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Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty and about how much is too much. Sure, we all claim that we are honest people and we easily adjust our level of trust for others based on our experiences with them, but in the big scheme of things, when is dishonesty or omission okay?

Three weeks ago, a business owner and colleague that I have worked and grown with over the years shared an incredibly frank and honest post on Facebook that provided a lot of insight into her personal life and thoughts. I hate to admit it, but I was a little bit taken aback. Not because I was judging her on any level, hey, I have my own personal stuff that I don’t necessarily talk about on social media. Don’t we all? It was because I knew that the information was so personal, that now, every time I saw her, in life or in business, that is what would immediately come to mind. And I hated that on a purely selfish level. I suddenly wished that people would hold back a bit on the honesty.

This experience had me wondering,

when is it appropriate to share your most

personal thoughts, and to who is it acceptable? 

Personally, I like to be open and relatable in my business;  it’s important to me to form unique and lasting connections with the people I come in contact with frequently. However, I am more comfortable keeping the really personal and life-changing moments and experiences to myself. There are things that I keep close to the vest or share only with my loved ones. Some things are just for you, and not everyone that you come in contact with has earned the right to that information.

Tell me, am I right or wrong? How much sharing is too much? Leave your thoughts and opinion in the comments below.

When I was 5, my Father went on a business trip, and as per our usual routine, returned with a souvenir of his time away. Typically business trip gifts consisted of tiny trinkets from lands afar, at least to my inexperienced mind; this time was no different. However, what was different was the impact that this trips gift would have on my life.

A small, metal Statue of Liberty figurine. Small and indiscreet enough to fit in the wooden display shelf that I proudly hung above my bed, I remember nights when I would pull her down and carefully examine all of the grooves in her dress. I would try to read and understand the minute letters scrolled on her tablet, would run my fingers over the sharp point in her crown. I had fallen in love with a city, based solely on my infatuation with this little silver statue, and I didn’t even know it yet.

Over time, I would ask questions about my new found silver lady. Where was she in real life, what was that place like, how could I get there? As I got older and learned more about the answers to these questions, I knew that someday, I would live there. I would be one of the stories that were so often tossed around in literature and on TV about the girl who moved to the big city, and had quite a big life, as it were. I made it my goal to move to NYC, and finally, at the age of 32, I made it happen.

While New York City, in my opinion, is everything that they tell you it is, it is so much more. There are many things that they don’t tell you. Many things that you have to learn and pick up on your own. But the moral of the story is the same. There is an energy that pulses in this city that you will not find anywhere else. This is my journal of that pulse. My experience in this foreign place.

Firstly, let me say, there are way more things that you don’t hear about New York than that you do. For instance, nobody told me that the Subway in the Summertime is the most miserable place you would ever want to be, full of angry, hot New Yorkers dealing with yet another MTA delay and laying their sweaty hands on top of yours in an effort to hold on to one of the limited poles in each train car. I had never been informed that the chances of seeing a pantless streaker on my own street were pretty high, or that the number of entirely destitute homeless people would be almost unbearable to witness.

But neither had I been informed of the magic of standing on a roof deck and seeing the city laid out before me, watching the cars drive up Broadway as far as the eye can see. I was not prepared for the way my heart would stall in awe every time I heard the traffic roaring down 5th Avenue, or the way that being a part of a close-knit community consisting of millions of individuals would affect my life. People stick together in New York City in a way that a lot of smaller communities fail to do. You know that here, somebody always has your back. They must, it is how we survive.

I had not expected to fall so deeply in love with this intensely flawed place, but in quick order, it happened. From day one, I knew that I was home.

Whether you are hosting an event for friends, a girls night in, or want to try something a little bit more interesting on a Thursday night, it’s always a good excuse to create a beautiful and well thought out cheese board. Trust us; you won’t be sorry. Don’t know where to start? These are our tips for creating a cheese plate that will please.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MILK
Sure, we all know and love cows milk, but it’s a good rule of thumb to cover all of your bases when creating the ultimate cheese board. Give sheep milk a try, or a nice rolled herb goat cheese. Mix it up with both pasteurized and unpasteurized options to give your board a bit of flair.

TEXTURE IS KEY
If you like texture, this is for you. While cheese comes in many ages and textures, it is typically well received to incorporate a bit of variety from soft, spreadable and creamy, to firm, semi-hard, hard, crumbly, and aged.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
There are cheese options for every palette, so while you want to keep your board to around 3-5 options, allow yourself to enjoy the flavor journey. Choose from sharp, nutty, grassy, bright, briny, sweet, pungent, mild, salty, buttery, tangy, and more.

ADD SAUCES & ACCOMPANIMENTS
Pair your cheese options with intentional and beautiful accouterments that are both pretty and tasty. We like to include meats such as prosciutto, serrano ham, and salami as well as garnish additions like olives, pickle slices, and jams and sauces. One of our all-time favorite pairings is a soft blue cheese paired with honey and ham.

Cooking was never my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and quite often wished that I could do more in the kitchen, but it wasn’t a talent that I possessed. Maybe it’s an issue of patience, which I would not consider my strongest asset; however, a few years ago, attempting to practice better self-awareness, I decided to try to change that.

One of the wonderful things about living in New York City is the number of classes and activities available to its residents. Having heard good things from friends and family who took cooking classes, ranging from knife skills to advanced French cooking, I decided to try my hand at something simple that would hopefully allow me to begin cooking and baking at home. I learned a lot in my class, the surprising part is that it wasn’t all about cooking or ingredients.

1. There is something incredibly stress relieving about chopping produce. Ok, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t quite as physically exhausting as, say, a boxing class, but I did find that the amount of concentration required to cut vegetables and fruit into small pieces is a lot like meditation.

2. I don’t try enough new things. Taking this cooking class helped me to realize that there are so many things in the world that I could probably do if I were only to try. I have spent years of my life thinking that I was a terrible cook, but once I got a bit of instruction and learned a few easy basics, a world of recipes opened up to me. It made me wonder what else I was capable of, even if I didn’t know it yet. What a sense of accomplishment!

3. Patience and the ability to compartmentalize are essential when making food and in life. Every recipe has a structure and purpose, and if followed patiently, creates something gorgeous. If I could transition that attitude into my daily life, things would be much more comfortable and less stressful. It’s about thinking through the recipe and following it even when you want to rush to the end.

Interestingly enough, after gaining a bit of confidence in the kitchen, it has become one of my favorite things to do, especially on a cold Winter evening in the city. You can’t beat it.

Find cooking classes in NYC & Beyond here.

Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere between Thompson & Houston and 3 gin and tonics, I got to thinking about the New York City bar scene. Fickle little thing that it is.

You have your Upper East Side brick and leather filled lounges and your Lower East Side hipster places where the only options are $25 cocktails and experimental Hors d’Oeuvre. You’ll find Nightclubs & Rooftops galore in Tribeca, Sports Bars & Themed Spots in Midtown, and beautifully appointed Wine Bars & foodie inspired Pubs in the West Village.

But where does one go when what they really want is a 16 ounce craft IPA in a dimly lit, dingy room filled with all types of people and styles;  from the NYC undergrad to the somewhat incognito movie star? The NYC Dive Bar.

THE NYC DIVE BAR

I just adore a good dive bar, actually, I must admit, it can be one of my favorite ways to spend a New York City evening. And, because I can easily recall the days when, as a NYC newbie or visitor, I longed for a relaxed atmosphere to unwind after a busy day of big city hustle and bustle, I want to share my go to dive bars with you.

  1. The Four-Faced Liar • West Village (165 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014) – The Four-Faced liar is one of those no-frills, brick-lined bars where you feel like you are drinking a craft beer in your own living room. The staff is experienced and fast, if a bit gruff at times, but never take themselves too seriously. If you want a true New York City dive bar experience that allows you to rub elbows with NYC regulars and West Village residents, give this spot a try.
  2. Old Rabbit Club • NYU – West Village (124 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) – This hidden gem serves an array of somewhat pretentious craft beers and wines in an old school, basement storefront. Near to NYU, the tiny bar holds only about 30 people at a time, but if you get there early enough to grab a front row seat at the bar, you won’t be disappointed in the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, beer and wine options, or the 80’s punk music played at just the right decibel.
  3. The Canal Bar • Gowanus – Brooklyn (270 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) – Don’t be fooled by the initially small look of this bar from the front door. There is a super cute, string light filled back patio and a pool table toward the back. Also, the popcorn is free.
  4. Spring Lounge • Nolita (48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012) – Nolita, a neighborhood just on the brink of trendy Soho, is where you’ll find this NYC resident favorite. There is nothing special about this bar in terms of aesthetic, but you will get a great beer or cocktail all while doing some pretty awesome people watching. This is my definite pick for a weekend day drinking sesh.
  5. Dive Bar • Lincoln Center • Upper West Side (732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025) – This is a favorite during Ballet season as it is near enough to Lincoln Center to stop for a pint or glass of wine prior to the rise of the curtain.

If you find your way to New York City, give these wonderful places a quick visit. We hope to see you there!

How to Make It

Step 1

Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.

Step 2

Stir together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Step 3

Crack 3 Large eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the following to the bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut

Pour batter into previously prepared cake pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Once removed, cool still in the pans on wire racks 15 minutes.

Step 5

After 15 minutes, remove cakes from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 6

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Leave it plain or delicately decorate with walnuts, pistachios,  piped frosting,  or sprinkled nutmeg.

 

** Looking to add a bit of flair to your cake, no matter the season or weather? Add extra spice, rum, or brown butter during the cold months. During the spring or Summer, don’t be afraid to decorate it with gorgeous floral elements or maybe even hints of seasonal fruit.

When I was 5, my Father went on a business trip, and as per our usual routine, returned with a souvenir of his time away. Typically business trip gifts consisted of tiny trinkets from lands afar, at least to my inexperienced mind; this time was no different. However, what was different was the impact that this trips gift would have on my life.

A small, metal Statue of Liberty figurine. Small and indiscreet enough to fit in the wooden display shelf that I proudly hung above my bed, I remember nights when I would pull her down and carefully examine all of the grooves in her dress. I would try to read and understand the minute letters scrolled on her tablet, would run my fingers over the sharp point in her crown. I had fallen in love with a city, based solely on my infatuation with this little silver statue, and I didn’t even know it yet.

Over time, I would ask questions about my new found silver lady. Where was she in real life, what was that place like, how could I get there? As I got older and learned more about the answers to these questions, I knew that someday, I would live there. I would be one of the stories that were so often tossed around in literature and on TV about the girl who moved to the big city, and had quite a big life, as it were. I made it my goal to move to NYC, and finally, at the age of 32, I made it happen.

While New York City, in my opinion, is everything that they tell you it is, it is so much more. There are many things that they don’t tell you. Many things that you have to learn and pick up on your own. But the moral of the story is the same. There is an energy that pulses in this city that you will not find anywhere else. This is my journal of that pulse. My experience in this foreign place.

Firstly, let me say, there are way more things that you don’t hear about New York than that you do. For instance, nobody told me that the Subway in the Summertime is the most miserable place you would ever want to be, full of angry, hot New Yorkers dealing with yet another MTA delay and laying their sweaty hands on top of yours in an effort to hold on to one of the limited poles in each train car. I had never been informed that the chances of seeing a pantless streaker on my own street were pretty high, or that the number of entirely destitute homeless people would be almost unbearable to witness.

But neither had I been informed of the magic of standing on a roof deck and seeing the city laid out before me, watching the cars drive up Broadway as far as the eye can see. I was not prepared for the way my heart would stall in awe every time I heard the traffic roaring down 5th Avenue, or the way that being a part of a close-knit community consisting of millions of individuals would affect my life. People stick together in New York City in a way that a lot of smaller communities fail to do. You know that here, somebody always has your back. They must, it is how we survive.

I had not expected to fall so deeply in love with this intensely flawed place, but in quick order, it happened. From day one, I knew that I was home.

Whether you are hosting an event for friends, a girls night in, or want to try something a little bit more interesting on a Thursday night, it’s always a good excuse to create a beautiful and well thought out cheese board. Trust us; you won’t be sorry. Don’t know where to start? These are our tips for creating a cheese plate that will please.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MILK
Sure, we all know and love cows milk, but it’s a good rule of thumb to cover all of your bases when creating the ultimate cheese board. Give sheep milk a try, or a nice rolled herb goat cheese. Mix it up with both pasteurized and unpasteurized options to give your board a bit of flair.

TEXTURE IS KEY
If you like texture, this is for you. While cheese comes in many ages and textures, it is typically well received to incorporate a bit of variety from soft, spreadable and creamy, to firm, semi-hard, hard, crumbly, and aged.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
There are cheese options for every palette, so while you want to keep your board to around 3-5 options, allow yourself to enjoy the flavor journey. Choose from sharp, nutty, grassy, bright, briny, sweet, pungent, mild, salty, buttery, tangy, and more.

ADD SAUCES & ACCOMPANIMENTS
Pair your cheese options with intentional and beautiful accouterments that are both pretty and tasty. We like to include meats such as prosciutto, serrano ham, and salami as well as garnish additions like olives, pickle slices, and jams and sauces. One of our all-time favorite pairings is a soft blue cheese paired with honey and ham.

Cooking was never my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and quite often wished that I could do more in the kitchen, but it wasn’t a talent that I possessed. Maybe it’s an issue of patience, which I would not consider my strongest asset; however, a few years ago, attempting to practice better self-awareness, I decided to try to change that.

One of the wonderful things about living in New York City is the number of classes and activities available to its residents. Having heard good things from friends and family who took cooking classes, ranging from knife skills to advanced French cooking, I decided to try my hand at something simple that would hopefully allow me to begin cooking and baking at home. I learned a lot in my class, the surprising part is that it wasn’t all about cooking or ingredients.

1. There is something incredibly stress relieving about chopping produce. Ok, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t quite as physically exhausting as, say, a boxing class, but I did find that the amount of concentration required to cut vegetables and fruit into small pieces is a lot like meditation.

2. I don’t try enough new things. Taking this cooking class helped me to realize that there are so many things in the world that I could probably do if I were only to try. I have spent years of my life thinking that I was a terrible cook, but once I got a bit of instruction and learned a few easy basics, a world of recipes opened up to me. It made me wonder what else I was capable of, even if I didn’t know it yet. What a sense of accomplishment!

3. Patience and the ability to compartmentalize are essential when making food and in life. Every recipe has a structure and purpose, and if followed patiently, creates something gorgeous. If I could transition that attitude into my daily life, things would be much more comfortable and less stressful. It’s about thinking through the recipe and following it even when you want to rush to the end.

Interestingly enough, after gaining a bit of confidence in the kitchen, it has become one of my favorite things to do, especially on a cold Winter evening in the city. You can’t beat it.

Find cooking classes in NYC & Beyond here.

Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere between Thompson & Houston and 3 gin and tonics, I got to thinking about the New York City bar scene. Fickle little thing that it is.

You have your Upper East Side brick and leather filled lounges and your Lower East Side hipster places where the only options are $25 cocktails and experimental Hors d’Oeuvre. You’ll find Nightclubs & Rooftops galore in Tribeca, Sports Bars & Themed Spots in Midtown, and beautifully appointed Wine Bars & foodie inspired Pubs in the West Village.

But where does one go when what they really want is a 16 ounce craft IPA in a dimly lit, dingy room filled with all types of people and styles;  from the NYC undergrad to the somewhat incognito movie star? The NYC Dive Bar.

THE NYC DIVE BAR

I just adore a good dive bar, actually, I must admit, it can be one of my favorite ways to spend a New York City evening. And, because I can easily recall the days when, as a NYC newbie or visitor, I longed for a relaxed atmosphere to unwind after a busy day of big city hustle and bustle, I want to share my go to dive bars with you.

  1. The Four-Faced Liar • West Village (165 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014) – The Four-Faced liar is one of those no-frills, brick-lined bars where you feel like you are drinking a craft beer in your own living room. The staff is experienced and fast, if a bit gruff at times, but never take themselves too seriously. If you want a true New York City dive bar experience that allows you to rub elbows with NYC regulars and West Village residents, give this spot a try.
  2. Old Rabbit Club • NYU – West Village (124 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) – This hidden gem serves an array of somewhat pretentious craft beers and wines in an old school, basement storefront. Near to NYU, the tiny bar holds only about 30 people at a time, but if you get there early enough to grab a front row seat at the bar, you won’t be disappointed in the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, beer and wine options, or the 80’s punk music played at just the right decibel.
  3. The Canal Bar • Gowanus – Brooklyn (270 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) – Don’t be fooled by the initially small look of this bar from the front door. There is a super cute, string light filled back patio and a pool table toward the back. Also, the popcorn is free.
  4. Spring Lounge • Nolita (48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012) – Nolita, a neighborhood just on the brink of trendy Soho, is where you’ll find this NYC resident favorite. There is nothing special about this bar in terms of aesthetic, but you will get a great beer or cocktail all while doing some pretty awesome people watching. This is my definite pick for a weekend day drinking sesh.
  5. Dive Bar • Lincoln Center • Upper West Side (732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025) – This is a favorite during Ballet season as it is near enough to Lincoln Center to stop for a pint or glass of wine prior to the rise of the curtain.

If you find your way to New York City, give these wonderful places a quick visit. We hope to see you there!

How to Make It

Step 1

Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.

Step 2

Stir together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Step 3

Crack 3 Large eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the following to the bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut

Pour batter into previously prepared cake pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Once removed, cool still in the pans on wire racks 15 minutes.

Step 5

After 15 minutes, remove cakes from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 6

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Leave it plain or delicately decorate with walnuts, pistachios,  piped frosting,  or sprinkled nutmeg.

 

** Looking to add a bit of flair to your cake, no matter the season or weather? Add extra spice, rum, or brown butter during the cold months. During the spring or Summer, don’t be afraid to decorate it with gorgeous floral elements or maybe even hints of seasonal fruit.

I HOPE YOU DANCE – No, I really do. In a literal way, not so much in a “life goals” kind of way; although I am 100 percent behind that as well.

A couple of weeks ago, a close friend who I hadn’t seen for a few months (she left NYC for Atlanta shortly after her wedding, so we were having a bit of a catchup sesh) asked me how the different areas of my business were coming along and if I was up to anything new. I filled her in briefly on the new online business courses I was offering as well as the expansion of my speaking and writing engagement services and how I was fitting it all together. After a bit of a rundown on the ins and outs of these services, she said, “so, are you just loving it?”

Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer that question. I LOVED creating the courses, I LOVED interacting with other super awesome creative entrepreneurs, I LOVED telling my story and helping others become the best them that they can be. I was madly in love with every single aspect of providing these courses from start to finish, except for one small thing. I hate public speaking. And, as is frequently the case when it comes to things we fear, that one, small, scary aspect puts an enormous black cloud over the parts that I love. Isn’t that just the pits?

My friend’s response? Then why are you doing it?

If I am being real with you, this is always my favorite question when it comes to each aspect of my life, especially the ones that include facing my fears head on. Don’t other people do this on the daily? Is this not what it means to be a human? Doesn’t EVERYONE do the things they fear as long as it’s something they think is important to do? Unfortunately, the answer is no in some cases, and I think that has to change.

How do I do the things that absolutely scare me, but that I know are the things that are going to be best for me in the end? I dance it out. Before each and every public speaking engagement, class or workshop, or even just sharing my “close to the heart” creative work, I flip on the Britany or the Marvin Gaye or The Cure (usually The Cure) and I dance. There is no doubt in mind that I look silly, I am the product of a Father who has zero rhythm and fast dances at weddings by wiggling his heel around on the ground while he swings his hips in the opposite direction. There is no possible way that I look awesome when I am dancing, but I do it, because that is how I get out the negative, scary energy and relax my mind enough to push through the fear.

My suggestion isn’t necessarily that you dance it out if that isn’t your thing (or you are in the airport FREAKING OUT over flying); I am simply suggesting that when you are terrified of something that you want to do,  instead of walking away, try doing something that will change your energy and will make your impossible possible.  There is really nothing that feels better in life than doing something you didn’t think you could do. It resets  your power and teaches you that you are unstoppable.

Those are things everyone needs.

Read More

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty and about how much is too much. Sure, we all claim that we are honest people and we easily adjust our level of trust for others based on our experiences with them, but in the big scheme of things, when is dishonesty or omission okay?

Three weeks ago, a business owner and colleague that I have worked and grown with over the years shared an incredibly frank and honest post on Facebook that provided a lot of insight into her personal life and thoughts. I hate to admit it, but I was a little bit taken aback. Not because I was judging her on any level, hey, I have my own personal stuff that I don’t necessarily talk about on social media. Don’t we all? It was because I knew that the information was so personal, that now, every time I saw her, in life or in business, that is what would immediately come to mind. And I hated that on a purely selfish level. I suddenly wished that people would hold back a bit on the honesty.

This experience had me wondering,

when is it appropriate to share your most

personal thoughts, and to who is it acceptable? 

Personally, I like to be open and relatable in my business;  it’s important to me to form unique and lasting connections with the people I come in contact with frequently. However, I am more comfortable keeping the really personal and life-changing moments and experiences to myself. There are things that I keep close to the vest or share only with my loved ones. Some things are just for you, and not everyone that you come in contact with has earned the right to that information.

Tell me, am I right or wrong? How much sharing is too much? Leave your thoughts and opinion in the comments below.

Read More

When I was 5, my Father went on a business trip, and as per our usual routine, returned with a souvenir of his time away. Typically business trip gifts consisted of tiny trinkets from lands afar, at least to my inexperienced mind; this time was no different. However, what was different was the impact that this trips gift would have on my life.

A small, metal Statue of Liberty figurine. Small and indiscreet enough to fit in the wooden display shelf that I proudly hung above my bed, I remember nights when I would pull her down and carefully examine all of the grooves in her dress. I would try to read and understand the minute letters scrolled on her tablet, would run my fingers over the sharp point in her crown. I had fallen in love with a city, based solely on my infatuation with this little silver statue, and I didn’t even know it yet.

Over time, I would ask questions about my new found silver lady. Where was she in real life, what was that place like, how could I get there? As I got older and learned more about the answers to these questions, I knew that someday, I would live there. I would be one of the stories that were so often tossed around in literature and on TV about the girl who moved to the big city, and had quite a big life, as it were. I made it my goal to move to NYC, and finally, at the age of 32, I made it happen.

While New York City, in my opinion, is everything that they tell you it is, it is so much more. There are many things that they don’t tell you. Many things that you have to learn and pick up on your own. But the moral of the story is the same. There is an energy that pulses in this city that you will not find anywhere else. This is my journal of that pulse. My experience in this foreign place.

Firstly, let me say, there are way more things that you don’t hear about New York than that you do. For instance, nobody told me that the Subway in the Summertime is the most miserable place you would ever want to be, full of angry, hot New Yorkers dealing with yet another MTA delay and laying their sweaty hands on top of yours in an effort to hold on to one of the limited poles in each train car. I had never been informed that the chances of seeing a pantless streaker on my own street were pretty high, or that the number of entirely destitute homeless people would be almost unbearable to witness.

But neither had I been informed of the magic of standing on a roof deck and seeing the city laid out before me, watching the cars drive up Broadway as far as the eye can see. I was not prepared for the way my heart would stall in awe every time I heard the traffic roaring down 5th Avenue, or the way that being a part of a close-knit community consisting of millions of individuals would affect my life. People stick together in New York City in a way that a lot of smaller communities fail to do. You know that here, somebody always has your back. They must, it is how we survive.

I had not expected to fall so deeply in love with this intensely flawed place, but in quick order, it happened. From day one, I knew that I was home.

Read More

Whether you are hosting an event for friends, a girls night in, or want to try something a little bit more interesting on a Thursday night, it’s always a good excuse to create a beautiful and well thought out cheese board. Trust us; you won’t be sorry. Don’t know where to start? These are our tips for creating a cheese plate that will please.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MILK
Sure, we all know and love cows milk, but it’s a good rule of thumb to cover all of your bases when creating the ultimate cheese board. Give sheep milk a try, or a nice rolled herb goat cheese. Mix it up with both pasteurized and unpasteurized options to give your board a bit of flair.

TEXTURE IS KEY
If you like texture, this is for you. While cheese comes in many ages and textures, it is typically well received to incorporate a bit of variety from soft, spreadable and creamy, to firm, semi-hard, hard, crumbly, and aged.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE
There are cheese options for every palette, so while you want to keep your board to around 3-5 options, allow yourself to enjoy the flavor journey. Choose from sharp, nutty, grassy, bright, briny, sweet, pungent, mild, salty, buttery, tangy, and more.

ADD SAUCES & ACCOMPANIMENTS
Pair your cheese options with intentional and beautiful accouterments that are both pretty and tasty. We like to include meats such as prosciutto, serrano ham, and salami as well as garnish additions like olives, pickle slices, and jams and sauces. One of our all-time favorite pairings is a soft blue cheese paired with honey and ham.

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Cooking was never my forte. Don’t get me wrong, I love to eat and quite often wished that I could do more in the kitchen, but it wasn’t a talent that I possessed. Maybe it’s an issue of patience, which I would not consider my strongest asset; however, a few years ago, attempting to practice better self-awareness, I decided to try to change that.

One of the wonderful things about living in New York City is the number of classes and activities available to its residents. Having heard good things from friends and family who took cooking classes, ranging from knife skills to advanced French cooking, I decided to try my hand at something simple that would hopefully allow me to begin cooking and baking at home. I learned a lot in my class, the surprising part is that it wasn’t all about cooking or ingredients.

1. There is something incredibly stress relieving about chopping produce. Ok, don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t quite as physically exhausting as, say, a boxing class, but I did find that the amount of concentration required to cut vegetables and fruit into small pieces is a lot like meditation.

2. I don’t try enough new things. Taking this cooking class helped me to realize that there are so many things in the world that I could probably do if I were only to try. I have spent years of my life thinking that I was a terrible cook, but once I got a bit of instruction and learned a few easy basics, a world of recipes opened up to me. It made me wonder what else I was capable of, even if I didn’t know it yet. What a sense of accomplishment!

3. Patience and the ability to compartmentalize are essential when making food and in life. Every recipe has a structure and purpose, and if followed patiently, creates something gorgeous. If I could transition that attitude into my daily life, things would be much more comfortable and less stressful. It’s about thinking through the recipe and following it even when you want to rush to the end.

Interestingly enough, after gaining a bit of confidence in the kitchen, it has become one of my favorite things to do, especially on a cold Winter evening in the city. You can’t beat it.

Find cooking classes in NYC & Beyond here.

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Once upon a Thursday night, somewhere between Thompson & Houston and 3 gin and tonics, I got to thinking about the New York City bar scene. Fickle little thing that it is.

You have your Upper East Side brick and leather filled lounges and your Lower East Side hipster places where the only options are $25 cocktails and experimental Hors d’Oeuvre. You’ll find Nightclubs & Rooftops galore in Tribeca, Sports Bars & Themed Spots in Midtown, and beautifully appointed Wine Bars & foodie inspired Pubs in the West Village.

But where does one go when what they really want is a 16 ounce craft IPA in a dimly lit, dingy room filled with all types of people and styles;  from the NYC undergrad to the somewhat incognito movie star? The NYC Dive Bar.

THE NYC DIVE BAR

I just adore a good dive bar, actually, I must admit, it can be one of my favorite ways to spend a New York City evening. And, because I can easily recall the days when, as a NYC newbie or visitor, I longed for a relaxed atmosphere to unwind after a busy day of big city hustle and bustle, I want to share my go to dive bars with you.

  1. The Four-Faced Liar • West Village (165 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014) – The Four-Faced liar is one of those no-frills, brick-lined bars where you feel like you are drinking a craft beer in your own living room. The staff is experienced and fast, if a bit gruff at times, but never take themselves too seriously. If you want a true New York City dive bar experience that allows you to rub elbows with NYC regulars and West Village residents, give this spot a try.
  2. Old Rabbit Club • NYU – West Village (124 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012) – This hidden gem serves an array of somewhat pretentious craft beers and wines in an old school, basement storefront. Near to NYU, the tiny bar holds only about 30 people at a time, but if you get there early enough to grab a front row seat at the bar, you won’t be disappointed in the friendly, knowledgeable bartenders, beer and wine options, or the 80’s punk music played at just the right decibel.
  3. The Canal Bar • Gowanus – Brooklyn (270 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215) – Don’t be fooled by the initially small look of this bar from the front door. There is a super cute, string light filled back patio and a pool table toward the back. Also, the popcorn is free.
  4. Spring Lounge • Nolita (48 Spring St, New York, NY 10012) – Nolita, a neighborhood just on the brink of trendy Soho, is where you’ll find this NYC resident favorite. There is nothing special about this bar in terms of aesthetic, but you will get a great beer or cocktail all while doing some pretty awesome people watching. This is my definite pick for a weekend day drinking sesh.
  5. Dive Bar • Lincoln Center • Upper West Side (732 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025) – This is a favorite during Ballet season as it is near enough to Lincoln Center to stop for a pint or glass of wine prior to the rise of the curtain.

If you find your way to New York City, give these wonderful places a quick visit. We hope to see you there!

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How to Make It

Step 1

Line 3 (9-inch) round cake pans with wax paper; lightly grease and flour wax paper. Set pans aside.

Step 2

Stir together the following ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Step 3

Crack 3 Large eggs into a large mixing bowl and add the following to the bowl:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2.5 teaspoons vanilla extract

Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed until blended. Fold in the shredded carrot and add the following ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 (3 1/2-ounce) can flaked coconut

Pour batter into previously prepared cake pans.

Step 4

Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Once removed, cool still in the pans on wire racks 15 minutes.

Step 5

After 15 minutes, remove cakes from the pans, and cool completely on wire racks.

Step 6

Spread Cream Cheese Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake. Leave it plain or delicately decorate with walnuts, pistachios,  piped frosting,  or sprinkled nutmeg.

 

** Looking to add a bit of flair to your cake, no matter the season or weather? Add extra spice, rum, or brown butter during the cold months. During the spring or Summer, don’t be afraid to decorate it with gorgeous floral elements or maybe even hints of seasonal fruit.

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I HOPE YOU DANCE – No, I really do. In a literal way, not so much in a “life goals” kind of way; although I am 100 percent behind that as well.

A couple of weeks ago, a close friend who I hadn’t seen for a few months (she left NYC for Atlanta shortly after her wedding, so we were having a bit of a catchup sesh) asked me how the different areas of my business were coming along and if I was up to anything new. I filled her in briefly on the new online business courses I was offering as well as the expansion of my speaking and writing engagement services and how I was fitting it all together. After a bit of a rundown on the ins and outs of these services, she said, “so, are you just loving it?”

Honestly, I didn’t know how to answer that question. I LOVED creating the courses, I LOVED interacting with other super awesome creative entrepreneurs, I LOVED telling my story and helping others become the best them that they can be. I was madly in love with every single aspect of providing these courses from start to finish, except for one small thing. I hate public speaking. And, as is frequently the case when it comes to things we fear, that one, small, scary aspect puts an enormous black cloud over the parts that I love. Isn’t that just the pits?

My friend’s response? Then why are you doing it?

If I am being real with you, this is always my favorite question when it comes to each aspect of my life, especially the ones that include facing my fears head on. Don’t other people do this on the daily? Is this not what it means to be a human? Doesn’t EVERYONE do the things they fear as long as it’s something they think is important to do? Unfortunately, the answer is no in some cases, and I think that has to change.

How do I do the things that absolutely scare me, but that I know are the things that are going to be best for me in the end? I dance it out. Before each and every public speaking engagement, class or workshop, or even just sharing my “close to the heart” creative work, I flip on the Britany or the Marvin Gaye or The Cure (usually The Cure) and I dance. There is no doubt in mind that I look silly, I am the product of a Father who has zero rhythm and fast dances at weddings by wiggling his heel around on the ground while he swings his hips in the opposite direction. There is no possible way that I look awesome when I am dancing, but I do it, because that is how I get out the negative, scary energy and relax my mind enough to push through the fear.

My suggestion isn’t necessarily that you dance it out if that isn’t your thing (or you are in the airport FREAKING OUT over flying); I am simply suggesting that when you are terrified of something that you want to do,  instead of walking away, try doing something that will change your energy and will make your impossible possible.  There is really nothing that feels better in life than doing something you didn’t think you could do. It resets  your power and teaches you that you are unstoppable.

Those are things everyone needs.

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Doesn’t it always seems that when one thing in your life goes wrong, every other part of your experience seems to follow closely behind? You know what they say, “when it rains, it pours.” I have recently begun to wonder if it is me causing the ball to continue rolling downhill or if it is a natural occurrence that happens in the universe (mercury in retrograde?). Honestly, I think it is me. Here is why: Mindset

Sure, my theory isn’t exactly scientific, however; I think there is something to be said for the energy that you put into the world, and I think that the mind is where that energy originates. Think about it this way: if you could magically adjust your mindset when things are on the downslide, would it make a difference to your lifestyle, business, or relationships? Is it possible that your positive vibes would stop that negativity in its tracks and set you on the path to happier days? I think so.

So, when times are tough and you can’t seem to find a light at the end of the tunnel, how can you make a mindset change that will keep you positive and moving forward?

  1. LISTEN TO YOURSELF – If you have had a series of negative experiences and you’re feeling defeated, listen to yourself and know when to rest. We aren’t big on quitting here at The Art Of, but we do adore a good R & R session now and then, and it seems especially needed when its “pouring.” Instead of flashing a fake smile and trying to push through the situation, give yourself a mental health day. Allow yourself to feel the feelings that you are experiencing, but decide that you are going to wash it away at the end of the day and start fresh. Trying to fight your sadness, anger, or negative feelings will only make it harder to set them aside.
  2. EXPRESS GRATITUDE – If you are feeling any level of gratitude you can’t possibly hang onto anger. By definition gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” There is nothing negative in having grace for what you already have in your life that makes you happy. If you are feeling gratitude, express it. Tell your husband why he is so incredibly important to you, call your sister and let her know that she has changed your life just by being born, send flowers, comment positively on a social media post, make a list of all of the things that made you smile today. I could go on and on, but the moral of the story is that if you focus on being thankful, it takes a bit of the sting out of the struggle.
  3. BE BRAVE – I have said this numerous times on this blog and elsewhere, and I still believe it wholeheartedly. One of the very best ways to get your mojo back is to do something that you didn’t think you could do. Go ahead, prove yourself wrong and get some of that power and control back in your life. It’s funny how much easier life feels as a whole when you know that you are capable of enormous courage.
  4. INDULGE IN A GUILTY PLEASURE – Mine is really terrible reality TV. When I am having a bad morning, nothing resets my mind like The Bachelor or Teen Mom (1 & 2). I am on the edge of my seat waiting for Bachelor in Paradise to start up in August. Whatever the small,  joy inducing pleasure, give yourself permission to indulge and enjoy it! You’ll feel immediately better, if only superficially, which isn’t a necessarily a negative thing if you are attempting to reverse a bad mood or attitude.
  5. MAKE A DECISION – Sometimes, the simple act of thinking through a problem and making a decision one way or another can alleviate a good amount of stress. Too often we agonize over decisions or “next steps” because we aren’t sure we are doing the right thing or making the right choice. But, if you make it a point to think through the situation as well as the  pro’s and con’s you can start making moves toward a resolution. There is freedom and strength in taking control of the situation and doing something to make it better. Just make the decision and start.

Gorgeous photography courtesy of Julia Trotti. Find her brilliant work here! 

View more of our Creative Lifestyle posts in the archives!

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Let’s be honest, checking your social media networks can sometimes put quite a damper one your self esteem. Even the most experienced and confident users are guilty of posting a gorgeous image of their work or a life event only to second guess it as soon as they see another accounts carefully curated and well thought out feed.

It is incredibly easy to fall into a comparison trap, becoming obsessed with how your life appears to others and overly conscious of every move you make online. And, even though your feed is be getting a good amount of followers or likes, you may still be concerned that it’s not as good as the others out there. We know, we know. We’ve all been there at one time or another.

So, what can you do when you love the thrill that you get from viewing and sharing posts with users from around the world, but you also get a pit in your stomach the minute you start scrolling through the perfection that is your follow list? These 5 tips will give you the ability to fulfill your social media craving while keeping your self esteem perfectly in tact.

5 WAYS TO MANAGE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA & PROTECT YOUR SELF ESTEEM

  1. DETERMINE YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC – When you are looking through your newsfeed, it is easy to forget that you may be “speaking” to a different demographic than someone else who posts only color coded, pre-planned perfection. Think about the purpose of your feed and who is meant to see it? If you are a Mama who loves sharing pics of your kids with far away loved ones, you absolutely should not feel the pressure to do it the same way as the Mommy Blogger with 60,000 followers and multiple sponsors. Keep in mind that the Mommy Blogger more than likely has an extensive knowledge of photography and photoshop due to YEARS of curating their content. Some of these users even have professional hairstylists, makeup artists and photographers that help them with each and every photoshoot.
  2. DEFINE YOUR CONTENT STYLE – Now that you know who your demographic is, start thinking about the best way to reach them and to have them take notice of your content. Some followers adore a heavily photoshopped image with a magical format and gorgeous colors, while others truly want to see raw, real life. For instance, a travel blogger may have the goal of giving their followers a glimpse into their lives, the good and bad, so they will most likely opt for a less edited and more realistic photo collage. But, a children’s photographer who specializes in fine art or creatively set up portrait photography may have a much more planned composition and a more defined edit. Determine which works best for your personal style and the purpose of your feed and run with it. Don’t worry about what another user is posting if the style doesn’t line up. (Master Tip: Check out these social media planning tools that will help you to style your content as needed!)
  3. TAKE A BREAK  – This may seem counterproductive to your ultimate goal, but trust me, it’s not. I’m sure you have heard the saying, “take care of yourself first”, and it absolutely applies to social media. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed, are in hardcore comparison mode, or are just exhausted with the whole thing, take a little break. When you make the conscious choice to return to tending your feed, you will feel replenished and revived, and you will make better choices about how to handle and manage your networks. Sometimes, you need to listen to that little voice telling you that it’s time to step back.
  4. ENGAGE – The more that I engage with others on social media, the better I feel. There is nothing more confidence boosting than giving a compliment and making someone else day, so I try to do it often. See an instagram image that blows your mind? Tell the user! Can’t get enough of the design work you came across on a business feed? Let the user know that you are obsessed! They will appreciate the boost and before you know it, you’ll have built a community of like minded friends on social media that will take care to send positive vibes one another’s way!
  5. CREATE VISUAL CONTENT THAT YOU LOVE – It is hard to hear, mainly because we all want to fit in and hang out with the popular crowd, but at the end of the day, your parents were right. The only person that has to like it is you. Don’t feel the need to share everything with everybody, but make sure that the content that you do post gives you flutters in your heart. If you love it, there is nothing to compare. Just do you and let the others do them.

Interested in learning how we curate, manage, and plan our own business and personal social media networks. Check out our online course here!  We would love to see you there!

 

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Honestly, it’s no secret that I am an ANTHROPOLOGIE groupie. I love everything about the retail conglomerate, from the cozy, indie feeling that I get when I walk into one of their stores to the pretty product images that they share on their website and social media networks.

Sure, Anthropologie can be slightly expensive, but you can also find some real gems mixed in with the big dollar items. One of my favorite categories is the Wellness Category, because who couldn’t use a bit of self love, right? I thought that since I have such a love affair with a few of these items, I would share them with you and hope that they bring you a bit of happiness as well.

My Top 5 Favorite Anthropolgie Wellness Products:

 

If you love candles, Wicks and Stones Infinity Candles are right up your alley. These pretty and incredibly gorgeous smelling candles will not only brighten the mood in your personal space, but they also carry aromatherapy properties that will lift your mood and set you on a great mental path. Find it here.

 

Inner Beauty is always a top priority, and I am sure you have an abundance of it already living inside of you, but it doesn’t hurt to give yourself a boost here and there. These tasty, power packing dietary supplements will help you excel, whether that means it helps you sleep a bit better or glow more from the inside out. Get Glow here and Sleep here!

I don’t ever feel like I get enough water, and have found that having a pretty bottle that allows me to visually see my intake helps greatly. This gorgeousness from Longevity does just that. And if you believe in the power of crystals on your personal energy you can’t go wrong. Find the Turquoise Crystal Bottle here and the Pink Here. 

I adore a great yoga session, but I also love the idea of looking at a pretty motif while I am in the middle of a sweat sesh. This Paisley Yoga Mat does just that and has an excellent non-slip texture that makes me feel safe to push my practice to the next level. Get this Paisley beauty here. 

LUK, an Australian beauty company that combines lovely colors with whole foods and ingredients is all the rage in the natural beauty market. This Beautifood Lip Nourish delivers an incredible amount of moisture and ranges in from sheer to solid colors depending on your mood. Check out this life changing product here. 

 

* All images courtesy or Anthropologie

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Ugh, Starting Over… This past 12 months has been rough. I have talked about this couple of times on the blog, and it’s possible I am starting to sound a bit like I am dwelling, but the truth is, I am recovering.

Recovering from what? 

Recovery is an interesting word. It implies a previous illness, or a lingering physical or emotional burden, but in reality, it is so many things. This has been twelve months of losing people that I love; the same twelve months in which I made a poor business decision that cost me thousands of dollars and still has me building and restructuring to make up for it. The year that I failed and lost over and over again. But the good news, is there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I can see it, and I am moving toward it. That, my friends, is my version of recovery.

How did failure & loss effect me?

I’ll be completely honest. This past year, for the first time in a very long time, my business wasn’t my number one priority. That was a hard pill to swallow, but my priorities had shifted, not because I wanted them to shift, but because sometimes that’s just how life is. It throws you a curve ball or two (or four) and you adjust.

Add to that the fact that my business is a central part of who I am. I love what I do, every single second of it. I actually think that is why I am still here, working in the industry. I love it so much that I absolutely refuse to quit. No matter what. The idea that my business was affected during this particularly less than desirable time of life truly keeps me up at night. But what can you do? You just go on. You failed, you lost. Keep moving.

What’s Next? 

The way I see it, sometimes starting over can be the most liberating experience you will ever have. A clean slate, a bit of fresh air, the room to create the future. Freedom. And in my opinion this is when it matters most, because you get to learn from your past and make choices that will effect your new normal. You know that saying, “if I knew then what I know now…”? Now you do! Use the lessons and the feelings to let go and move on to the next phase, whatever that means for you.

I am embracing the space and the room to breathe. My business will be stronger for it and I will have a new lesson to carry with me. Cheers to starting over.

XOXO,

Tori

Read more about Harper Maven Design and our advice for career gals here. 

 

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Each and every June, my husband and I venture off of the island of Manhattan and head to Florida for a romantic vacation, with just one small catch, there are 100 fellow Fletcher family members in attendance. Our yearly St. Augustine furlough is attended by any and every family member within a 10,000 mile radius. Yes, we even have a cousin who travels from china, and another from South Africa.

These family reunions are great, and I would absolutely adore joining this gorgeous fete every 2-3 years or so, but we do it every single year without reserve. Even more exciting, there are absolutely no surprises during this melee. For instance, day one kicks off at the Oasis Restaurant on A1A and then on to the condos where each day is structured into 2 beachfront sessions, morning and evening. During the afternoon break, we glide from condo to condo, visiting with family members, and likely playing board or card games while eating sandwiches on Wonder Bread.  We even rent the exact same block of condos each year, meaning it is almost like our own little pied-a-tier.

Now look, I am definitely a big fan of the close, relentlessly loyal family ties that very few people have the opportunity to experience. I enthusiastically applaud this family for their ability to stay close, even as time has moved them further apart physically. I am incredibly in love with these people, and quite honestly, they could really teach the world a lesson on family relationships.

But, I also struggle a bit every year with the aspect of spending my week so “still”, so “remote” (and typically so “particularly bored”). Also, while I wholeheartedly love the structure and pre-planned vibe of the week, I myself could use a bit excitement here and there.

If you identify with this, whether with your own family or that of your spouses, know this: you are not alone, friend. I have learned a thing or two over the past 10 years of St. Augustine summers, so here are my top 8 rules for surviving (with your sanity in tact) a family reunion or vacation.

TIPS FOR SURVIVAL

Take time for you.

If you don’t feel like participating in every activity or gathering, gracefully bow out. Unless the specific event is really important to those in your party, just say no and take some time for you. When I begin to feel overwhelmed, I take a bit of time in the bedroom to read or take a nice long walk down the beach.

 

Find your Tribe, Love them Hard.

There are most definitely people within the group that you have a really good time with, think similarly to, and throughly enjoy being around. Those are your tribe. Stick with them and there are most definitely good times to be had.

 

Decide to make lifelong friends.

Listen, at the end of the day, these are people who will presumably be in your life forever. Don’t spend your time feeling bitter that you are there, or wishing that you were somewhere else. Make the choice that you are going to cultivate and care for these relationships that will be with you forever. Truly spend time enjoying and loving the people in your tribe. One of my very best friends in life is my husbands cousin, and I found and grew my relationship with her during these exact vacations. I can’t imagine my life without her, and we would likely not have become close if these soirees didn’t exist.

 

Go with the Flow.

Don’t try to force the fun. Do your best to relax and enjoy the activities that you do decide to integrate yourself in.

 

Ditch your expectations.

Friends, expectations are for the birds. Do yourself a big favor, and don’t create extreme expectations for your getaway. You may envision nightly walks on the beach with your husband, or watching the sunrise with your sister in law, but the truth of the matter is, it may not happen. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to live up to your dream vacation during a large group excursion. Save it for the smaller, one on one trips, you’ll thank yourself later.

 

Set your boundaries and rules and stick with them.

Decide what is best for you in terms of time spent with others and participating in activities, and honor that no matter what. Make decisions that will allow you to have a good time and enjoy your own time off and use the word no when needed. Trust me, other people will understand. Even my Mother in Law has been known to wander off to the bedroom and closes the door here and there throughout the week.

 

Create the Adventure.

This is a big one for me. I gave up on waiting for the rest of the family to want to do something besides those that are typically scheduled and started asking people to go on outings or join in on “off the beaten path” activities. Since I began this practice I have been sailing with the close friend mentioned above, on a haunted house tour with another beautiful friend and cousin, and horseback riding on the beach at sunset. Stop waiting for an invitation and take advantage of your location and time off. Plan an adventure and take your crew.

 

Bring things from home that comfort you.

There is nothing better than a blanket, scarf, or sacred item from home to make you feel better when you feel a bit homesick. I always bring my favorite bedding items with me, and during those times when I am overwhelmed or needing some space, I curl up in my home brought bundle and take a breather. It does wonders for ones mood.

Need some good reads for your next beach trip or family vacation? Take a peek at our Early Summer book picks here. 

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