An Ode To The Girl Cave…

First let me start by saying that I was a bit overzealous when I decided to challenge myself to a post a day for the month of November. Rather than beat myself up about essentially failing my challenge to myself in the first week I’ve decided to tweak it and challenge myself to 30 posts in the month of November. Get excited, there’s some 2-4-1 Tuesdays in your Shoveling Sunshine future!

Over the weekend I closed one chapter of my life and started another. Tomorrow I will bid my final farewell to the Girl Cave and officially begin a new chapter in my new apartment! Whoo hoo!

The Girl Cave will go down in history as my favorite apartment. And that’s really saying something because I’ve moved 13 times in 10 years. Yes, you read that correctly (8 of them were to Key West (college included)). The Girl Cave was so much more than an apartment. It was my haven. My sanctuary. My 250 square feet of comfort in what was the most trying time in my life.

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I’ve said this a million times, everyone should live alone one time in his or her life!  It’s seriously the most amazing experience. I went from living with my parents, to college roommates, to being a live-in nanny one summer, to live-in boyfriends, and back to roommates. For 29 years I had lived with other people and I decided when I moved back to Key West it was time for a change.

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The Girl Cave was the perfect landing spot for me to get on my feet in my first year back in The Keys. If those walls could talk they’d have quite a story to tell and not just of my drunken adventures. So many people had lived in the apartment before me that by the time I moved in I didn’t even have to put any nails in the walls to hang my pictures. When I would get food delivered, there was a 50/50 chance the delivery driver had lived there at some point as well.

The thing makes the Girl Cave so special for me is that I both lost and found myself in that little apartment. I had just moved back to Key West and into the apartment when my sister passed away and although on the outside I looked like I was coping with my loss ok, inside, I was completely drowning in my grief.

Then, it was like someone gave me a lifeline. Something inspired me to change my tune and that I did. I took the black out panels off the windows and doors (symbolism at it’s finest) and I began the search for myself.

Needless to say, nowhere in my 5-year plan did I think I would end up “finding myself” in a small little termite-ridden studio on Frances Street.  It was on that quest that I finally started to take time to smell the roses. Okay, maybe not roses, but definitely the Night Blooming Jasmine! I started to reconnect with nature, it was proof and a reminder that life goes on and that we are all connected.

I think anyone who suffers a tremendous loss is looking for a connection, and like I said, I found my connection in nature. When I hear and feel the wind blow through the pocket park on my morning walk with Skyy or when the rays of sun cast a perfect glow on the ocean; that is when I feel the most present and connected. It’s in the moments when I am present that I notice the lingering butterfly or hear the chirping birds outside; and it’s in those moments that I feel my sisters spirit with me.   That serves as the perfect motivation to stay here, in the Now. It is in the Now that I feel both my and her spirit the strongest and that is where I have chosen to reside.

So thank you lovely little Frances Street hideaway for keeping my secrets, helping me grow and connect, for providing comfort and warmth when I needed it most, and for teaching me how awesome it is to start your day with an outdoor shower.

Cheers!

Friday Favorites

You know, I wish I was one of those people who wake up in the morning and think “Gosh, I really feel like having some granola and yogurt for breakfast”.  The reality is that I’m not.  I’m the kind of person that wakes up and wants cream chipped beef and bacon.

Along with cream chipped beef and bacon, here’s 5 more things I’m loving this Friday:

1.  Taylor Swift and the fact that Shake It Off almost perfectly syncs with this 80’s Aerobic Championship video.  Cause the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate…


2.  Fresh salsa.  I make a big batch every week and use it in various recipes.  It’s a great way to get my veggie and cilantro fix.

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Fresh Salsa: tomatoes, corn, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, fresh lime juice and salt & pepper. #bingo.

3.  This quote from Roger Staubach:  “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
4.  Candy corn & other Halloween candy that has been marked down to 75% off.  Don’t mind if I doooooo.
5.  My Godsons.

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My Boys.

Happy Friday!  Cheers!

Run, Selfie, Repeat

I just have to share this with you.  Check out this blog:  Run, Selfie, Repeat.

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#RunSelfieRepeat

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon it, but I know it happened from some strange sequence of clicking on my Facebook newsfeed.  This blog made me laugh and cry and feel every emotion in between.  I can’t figure out if I relate to her more because she lost a sibling or because I wish I would have been smart enough to come up with the concept of taking a selfie with a hot guy to pass the time while running.  Either way, this chick Kelly is laugh out loud funny, and inspiring and whether you are a runner or not; you’ll dig her story.

#teamashleethomas #runforjaime

8 Things I’m Thankful For Right Now

1.  That I woke up this morning.

2.  My morning meditation and hot lemon water.
3.  That I can vote today.
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4.  Hip Hop BBQ on Pandora.
5.  Skyy.
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6.  My Erin Condren Life Planner.  I couldn’t navigate my day without it.
7.  Cold Brew Coffee
8.  That extra hour of sleep I got on Sunday from daylight savings time.  I’m still reaping the effects of it.

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and the first thing I do is write down 5 things I’m thankful for.  For the month of November I decided instead of perusing my Facebook newsfeed and delaying the inevitable fact that I must get out of bed to go to work, I will instead write down at least 3 things I’m thankful for.  I like this practice because it sets my intention for the day.  I intend to go through the day being thankful for each experience and encounter.  If you want to change your attitude, practice gratitude.

I also took a page out of my girl Gabby B’s book by asking myself these questions from A Course in Miracles, “Where would You have me go? What would You have me do? What would You have me say, and to whom?” By asking myself these questions, many times before I even open my eyes, it transforms my mindset.  It releases the control that my mind and ego thinks it has over my day and life and instead gives that power to a higher source.  What a relief!  Now I can go through my day with curiosity instead of control.

Can’t wait to see what today brings and don’t forget to ROCK your vote!  Cheers!

Meditation Monday

I shouldn’t be surprised that meditation is the subject that I have gotten the most questions and comments on, the mere two times I mentioned it in this blog.  Everyone wants to be more calm, peaceful, and mindful but they don’t know where to start.  Enter meditation.

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If this kid can do it; YOU can do it.

Meditation is a means of transforming the mind. Meditation practices are techniques that encourage and develop concentration, clarity, emotional positivity, and a calm seeing of the true nature of things.  This is achieved when the mind is calm and silent.

Your mind works 24/7 and it’s been given the impossible task of narrating your entire life.  How exhausting that must be! Can you imagine having to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week since you were born?  Now imagine how amazing it would feel if you had worked 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then all of a sudden got a 10 minute break.  Even that little bit of downtime would rejuvenate the heck out of you and keep you working for the next “break”.  Now apply that concept to your mind.  Give it a break.

The awesome thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere.  Think Green Eggs and Ham-esque: on a train, in a plane, with a goat, on a boat… seriously, it can be done anywhere.  For all you mass transit morning commuters… bingo!  Put down your kindle or tablet and quiet your mind.   Load a guided mediation onto your iPhone and listen during your commute to work.

I often do on my morning walk with Skyy, I make it a point to not bring my phone with me on our walks so I can actually enjoy the time I get in the morning before the chaos of the day begins.  We go to a pocket park every morning on our walk and there are chairs there; I let her do her thing and I squeeze in a quick 3/4 minute meditation while I’m enjoying the morning and my hot lemon water.  It’s just a great way to start my day.

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Hot Lemon Water in my favorite Anthropologie mug.  Click the link above to learn the benefits.

I encourage you to start your own meditation practice; it only takes 1 minute to begin and you can slowly build up to more time as you cultivate your practice. If you want some tips on how check out my new page at the top of this post, Meditation 101; every Monday I’ll post something new to the page to help you either begin or cultivate your practice.  You can also tune into guided meditations from your phone, tablet, or laptop.  Hell, you can even sync your YouTube account to your Blu Ray players and play them through your television (Gabby Bernstein (my spirit idol whom I’m going to see in person Nov 12th when she comes to South Florida!) has some great FREE guided meditations on her website, check them out!)

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Happy Monday and happy meditating!  Cheers!