Archive For The “Well-Being” Category

At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

At 35, I Still Eat Cake For Breakfast

Pairs Well With…”Act as young as you feel.  You’re not getting older, you’re getting more entitled to be your fabulous self.” – Gwen Stefani

I love birthdays. If I have to get specific, my birthday. Growing up, we had a tradition in my house that you got to eat cake for breakfast on your birthday.  At 35, I still eat cake for breakfast.

Cake for Carin's Birthday

Today is my birthday, a birthday that I’ve not so positively anticipated over the last few years. I have fallen short of society’s expectations of me to have a husband and pop out a few kids. At times, I’ve felt anxious, stressed, judged and sometimes even flawed because I haven’t met what American culture deems as successful for a mid-thirties woman. And by successful, I specifically mean the marriage and kids bit.

Despite a booming career, deep social circles and a worldly background, much of what people seem to fixate on is why, “at my age” with “all I’ve got going on for me,” I am unmarried and without children. It’s hard for me to believe that people may be so narrow-minded that they think there’s only one path to happiness. But you know what they say, you can’t fix stupid.

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Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Pairs Well With…Holidays + Kindness + A Giving Spirit

Everything about the holidays excites me: cookies with sprinkles, festive parties with friends, the upbeat Christmas carols.  I feel extra sparkly the whole season long, and that’s not just because I wore something sparkly every day for a week and coined it “The Seven Days of Sparkles”…but it is a thing. What I love most about the season is being able to put a smile on someone else’s face – especially when they least expect it.

The holidays seem to be a time when people look to do something nice for one another. In the spirit of giving, I compiled a list of ways to spread acts of kindness this holiday season:

CUPPA JAVA – Buy a soldier his or her morning java.  Coffee shops like Caribou Coffee are offering a program during the holidays where you can purchase a cup for the next soldier that comes in seeking their morning jolt.  Caribou will anonymously deliver on your behalf!

GIVE A GRANOLA – On chilly nights like tonight, it’s hard to think that someone may not have a place to go or food to eat.  Carry a handful of granola bars in your bag to help keep someone’s belly full.

PLEASANT POSTAL – Send a warm and fuzzy holiday greeting to someone you’ve not connected with in a while.  The surprise of hearing from you is like giving the gift of a smile.

SOUND THE SIRENS (with bad ass baked goods) – Whip up a batch of your favorite sweet treats and deliver to your local service officials with a letter of appreciation.

GET YOUR GRANNY ON – Spend time with someone older and wiser than you.  Share stories and swap life lessons.  It’s fun to learn from others, and spending time is a gift that money can’t buy.

MOTIVATIONAL MENTORING – You know that colleague who has been talking about how she’s “always wanted to do that” or friend who has been thinking of a career change? Give the gift of encouragement and support to help someone else reach their goals and dreams, and move in a better direction.  After all, encouragement costs nothing.

You get my drift…

Happy Holidays from me to YOU!  THANK YOU for your continued support and love for Pairs Well With…  It has truly been a blessed year!

 

Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Five Thoughts To Get You Back On Top

Pairs Well With… “Why worry about things you can’t control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you?” – Unknown

Thanksgiving is over and the holidays are in full swing.  It’s not long before my favorite Mariah, Kelly and *Nsync holiday tunes are in full rotation, and this house becomes its own little winter wonderland.  Deck the halls.  Hang the friggin’ mistletoe.  Create the “One Take Wonder” 2016 Christmas music video…

Put on that wonderfully ugly holiday attire. And Mom, please make me a batch of those “calories don’t count because they are bite-sized” little spritz cookies I love.  I am grateful for all of the holiday cheer.

Oh, the holidays…how fast they showed up – again!  Where the heck did this year go? (Says everyone.  Every year.)  It’s like we’re surprised that the holidays happen year after year…after year.  None the less, I love looking forward to celebrating old traditions, making new ones and wearing shimmer and sparkle all darn December long.

With a violent clap of thunder (in November? WTF!), I snapped out of my holiday daydreaming and back to reality when the noise caused me to spill my cup of decaf all over myself. This miserable and manic Minneapolis weather encouraged me to think warm and sunny thoughts.  Sitting with my back against my dresser (for no particular reason) in the middle of my room (because it’s where I felt like writing today), I drifted back to where I spent the Christmas last year: Palm Springs.

Somehow, Palm Springs caused me to think about 2016 coming to a close, which led to the biggest lesson I learned this year, and I want to achieve next, as well as the kind of adulting I want (or not want) to do.  All that enriching, useful self-reflection stuff.

Is it just me, or do we all ask ourselves at least one a year, if not more, “What do I want to do with my life?”  I digress.

Where you decide to go next in life depends on where you’ve been, perhaps even what you learned, and how you apply it.  My most substantial lesson this year was how to be resilient: how to bounce back and make the best of a situation when life kicked me down, how to calm the freakouts when life got chaotic, how to let things (and people) not bother me, how to just…be…

…and how to come out on top.

Overcoming, in any regard, takes so much practice.  Maybe it’s more patience than anything else to get to perfection – if there is such a thing.  While certainly not perfected, I’ve most definitely made a progressive start.

Here are five thoughts to get you back on top:

Control what you can.  There are certain things in life we can’t control: other people, weather, traffic, how good pizza tastes – and most of our life.  Let those things go!  Put your energies where they matter: your goals, how you treat people, the lessons you want to learn and keeping a positive mindset.  Someone shared this quote by Erma Bombeck with me last year: “Worry is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do, but never gets you anywhere.”  True story.

Emphasize the positive.  Some life wins are big, but others small.  Don’t discount them! See the importance in all that surrounds you, and take the time to recognize that small steps in a good direction are still forward progress.  Celebrate the wins and focus on what is going right.  No one likes a Debbie Downer.

Do not dwell.  Sure, life gets us down now and again, but how long are you going to linger in misery?  How long do you want to remain in gloom?  Happiness is a choice, and the choice is up to you!  Take time to mourn, to heal, to process, to regroup. Whatever you do, make sure you have plans to check out of Hotel Misery.  The longer you stay, the harder it is to leave. What is waiting on the other side is sure to be much more enchanting.

Do not look back.  You know that voice that creeps in and causes you to look over your shoulder?  Stop right there.  Don’t do it.  Think about the last time someone said to you, “Oh hey! I made significant backward progress today!”  Nope. Never happened.  It’s just not a real thing.  Remember the reason you made your decision in the first place and trust yourself.  You know yourself better than anyone else, and your gut will never steer you wrong.

Make a bold move.  What are you waiting for?  Stirrup pants to come back in style? Good, because fashion reports state that they are making a comeback.  So, moral of the story is, if stirrup pants can make a comeback, SO CAN YOU!  When in doubt, make a snap judgment call based on intuition, and then figure out the rest of the pieces as you move along.  I do this all the time.  Nine times out of ten it all works out like it should. Scary as hell but worth every penny.

What are the best and biggest lessons YOU have learned in 2017?

All The Pretty Things

All The Pretty Things

Pairs Well With…”Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds

Unsure about what to write about this week, and perhaps even lacking a bit of inspiration, I decided to take a second and hit pause. There’s a lot going on. I needed to stop and smell the roses.  Literally.  Things are just moving way too fast.

    roses-in-italy

Sometimes, when we move too fast, we miss things, important things and details. Things that we should be noticing.  Things that are right under our noses.

bee-2

In an effort to slow down, I went out shooting photos and took a moment to appreciate the things I love best about fall: the leaves changing color, the crunch of the leaves under my feet and the slight chill in the air that signals its okay to put on my sweats and get ready to hunker down for the winter. 

leaves

It’s funny how sometimes the most ordinary things have such beauty.  I was running hill sprints and noticed these quite pretty heart shaped leaves in my path. Love is in the air!

heart-leaf

So, this week, I give you simplicity and beauty, a moment to reflect, notice and appreciate all that is around you.  Be thankful.

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