15 Take Aways from 2015

So it’s New Year’s Eve and if you are anything like me you are probably sitting there wondering where the year went?!  Seriously, it seems like 2015 popped in for a quick hello and then boom!  Here comes 2016.

Santa Wrecking Ball

This is usually the day of the year that Facebook floods with everyone saying how they can’t wait for the year to be over.  This year I encourage you to do something different.  Embrace the struggles because they are teaching you something. Reflect on the good times and manifest even more good times for 2016.  Every one is yearning for a fresh start and that’s exactly what everyone gets when January 1 rolls around.  A fresh start.  A chance to try again.

And to close out 2015 here are my take aways from 2015:

Slow Down:  In Key West we have a saying “Slow Down, This Ain’t The Mainland” that has become so popular that it has its own bumper sticker and is featured on 1/2 the vehicles in KDub.  But really, slow down.  Why is everyone in such a hurry?  I’ve come to believe that you are exactly where you are supposed to be at each moment.  Isn’t it a lovely thought… that you are where you are EXACTLY where you are supposed to be.  Kind of takes the pressure off right?  Knowing the universe is guiding you to where you need to be at this very moment.Slow Down

Check Your Tone:  Often it’s not what you say but how you say it.  Watch your tone as you speak to people throughout the day.  One of my favorite saying is “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar”.  A smile (and southern accent if you have one) goes a long way too.

Jenny Watch Your TonePut Yourself First:  I like to call this one the airplane rule.  One of the things that the flight attendants tell you in their safety spiel is that should the cabin pressure drop and the oxygen masks are needed be sure to put your own mask on first before helping others.  The theory behind this is if something happens to you how will you be able to help others?  Take time for yourself, it’s important.

Flight AttendantFigure Yourself Out (and Use The Map to Get There):  If you don’t know what you want and where you are going how can you expect others to be on board and to help you get to where you need/ want to be.  Know what you want in life and have a plan to get there.  Put this book on your reading list for 2016.  It will change your life :  The Map by Boni Lonnsburry

The Map

Independence Is The New Black:  There is nothing sexier than a man or woman who can get shit done.  Take some of your power back, you are stronger than you think and wiser than you know.  I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T, do you know what that mean[s]!
I know what I wantRoutine is Soothing:  Figure out a routine that works for you.  Whether it’s a morning routine, nightly routine, a daily routine. Even if it’s just 5 minutes of quiet time while drinking your coffee. Whatever it is figure one out and stick to it. You may have to try a few different things but tweak it as you go and figure out what works best for you.  It will bring you a peace of mind and eventually, something to look forward to.
Morning Scrolling Gives Away Your Power:  We use our cell phones for everything now a days.  It’s our alarm clock, our lifeline, our address book, our portable photo album, our news source.  Stop wasting time scrolling through Facebook in the mornings.  You have no control over what information or news your FB friends will be feeding you.  Why risk starting your day with a rant about traffic,  politics, or whatever else that is shitty going on in the world.  I didn’t even realize it but when I stopped the morning scroll my anxiety decreased dramatically in the mornings.

Adopt Morning Pages: Every morning write three pages of brain drain before you start your day.  Doesn’t matter what you write, if it’s grammatically correct, or even if it makes sense.  Just get a notebook or some paper and write 3 pages.  This will help take away some of your creative blocks and make it easier for you to tune in.

Kindness is Underrated:  Let someone in front of you in the grocery store that only has one item.  Hold the door for someone.  Give directions.  Simply smile.  The world needs more of it.
Kindness
Perfection is Perception:  We’ve all heard the saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, well so is perfection.  Try your best, not for perfection.  There will always be something that can be tweaked or improved, just do your best, that is the definition of perfection to me.  Remember, we are all works in progress.
Perfection
Time Does NOT Heal All Wounds:  Whoever said that time heals all wounds is a liar.  Time doesn’t heal anything, it just lessens the blow.  If you are suffering take the time you need to at least begin the healing process.  Time will help you to heal, but you will have to do the grunt work. It’s worth it.

Be Impeccable With Your Word:   We all have those friends that cancel on us last-minute, or plan something months in advance because it sounds like a great idea but then when the time rolls around to actually carry out the plan they/ we fall short and it sucks.  If you say you are going to do something do it.  Remember it all starts with you.  Do not break promises to yourself to accommodate others (see #3).
Pinky PromiseSelf Talk is Bigger Than You:  Be mindful of your self talk/ think, it’s a conversation with the universe.  The other day I was sitting with a friend on my couch and they were just going on and on about how terrible they felt and what a shitty person they thought they were.  You see my friend was in this nasty habit of bashing herself for all her missteps instead of focusing on the progress she had made.  I don’t let people talk about my friends like that, even when it’s a friend talking about themselves.  I told her “stop talking about my friend like that” and I could see her immediately taken aback. It gives us a different perspective; we wouldn’t let others talk about our friends in a negative way so don’t let people talk about themselves that way either.  Stop putting yourself down, the universe is listening.
Universe

What Do I Want The End Result To Be?:  This is a question that has changed the way I approach everything in my life.  Whenever I’m making a choice or change I ask my self, “what do you want the end result to be”.  It forces you to think of things outside of your scope and often times will give you a different perspective on your situation at hand.

Happiness (and lipstick) Looks Good On Everyone:  Period.

Sionara 2015, bring on 2016!  Cheers!

Singing in the Shower, La La Di, La La Da…

I’m not a morning person.  Never have been, although I do have to say that I’m getting better as I’m getting older.  Summer 2009* I was having a particularly hard time getting up for work in the morning (had nothing to do with the fact that I was closing down bars 4 nights a week…) so I asked my friend Dirt** who worked for a landscape company and had to be to work at sunrise what the secret was to waking up early.  He said you have to take a cold shower and belt out your favorite tunes.

* Summer 2009 will go down in history as one of my favorite summers of all time.
**  I’m pretty sure Dirt’s nickname came before the job at the landscape company but can’t be 100% sure.  Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

To have a successful shower singing experience I’ve found that you need to have 3 basic things:

1.  A Shower.  Preferably an outdoor shower but I understand that not all of us can afford the same luxury that we have here in Key West, especially in December, so any old shower will due.

Outdoor shower

Please note I have no idea who’s shower this is but I can promise you that one day I will have an exact replica.

2.  A Speaker.  If you’re going to be legit you have to have a legit speaker.  I highly recommend this one.  It’s awesome, has a suction cup and is only $19.99 on Amazon.

Speaker
Or, if are ok with 1/2-assing it you can throw your phone in a cup and hope it projects over the sound of the water.
Phone in cup

3.  A Song.  Or in my case song(s).  Here’s a few of my recent faves, which will also give you a pretty good indication of how random my choice in music is.  You can also find  my playlist Singing In The Shower on Spotify.  You’re welcome.

1.  Shower-  BeckyG
Obviously this makes the top of the list.

2.  Marvin Gaye-  Charlie Pruth (featuring Megan Trainor)
And so does this song because I can’t get it out of my damn head.  And I guarantee the same thing will happen to you now…

3.  Smoke A Little Smoke-  Eric Church
Something about that verse, “kick back give the blues a spin, break out the wine, begin again.  Dig down deep, find my stash, light it up, take me back…” just makes me want to start line dancing in the shower.  *Sigh* If only it were larger than 2’x2’…

4.  Where Are You U Now-  Skrillex & Diplo (featuring Justin Bieber)
You can say you don’t like Justin Bieber.  Yeah, he acts like a douche sometimes and has a history of making poor decisions but I dare you not to sing the chorus by the end.

Night At the Roxbury

5.  Bad Blood-  Taylor Swift
All hail The Queen.  Bad Blood has been #1 on the charts for 5 weeks in a row.

6.  Sugar- Maroon 5
Sing it with me!  Adam Levine… yes please.  Won’t you come and put it down on me.

Adam Levine

I hope that’s a joint and not a cigarette.

7.  Whatever You Like-  T.I.
This song always makes me feel like a boss.  I don’t know why, none of it is really applicable to me.  I just always feel gangster AF when I’m rapping in the shower and know all the words.

My chick could have what she want, And goin’ every store for any bag she want, And know she ain’t never had a man like that, To buy you anything ya heart desire I that. #boom

Eminem

8.  On To Something Good-  Ashley Monroe
What a great way to start the day.  I feel like I’m onto something good…  belt it out, that’s EXACTLY the kind of energy you should be putting out into the universe first thing in the morning!  Or anytime of day for that matter.

9.  Hypnotize-  The Notorious B.I.G
Biggie Biggie Biggie, can’t you see, sometimes your words just hypnotize me.

10.  I Wanna Dance With Somebody-  Whitney Houston
Saving all my love for you Whitney.  This will always has and always will be my jam.

Cheers!

I Survived One Week of Crossfit. Kinda.

No, you are not hallucinating. I wrote that. Me, the person who has a love affair with hamburger helper survived a week of crossfit. Kinda. The reason I’m saying kinda is because it was a week of learning, 3 days of “foundations” which is learning how to do some moves and only one actual WOD (work out of the day).

I already know what you’re thinking, great, now this wonderful blog that I love reading so much is going to turn into a blog about another personal crossfit quest/ obsession. Because lets be honest, the number one rule of crossfit is to tell everyone about crossfit.
Gene Wilder- Crossfit
Well, that’s certainly not my intention. But what I do want to talk about is vulnerability. What does vulnerability have to do with crossfit you ask? Well for me, everything.

First of all its nerve-wracking as shit to walk into a gym in the first place. Let alone a crossfit gym where people throw around Olympic weighted barbells like its no big deal. Think trying to find where you are going to sit in the cafeteria on the first day of school nerve-wracking.
mean-girls-cafeteria-scene
But I did it! Well actually we did it. I’m not in this alone, my girlfriends Edee and Kristin joined with me. Which brings me to another tip: I highly recommend joining with a friend or two. Not only does it give you a built in cheerleader but it takes the edge off knowing you have at least one other person who doesn’t know what the fuck they are doing.
brenebrownmetoo
Here are some of the actual questions and thoughts that came through my mind this week:

Hang Power What? How much does that dumbbell weigh? What in the hell is a Turkish Get Up? How am I sweating this profusely and we haven’t even gotten out of the warm up yet. I have to touch my knees to what? My elbows? Haha, good one. I wish my butt looked that good. I want my butt to look that good. God, that Dion’s fried chicken smells good.

Britney Spears Fried Chicken

Preach Britney. #preach

It was a week of craziness and I’m out of my comfort zone. I woke up craving fruit for breakfast, which never happens (I’m more of a country fried steak and grits kind of girl) and even managed to sneak in a salad or two for lunch. I don’t consider myself an athlete. I mean yeah, I played sports in high school but even then it was still more for the social scene than the scholarship possibilities. I had no idea if I would be able to finish a day of workouts let alone a week but I did.

Monday we learned some weight lifting moves. Tuesday we learned squats; some with weight, some without. Wednesday I was so sore that I had to hold onto the sink to lower myself onto the toilet in the morning but I made it to the gym that afternoon to finish up my last day of foundations and Friday I did my first official WOD.

Hang Power Clean

How I think I looked…

Ermaged Crossfit

How I actually looked…

One of my new years resolutions was to work on vulnerability.  That’s a large order to fill because I HATE feeling vulnerable.  There’s an amazing author and teacher named Brené Brown who has made a living exploring vulnerability and how it impacts one’s life.  One of my favorite quotes of her book Daring Greatly is “sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”  And I just have to say I’m proud of myself and my girls for showing up this week.´

Show Up Brene Brown

 

Happy Super Soul Sunday!  Cheers!

Try, Try, Again.

It’s been a month.  An entire month since my last post.  You may recall that for the month of November I challenged myself to a post a day.  By November 5th I realized I was in over my head with that challenge and tweaked my challenge to 30 posts in 30 days.  Drumroll please…

george-drumroll

I wrote 6 posts in 30 days.

It’s pretty embarrassing actually, to publicly challenge yourself and publicly fail.  Maybe no one else noticed, but I did.  I noticed the first day I missed a post and then the more days I missed the more anxiety I had about not writing.

jennifer-lawrence

Then one morning a friend of mine posted this link on Facebook, 10 Successful Famous People Who Failed Before Their Big Break and I was all like:
jim-carrey-batman-forever-riddler-i-am-a-winner

You know, the truth is I could have gotten up just a little bit earlier or stayed awake just a little bit later but I didn’t feel like it.  In fact, I didn’t really feel like doing much of anything, and you know what?  That’s ok.  Life is full of ups and downs and just like my man Ray Liotta said in the movie Blow, “Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.”

One of the things I like (and dislike) about being 30 is that I have finally figured out what works and what doesn’t work for me.  For example, I know that meditation helps me with my anxiety, outlook, and demeanor and that I should practice at least once a day.  I know exactly how many hours of sleep I need to function, what kind of food makes me productive, how many shots I can have before I’ll be glutton for an epic hangover the next day, etc.  That being said, I know that what I needed an intervention, a spiritual intervention to be exact.  I needed to do things that were good for my soul.

I reignited my meditation practice and went to a group meditation with my Sanga on Saturday.  It was awesome.  For those of you that don’t know, a Sanga is a Buddhist community; a church of good vibes if you will.  It’s always such an uplifting and positive experience.  I also put on some Christmas tunes, trimmed the tree, decorated my apartment and made my Christmas Cookie list.  Turns out, a little meditation and some Christmas Spirit was just what the doctor ordered!

smiling-is-my-favorite

I think it’s safe to say I’m back in action.  Cheers!

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.

IMG_4844

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.

IMG_4850

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!