Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Yo, What's Up Blogger Fam?

My last post was June 2018. I'm sure many of you thought the 9 year old blog was over. Perhaps it was done for good, left to die on the internet. 

Never. I want to keep this thing going as long as I can. 

I'll get you up to speed.

June
I kicked off the month by going to a "Saved by the 90's" party all by myself. I had friends who were supposed to go but they bailed so I went solo. I wore a crop top, skinny jeans, a hat and tied a flannel plaid shirt around my waist. It was an outfit well out of my comfort zone. I tried my best to act natural and really "own" the look.I think I did a good job! I stayed for the live portion of the party and then ventured back home, just pleased I took a little fashion risk and stuck with it for the night. 

I also cut off all my hair at an exclusive studio in Center City. I was on a wait list to get an appointment there! I had to take off work for the appointment but it was worth it. 
June was full of music. I saw Nathanial Rateliff and the Nightsweats. I took my kickboxing bff to see Philly Bloco live in West Philly (we had a great night of drinking and dancing). And I went home to the ESVA to surprise my dad for Father's Day. 

The highlight of June came toward the back end. I attended my first ever "Daybreaker Yoga Rave." It started at 10am with an hour of yoga followed by two hours of dancing through the decades. No alcohol, just pure fun and organic snacks. The community was incredibly judge-free and you really felt a part of something. The goal was to get out there and dance. That was it. I went with my friend Maura and we had a ball. I almost got emotional at one point during a spoken word set because I felt so grateful to be a part of that morning. Loved it. 

That afternoon, I got Bronx dressed up for the Patriotic Pooch Contest at City Hall. Center City District had used a photo of B from last year to promote the contest. I decked him out as the Statue of Liberty and we put our best paws forward. The contest was a two-day contest that was peer-judged. 18 dogs entered and the winner would get a Bud Light Gas Grill. Last year when I entered Bronx, we arrived five minutes after the judging! We were actually told if we got there a few minutes prior, he would have won. Bronx didn't care. He was just glad to be out of the apartment and on an adventure but I felt like I let him down. So I went full-on pageant mom. I even had a social media campaign "Vote for #8."

Two days after the contest we got a call. Bronx won. He won by a landslide. 
So we went to pickup our grill! I tied my trunk semi closed and drove 3 miles an hour back to South Philly. I then carried the grill up 3 flights of steps and let it rest in my front room of my apartment. I promised Bronx some hot dogs when we were finally able to fire it up. 

July

Of course I kicked off July by doing all the 4th of July Philly things including watching Rocky on the Art Museum steps and attending the Party on the Parkway. I won tickets to the concert seats this year but it was ungodly hot. Instead I went to a friend of a friend's bbq and ended up watching the fireworks on top of a rooftop bar in South Philly. 

In mid-July I attended a crabfest with my best friend. It was that night when I received a text from my landlord. They needed to show my apartment in two days. They were selling my building. Their goal was to keep the tenants in place at the rents we're paying, but I knew better. At my last apartment, two months after I moved out, the landlord slapped 30 day notices on all the doors because he sold the building. Now I had a dog, which meant finding a new place to live would be difficult. I decided to be proactive and search.

My work life got mega complicated to the point I thought I might lose my job. I began to wonder what the future had in store for me because my life was mega-interrupted. 

Fortunately I got my answer somewhat quickly. After some baseline searching on the internet, I ended up visiting a two bedroom house that was for rent in the neighborhood I was hoping to move to. I applied, got it and signed a new lease for mid-August. I'd be moving from a third floor walk up to a house! I'd finally get to use that grill Bronx and I won. 

August
August was an insane blur. I was packing and writing and preparing for the big move. My parents came to visit me the week before I was set to move which was very helpful. We cleaned the new house from top to bottom and packed up my kitchen (which took an entire day). I was purging things left and right but still felt like I had too much stuff. 

August continued to fly by and before I knew it, it was my 31st birthday AND moving weekend. That's right. I moved two days after my birthday. It was almost anticlimactic but friends and family made my day special. I did go to Ray's Happy Birthday Bar for my birthday shot and enjoyed traditional vanilla cake with Bronx back in my kitchen. 
Two days later I moved. I made more trips up and down my three flights of stairs than I hope I ever have to make again. I had friends help me here and there and I hired movers this time which was a huge help. Next thing I know, everything is in my house and I'm surrounded by a hoard of boxes. Time to unpack. 

September
So here we are! In the meantime I've been writing a lot for MOGUL. This weekend I'm headed to New York for a single day conference put on by MOGUL. I'm excited to meet the CEO and some of the people I write for. I've also been MAD busy with RTC. I have five active clients so there is always writing or editing work that needs to be done. I absolutely love it, I just wish I could dedicate more of my time to it. 

Stay tuned for more updates that won't take three months to put here!

Until next time....

Friday, June 8, 2018

Alive and Well

Hi friends! This is just a note that I'm alive and well. I promise to post an update soon. I've been very busy writing for Round Table Companies, MOGUL and doing freelance projects.

Until next time...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Boom Chakra Chakra

I know I've been venting a bit on this blog about feeling off balance and feeling like I can't juggle all of my goals while surviving and being a decent human being. Well, this time, I'm not here to vent. I'm here to tell you I'm doing something about all of that. 

Also, I owe you guys a Super Bowl and Super Bowl Parade post. I think I'll do that later in the week for a February wrap up or something. 


Anyway, I decided to explore some ways to instill balance in my life. One of those things was the purchase of essential oils. I only have a six pack and they're blended for very specific things: stress, head relief, muscle relief, sleep, breathing, health. But I also bought mini inhalers, like these lipstick tube-like things that let you put some oils on a cotton wick to smell throughout the day. AND I bought an essential oil diffuser. I know a lot of people who swear by these oils and believe me, I though it sounded stupid. Oh, right...smelling random crap can make you feel better? 

Yes it can. The sleep one? Yeah, that thing knocks me out and I have the most restful sleep. I had a massive wine hangover on Saturday. I plugged it in and diffused my "head relief" oil and took a nap. I felt so much better. 

I am also trying to learn more about the chakras. You know, those seven energy centers within the body? I think if I learn more about them I might be able to figure out how to hack meditation. I can't meditate. If I sit still with myself I start worrying about all the things I should be doing instead of sitting still. So maybe focusing on certain energy centers might help me.

But that's not all. I'm so excited to announce that I have booked a trip to Arizona and Utah for April! Lately I've been feeling called to the red rocks of Arizona. I just have a strong desire to go out there and hike and be warm and breathe in the clean air. Something is out there that I need, I just don't know what it is. So I'm going on a solo trip to Scottsdale, Sedona, Kanab, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Flagstaff. I haven't been on a "Mary Anna vacation" in years. Typically when I have time off I go to Virginia for the holiday or break or go camping with my parents. 

I'm also excited that I get to go alone. I'm going to do a lot of hiking. There is a remote Yurt stay at some point as well. I just need to clear my head. In addition to all of this, I'm exploring purpose and passion books/webinars and various things. I have a pretty good idea what I want to do with the rest of my life, I just don't have a tangible way to turn my life into just that. 

Until next time...

Monday, February 12, 2018

Making the Most of It

It being....life. 

We're almost halfway through February 2018. Where does the time go? What do we spend our time doing? 

This morning, like nearly every Monday morning, I was greeted with social media posts of memes and cartoons. Each of these entertaining tidbits had a common theme: Mondays suck...don't want to go back to work. 

They're cute, bite-sized and damn well relatable. "Case of the Mondays?" Who does't have that? If we're lucky we get two precious days to ourselves. We spend those two precious days doing all of the things we don't have time to do on the days we spend at work. Those tasks include but are not limited to: laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, errands, housework, organizing, more work and if you have a family...well...doing things for your partner/kids..etc. 

We go to bed on Sunday and wake up Monday morning. Another week. 

I really struggle with that feeling of dreading Mondays. I struggle with the paralyzing anxiety that comes Sunday night, wondering if I got everything done, hoping I did everything I could to prepare for the week ahead. While I chuckle and raise my coffee above my head to toast the Monday Sucks Meme Posters, I also feel a bit of sadness. Why do we have to hate Mondays? Why do we have to dread work? Why do we have to roll our eyes at the endless torrent of meetings and e-mails? Why do we need to zone out with Netflix or grab a drink at the bar to ease the stress and tensions caused by things that don't really matter?

I know, I'm offering a plethora of questions with little to no answers. It is just, I spent my entire weekend working to feel okay about the week. I was searching for balance. I was searching for a sense of control over my life. I fell off the exercise train, no surprise there. I've been celebrating the Eagles Super Bowl win hard (post on that to come later). (Somehow did NOT gain weight despite the amount of beer/wings I consumed). But I put all this effort into preparation and now we're here. It is Monday. I want to be back home, with my dog, listening to music or writing or daydreaming while watching the wind blow the trees outside my window. 

You don't have to live a life where you dread Mondays. No job is perfect, but people need to really work hard to develop a plan that allows them to be financially stable AND happy. I'm not saying every single day is sunshine and rainbows, but dammit...create a life you can't wait to wake up to each morning.

That is what I'm trying to do. It is hard. There are so many detours. But that is the life I want. The kind of life where when you see the Monday Sucks memes you just shake your head and say, "Not my Monday. My Monday is awesome."


Until next time...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Juggling Life

This GIF usually comes as a meme, where someone says, "Me trying to pay my bills, eat healthy, exercise, maintain a social life, text people back, excel and my career, be happy and stay sane." 

That's some real shit right there.

I come to you all, not from a place of exasperation or frustration. I'm not defeated, nor do I feel any sort of negativity in my bones. What I do feel is exhaustion and the realization that trying to do all of these things I listed above at the same time is really really hard. 

So far in 2018, I've been pretty faithful with my water drinking. I've managed to sip at least 64 oz. of water almost every day. Some days it is a bit less, but I'm definitely drinking far more water than I ever have before. I've also established a very concrete skincare routine. At night I'm using charcoal cleanser, toner and eye cream. In the morning I use the toner. I'm brushing my teeth with charcoal teeth whitening powder twice a week. I finally bought a new brush and am trying to do more stuff with my hair or at least brush it often.

These little achievements may sound like common sense or basic hygiene, but I'm telling you, these are things I really haven't invested much time and effort in before. I barely drank water. I would just shower and not do anything special with my face. I'd brush my teeth twice a day and that was that. Also, if I was really stressed, my hair would thank me by forming thick and unwelcome dreadlocks. 

The other goals are slowly progressing as well. I've been faithful to the SELF Magazine New Years Challenge. I've had to switch around some rest days and double up workouts based on my schedule, but I have faithfully stuck to the program and have not skipped any exercises. I've also been successfully going to kickboxing at least twice a week. I'm watching what I eat, being mindful of what I put into my mouth, knowing it will go into my body. But I haven't been depriving myself of things like an occasional doughnut, cookie or pizza. 

I was supposed to write every single day but I'm slipping on that goal. Probably because the results aren't that visual. It is more of a mental thing. I have a notebook by my bed, where I'm supposed to jot down a few thoughts before going to sleep. What I started doing was rushing through one to two sentences and then turning the lights out, ready to pass out for the night. I also wanted to read one book per month, but I've found I don't have a lot of time for reading with all these other goals going on. 

I've managed to keep my apartment relatively clean and my refreshed kitchen space remains immaculate. I'm using my Food Saver to keep fresh veggies throughout the week which means I eat more veggies. All good things. 

While I feel like I have a decent balance between work and life...I know there are some elements are are lacking. My social life has been dismal because of weather, priorities and lack of energy. The other night I was going to go to a bar to do my work for my other job, but once I showered, I couldn't justify putting real pants on and makeup to go out into the world. I did go to a concert this weekend with my best friend and celebrated the Eagles win and journey to the Super Bowl, but that was as social as I've been since the year started. 

Part of me is worried that if I focus to much on one thing, say...exercise and eating right...I'll lose sight of the other things that need my attention like my Story Slam schedule or writing my book. I still haven't mastered waking up early to maximize my waking hours. 

All of this is just to say, being the perfect human is impossible and striving to be your best self is really hard work. Sometimes you just need to spend your entire Saturday sleeping and listening to relaxing music. Every minute of every day does not need to be planned. Progress comes with your heart is into it. 

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Art of Storytelling

One moment I'm gently eyeing my peers success, reminding myself of my own mediocrity. The next moment, I'm on stage in front of a packed theater doing what I love best: being the center of attention. I mean...telling stories. 

Last night I competed in my second First Person Arts Story Slam. The theme, "Once More With Feeling" inspired me to tell the audience about a time I tried Pound Fitness, failed miserably and went back the next week to prove myself and try again. It was peppered with funny lines and moments and only went about 20 seconds over the 5 minute cut off mark. Judging was fierce and I received consistent 8's on Performance and an 8, 7 and 6 on content. 

I'll be honest, the 6 stung a bit. Granted, the judges were really strict and people were getting dealt average and below average scores all night for various things. What it did, though, was remind me that storytelling is an art. It doesn't matter how many times you make someone laugh...if you're at a storm slam...you need to tell a story. Which I did. But I analyzed my story and realized it lacked a story arc. It had a strong beginning and engaging middle but fell flat at the end. There was no suspense. So I'm going to take that lesson to heart the next time I perform in one of these things. 

Self-critic aside, I had a blast. I really enjoy listening to the other storytellers and being a part of the First Person Arts scene. It feels so good to be a part of something. It also feels good to do something I'm so passionate about. I was so wired last night I couldn't really sleep. I also had the absolute best Uber ride on my way home. My driver, Jean was playing Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You," which I happen to know ALL of the words to. I treated him to some white girl rapping and he was laughing so hard. He loved it. I was the best customer of the night. I bet my rating jumps from a 4.90 to a 4.91. (I take pride in my Uber passenger rating).

What's next? Well..working on that damn book of mine...taking my new found storytelling lessons to the Podcast because that REALLY needs some work AND quite possibly, throwing my hat in the stand up comedy ring. I found a show/contest thingy at the end of the month and I'm considering trying to put a bid in for a 4 minute set. We'll see what happens. Telling stories. Making people laugh. Being 100% me. These are a few of my favorite things. 

And yes...also being the center of attention for five minutes. That too.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Inspiration Around You

Thou shall not covet your neighbor's success. That should be one of the Ten Commandments. Seriously. I'm on Week #3 of my water drinking, mindful writing, exercise often adventure. So far so good. I'm making tiny little successes each day. The scale isn't moving too much but my skin is clearing up and I swear my pants are getting baggier. I'm still absolutely in love with my part-time job as a writer and writing coach. My clients are incredible people and I feel honored to be helping them on their book writing journeys. I'm staying as focused as I can.

In the corner of my eye I see what others are doing. This past weekend was a majorly successful weekend for people from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. One person married the love of his life in a celebration people will be talking about from years to come. Another person won a major award for her children's book on women in black history. She was on the Tonight Show last night with Trevor Noah. Both of these two had dreams in high school and both of them are fulfilling those dreams.

I'm proud to know them. I'm incredibly happy for them. I'm also painfully aware of my own mediocrity. I have big plans and big dreams too, but I'm not as close as I'd like to be in terms of fulfilling them. My book? Still working on it. I have until August to submit it to the agents who expressed interest. I'm working on building my platform on social and boosting the listeners of my podcast. However, those two have shown me that I can grab life by the balls and get what I want: a fulfilling career telling stories and making people laugh AND true love. 

So I'm not jealous but I am aware that these things I hope for are possible. It is just going to take a lot of sacrifice and a lot of work. I'm heading in the right direction, just taking a very slow and cautious train to get there. 


In other news, I'm trying to compete in another First Person Arts Story Slam tonight. I almost backed out because I didn't think my story was that good, but in the last minute...decided to sharpen it and bought tickets for me and my best friend. Today is also the 8th anniversary of my Mom Mom's death. Maybe she'll be with me tonight as I share my story. I'm glad I decided to stick with it. I made a resolution to compete in as many story slams as I can. I'm using them as the baby steps to work my way up to open mic stand up. 

I've got big dreams and I'm gonna chase them. I've seen people beat me there. I applaud them and use their success as my inspiration. I'll get there too. In my own time.

Until next time...

Yo, What's Up Blogger Fam?

My last post was June 2018. I'm sure many of you thought the 9 year old blog was over. Perhaps it was done for good, left to die on th...