Nonna

As we stood amidst history, a story of murder, the life of Julius Caesar, we learned of one of the best restaurants in Rome, Trattoria Der Pallaro, owned by Nonna and her family. It’s been around for over 100 years.

I was not feeling very well the night we should have had dinner here, but the thought of eating at Nonna’s sat with us overnight so we made sure it was in our plan the following day. It did not disappoint. The only thing that was disappointing was the people coming in wanting pizza, or a menu for that matter and leaving because at Nonna’s you get neither of these. What you get is a traditional 4 course Italian meal that Nonna is serving up and if your plate isn’t clean, you don’t move on (I can’t imagine leaving any of the delicious food on the plate anyway).

It started with Wine, red or white. That’s all the decision you have to make. Carafe of red it was, or at least how it started. Our server asked, “do you have to be anywhere?”, and we were so glad the answer was “No”. So was he.

Fennel, Lentils, mozzarella, fried cheese balls, fried meatballs, prosciutto and bread. That’s just how it started. When the first course was finished, we took a deep breath and awaited the arrival of our second course, pasta!

Two different flavors, red, white and a very empty plate at the end. I could have ate the white pasta over and over again. It reminds me a lot of my favorite pasta at Louis in St Paul.

Veal, some sort of spinach like green (if anyone knows what this is, we couldn’t understand) and home made potato chips rounded out course 3. Did I mention we moved to the white wine at this point?

A delicious dessert followed by several servings of limoncello finished up what was one of the best meals we had in Italy.

The experience was priceless. I am glad I was lucky enough to travel with two people that loved the adventure of trying new things. What if we would have not come back or said no because there is no pizza?

If you are going to Rome, go to Trattoria Der Pallaro. You will not be disappointed.

buy the ticket

You know when you read a book and it creates a dream or an adventure in your mind but you never really believe its going to happen?

And then the book turns into a movie and you see Julia Roberts twirl some pasta around her fork and she enjoys every last bite of food with no guilt whatsoever?

Okay okay I know it’s a movie, but seriously. Ever since I read the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert I’ve had a dream of making it to Italy. A slightly different path than her, and far less Italian in my vocabulary. But this is my journey, not hers.

I’m not on this adventure alone, but I am here with two of the people that get me the most. One who was by my side through one of the worst times of my life and one who scooped me up and became my best friend post that dark era.

We’ve been here for two days, 18 miles of walking, 2 pizzas (one all to myself), 5 pastas and countless glasses of red wine, white wine, Prosecco and espresso.

Venice is really as breathtaking as they say. Every direction you look is a postcard or a scene from a movie. It’s unbelievable.

This trip was set with zero expectations except to take a much needed “holiday” and do it in a place that teaches new culture, new adventure, new life. When you step outside your comfort zone of America and get lost in a place it can be the most magical and refreshing reset.

I always remember the line from Eat Pray Love when Luca Spaghetti is telling Liz that Americans don’t know how to relax and enjoy life. Only two days here and I can agree. We believe we have to earn that time, but we burn ourselves out to get there. Hence why this reset is so needed, I don’t want to burn out because I have found something in life that gives me life and gives me adventure and yes, I get to do it as my job! 🧡

So here we are, waking up in Venice, ready to depart for our next adventure. We hear the food in Bologna is a must and then off to Cinque Terre. This is our adventure and dang, it’s off to a great and beautiful start.

i should be sleeping

My alarm is set for 3:45am, which means I should be in bed. But I am sitting here thinking about life and the amazing opportunities I have had over the last couple years.
 
The past year alone I have made a connection with so many new people, but I’ve also reconnected with people that continue to make a huge impact in my life.
 
May 2017 I made one of the scariest decisions and left my full time stable job for adventure in dreamland. I was very lucky that I was living with my friends James & Sasha who so graciously allowed me to be a basement dweller for far longer than I expected. It allowed me to clean up some debt, travel to Bali for a month, and to figure out how to survive by just coaching. I say ‘just’ coaching and it makes me smirk, because every day I get presented with an opportunity to hopefully change someones life. 
It’s funny because I get told often about the impact I am making for people, but for me I feel like the one who is being impacted so very greatly by all of you. Sometimes it is hard to believe this is my job. There are ups and downs like any other job, but at the end of the day I get to teach people to get rid of self doubt, stop focusing on their flaws, get stronger, get faster and see the kick ass person they are.
After a day that felt like a full moon hit I am sitting here reminded that life is freaking awesome and we can choose to feel crappy when shit hits the fan, OR we can choose to grow from it and become stronger.

I am choosing growth today – and DANG I’m excited for February, because it puts me one step closer to my super scary BIG HAIRY AUDACIOUS GOAL I’ve set for 2019. Stay Tuned.

The F*cket list

Oh yea, we all know about The Bucket List, and heck we all probably have one. A few weeks ago I was inspired to create a different kind of list.  I listened to Steph Gaudreau’s Podcast, Harder to Kill podcast (I listen weekly, you should too )  Her Fierce Love Friday Episode was about the “The Fucket list” .  It’s the anti-bucket list. Giving fewer F***’s about the crap that doesn’t matter. You know, the stuff that holds you back. We ALL have these things.

I’ve thought about this A LOT since I’ve listened. I’ve even listened again just to  continue the inspiration. I started the book that’s been sitting on my “to read pile” too. “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) by Mark Manson.  It’s all made me realize 2019 is going to be my year to let go and just move forward.

So here it goes – My “F*cket List” (or at least some of them) :

  1. Letting negative energy people bring me down.  Their bad energy is NOT mine and it was probably built up of a lifetime of crappy people poo pooing on them. My goal for the year is to just shine a little bit of brightness their way and maybe just maybe their energy will turn – or at least it won’t effect mine. Mark Manson actually talks about this in his book (mentioned above) saying that some people have nothing better to do than complain – they are bored otherwise because they aren’t putting anything more productive in their life. So to these people, BYE!
  2. Fear that people don’t care what I have to say. This has long been a fear of mine. It was instilled on me in a relationship I was in and has continued to haunt me for over 12 years. I truly believe it’s what has held me back from being a better, more committed blogger and it’s held me back from starting a podcast (p.s. this is one of my BIG goals for 2019). What I’ve realized though is that some people DO care, and some people DON’T care. You will ALWAYS have that no matter what, so I’m gonna say F it in 2019, be vulnerable and write.
  3. You ever feel down if someone doesn’t like you? Me too. I see this most in the never ending and somewhat depressing world of dating in your 30’s. Ughhh. It’s awful and really I truly want to say F it. If you don’t like me, no biggie, you aren’t my person and there is probably a reason we shouldn’t be in each others life. I mean this both in a relationship and friendship way. I’ve learned it’s okay to let go of some people and it’s made my life SO MUCH BETTER.  But heck, I’ve sure learned a lot from these stepping stones, and I’m continuing to learn. On my way home from Church today I was reflecting on the message “Imperfect Together” and the focus on developed intimacy. I realized I need create a more intimate relationship with the kick ass humans that already exist in my life and truly connect with the strangers I come across as I understand there is a deeper purpose to all these connections and it’s not just the “likes” on social media. That crap is leaving us in isolation. We need more.
  4. There is much more on my list, but the final one I want to share is this. I want to share and let go of one thing that has brought me down for much of my life. The relationship with, or lack there of, with my dad.  I have tears streaming down my face just writing it now, because yea it hurts, but I need to send it out and let it go.  I have constantly struggled with not feeling good enough when it comes to the relationship I’ve experienced with him. I know he loves me the way he knows best, but quite frankly he’s never been there for me and it has hurt me. I know he is a great father to the half and step siblings I have and a I’m sure a great husband to my step mom. But for me, I’ve just been lost or pushed to the side. I’ve tried to build something, but it feels one way so I just stopped. I keep saying I want to hold on because of my Grandma who is still living, but I’ve come to learn I can have a really solid relationship with her, without him. So here it is, in 2019 I am LETTING GO. I am moving on and I am embracing the loving, inspiring and most importantly involved family and friends I do have in my life.  If that’s you, THANK YOU. You’ve given me a reason to feel wanted, to feel loved and most importantly that there is not a thing wrong with me.

 

I hope if you have things to let go of that you too will write out a “F*cket list”. If it’s anything like mine you will feel lighter and ready to kick ass and be a better version of yourself in 2019!

 

 

i don’t diet

For months I’ve been wanting to sit down and write about nutrition. BUT I’m not an expert and I don’t feel like I have ground to talk about it so I have pushed it off.

What I do know is diets don’t work for me. SO, I don’t diet.

I’ve tried. I’ve failed. Sure I saw progress at first, but it wasn’t sustainable.

About 2 years ago I did the Whole 30. Strict. No sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol for 30 days. AND. I. SURVIVED. I did more than survive, I THRIVED.

What I learned is I don’t need to eat only Whole 30 approved meals/food to feel great and live, but what I did learn is my body is fueled by real food and I don’t need all the extra sugar and crap that is tossed into our American “diet”.

Most importantly I learned what works for me. I have learned balance. For most of us if we tell ourselves “no” to something we tend to fail quicker (at least I do). But if we focus on the “yes” we get to grow and change and become better versions of ourselves.

My best advice, find what works for you. Your body IS different than your friends, it’s different than mine and heck it might need to take a different route than what has worked for you in the past even. So make good choices for you. Workout, Fuel yourself well. Don’t deprive yourself. Don’t Diet, Just live.

 

 

Where will the wind take you?

Two years ago my dear friend told me “You’re like the seed of a dandelion, stuck to the flower because it’s all you know. Let go and see where the wind takes you.”

So I did. I let go. I let go of relationships, I let go of dating. I decided to date myself and I decided to take leaps in life that were very scary and very unknown. But here I am reflecting and realizing she was more than right. Her words have changed my entire life.

I did all the things I was supposed to do growing up, high school sweetheart, college, work. Went the way of the corporate world. Sat at a desk for way too long and finally because of several friends, a lot of journaling and praying I found a place to go and to be me.  A place I could be weird  yet focused and driven. A place where I could help people see the magic inside them. There is really no secret to the success I’ve been seeing both in my work and in my personal life other than that I am focused on what I do best and what I am meant to do.
One thing I’ve learned is we all have a purpose in life. I’ve let go of the things I am bad at and I admit when something isn’t my strength. I say I don’t know when I don’t know and I stick to my words when I truly believe in something. I’ve become vulnerable, open and more confident in everyday life.

My point is, if you are NOT happy, DO SOMETHING to change that. People talk a lot of negative talk and say a lot they are going to do. But things don’t ever change until you decide to actually make the change. Today, grab a notebook, grab a pen and start writing down the things you want in your life. Start writing, start believing and let the wind take you.

 

Dave.

I don’t talk about him much. But when you lose a life too soon, well you start you evaluate your own life and why life’s tend to go too soon.

Dave was an amazing human that I got to know too late in his life. Too late in his life because he was taken too soon.

Its been 5 years and since then I’ve grown a lot. I’ve grown and I’ve spread happiness because that is what he did. I replay our moments together over and over and it’s not something anyone else could understand, because only a few knew “us”. I know he was in my life for a purpose and for that I am grateful. Cheers to Dave, because I know these tears I cry today aren’t sad, but they are tears of happiness because I was lucky enough to know you.

mindset.

It’s all perception and how you choose to take on the world. I don’t have everything, yet my life is full, and I’m in a happy place in life. But life isn’t perfect.

I walked into Church today after much debate of why I should crawl out of bed. I can’t tell you the last time I slept in and last night I found myself awake until 2am – extra sleep was tempting. February has felt like a marathon, it’s been non-stop, but it’s kept my heart in such a full and happy place, so I pulled myself out of bed because I knew I needed to hear the message today to keep me here.

If heaven came to earth….

The message itself was great, whether you believe in God or not. “Love each other as you love yourself” (just like you expect in heaven). I go through many of my days full of love and I try my best to treat others exactly how I like to be treated, even though some days it’s very hard. What I often remind myself is everyone is fighting some sort of battle, everyone has their own stuff going on which means we all need to have a little bit more compassion and change our mindset’s to not be rude, or not only focus on ourselves. Build people up, rather then push them down.

This week, change your mindset, change your life, change someone else’s life. What do you have to lose?

 

this life.

You know when you log on to Instagram or Facebook and you see all of these people’s lives and their amazing adventures, their families, their successes, their heartbreaks, their rants and of course their opinions? Does it ever make you wonder, what is this life?

Bali has made me dive deep into my own life and look into what I share and what I represent myself to be on social media. People constantly tell me they live vicariously through me, which yea, it’s flattering but it stirred up a lot of questions. Am I representing myself the way I want to be seen? Or am I hiding behind something?

In Bali I re-discovered a lot about myself. I went there to dive deeper within, and I did.

My self study on the trip stirred up a lot of deep and dark emotions of my past that I was sure were healed and far behind me. I dug into current wounds that feel like they are ripped open daily. I have struggled with family relationships for a long time and I have tried to stay above and apart from what tries to tear me down constantly – but the best way to heal is to tear off the band-aid, no matter how much it hurts – so I did it and I’m healing.

Everyday I choose to seek refuge from what I can’t control within these relationships by living a positive and uplifting life and I surround myself by choice with people that help me grow and push me in the directions of my dreams. Do you ever look at who you surround yourself with and realize there are a lot of people that tear you down more than they build you up?

I have let relationships like this and the wounds of my divorce and the struggles that followed that time in my life hold me back from truly pursuing my dreams. I have let fear of failure and fear of being successful and proving them wrong hold me back. I have been taken advantage of most of my life and I have let people allow me to fill myself with self doubt because of how they treated me or how they talked to me. For a long time I have not believed in myself.

Years ago after I got out of a relationship I was told I should try dating myself for a while. It was the best advice I have ever been given. In my relationship with myself I have been discovering my worth, I am believing in who I am – and my trip to Bali helped me to discover even more in this sacred relationship. I am believing I am someone that is worth being successful, I am someone that is worth pursuing my dreams and I am someone that is meant to cheer on others and let them see we are all in this life together.

I believe God has big plans for me and I’m realizing that the path I am on has gone exactly the way he has planned it – I wasn’t supposed to marry who I married and I wasn’t supposed to have a family then – I was supposed to discover, experience and live this life of building up others and motivating people to be their best selves first.

Yesterday I went to church and I connected so much with the message because it hit all the area’s of my life I have recently been questioning now that I know myself more, I know who I am. The biggest takeaway from the message was, “Why settle? Would you choose a hot dog over a filet mignon? Don’t marry a wiener.” Jason Strand (watch the message here)- Yea, that was said in church, but really – why would I settle when it isn’t right. God hasn’t been ready for me to settle. So here I am, surrendering, digesting and taking in this life. Living it day my day exactly the way He is showing me I should live it.

This life.

My life.

“While you dream your dreams, He’s busy building your destiny. And there is as much beauty in your destiny as there was in your dream. Let go and believe that whatever it is, it will be beautiful.” –Carry on, Warrior, Glennon Doyle Melton

 

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breathe.

Driving into Ubud yesterday I found I often had to remind myself to breathe. The driving is something I’ve never experienced. Scooters flying around on both sides. Constant games of chicken with oncoming traffic, luckily it ends safely (at least it has so far). Everyone seems at ease. There doesn’t seem to be road rage here, or at least I haven’t experienced it. It’s just an understanding, I’m faster than you so I’m gonna go around you and when I flash my lights or put on my blinker or calmly honk my horn I’m just preparing you for my move.

It’s almost like a dance. The cars and scooters are just gliding down the highway, weaving in and out, speeding up, slowing down, taking a moment to breathe rather than moving forward with rage, they are grateful they are moving. It took us just under 2 hours to arrive in Ubud and I found as we got closer I had started to breathe again, I was at ease, taking it all in. Breathing in a new culture, a new perspective.

It’s amazing how different their highways, markets and housing is from the United States. I had a similar eye opening experience 3 years ago when I spent a month in South Africa and Malawi. One thing I noticed that aligns both places is people are happy, people are content and people here are breathing. They are soaking in every experience, every interaction and they want to make sure your time here is memorable. Every single person working at this resort knows my name. Not only mine, but every single person I am here learning with. Incredible.

What has made me sad though is the volcano activity has driven much of the tourism out of Bali. A lot of people that live here and that work at this resort have been evacuated from their homes and they are living with other family. They don’t complain about it, they don’t want your sympathy, they are just grateful that they are safe. We are the only people (minus one other couple) at this resort due to the warnings, warnings that aren’t even affecting our area, but warnings that are affecting the wealth of this resort, the wealth of this island. They could be angry, they could be rude to us, but every single person I’ve encountered shows pure gratitude. It has me thinking about the interactions in America, how could we be more like the Balinese, how could we be more grateful?

Breathe it all in and think of what you can be more grateful for, even if it’s just for that moment that you stop and just breathe.