mental health · relationships · Wellness

The Simple Magic of DOING Something

My nephew, Logan, is ten years old, and in his own words…he’s “AWESOME.”

I have four nieces and two nephews, each uniquely gifted. Veronica is an amazing actor and singer. Bryce is extremely tech-savvy. Aislynn is athletic. Kali is an incredible artist. Dayla is not quite three, so we are still learning what gift she possesses. For now it is the gift of a large, commanding personality and amazing style.

Logan was blessed with the gift of humor. Collectively as a family, we have been blessed with the gift of experiencing Logan’s humor. He is goofy and has the best facial expressions, one-liners, and quick-witted remarks. He can also be quite the charmer.

The other week, Logan was upset because Veronica and Kali were invited to see the new Spiderman movie with friends, and the invitation was not extended to Aislynn and him. He and Aislynn were beside themselves. My sister decided that perhaps a walk to my house would cheer them up and distract them from the tragedy of not getting to go to the movies with the teenagers.

I see Logan bouncing up my driveway and run out to greet him. The first thing he says is not “Hi, Aunt Loni!” Nor is it, “Hello!” Or, “Good evening!” Or any other common greetings.

He says: “Veronica and Kali decided to go to the movies instead of coming to see you. Not me and Aisy though, we CHOSE YOU, Loni. We chose to come see you instead of going to see a movie.”

Sure, I knew the real deal because my sister had called me half an hour prior from her backyard whispering, “ I think they are about to conspire against me over this stupid movie!”

But with his icy blue eyes and toothy grin, I couldn’t help but have my socks knocked off by Logan’s charm.

Recently, my little comedian charmed me in a different, humbling way.


It was a Friday night. My sister, Steph, had surgery for a herniated disc that day, and my mom had her three up at the hospital to visit her. Kali was at a slumber party. I had Logan and Dayla while my sis, Bri, and her hubby were out for dinner.

When my sis and bro-in-law first left for the evening, Dayla was finishing up dinner, and Logan was watching a cartoon. Eventually, Dayla migrated over, and the two were entranced by some obscure show. I figured I’d let them watch a few episodes because Bri is typically pretty strict with TV time, so I thought a Friday night novelty was called for.

Besides, I wasn’t feeling very “there.” As in, life has recently been throwing all sorts of unexpected craziness in my direction, and how could I possibly be actively engaged with my niece and nephew’s company when there was so much unproductive worrying I could be doing instead? So I sat on the couch beside them, and I stewed and daydreamed of worst possible scenarios. I was in the same room as them, on the same couch even, yet I was nowhere near them.

At some point, I mentally checked-in to think that we were nearing the threshold of enough TV viewing for one sitting and decided that after this episode, we’d come up with a new activity. Well, new for them. I’d still stew and worry.

Mid anxious thought, Logan loudly asks, “Hey Loni, do you want to DO something??”

“Sure, Bud,” I reply. “What would you like to DO?”

He opts for coloring a neat hardbound mythical monsters coloring book Steph gave him. He gets all set up at the kitchen table, excitedly coloring the next monster on the page after reading about its magical powers.

I get Dayla going with some colored pencils and her new sticker book. Then I take my seat and resume my worrying. I was in the same room as them, at the same table even, yet I was nowhere near them.

“Hey Loni….” Logan calls out to me while still coloring. “You could come sit beside me and color some of the monsters I haven’t started on yet,” he sweetly offers.

I sit by him. Anxiety floods me as I try and figure out what colors to use on this serpent snake whose mystical powers “aren’t that impressive” according to Logan. I settle on a navy and a gold. I’m coloring and fretting over how small some of the details are, and I pretty much deem the snake a failure when Logan exclaims, “Whoah, Loni! How did you learn to color so lightly like that? It looks awesome!”

Truth be told, his compliment made me feel better.

We move on to a new page. This one has a huge spider with a sugar skull design on its back. Logan decides we need to conquer this bad boy together. We decide to go with bright colors on the eyes, nose, and mouth of the sugar skull, as well as on the legs. We color the body black to make the colors pop.

As we work, we discuss which colors need to go where. We talk about how we wouldn’t want to run into this spider in the nighttime. We are coloring. We are talking. And I am not stewing. I am not worrying. We are sitting beside each other, DOING an activity together. Logan’s excitement grows as we complete the spider.

My sister calls to let me know she is on her way home and in the background Logan yells towards the phone, “We are having SO much fun!” Dayla mimics her brother, “SO much fun!”

When Bri walks in the door, Logan immediately takes her by the arm over to the table to admire the spider. “Didn’t Logan do an awesome job?” I ask.

“No, WE did an awesome job,” he corrects me.

Before I leave, Logan gives me the biggest hug and whispers to me that he had the best night with me. A few weeks later, he is still showing off the spider to his cousins.

Logan is my goofy, comedian nephew, yet that night he taught me a valuable lesson about life.


The time I spent at that table coloring with Logan, I felt alive. I was present. I showed up for that moment. You know what is really crazy?

My life quality did not diminish from abandoning my worries and concerns. If anything, it improved.

My stress levels did not increase because I neglected my worries and concerns. If anything, they fell.

Life is not meant to be spent inside one’s head. Life is meant to be lived. Living shouldn’t be overthought. To begin living, just DO something. Anything. Take action, and do. When you simply DO something and dedicate your entire focus to this action, the magic of living begins.

Being present and in the moment

xx-Lona

Culture · Events · mental health · music · relationships · Travel · Wellness

Life Lately, Bonnaroo 2017, and a Summer Vibes Playlist

 

 

What a sight for sore eyes this screen is. I have missed my blog. I have missed you, dear friends. All of it.

Yet every time I have sat down to post, I have been overwhelmed with anxiety, which is not a feeling I typically associate with this blog. I planned to take a week off for Bonnaroo, only to hop directly back on the blog train to tell you all about my wild adventures and hear about some of yours from while I was away from my little blog community.

Then last week happened.

Last week was just a continuous stream of weird, unfavorable events for my family. Some of these events are laughable, and some are quite serious. There are some major health problems plaguing a couple of family members, which means I’ve been “ON” more constantly, and really trying to help out with my nieces and nephews, since it is summer break for them.

In light of some of the bad things going on, I have enjoyed being around my family so much over the past week and a half. Last night, I spent an awesome few hours with my youngest niece, who is almost three years old. We ate strawberries, tried on sparkly jewelry, and played hide and seek until sundown!

The caveat to this refreshing time spent with family is that when I finally have a few quiet moments to myself at night…I am exhausted and a little disoriented because my routine has been let go with abandon. I’ve not just been absent from [W]IT GIRL, but from social media in general. I’ll sometimes go nine hours without touching my phone because I’ve been so engaged in everything from handling a damaged AC unit (4 days, no AC, 90 degree weather), to prepping for my nephew’s birthday party, to helping care for my sister’s ill pup. In a way, unplugging has been rejuvenating. But also, it has interfered with a blog routine that has been manageable, successful, and fulfilling.

Cue anxiety—you see, normally I pour myself into each post, and it is planned, edited, and ready to go days prior to when it is to be posted. Bonnaroo obviously got in the way of my usual weekend workflow; however, when I would sit down to catch up, I’d find myself exhausted, concerned about giving you less than my best.

[W]IT GIRL started over two years ago as a way to play with concepts I was picking up from my Technical Writing courses during undergrad. Over time I’d held onto it hoping to one day turn it into something valuable. 2017 has been my year to create quality, authentic content, and the notion that perhaps creating content while exhausted would take away from the progress I’ve made over the past half of a year opened the flood gates for waves of anxiety.

After much internal deliberation, I decided that while I should not let exhaustion rob my blog of quality content, exhaustion does not make my writing any less authentic. If anything, it makes it more authentic.

So here I am. I’m not as caffeinated as I’d prefer, but I am showing up, and sometimes that’s the beginning and end of everything.

 

Let’s talk Bonnaroo.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

As I mentioned in my previous post, I first attended Bonnaroo in 2011 and then again in 2012. Those were two of the most magical experiences of my life, and I truly believe seeing Radio Head live and witnessing Thom York’s sweet moves up close impacted who I am today. These glorious memories had me pretty pumped to return to the farm!

Five years later, Bonnaroo is a different crowd. A little younger than I recall. Yes, I am a good bit older than when I first attended; however, I did not see any of the older hippies who hop festivals as a lifestyle. I have vivid memories of such individuals from my first trips to Bonnaroo. This time around, it definitely gave off a more trendy Coachella vibe, but Benny had nothing to compare it to, and I wasn’t about to let the difference throw a wrench my good time, so we just went with it.

We arrived early Thursday afternoon and set up our campsite. Each morning we’d chill at the campsite for a few hours before trekking into Centeroo for the music and activities.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

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There were only a couple of acts Thursday that I recognized, so we really set out to explore and discover awesome artists. We got mighty close for The Orwells. I was so pumped to get Benny in such a good spot for our first set, only to immediately regret this moments into their first song. I failed to realize that The Orwells have a rather rowdy following who “dance” in an aggressive matter with little attention to their surroundings. We immediately backtracked our way to higher ground, safe from the mosh pit.

My sunglasses were the only casualty. We are thankful for their sacrifice. Could have been a limb or a phalange or a face instead. Jesus took the wheel on that one.

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Throughout the course of the weekend, Benny and I had a blast being moved by the incredible talent that swept Bonnaroo stages. A few of my favorite acts were Glass Animals, Tove Lo, Tegan and Sara, Chance the Rapper, and Lorde. And that’s the condensed list.

My freckles came out to play. We gained Chaco tan lines. We walked until our feet were numb. We came back sun-kissed, sleepy, and free-spirited. ‘Twas a good time, most definitely.

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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

I’m not sure when I’ll next return to the farm, but I urge you, [W]IT GIRLS, go see some live music this summer. Make it a priority. And when you do, don’t film it all on your phone. Be there. Be enchanted. Be present.

You can shop my adorable off-the-shoulder swimsuit here. I received so many compliments on it!

Last, but certainly not least…..I’m gifting you a Summer Vibes playlist that is Bonnaroo 2017 inspired, since it is OFFICALLY SUMMER!!

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festivalxx-Lona

mental health · relationships · Wellness

5 Mantras for Confidence

Within me is the strengthto handle theobstacles I face-4.png

Do you want to know what I find to be one of the most beautiful things?

A lady with confidence.

There is something so powerful about a woman who is comfortable in her skin and able to communicate with poise and dignity.

Y’all, it give me chills! That’s one of the whole reasons I started [W]IT GIRL: I wanted to create a platform through which young women could grow into well-rounded, confident ladies who take the world head on.

Some people are innately born with confidence. Others gain it with age and maturity. And still others struggle to find this enigmatic characteristic. I fall into the last category, although I will say age has helped. I strive to make my fellow [W]IT GIRLS feel confident in themselves and the work they do; I find community is huge in boosting one’s confidence.

One of my favorite ways to manifest confidence is mantras.

One million years ago during a yoga class, my teacher introduced me to the concept of a mantra. At the time I found the notion a little strange and voodoo-y. Joke was on me.

A mantra is a word or phrase you repeat to yourself or aloud (often in a meditation practice). Typically mantras are positive and uplifting; the idea is that as you vocalize these pure thoughts and ideas repeatedly, you realize them. Mantras manifest your dreams. Think of it as a pep talk.

I often write mantras repeatedly, or I’ve even made mantra cards and kept them in my purse for easy access. When I need a boost of confidence or feel overwhelmed, I choose a mantra and give myself one minute to repeat it as many times as I can while doing some deep breathing. Mantras can be great mechanisms for coping with stress or frustration, as well.


Today I’m sharing with you 5 mantras to manifest confidence.

1.

5Oh, sweet [W]IT GIRL, you are enough. You have enough. Everything you need is within. Don’t let anyone steal your self-worth.

2.

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God places you exactly where you are meant. Any obstacle you face or pain you experience is temporary and preparing you for bigger, for better.

3.

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You are the light. You are the positivity. Inhale and expand. Exhale and let go of that which no longer serves you.

4.

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Acceptance is crucial to finding inner peace. Fight for the things you can change. Accept the things you cannot.

5.

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[W]IT GIRLS, you attract what you radiate.

 

So go forth, radiate confidence.

 

xx-Lona

mental health · relationships · Wellness

From the Heart: Success is a Choice

Howdy, friends!

I’m currently sitting on my patio, enjoying the refreshing breeze and winding down from a long day….and a rather long weekend, as strange as that is to say.

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Today I am going to be a bit vulnerable and share something from the heart with you all. We did a lot of learning this weekend at the Benitez household, and while it might not have been fun in the moment, I’m so thankful that we were able to grow from our experience.

Friday marked two weeks since closing on our new home, and to give ourselves some credit, we’ve made a lot happen in two weeks! We went into the weekend with big plans for getting more done, and while we did accomplish our goals, we learned (or relearned) an important lesson along the way, best put by Alex Noble:

“Success is a process, a quality of mind and way of being, an outgoing affirmation of life.”

Our goals this weekend included purchasing a lawn mower, mowing our yard, pulling weeds from our front planter, and cleaning up our mudroom and patio a bit from much of the mud tracked in, on, and around the house by our furbabes.

Backtrack to Thursday evening, one of our commodes began leaking dirty water. The positive side to this incident was that I hated the commode and intended on replacing it eventually. The downside to this incident is that our weekend was already chock full with the aforementioned plans. There was no wiggle room in our schedules or our budget to deal with this problem over the weekend. We removed the toilet, covered the plumbing opening, and started the weekend with less than stellar attitudes.

Friday was extremely stormy. There are some patches along our backyard that have sparse to no grass coverage, so you can imagine precipitation brings lots of mud to these patches. Piper and Rooney are not known to let a little rain halt their antics, so they embraced the muddy patches and rolled every square inch of their doggo bodies in the mud. They encouraged the sweet foster puppy we were dog-sitting to do the same, and she was easily influenced. Seeing the white vinyl of our house covered in red clay-like mud from the pups hopping up to peer into the windows was a little stressful, as was the sight of our mudroom living up to its name.

Saturday came with some sunshine, which was great for all of the yard work we had planned. We got up early and felt the pinch of a new lawnmower on our bank account, which is still recovering from us becoming homeowners. Tense, yet anxious to be productive, we returned home, where our teamwork quickly fell to the wayside.

I am a planner by nature. I think of things in steps with small boxes to check along the way. Benny is a big picture viewer. He sees the desired result and reverse engineers his way through things.

We get home, and while I planned our course of action, Benny plowed ahead to trying to get our concrete patio spic and span. At first, I resisted his method before somewhat resentfully caving and trying to help him. He became slightly obsessive over getting mud off the patio, while all I could think about was how more rain was in the forecast, and how the mudroom was where we were supposed to start, according to my plan.

We reached a whopping fifteen minutes before I lost my patience and temper and we split directions in tasking. The silly part is that we were both so stuck in trying to reach our goal, which was to improve our home, that logic totally fled our thought processes.

You see, first, “Success is a process.” We were so engrossed in the outcome that we did not think that perhaps addressing the muddy patches in the lawn was the first step to solving the muddy patio. We can’t prevent rain, which creates mud. We could sow some grass into the barren patches to reduce mud though, ultimately eliminating the bulk of our frustration with the patio and mudroom. We failed to trust or appreciate the process.

Second, “Success is…a quality of mind and way of being.” We both approached this weekend with anything but successful mindsets. The leaky toilet threw a wrench (cheap pun) in our plans, and the downpour on Friday didn’t improve our mindsets. We woke up Saturday tense and cranky, and we acted according to our crappy attitudes. We totally let circumstances dictate our behavior. Success was nowhere to be seen.

Third, “Success is….an outgoing affirmation of life.” While I love to get caught up in the notion that life is comprised of all the enjoyable moments, truthfully half of life is not joy. At least not to start. I assert that a solid half of life is unpleasant, annoying, mundane, and/or painful. I believe these fractions can change based on mindset and a person’s self-grown aptitude to react and accept circumstances that are not automatically enjoyable. I think that the sooner we learn to accept and thrive in the parts of life that are not easy, pretty, clean….the sooner we will find success. Life is life—good, bad, ugly, messy, breathtaking, inspiring…all of it. We did not own the messiness of the weekend, and we didn’t stop to give it the consideration that perhaps, it was just one annoying moment in a lifetime of moments.

We left the weekend in better spirits, both acknowledging that we didn’t act in a way conducive to success as homeowners, spouses, or individuals. I don’t think it is a coincidence that this lesson came with our seven-month wedding anniversary (today).

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I’m glad we’ve recognized the lesson learned from last weekend, and I hope this little musing resides with you as well. Enjoy each form through which success grows and moves you, friends.

 

Happy Monday!

 

[W]IT GIRL

empowering · inspirational · lessons learned · mental health · reflection · thoughtful · values · Wellness

The Importance of Self Restoration


 

Good morning and happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Mine was nothing particularly notable–a lot of couch snoozing and cuddling my furbabies. I attended the Greater Huntsville Humane Society Dog Ball on Friday night, which was a really great experience. As I mentioned on Friday, I am quite passionate about animals, so count me in for any benefit event geared towards giving stray and abandoned animals a second chance!

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Last night, I got to see two of my nieces perform in Lion King Jr., and it gave me such joy to see them onstage! Following their show, we had family dinner for the first time since the holidays. It felt so good to spend time with everyone.

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Real talk, the past month has been hard for me. It’s been a period of adjustment on many levels, however primarily, on the career front. Coping with sudden changes can be challenging, but I have a go to system for restoring my wellbeing. As I mentioned in my introversion post, introverts require time to go inward to recharge and rebalance after extended outward interaction.

My weekend was very much a recharge from the past month of environmental changes, I’d say. I thought I’d share some actions I take to keep my balance during periods of adjustment. While these feel essential to my wellness, I do know just from being married to an extrovert that such restoration is beneficial to even the most outgoing personalities, as well.

Here are the steps I take to restore my energy reserves:

  1. I scrap my lists. I live life by list. Lists are my tool for organizing my workload and managing my time. For me, lists go hand in hand with productivity. However, this also means that any unmarked items remaining on my list at the end of a day, week, or grocery run eat at me. When I am recharging my batteries, I have to scrap my lists. At first it never fails, I fight myself because I feel lazy. I give myself permission to be still. It feels unproductive, but it is actually the most productive thing in the world, long term.
  2. I balance my thoughts. Much like balancing a check book, my mind needs balancing.  It is important for me to let all the thoughts that cycle through my mind during the week to settle. I try not to judge them or analyze them. Much like sediment in a pool of water, some of the thoughts will sink to the bottom. Some will float on the surface. I wait until my thoughts settle, and then I deal with the ones floating on the surface.
  3. I spend time doing what matters most to me. During the week, and especially during a time of adjustment, I power through in order to get done what I feel has to be done. A lot of the time, this means sacrificing doing the things I enjoy. This past weekend I gave myself permission to enjoy everything from sleeping in late to watching my favorite show to the best thing ever….spending time with my whole family! It is important not to deprive yourself of the things that really matter to you in order to be productive. What is all the hard work worth in that case?

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There you have it. Those are the three things I did over the weekend to invite some self restoration into my chaotic being. I feel really refreshed today and ready to accomplish whatever this crazy week send my way!

What are steps you take towards recharging your batteries?

 

[W]IT GIRL

 

lessons learned · love · mental health · reflection · Uncategorized · values · Wellness · womanhood

Introversion is not a Problem, Disorder, or Loss. (It IS a cool way of thinking, creating, deciding, and existing!)

Happy Hump Day!

So today I am doing something a little different. I’ve done plenty of reflection on the blog, but today, I won’t lie… This is a slightly raw topic for me; however, I feel particularly compelled to write about this topic due to recent circumstances.

At the beginning of this year,  I accepted a change in position at work. I’ve gone to sit at a customer site. The exciting thing about this move is that I am a contractor for the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of a government entity. The PAO is sort of a dream for me, as I have a technical background but thrive in creative environments. This position allows me to strike balance between the technical and creative aspects of my personality, all the while supporting a great organization.

The PAO has a vibe like no other. It is almost always buzzing with excitement of upcoming events and projects. Most of the office is staffed with other contractors from my company and some wonderful government folks, so I really enjoy my team.

One of the first things I noticed as I met people in the building where I sit is that almost everyone has a sign indicating their Myers-Briggs personality visible at their cube or desk. For those of you that don’t know, Myers-Briggs can be googled for an amazing personality quiz. 

The system breaks all personalities into 16 different types. I first took this quiz years ago, and my results were dead on! The quiz shares celebrities and fictional characters who share your personality type, and also describes how different personality traits interact. This interaction guide can be really useful for learning how to work and successfully interact with different personality types!
One of the first questions I received from my team on my first day at my new duty station is what personality type I fall under. Without thinking, I responded “The Defender.” Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging. ISFJ. 

ISFJs are true altruists, meeting kindness with kindness-in-excess and engaging the work and people they believe in with enthusiasm and generosity. -16personalities.com

I did not expect a reaction beyond “Oh, cool!” to my response.

Instead, I received: “What? An introvert?” “We have an introvert among us!” “Um, I’m going to need you to retake the quiz. That can’t be right.”

I hadn’t even realized that everyone else’s signs started with the letter “E.” These reactions stung initially, but that’s not a new storyline in my book.

While I am a quite social person, and I am able to converse and enjoy interacting with people, there is no mistaking that I am an introvert. I’ve always struggled with a seemingly imaginary social problem, but in reality it is not a problem. It is who I am. I am introverted.

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As an adult looking back, I now see that a large portion of  my feeling inadequate throughout childhood into young adulthood can be attributed to introversion. I have always had a strong sense of self. I know what I want. I know what I like. I know my values. The problem is always that my sense of self typical does not correspond with social perceptions of myself. Internally, I chalked this up to me not being enough of…some thing. Of some item valued socially. I chalked it up to my being lacking.

My mother sometimes talks about how as a child I always strove to be like others, to follow norms, and how I always seemed ashamed of how I was or what I had.  Even though I see things with more clarity now, these feelings still flood my plains of thinking occasionally. 

One of my biggest continuous internal areas for improvement is acceptance. It’s normal to want to fit in, and to be valued within a group of people. However, I’ve decided that fitting in and being valued are not worth it if these are occurring for less than the fullest version of my being. While I may not experience these two feelings, I think that it is time to start paving the way for future acceptance of introversion.

I try not to get too down on myself for feeling like my personality type is a problem because as few as seven years ago, experts in the field were considering introversion a disorder according to this Huffington Post article.

That’s right–experts RECENTLY viewed having an introverted personality a disorder. This is pretty messed up. Like majorly messed up. But hey, now is as good a time as any to start the dialogue about the importance of introverts in societal systems.

Thankfully, leaders such as Susan Cain have started platforms to inform and educate people on not only what it means to be introverted, but how and why these individuals are important to a functioning society. Cain’s platform is called Quiet Revolution, and you may recognize her from TED Talks, where she delivers a presentation on celebrating the power of introverts. I get chills every time I listen to her talk because it hits so close to home.

Introversion isn’t a disorder, nor is it a lack of competence in social situations. Introversion is truly a difference in where an individual draws her or his energy. Introverts find power, answers, and energy from within; whereas, extroverts draw theirs from external environments.

For example, I love spending time with people! I love being a friend. I enjoy working on a team. However, naturally I am in my head. I plan, create, and execute all things in my head before I vocalize them when left to my organic devices. 

While I love collaborative efforts, I am most comfortable presenting what it is that I bring to the table after I’ve prepared, and I also need time to recollect afterwards. I used to mistake some of this nature as self consciousness, but now I understand that this is part of my introverted nature. I thrive most when I am go through processes internally and personally versus candidly. 

I guess this is my feeble call to action: quit buying into the idea that whomever is loudest is the best or right. Extroverts, I challenge you to look at your workplace, your home, your group of friends. I challenge you to tune into the introvert in one of these places. Seek what they have to say. Study them. Embrace them.

Introverts, I challenge you to accept yourself. Accept who you are. The way you are, and let your work speak for you, rather than forcing yourself to raise your voice!

I hate feeling like I am less than enough, and I hate even more the idea that a lot perfectly talented, intelligent people do at times all because they aren’t loud or as outgoing as an extrovert. 

What is really crazy to me is that according to my Myers-Briggs results, ISFJ is not an uncommon personality type. It reported a statistic higher than 10% of our population (presumably speaking about the United States) shares my type! It’s time to change how we perceive those that draw from within for energy and inspiration.  

What is a time people have viewed one of your personality traits as a disadvantage? How did you disprove them?

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“So stay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. If you prefer single-tasking to multi-tasking, stick to your guns. Being relatively unmoved by rewards gives you the incalculable power to go your own way.”
― Susan CainQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

[W]IT GIRL

animals · cute · dog · empowering · lessons learned · mental health · pet · reflection · thoughtful · Wellness · womanhood

Greetings, 2017

Good morning, friends!

I type this from my favorite place: cozied up on my couch with a cup of coffee, a fur baby by my side, and my sweet husband opposite me on the couch. Oh, and of course a fluffy blanket is involved.

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This is my last holiday day off before heading back to the corporate work routine. Even though it is 2017, this is my last crumb of the 2016 holiday. I want to spend this day both leisurely and productively. I aim to get a small bit of housework done today, as well as taking down Christmas decorations, and completing some grocery shopping and meal preparations for the week. But I am allowing myself to start slow and cherish these fleeting moments cuddled up with my little family. That’s what it’s all about, after all.

This New Year, I did it right, and as a result I really enjoyed myself on New Year’s Eve. You see, previous years proved NYE to be a chaotic, charged, disaster, so this year I resigned to the idea of staying in. I think the reason previous NYE experiences have been unpleasant is that people put so much stake in plans for that specific evening. Inevitably, plans fall short of expectations, people flake, or the night all together falls through. Add libations to let downs, and it is not a fun equation for anyone participating.

This NYE ended up really fun because Benny and I did not pressure plans to unfold; we simply followed them as the came up. We also really made the night about appreciating those around us….not about what we were doing. It was so enjoyable, and I’m still in a great mood from the great night. I think I want to apply the same concept to resolutions.

That’s right, I said it. How could I not? The title of this post is, “Greetings, 2017.” Whether you wanted to see it or not, you knew the word ‘resolution’ would be present. I’ve always set these really well-thought, elaborate resolutions for myself , and surprise….they’ve flown out the peripheries of my awareness as soon as life gets busy.

I am changing it up this year. I’m not even making my resolutions full sentences because full sentences don’t leave room for new plans to unfold. You see, I am going to have words….and at the end of the year I will see if I like the sentences formed around these words. But 2017 will write my sentences around my resolution words as I go. I feel this is less arbitrary. I guess we will see!

Here’s my list:

  • listening
  • simplify
  • experience

I’m looking forward to seeing how 2017 fills in the rest. What about you? Have you found a successful way to fulfill your resolutions?

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[W]IT GIRL

 

 

mental health · reflection · Wellness · womanhood

Farewell, 2016

Woo mommmy, was 2016 a YEAR. Social media indicates that a lot of people have strong opinions of like or dislike for the past year. I will be honest: there were times during 2016 when I scratched my head and wondered if this was real life….. But there were also times I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming because it seemed too much like a fairy tale.

While the verdict is still out on 2016 as a whole, I cannot ignore the fact it was a transition year for me. 2016 was my first year out of college. In the span of January 2016 to December 2016, I held three different titles within my company, and I am about to transition to a fourth. I bought my first vehicle. Benny and I welcomed a new fur baby into our family. In the span of about six weeks, I became 100% responsible for every financial aspect of my life. We moved into our first apartment together. I BECAME A WIFE.

2016 was frustrating a majority of the time, but I don’t think I begrudge it because it was a huge teacher in patience as I investigated what I truly value in life. A lot of crazy shenanigans took place throughout the year across the globe, and in my own home. I think I am better for it though.

A walk down memory lane; this one’s to you 2016.

I rung in the New Year with two of my rock star girlfriends.

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We celebrated our graduation and engagement with our loved ones.

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Pure Barre Huntsville turned 5!

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We took a day trip to Birmingham and visited funky districts with friends.

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Rooney ran (walked) his first 5k!

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I got to teach Amanda’s 100th Pure Barre class.

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I became a pro Easter egg hider….the kids getting older means me having to get tougher!

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Benny and I attended a young professionals summit.

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Haley graduated and got her first job teaching!

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We visited Atlanta, I got to attend a Pure Barre training, and we flew Benny’s mom in to celebrate a belated Mother’s Day.

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We spent a long weekend in Chicago where I got to see the Terracotta Warriors, cheer Venezuela on in their Copa America win against Jamaica, and view incredible art I’ve always wanted to see first hand.

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My niece Kali got her first batch of chickens. She’s so amazing with all animals, and her love for the chickens is pretty fun to watch.

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We adopted Piper into our family.

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We moved into our sweet apartment.

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I really felt the love at my gorgeous bridal shower.

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My girls and I took on Nashville for the most amazing bachelorette!

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Aaaand we also took on Huntsville for my lingerie shower.

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We took the muffins hiking on Labor Day.

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My KD family tree welcomed a new member…my GRAND LITTLE!

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Friends and family flew in for our wedding. Seriously the craziest, most exhilarating feeling to have all those special souls gathered for us.

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Benny picked and carved his first pumpkin.

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Halloween was fun and laid back!

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We honeymooned in the Bahamas, and ate our weight in gourmet food.

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We rocked out at a Moon Taxi concert!

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Thanksgiving was up on the mountain, and it was Piper’s first time to go up to my family’s land. She loved it!

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Pure Barre Christmas party was a delight.

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We enjoyed attending my company’s Year End Business Review underneath the Saturn V.

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I spent my birthday with amazing company.

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Our first holiday as Mr. and Mrs.

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I said bye to 2016 with the same company in which I greeted it!

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2016 wasn’t perfect. I had to say some goodbyes, and I made some mistakes. I am thankful for the good it brought me though.

Onward march, to 2017!

 

[W]IT GIRL