You’ve Changed

“You’ve changed and it seems like I don’t even know who you are anymore.”

This phrase is stated as an insult intended to discourage growth.

In the past few years, I have become a completely different person.  Like a butterfly emerging from it’s chrysalis or perhaps an old skin has shed  (kind of like a basilisk trapped in a chamber beneath a school).

Holding onto elements of your identity that no longer serve you can be daunting when you were once defined by them.  Be here’s the key: you are allowed to change.  You are allowed to question.  You are allowed to struggle–because if you are struggling, you’re growing.  What is happening TO you is happening FOR you. Let the transformation naturally occur.  Let it make stronger, braver, kinder, lighter. Completely open your heart and mind and trust the process.

There will always be those negative forces that fear your change and growth. It terrifies them because they are stagnate.

Here’s some sound advice for dealing with Negative Forces during your transformation: (and I’m personally trying to take the advice each and everyday)

*Whenever the negative chaos starts, smile and remain silent. Remain completely detached and don’t get involved. Leave the room if you can. Negative people are simply seeking to get a reaction from you. They feed on this. Don’t let them catch you in their web of negativity because as soon as you do, that’s when they start draining your energy.  Their goal is to weaken you so you have to be strong and not give in to them.

*Observe the event like an outsider–ass if you’re watching a movie.  Say to yourself, “What a shame this character is so unhappy.”  Realize their unhappiness is their choice and has nothing to do with you. We all have free will to choose happiness. This isn’t always an easy thing to do but definitely a powerful technique. This works really well with family  who you don’t really have a choice as to whether they’re in your life or not.
*While there negativity is spewing envision a bright white light surrounding you.  Their negativity can’t touch you because you now have a force field protecting you.  It’s incredible how amazing this technique works.  There negativity unfortunately is sent out into the universe, but it will not be absorbed by you. Try to counter it by thinking of positive thoughts and love for that person, despite their toxic energy.
*I’ve come to realize that the “universe” uses negative people as the way to get me to move on whenever I’m getting comfortable in a situation that isn’t challenging me anymore.  Use their negativity to propel changes within yourself. If they are putting you down, use the opportunity to affirm your self-worth. If they are judgmental, use that as a sign from the universe to be grateful for your own open mindedness. Think of their negativity are a springboard for your own journey.

 
Negative people want one thing: to get a reaction out of you and the only way they can is if they know how to hit your buttons.  They will do anything to make you as unhappy as they are.  So, if there’s one particular person who drains your positive energy, ask yourself why you are allowing this? Sometimes, you can learn a lot about yourself by analyzing what feelings it stirs within you. Once you are cognizant of this, you’ll find that that person no longer has any power over you.

And finally, do not try to fix them. They do not want to be fixed.  Leave that up to Karma.

Spring Cleaning–Finding Your Inner Peace

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need to clear out and clean up their physical and energetic environment. Right now, spring energy is upon us and we can open up the windows and doors and breath the fragrant scents of new growth.

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Embassy Suites Chicago–Two Thumbs Down

Brooke and I have never written a poor hotel review, as we have honestly loved all the places we’ve stayed and have never had any significant negative experiences.  That is until now.

Last weekend, Brooke and I headed into Chicago for our Spring Staycation weekend.  We knew we wanted to bike along the lakefront and visit Navy Pier so we decided to stay at the Embassy Suites on Columbus.  Turns out the location is the only positive aspect of this hotel, and we really tried to remain as positive as possible.  However, here are five reasons we will never stay here again:

  1.  Safety–  The hotel is designed with clear glass walls about three feet high.  If you are on a high floor, as we were, there is a serious risk of falling over.  At first we thought the glass was floor to ceiling and actually leaned forward to take pictures of the street down below.  Brooke realized we were not protected and we immediately jumped back in shock. The couple next to us did not realize this either and were terrified.  The entire perimeter of the atrium is a safety hazard.  I would never recommend bringing young children here–it was scary enough for us.

2.       Outdated Rooms-Upon entering our room, our smiles became as grey as the  decor.  The carpet had to be from 1972. Everything was drab and lifeless. We took no photos because there was nothing appealing to take pictures of.

3. Arachnophobia–If you have a fear of spiders, do not stay here.  I woke up around 5:00 am to try to catch the sunrise from the partial lake view (had an upgrade to a lake view and can’t imagine what the non upgrade would have been).  Still in bed, I leaned over to put my glasses on and looked out the window. There dangling from a massive web was a giant black spider. At first I thought it has to be outside of the window. Wrong!  It was right there on the inside, and it wasn’t your typical daddy long legged fellow. This was a spider with one of those giant bulbous bodies. There was no way I was going to go near this, so watching the sunrise was out of the question. I sat up in bed thinking, this can’t really get any worse–until I saw the second spider.

4.  Breakfast–We were excited about the breakfast because we knew there were two options: a made to order station and a buffet.  There’s nothing like custom made omelettes so I had my heart set on the made to order station–until we arrived and realized 50 other people had the same idea. So buffet it was.  On a positive note, there was a lot of food–pastries, pancakes, hash browns, bacon and scrambled eggs.  However, the eggs were colder than the frigid air conditioning blowing down upon us.  The temperature had to have been intentional to get people to scarf down their food, get out and lessen the enormous line.

5. The Pool– Brooke was looking forward to a relaxing late night swim at the pool so we headed down around 9pm thinking we’d have the pool basically to ourselves.  Upon entering our eyes spied at least 50 screaming kids splashing and flailing violently! It was like Marco Polo on steroids! Where the heck were all of the parents? Did they just drop their children off at the pool and head out for a night on the town?  With the horrible herd of unsupervised children, we did a quick 180 and headed back to our room.

Despite the disappointment of The Embassy Suites, we still had an amazing time in Chicago.  Spring is the ideal time to visit the city. The energy of people finally emerging from winter hibernation, the abundance of tulips blooming and the warmth of the May sunshine on your face makes a weekend in the city a wonderful experience.  Just make sure to conduct thorough research because where you stay really does make or break the experience.

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When Menopause and Puberty Book The Same Flight

Once upon a time, there was a calm and patient mommy who traveled the world with her sweet-natured, soft-spoken little darling. Side by side they sat and smiled dreamily, gazing out of the 747’s picturesque window, at the wondrous world below.

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Suddenly, the flight became turbulent!  Temper tantrums, tears and cursing matches flooded the aisles. Innocent passengers trapped… victim to the barrage of bitching and bickering.

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Five Reasons You Have to Visit Jamaica, Ya Mon!

1. The Beaches

So this probably goes without saying, but if you are in need of long stretches of powder­ white, footprint-­free sand, and swaying coconut palms,  and if you long to hear the lapping of soft Caribbean sea waves, Jamaica needs to be on your bucket list. Whether you are looking for a secluded cove to escape the world or every type of adventurous water activity, Jamaica has it all. From snorkeling to horseback riding, from glowing bioluminescent beaches to kayaking, and steel drum  reggae beach parties,  there is something for everyone.

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Our Life Changing Visit to Ochos Rios Primary School in Jamaica

Last summer my friend, Gabi, told me about an amazing charity called Pack for A Purpose.  (If you’ve followed previous posts you’ve read all about this incredible organization. If not, click the link to read all about it!)  I loved the idea of taking action to positively impact the lives of students globally, so beginning a book drive was the perfect idea.  I would have never imagined in a million years that we’d collect 7,000 books and that I’d have the opportunity to actually visit the recipients of our donations. This past week has changed my life forever. It is so true that when you give, you receive even more in return.

On A Mission To Spread Happiness

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Mother-Daughter Milwaukee Weekend

1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8…Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!  (Millennials, ask your parents.) I showed Brooke an episode of Laverne and Shirley before we headed out on our mother-daughter Milwaukee weekend.  And yes, I made her reenact the opening right out on the street in public.  Considering I was taking her to a Miranda Sings concert, it was more than a fair exchange.

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Milwaukee is such an easy weekend getaway from our Chicago suburb of Naperville…just under a two hour drive.  Packing for a weekend is so simple: one wheelie suitcase (of course from Baggallini) with two outfits for each of us, bathing suits for the pool and spa, pjs, and loads of textbooks so Brooke could get her homework done in between  the concert and sightseeing–let’s not discuss whether that happened or not.

Brooke’s backpack was filled to the brim with makeup for the Miranda Sings concert at the Riverside Theatre. I’ve never seen more red lipstick in my life!  I had no expectation for the concert and it was actually so funny. Colleen Ballinger is super talented, although not appropriate for children under 15 in my opinion.

 

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A lot of prep for a 60 minute concert!

 

Where we stayed:  

If you visit Milwaukee, I can’t imagine you’d want to stay anywhere other than The Pfister Hotel.  If you don’t know it’s history, it’s fascinating.

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Known as  the “Jewel of Milwaukee,” the first thing you’ll be swept away by is the ornate Romanesque Revival architecture. Built in 1893, it truly felt like we time traveled.  The opulence of staircases, chandeliers, muraled ceilings and marble accents will make you instantly feel like royalty. The Pfister Hotel has the largest collection of Victorian art in America.  The pool, spa, suites and lounge areas all get 5/5 ratings in our book. The only disappointment was the restaurant, Mason Street Grill.  It was honestly the worst Halibut I’ve ever had and Brooke’s flatbread pizza had the soggiest crust.  We were greatly disappointed but the beauty of the hotel and the city definitely made up for it.

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What we did for two days in Milwaukee:

Knowing basically nothing about Milwaukee, we were excited to explore the city.Here’s what we learned just by meeting people, asking questions and a bit of research:

Milwaukee is a German settlement and the influential Captain Fredrick Pabst’s name is everywhere. He was a German-American brewer who purchased the Pabst Theatre in 1890. Milwaukee is divided by the Milwaukee River. The east sits along the Milwaukee Bay which spills into Lake Michigan.  The buildings here are full of character.  City Hall could probably be mistaken for Big Ben and the Federal Building looks like a European castle.  The west side of Milwaukee seems more suburban and is home to Marquette University–now on Brooke’s college radar. Along the lake is the Museum of Art.  It looks like a ship or perhaps a whale.  Either way, it’s a work of art in itself!

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Although we were surprised not to find any breweries, there’s definitely not a lack of churches in Milwaukee.  There almost seems to be a church on every block and the architecture is magnificent.  Again…European teleportation.

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Overall, we’ve decided that we’d “walk” all over Milkwaukee anytime!  What an architecture gem!

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Have you ever visited Milwaukee?  We will definitely return…maybe for a college visit!