new friends
  9. Wedding Invites
  10. Healing of all kinds
  11. A future with so many options
  12. Parks and Rec and how hard it makes me laugh
  13. A helpful map and kind Park Rangers
  14. My time in Washington hiking the side of Mt. Rainier
  15. How music can make you feel
  16. A day to relax and reset
  17. Ashland Pizza Palace Calzones
  18. Bike rides from my apartment to the gym
  19. NAPS
  20. The Earth we all share
  21. Technology and Green Energy
  22. The powers of the sun
  23. The slightest of tans I got from my hike today
  24. The inventor of the Drive Thru window
  25. New perspectives and each moment that brought me here

More pictures and stories to come

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Start Your List (#12)

It doesn’t have to be 25, it doesn’t even have to be 10. Finding time to think about gratitude at the end of your day can be powerful and if it’s just one thing, one person, that makes you thankful then I think that’s important.

01.04.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies
  2. My dad and the rest of my family
  3. The time and space I need as an introvert
  4. Fresh air and sunshine
  5. Naps of all lengths of time
  6. The support I get from my friends
  7. Gym time on vacation
  8. Music with relatable and powerful lyrics
  9. Dogs of all kinds (sorry Ned)
  10. Discovering new blogs!
  11. Trying new foods
  12. Tools that support my mental health
  13. My immunity to poison ivy
  14. A full moon on a cloudless night
  15. Lewis Watson and The Morning album
  16. A good night’s rest and waking up feeling refreshed
  17. Patient people who are willing to talk things out
  18. The creation of Honey Mustard
  19. The feeling I get when I look down at my beads from Cambodia
  20. My internship with Swift Kick and my ‘intern soulmate’, Sami
  21. Donuts after basketball games with my dad
  22. A moment to breath
  23. Taking the time to be prepared
  24. Soup when I’m sick
  25. To be where I am

Climb To New Heights (#11)

The road you travel is sure to have its challenges. Life wouldn’t be complete without those moments of doubt, questioning, and failure. I think why I enjoy blogging and journaling so much is because it gives me the chance to reflect. I can look back on this road with gratitude and recognize I’ve come so far. The same is true for hiking.

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Whatever the peak you are trying to reach, you have the strength to get there. When we attain those goals, we make new ones and set our sights higher. This is when it can get difficult for people. So often we get comfortable and that can lead to complacency. I want to challenge you to climb to new heights and set goals for 2018. We can set a low bar and be proud when we’ve accomplished what we’ve already been able to do, or we can go one step further. You can choose to be vulnerable and set goals that require hard work and follow through. You can set your sights on new peaks and new opportunities to climb higher than you ever have before. Look back at how far you’ve already climbed and how this road has tested you. You might be surprised as to what you find.

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01.03.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Sunsets on the beach
  2. Being outdoors and good hikes
  3. Nutella Pizza
  4. The smell of new books and what they hold inside
  5. Laying down and listening to music
  6. Time at the gym
  7. The people at UMass who are going to finally help me turn the light off outside of my apartment
  8. Reading new blogs and learning new skills
  9. Our Tuk-Tuk drivers in Cambodia for making us laugh and teaching us Khmer
  10. Amusement Parks and Rollercoasters
  11. Jijutsu teachers this past summer
  12. Easy Mac late at night
  13. A good series or movie on Netflix
  14. My dog cousin Shayna
  15. Touching the Pacific Ocean today
  16. Getting my Graduate Degree for free
  17. Brownies in ice cream
  18. My family of course
  19. My introvert time
  20. Boston Celtics Basketball
  21. Friends from home
  22. Crowded car rides with friends and dog
  23. Laughing with friends and getting free pizza
  24. Yurba Mate Latte
  25. Today. The here and now.

Embracing The Now (#10)

Today did not go as expected. We had one plan, we were going to do one thing, and that completely changed for the best! Making time to literally smell the roses in Pasadena was such a cool opportunity and tons of fun. The Rose Bowl Parade Floats weren’t on the agenda at the start of the day but it was one of the best parts for sure.

Sometimes you just have to accept where you are because the present is what matters most. Embrace the now, put your phone down, ask open ended questions and engage this moment to the fullest. With gratitude, every breath can be powerful if you allow it. Enjoy where you are, no matter what the plan was before.

01.02.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Morning sunshine meditation and stretches
  2. Recliner chairs at the movies
  3. Orange slices at halftime during soccer games
  4. The feeling when you’re covering your feet in the sand at the beach
  5. Meeting new people and going to new places
  6. A comfy pillow at the end of your day
  7. Time to nap
  8. My family and especially my uncle
  9. Trying new foods
  10. Autumn leaves and big sweatshirts
  11. The guys I grew up playing soccer with and the feeling after senior night
  12. Holding hands in the car
  13. Creative and passionate people
  14. Electric cars and how quickly they charge
  15. Tea and all the new kinds I’m trying
  16. 5 dollar Pizza on Wednesday’s
  17. Lists to keep you organized
  18. New books to read
  19. Pictures of my cat Ned from my family while I’m on vacation
  20. A full moon and how it lights up the sky
  21. Professors and friends at UMass who helped me get a 3.9 GPA in my first semester
  22. Feeling purposeful
  23. Having the capacity for gratitude and being able to recognize it
  24. Smelling good smells and all of my senses
  25. Today. Tomorrow. Yesterday.

No Expectations (#9)

Today was perfect. It was the first full day with my Uncle in LA and we did so much. Packing so much into one day has left me exhausted but grateful above all else.

Coming into this trip I had no idea what to expect. I thought this vacation was going to go one way and it has gone in a very different direction. I’m so happy with how my time has been spent here and none of it was planned this way.

To me, this emphasizes the need to live in the present. Let go of expectations of the future and the rigidity involved in making plans. Let life happen and go with the flow. Be grateful for each moment along the way and it won’t matter if your day is planned to the second or you just have an idea of what you’d like to do. Take a deep breath, and make the most of every moment.

This was the best way to start my 2018 and I hope you were able to do the same.

01.01.18

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. Morning mediation
  2. Organic fruit and healthy food
  3. Funny stories and uncontrollable laughter
  4. Hidden restaurants and delicious food
  5. Unexpected hikes
  6. Family of all kinds
  7. The feeling after you brush your teeth
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Nights on the balcony watching the sun go down
  10. Drunk texts from my brother
  11. People who share their gratitude with me!
  12. Sunday mornings in bed
  13. The feeling after a finished to-do list
  14. Home-made Pizza
  15. The warmth of the sun on my skin and the beautiful weather in LA
  16. The stars and how they connect us all
  17. Five Guys Burgers
  18. Nature and the great outdoors
  19. People with kind and gentle hearts
  20. Neck pillows for flights across the country
  21. Sharing pictures and experiences
  22. Harry Potter Movie Marathons
  23. Any kind of dessert
  24. People who give good hugs
  25. The promise of a new year and new opportunities

New Year and New Beginnings (#8)

With each new year comes new opportunities. I am lucky enough to get to write about gratitude and how important it is to each and every day. Whatever 2017 looked like for you, whatever highs and lows you experienced, it’s over and it’s in the past. You get to make the intentional choice to make 2018 everything you want it to be.

One of my friends texted me before I left for LA telling me about a tattoo she hopes to get and why it’s important to her. She said how 2018 was her year and it resonated with me. She gets to make that choice for herself once she speaks it into her existence. My friend specially said she was planning on leaving behind negativity and doubt but I think she’s making a bigger choice than that.

Whether or not you set and hold yourself to any kind of new years resolutions, think about what you want to accomplish in the new year for yourself. So often I worry about my relationships with others and how they perceive me. I think 2018 should be the year of ‘you’. Discover new passions and dreams. Try new foods and do something you know you shouldn’t. Be vulnerable, make mistakes, and have fun doing it.

I hope 2018 is your best year yet, but first be grateful for the year that was. Happy new year, internet!

12.31.17

Today and this year, I’m grateful for…

  1. My family. My parents have been so positive and encouraging while my siblings constantly support me.
  2. Bridgewater State University. There are so many people, mentors, and teachers that have impacted my life for the better and will forever be important to me.
  3. Cambodia, building water filters changed my life and I connected with some incredible people.
  4. UMass Amherst because of my job, my Peer Mentors, my cohort, and all of the opportunities I have there to learn new things and continue to grow.
  5. My cat, Ned. It was really helpful having something to take care of in my first semester of grad school and he’s a great listener and super chatty.
  6. Old friends and new friends. People come and go in your life but if you make the effort, they’ll be there.
  7. So. Much. Good. Music. There have been songs that have helped me through my lowest points and songs that have helped celebrate my highest highs.
  8. Frank and Holly who taught me to love my process at a time when I felt lost and unsure.
  9. Being able to volunteer around MA and meet some pretty incredible people in the process.
  10. All of my involvements at BSU and the people who made that time special. I am who I am today because of them.
  11. Being able to share my story as the commencement speaker for my graduating class was freeing and the most fun I’ve ever had public speaking.
  12. The Boyden steps and the time to process some of my biggest challenges.
  13. My grandma and her relentless spirit. She’s been fighting this battle for a long time and she still finds a way to be positive.
  14. The tools I have developed that help me navigate challenge. Journaling every day has really opened my eyes to how much good there is in my life.
  15. For warm beds, cozy clothes, and anything that makes me feel like safe and at home.
  16. The rain and the promise of new life when nothing seems to be going right.
  17. Sharing love with others. I have been able to both give and receive love and it is a powerful and infectious feeling.
  18. Time to exercise. This is kinda lame but sometimes getting a good sweat at the gym has turned my whole day around. It’s been my time and my space to just let go.
  19. Car rides to secret places. Sometimes you just need to get away and sit with yourself and those moments have brought me peace and clarity.
  20. All of the new people and experiences that have been present in 2017. Never would I have thought at the end of 2016, I would be where I am now with people I had yet to meet.
  21. Gratitude itself! I am the luckiest human in the world for so many reasons and I get to recognize and give it meaning when I exercise gratitude AND you can too!!
  22. People who motivate and inspire. Whether I met them in person or saw them online, there are some really special people on this earth and their stories have truly made me think.
  23. All the little moments. It would be impossible to write down every second that made me smile or think but there have been enough of them to get me here today.
  24. Times I was wrong and moments I was challenged. Life is a rollercoaster and you can’t appreciate the highs without experiencing the lows. I’ve been wrong PLENTY of times throughout 2017 and as much pain and difficulty as it has brought me, I am a better person because of the learning from my mistakes.
  25. The opportunity to reflect on my journey and my process. I didn’t get here alone and feeling like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be has brought me freedom and happiness in more ways than I can quantify.

First Steps (#7)

As I start my time out here in LA, I am so incredibly grateful just to be here. The sun is warm and my body feels new energy with each breath. As much as I love being home and everything about Massachusetts, change is both important and necessary. I had an honest conversation with my mom before I left and we talked about stepping outside my comfort zone. There haven’t been many moments in my life where I have branched out because most times I live cautiously with a guarded heart. Yesterday, I made the conscious choice this was something I needed. I am trying to embrace this feeling of freedom and I hope to act on it again and again as I move forward in life.

I’m excited to share more stories and pictures from my time here! Also figuring out what time and when to post the blog while I’m here so thank you for your patience. 

12.30.17

Today I’m grateful for…

  1. West Coast Smashburger
  2. Extra legroom on long flights
  3. Friendly faces and new connections
  4. Increasing independence
  5. Meaningful dreams
  6. Good music and new playlists
  7. A warm sun (sorry Massachusetts)
  8. A good stretch in the morning to start my day
  9. New adventures and new experiences
  10. My Family but especially my Uncle for so many reasons
  11. Conversations that go beyond small talk
  12. The Good / Better / Best for a day
  13. A beautiful sky with the promise of more
  14. Anytime I can brag about TB12 and my Patriots
  15. People in LA who don’t mind when I ask for help or direction
  16. Puppies of all kinds
  17. Safe flights. Taking off and landing will always stress me out
  18. Having the opportunity to learn about different religions and beliefs
  19. Not having social media anymore, it is freeing
  20. Being able to grow a beard, my face is always warm and it’s great
  21. Music by Tash Sultana (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVDJ8O3lPBA)
  22. An ocean breeze
  23. Our National and State Parks, nature is important
  24. A good pair of sweatpants
  25. Inspiration in all forms