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How to Effectively Surrender your Emotions!

Canyon captained the orange raft as we paddled the Snake – it’s hard to admit he’s a MAN now!

“When we are in fear and pain, anger and hate are our go-to emotions”

~ Brene brown

It was about 5 years ago that I went through a similar experience to what I am going through right now. As you probably all know by now I have 4 boys, and it was 5 years ago that my eldest, Dalton, left to serve a 2 year mission for our church. What I found was that as the time approached I became frustrated, could cry if someone looked at me wrong, and I was very angry. I see an “energy” guy and he told me that because I was essentially fighting the emotions of sadness, which at times can feel like a death…and I was making the whole experience painful and frustrating!

Canyon’s Graduation picture

As I navigate what I am currently going through, which is the upcoming departure for 2 years of my second son, Canyon, I have found myself in the same boat. After not knowing how to handle my emotions with Dalton, and actually getting angry at myself for feeling what I considered “weak” feelings at the time, I decided that this time I needed to figure out a better way to handle it. I am still feeling all the same things, but what I have started to do is first ask for help and guidance from my God and I have also learned to recognize when these feelings of frustration and anger hit me and I choose to ride the wave instead of being angry about it!

So…here’s the hardest part of the whole process: How do you know and be conscious of those feelings and emotions that are happening to you? It can be really tricky to catch yourself amidst these emotions and do an about face…but it can be done! Here’s how I have found works for me…

  1. The most important thing for me is to recognize the old patterns that I have – or the old MO that I have and notice when that reaction shows up. As I mentioned, my initial reaction has often been to become aggressive, frustrated and mean – because it allows me to hide the feeling I had once considered a weakness. Now, when I notice these feelings show up (because they still do), I ask myself…what else is going on with me right now? Essentially I identify the root cause of the feeling rather than just accepting it!
  2. I make a choice to have a different reaction – I let myself know that it’s OK to feel vulnerable and it’s OK to feel sad. In fact, those feelings are what is making me stronger for the next time I have something show up…
  3. Once I have made the choice to have a different reaction, I make a note about how well that alternative response has worked! If it works really well and my anxiety or heightened frustration is less, then I give it a name. Yes, that’s right…I call it something that makes me have a good feeling – I call it my happy response or something like that – so that next time when I need a different response or feeling I know how to call upon that feeling.

I promise you, it may sound hokey, but it really has been working for me. I am still super sad about Canyon leaving, I could still cry at the drop of a hat, but I don’t allow anger, frustration or stress about it to take over me! I welcome the feeling because I know what it means – that I love my son so much it hurts. That I want to honor him in a way that doesn’t involve stress and I want to enjoy every last minute that I have with him.

I would love to hear if you try some of my steps above and if they work for you…comment below!

Do you know who you are?

“Knowing others is wisdom. Knowing yourself is enlightenment!”

The older I get the more I realize that I didn’t really know myself when I was younger. I was pretty much just flying by the seat of my pants and not really thinking about it…but that’s not true anymore. I definitely focus on thoughtfulness, and paying attention to me and how I am feeling. What I have found is that the more I pay attention to me, the more I am able to not just react to situations but I am able to recognize triggers that show up for me and adjust accordingly (of course, I definitely still get it wrong sometimes).

You may be asking how it’s possible to be more thoughtful and notice things as they come up…so I’m going to let you know what I do and it works for me.

  1. I practice being present – really present wherever I am. In the past I was guilty about thinking about what was coming next, what I had to look forward to and almost wishing away my time. I have noticed that when I don’t do that, when I enjoy right where I am, I notice things more. I notice feelings that come up for me…I notice patterns and I remember them for future times when the same things show up (because they will).
  2. I don’t become so attached to my ideas that I forget about other people. I think in childhood because of our experiences we find that if we are wrong about something, if we screw up or if someone knows more than us then there is some part of us that is not right. It’s a very simple black and white concept, but not easy to spot if we are in a more reactive space like I know I have been in my life. Now I feel like even if I feel that I have to defend myself, I usually catch myself at some point (sometimes it’s right after I do it) and I allow myself to get it wrong and not beat myself up!
  3. I pay special attention to how I eat, to what I put in and on my body. I want to be around for a long time, so I pay attention to how certain foods affect me and make me feel. When I find something that makes me feel not great, I avoid it in future. I pay attention to my health and practice using as many preventative healthy ways of taking care of myself to avoid any illness or injury as much as is possible for any person to control.
  4. Just as I take my relationships with family and friends very seriously, I do the same for myself. I recognize when I need something – sometimes I need solitude so I find a way to take care of that. Sometimes I crave interaction with others, sometimes it’s as simple as needing more sleep, but whatever it is…I make sure I am taking care of me so I can be the best possible for other people.
  5. I feed off the energy of good, positive people, so I surround myself only with people that lift me up. I have worked in places in the past that did not have the best environment and now I am no longer in that space, I realize how vital it is to be careful who and what you surround yourself with.
  6. Breathing – I’m not just talking about the unconscious act that we do all day every day. I’m talking about deep, thoughtful breathing that allows you to exhale away stresses and negativity. I started doing this when I was younger and didn’t really realize what I was doing. Now I know that it has served me so well because I am paying more attention to my body and myself that I notice I visibly relax and feel less stressed when I practice my breathing. I even teach my kids to do the same and my youngest swears by this to help him relieve his stress and anxiety.

Having a relationship with yourself, and really knowing who you are is truly the only way to live. As I reflect on all of my life and realize that a lot of it was spent in reaction mode, it makes me even more determined to focus on being present and knowing what I need and how to give it to myself.

Do you have some ways that you make sure you are taking of YOU? Comment below – I would love to hear!

Why the Act of Giving is VITAL

“You have two hands – one to help yourself, the second to help others”

There are so many holidays here in the U.S. and for most of those holidays we find ourselves in stores that are promoting gifts and as my kids walk around stores, they ask for things that they see, they add things to their Christmas list and the focus is so much more on what they want to receive. So it hit me that we are teaching our younger generations more about receiving than we are about the act of giving…

I started to think about I can change that for my boys, starting with myself. Starting by paying attention and giving things that I need to myself. Are you anything like me in that you focus on taking care of everyone else, making sure everyone else’s needs are met, and then you finally think about what you might need? It’s easy to do, but it’s also the worst thing we can do for ourselves because we are not practicing giving to ourselves!

Shop my outfit by clicking the links below

The older I get the more I realize that there are certain things I need to do for myself in order for me to be able to be there for anyone else. In effect, I am no good to anyone, if I am running on fumes myself.

Here are a few things that I do for myself to make sure that I am practicing giving to myself – and the best part, I get to decide what those things I need are and whether I actually do it.

  1. Exercise – it may sound cliche but I can tell you with 100% certainty that when I skip a day of exercising I am no good to anyone. It doesn’t have to be anything super strenuous, but I like to spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day exercising either doing some kind of cardio (biking, elliptical, walking, running or swimming), and then also a few squats, lunges, sit-ups and curls.
  2. Take a bath – another thing that everyone in my house knows has to happen every night before bed so I am a happier camper. I take in my iPad and watch my latest TV show episode or sometimes a live sporting event.
  3. Coffee or lunch with a friend – I am always revitalized when I spend time with those I care about. Talking and catching up with a friend is one of the most grounding things that I do for myself, especially if I get the chance to serve or give to them too.
  4. Get a pedicure – I had to mention this one because I actually have one scheduled for today and I am meeting a friend…so it’s like combining number 3 and 4!
  5. Go bargain shopping – whenever I am feeling a little down or need a boost of energy, I take myself to a store like Nordstrom Rack or TJ Maxx and just browse for deals. When I have nothing in mind that I want, there is no expectation of buying something for an event, the bargain hunting can become fun.

So, as I start on this quest of giving to myself, and therefore having the energy to give to others, I know that this is where the lessons will be learned by my kids. It is after all, what we see other do that leaves the greatest impact on our lives. I know that if I want my kids to appreciate the act of giving to others and themselves, that I have to make sure that I am showing them how it is done.

A little food for thought to start off this Monday…

Don’t be Afraid to be Different

Always remember that you are absolutely Unique – just like everyone else!

Do you fit the mold?
Do you identify as “normal”?

I don’t know what it is about the word NORMAL that just gets me going…

I know there were times in my life that I was laughed at for being different, for not being afraid to dress a little differently, for having strong convictions, and most importantly for not being afraid to stand up for myself.

As I get older I realize that I care less and less about what other people think, but care more about what I think about myself. In fact, that is one of the reasons I decided to start my blog. I wanted to share my belief that being unique is absolutely vital in this world, and it’s the only way that change will ever be made!

It’s not that I necessarily look for ways to stand out every day, but more about me making a decision to be ME every day regardless of what anyone else thinks. Now that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to try new and different things, embrace new styles or look for opportunities to put my stamp on something…it just means that I am doing it because it makes ME feel good and everything else is just gravy!

Take this outfit for example, nothing really groundbreaking…I added a little sass to a plain black outfit by wearing wonderful red booties and a scarf. Now, a scarf is nothing groundbreaking, except that I decided to wear it a little different. I wrote a blog post about a month ago about how wearing accessories doesn’t have to be just the traditional way – that you can also look for other ways to adapt the style to fit YOUR personality. I don’t wear scarves often and I think the reason I haven’t is because I find them a little too mainstream. Not that I don’t love them, but more that I haven’t really loved them on ME!

I will say that I did feel a little sassy wearing the scarf this way (not that the boots hurt either), but it made me feel like I was putting my own stamp onto the look and that always makes me smile!

Shop my looks by clicking any of the pictures below…

The scarf is linked on my Instagram story – or just click here to check it out…

Stand Out – Your Own Way!

“The final forming of a person’s character lies in their hands!”

Style comes from inspiration, experiences, and emotions. And this is what you need to understand and create your own style; it’s important to tap into YOU so it’s an honest and true reflection of yourself. Now you may think that this sounds a lot easier said than done, but it’s just about feeling. Even the simple things like waking up really happy – you may want to add a little sunshine by wearing something yellow, because it’s bright and just like how you’re feeling. Make sense?

Here are some more examples…

A statement by accessorizing

Accessories are so much fun because you can mix and match them, stack them, tie them – and the list goes on. The more creative you are, the more freedom you will have to do whatever you like. For example, if there’s a chiffon scarf that you saw in the store and just had to buy it because it was pretty, you may not have actually thought of how you’re going to wear it. Well, why not turn in into a head tie one day, and a bracelet or wrist wrap the next? Or let’s say you’re feeling very sassy or funky – choose a pair of statement earrings to accentuate that feeling and make you look twice when you see yourself in the mirror. There is nothing better than seeing yourself in the mirror and REALLY appreciating what you see!

Pick the shoes

Shoes, shoes and more shoes. You really can never have enough (I know I can sound like a broken record, but it’s the truth). I love wearing a different pair of shoes each day, and they have to flow with my ever changing emotions too. If one day you’re in a ‘bring it on world’ kind of mood (it happens to all of us) a pair of pointed toe booties for that vibe would be perfect. If you’re feeling a little more feminine, you could try a pair of strappy sandals or pretty colored stilettos.

Another tip to use is to match your whole look – including your hair to the shoe. More casual shoes or boots mean that you can get away with a messy ponytail or bun, whereas a business vibe like the stilettos you would want to wear your hair in a more sleek and smooth style.

The confidence

Confidence is something that comes from inside, from how you feel about yourself, so it’s not something you can just choose to wear. However, you can choose to work on your confidence every day, so that when you walk out your door, you can hold your head high knowing that YOU feel amazing about who you are, and knowing that the rest of the world will follow suit with how YOU feel!

Love your Life

Be so busy loving your life that you have no time for hate, regret and fear!

OK – so we all know consciously that we only have one life to live and that we need to make the most of it…but I sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what is NOT great, what’s wrong and the fact that our life may not be looking exactly like our expectation of how it should look.

When you were little did you have an idea of what your life was going to look like? Did you imagine yourself with 2.5 children, the perfect spouse, and a lovely well kept home? I know that I had an idea, or even an expectation, of what my life should look like. I wanted the marriage, the children, the unconditional love, the career, basically the fairytale…but I found out very early on that my life wasn’t going to take that path. I started out WITHOUT a fairytale relationship, became a single mum, moved from England by myself to the U.S. to create a life for myself and Dalton, my son. There were times when I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to pay the bills, I juggled paying the utilities, electricity and gas bills and had one or other of them disconnected at least once. It was a challenge, but I was up for that challenge!

I was so attached to the idea of having that perfect life that at times I felt like a failure. I felt like I wasn’t enough. I felt like my life sucked! Then something happened to make me see things differently. I had some friends that made me start to believe in myself again. Through talking me through what I DID have and make me start appreciating it again, I was able to start believing that I could have the life I wanted. It started with me being more than OK with where I was at that time, in fact, I started to feel that even if I never met anyone and spent the rest of my life with just Dalton – then that was enough for me!

Things didn’t start out ideal or PERFECT, but after a few years, I met Brandon and everything really changed. After a few more kids, we created the family that both Dalton and I had always wanted (although I’m pretty sure Dalton always wanted a sister, but I gave him 3 brothers instead 😉 ) .

Our family life has not always been a bed of roses, but it’s still amazing. Through the personal growth and development business that Brandon started we both grew stronger, happier and more fulfilled…but not without consistent effort, and that’s what I want to talk about today…

Being happy and loving your life when everything is going well is easy to do. It’s finding joy, fulfillment and happiness through the hard times – because there will always be hard times.

So how do you feel happy and fulfilled when all the cards seem to be stacked against you?

I found that the first step was to believe that I deserved to be happy no matter what. I embraced that mindset and a funny thing happened – I actually BECAME happy. My focus was on gratitude for what I DID have instead of what I DID NOT have! It may seem a little hard to believe but I am 100% certain that by appreciating how amazing my life was, focusing on my love for Dalton, my love for myself and my love for being in the U.S…that’s what allowed me to open the door for even greater things.

Are you in a place where you feel down or you’re not finding joy in your life? Does it seem like life is against you?

Life can be a dark place if we focus on dark thoughts, but it can also bring an amazing light into our lives when we focus on beautiful things, on appreciating what we have, what we’re grateful for and feel fulfilled knowing that we ARE ENOUGH.

I just wanted to share a little about what brought me here and why I will always focus on gratitude…

If you’re looking to improve any area of your life, I know with 100% certainty that whatever you focus on you get more of…so why not focus on all that is positive, good and amazing about yourself and this life?

My T shirt is here and my jeans are here…both from Nordstrom (shoes are from my closet).
Even better news – shop the Nordstrom Spring Sale for up to 50% off brands that I love like TOPSHOP, MADEWELL and BRASS PLUM right here!

Professionally Styled

If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission!

Have you ever struggled with what to wear for work, an interview or for a professional meeting? I am not sure if it is because I am from England or just because I like to play dress up but I have always loved putting together outfits that are more dressy and polished looking…

To me, when I dress up, it is letting my audience (who I am meeting with) know that I am taking them seriously and that I care enough about making a good impression to dress up! Sometimes knowing when it is the right time to dress professionally can be the difference between getting the job at an interview, closing the sale, or making the impression you want so that you can make a long term connection. I have heard a lot of people tell me that people shouldn’t judge us by what they see, but rather by what they hear or learn from us. The problem with that is that we have ABSOLUTELY no control over what others think, and whether they should or not, they are likely going to form an opinion of us whether we like it or not. But here’s the thing…we can have a lot to do with what that opinion is by dressing appropriately for our audience (or more simply, dressing in a way that is going to make the best impression on the person we will be interacting with at any time).

I know that when I meet someone I pay attention to pretty much every detail – good or bad. I notice shoes, accessories, styles, colors, cuts of clothes, how things fit, and I most definitely notice the confidence of the person I am meeting with. If I meet someone that has their own unique or even quirky style, their confidence level is going to be what I notice the most because to be different, unique or quirky a certain level of confidence is required…and it’s this that sets them apart!

Having confidence in yourself and how you are presenting yourself is vital to this whole dressing the part thing! I actually think it is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING because even if I don’t like I style for myself, I can truly appreciate someone else’s style especially when I know that it makes them feel amazing. It tells me that they are not afraid to take risks and they are comfortable in their own skin.

Professional or business style doesn’t have to be boring, in fact, it can have an even greater impact if it is more non-traditional and a little bit unique. For women we have the opportunity to create a lot of different looks – and that’s what makes our style so much more fun…

Take this tweed dress – it’s professional, but unique. Paired with some sparkly tights and boots, a fun, unique take on business style.

You can shop my look and similar by clicking the links below…

What Makes you Feel Feminine

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid!

No two people are exactly the same, we all like different things, we all enjoy spending time doing different things and different things make us feel good about ourselves.

In a world where as women we have long been known as the weaker sex, softer, less aggressive, more of a nurturer, etc., it doesn’t mean that we have to give up ourselves in order to look and feel feminine. I will admit that for the longest time I considered femininity to be a weakness, but what I have realized is that it is actually a power. Femininity is a tricky thing because it’s not something that you can just go after aggressively because that essentially kills the whole feminine vibe, it is something that you have to gently, softly and cautiously attract to yourself…so how do you do that?

I think that because we are all so different, there are different things that make us feel feminine, but there is also a good chance that how one person feels feminine may also carry a lot of weight with another person. Here are a few things that I use, what I call on when I want to feel feminine:

  1. First things first, I don’t allow myself to think of femininity as a negative thing. I call it my superpower and I allow myself to take on it’s persona.
  2. I am a very type A personality, I am driven and I am a boss lady, but when I want to feel feminine I don’t allow those of my traits to take over. I allow myself to feel vulnerable and let my empathy take over.
  3. Wearing certain clothes can definitely affect how I feel and there are certain things that make me feel more feminine than others. Such as, lace, velvet, floral patterns, and soft lines in the design of a piece. Take the blouse I am wearing in this post – it flows, it’s soft and it gives the impression of gentleness.
  4. There are certain hairstyles that scream femininity. I always feel feminine when I pull my hair back in a chignon, soft curls and waves can have the same effect.
  5. The most important thing that I remember when I want to feel feminine and not “scare” people by being a boss lady is that I don’t have to be right all the time. It is especially hard when I know that I know something and I want to tell people that what I know is right, or I want to correct people, or just push my opinion…I know that if I do any of those things, it will have the exact opposite effect!

Feeling and looking feminine isn’t just about what you wear, it’s so much more. When I see models in magazines and they look really feminine and soft, I often wonder if that is what they are really like. Femininity is about letting your inner sensitive self come out (unless of course you are just planning on taking a picture and not interacting with anyone all day). I have found that the best connections I have made in my life are those that are based not on me being pushy or bold, but more about me being gentle, listening and being there for someone else. It doesn’t mean that you can’t create amazing connections if you are strong or bold, it just means that you might turn people off that are not quite as strong as you if you don’t approach them in a more gentle way first.

I am a strong woman, I love being strong, I love challenges and I love taking on things that scare me, and one of the biggest challenges I have had in my life is to know when to be gently strong. I honestly didn’t think it was a real thing, but what I am finding is that in my strength I have found a whole new level of strength that comes from being empathetic and loving.

Of course it also doesn’t hurt to look feminine, because I’m not going to lie, Brandon does appreciate it the most when I am sensitive and vulnerable. In fact he has told me that he feels the closest connection to me when I am gentle – way more than when I am working on my sexy vibe. Crazy to think that he might not be looking for what society has taught us that men like the most. He wants me to be real, relatable, vulnerable, sensitive and loving – and if that’s what creates the best connection between us, then that is what I want to nurture more than anything!

Growth from Change

Change is inevitable, growth is optional!

As I sit and contemplate all the things that have happened to me since I left my job back in October, there is one thing I can tell you that I have learned…very often we can’t control the change that happens to us, but we can definitely control the impact it has on our lives and whether or not we grow because of it! I made the choice to change my career path, it was definitely a scary thing for me because I had been doing the same thing for almost 20 years.

I knew that it was the right time for me to change, because I was too comfortable and needed to create some growth in my life by helping others…and that is exactly what I have been doing and it’s only going to get better. Making the choice to change and step outside of our comfort zones is not an easy one, and we will find ourselves second guessing our decision, doubting our abilities and even deciding not to do it, but it’s at those moments, the times when we feel overwhelmed that we know it’s exactly what we DO need to do!

Have you ever had an experience in your life where you faced an immense amount of opposition but you did it anyway? What was your experience? Did you regret your decision? More often than not, if we do work ourselves through the fear, when we reach the other side we find that it was the best thing we have ever done. If you were to sit and think about two or three of the most amazing experiences in your life what would they be? Would it be the birth of a child? Skydiving? Getting married? Swimming with sharks? Really think about it…

 The most amazing experiences in my life are the births of my children, marrying Brandon, having the guts to move to the US from England as a single Mum and creating a successful career. Do you know what all of these things have in common? They all required me to face a fear at some point and push my way through. The birth of children is one of the most scary yet amazing experiences anyone could ever have – and we don’t allow the fear of what might be or what could happen stop us from doing it…so why do we allow fears of other circumstances allow us to talk ourselves out of change and getting outside of our comfort zones?

Here’s another thing about change – sometimes we don’t get to choose whether it happens or not, but we do get to choose whether we learn and grow from it. We are going to face challenges, face things that we don’t always want to face, but how we face those things is entirely up to us. We can either do it with frustration because we didn’t want it to happen, or we can embrace it and learn as much as possible. Some of the hardest experiences in my life have actually turned out to be the things that I have learned the most from. Having Dalton and being a single mum for 5 years before I met Brandon was a challenge to say the least, but I can honestly say that had I not gone through that I wouldn’t be the Woman I am today.

I would not change one thing about it, I love Dalton, I love my relationship with him and I love the life we were able to create for ourselves before Brandon came along. It was such an empowering time in my life because it taught me that if I really want something I am not afraid to put in the work to make it happen!

I Believe in Superheroes

Weakness is a Superpower in Disguise!

I have always loved the superhero movies – maybe because I grew up in a home with only brothers and now I only have sons. Nevertheless, when a new movie comes out I am the first to want to be there, and I absolutely love them!

With all of that being said, I do believe that the world actually has REAL superheroes. I don’t believe in them in the same way that Superman can fly or Aquaman (oh boy! Aquaman…) can actually survive underwater, but more in the sense that we all have our own super powers should we choose to use them.

Shop my look by clicking the links at the bottom of this post…

Our family went to watch “Glass” earlier this week, and for those of you that have seen that or seen “Unbreakable” or “Split” you may get where I am going with this. I don’t want to be the one to ruin this movie for you just in case you haven’t seen it, but just know that in the movie things you would not expect to be superpowers or strengths actually are what make the characters super-human. I really enjoyed the movie and would definitely recommend it. Unbreakable was the prequel to this movie and released in 2000. In that movie Bruce Willis’s character was the sole survivor of a train wreck and it was at that point after he had experienced such trauma that he realized what his superpower was.

After I watched it I started contemplating how if in the movie (and yes, I do know that it was not based on fact), if it was possible to have strengths or superpowers, then why not in real life? I have always believed that our talents or strengths are actually our superpowers. We are not all good at the same things, and that is what makes us stronger and more unique.

The quote I posted at the top of this blog is one that really resonated with me, because if we consider our weaknesses and how they can stop us from reaching our full potential, how amazing would it be if we converted those weaknesses into our strengths?

So, if we consider our weaknesses and how we can turn them into our strengths, what is the one that you really want to be your superpower? I would love to say that I am going to turn the fact that I am not the fastest runner into me being The Flash, but in the real world, that will never happen. So, I am going to focus on those things I know can make me stronger, more confident, resilient and happy!

For now – I consider my superpowers to be: I believe I can do anything if I put my mind to it, confidence, empathy, and inner strength. What are yours?