Friendtastic

When was the last time you went out with a group of your girlfriends? If you have to stop and think about it, it’s been way too long.  A new study by a group of researchers from the University of Oxford, recommends that you go out with your girlfriends at least twice a week.

I’ve always been a girls girl. I love my time with my friends and I cherish my friendships. Those relationships are so important to me, I don’t think that I can live happily without them. I love talking to my girlfriends, listening to them and just connecting with them in general. It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and share your life with someone who cares, it’s even better to see them in person. It always leaves me feeling happier.

According to the study, spending two days a week with four of your gal pals will help you recover quicker from illness, strengthen your immune system, and decrease anxiety levels. But, when the group is bigger than 5 people, funny situations that generate the necessary endorphins for happiness and well being are less probable.” says one expert. That’s why it’s recommended to meet in a group of maximum four friends.

Research shows that we women need to maintain our friendships because it increases serotonin and oxytocin. Having these close connections becomes even more important as we age. I know that whenever I go out with my friends, I always feel amazing! And a happier me means that I’m a better mom, better wife, just better overall.

So pick up your phone, call your girlfriends and plan your outing, remember, it’s good for you!

 

Essential Oils

Do you have a child that suffers from constant ear infections? Before it gets really bad try treating it holistically.
.I’ve been using essential oils to keep my family healthy for years. It has made a world of difference in our lives.


Here is what you do for children suffering with ear discomfort….

.INGREDIENTS

  • 1 drop Lavender
  • 1 drop Frankincense
  • 1 drop Tea Tree
  • 1 tablespoon carrier oil
  • Cotton Ball
DIRECTIONS
  1. In a small dish, combine the essential oils with the carrier oil. Saturate the cotton ball with the mixture.
  2. Rub essential oils around the ear and down the neck, them put the cotton ball right on the outside of your ear.
  3. Refresh the cotton ball every 30 minutes until the pain subsides and then every 4 hours for the next two days.

For Babies and Toddlers…

MASSAGE BLEND

  • 20 drops Tea Tree
  • 20 drops Thyme linalol
  • 20 drops Lavender
  • Carrier oil, warmed
  1. Combine tea tree, thyme, and lavender in a small stock bottle.
  2. To use, place a teaspoon of carrier in a small dish and add 4 drops of the blend.
  3. Massage around the ear, on the cheek, and down the neck.
  4. Follow with a warm compress.

For adults…

This blend can help to support a healthy immune response.

  • 10 drops oregano
  • 10 drops clove
  • 10 drops rosemary
  • 10 drops lemon
  • Carrier oil
  1. Place oregano, clove, rosemary and lemon in a 2 ounce stock bottle. Fill with carrier oil.
  2. Shake well to combine.
  3. Place 5 drops on the bottom of the feet ever 30 minutes until pain subsides.

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DISCLAIMER: While I do believe that natural remedies are a sage and effective way to deal with minor ear pain, it’s important that you seek medical attention should your ear ache persist. Use the holistic alternatives when you feel discomfort, if there is no improvement within a day and if the pain is acute, please seek medical attention.
These remedies have worked for my family but should not be taken as medical advice.

Winter Break

East Coast parents are getting ready to have the kids home for their winter break. While, some of us are lucky enough to take a few days away with the kids, others may have to work or just can’t afford to get away.

Here are some fun things I’ve done with my daughter when we have stayed home. It’s not so bad when you live just a few minutes away from New York City.

  • Spend a day or two in New York City, visit a Museum, see a Broadway Show or just go out for a great meal. God knows we have some of the best restaurants in the country. There are also so many amazing Museums in the city, there is so much culture and history. 
  • The Long Island Children’s Museum is such a great place to spend the day with the family. If you want to stay local, there’s a lot to see and do there. I’ve spent an entire day at the Museum with my daughter when she was younger..
  • Take your child to see a show at the John W. Engeman Theatre in Northport.  It’s Long Island’s only year-round professional theater, and you don’t have to pay a fortune to enjoy a great show with some great seats.
  • Take a family hike. it’s gorgeous on the North Shore, and it’s not too cold this year so get out and enjoy it.
  • Plan a special day with the kids. Go out to lunch, maybe it’s a good time to introduce your child to something new on the menu and then go see a movie together.
  • Take a road trip. Go anywhere, as long as you’ve never been there before, or go somewhere you always like to visit. We love going to the Mohonk Mountain House, a beautiful resort in Hudson Valley. We gone there for over twenty years.
  • Discover the neighborhoods nearby. You never know what little gem you are going to stumble upon, I’ve found lots of great places just by exploring.
  • Get out and meet up with a few of your mom friends and their kids. This is a great way for both you and your children to enjoy the day.
  • Give your kids time to do absolutely nothing. Catch up on what you have been postponing to do and just let your kids have a lazy day or two, they need a break.
  • Host a sleepover. it’s always a great time for the kids. All you need is some pizza, a bunch of board games, a karaoke machine and it’s on. Adult supervision is a must.
  • Spend quality time with your kids.  If you are working, try to take a few days off to enjoy your children. Talk to them about how they are feeling, let them ask you questions, listen to them, be present, be mindful.

Regardless of whether or not you are going away or staying home, a week with your children is a treasure. Before you know it they will grow up and we won’t have the privilege of having them with us for an entire week. There is no doubt that raising children is hard work, but it’s the biggest gift that we can ever have. So, enjoy your week together. And don’t forget to check out my new store for something beautiful for your favorite girl.

 /https://ariaandsophia.com/

 

 

Entrepreneur, ugh!

I’m venturing into uncharted territory. I’m about to become an Entrepreneur! This adds nicely to my many other supposed titles, writer, producer, reporter, blogger, wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend.

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We all have so many different titles, but who are we really? Ever think of that? Ever ponder why you are here? What are you meant to do? What is your function in all of this dysfunction? Well, I don’t know, I’m doing the same thing that you are doing, searching. I’m always looking for the meaning of life. I grew up with parents who always told me that life was all about helping others. Family has always been my priority and helping others has also always been the core of my parent’s existence. So yes, I am jumping in to this new title but it does not define who I am. I am a human being who is having many experiences and evolving.

 

Back to my new title, simply defined, an entrepreneur is a person who identifies a need and starts a business to fill that void. But this definition doesn’t really give you insight into what really makes a successful Entrepreneur. Here’s what 20 company founders and business leaders told Business News Daily about what they think makes a truly successful entrepreneur.

  1. To be courageous and sometimes reckless to actually do it, check!
  2. To be constantly hungry,  the idea that you are never satisfied with how things are, check!
  3. To have a mindset, a way of thinking and acting. It is about recognizing an opportunity and capturing its value, check!
  4. To balance vision with a willingness to embrace change, that’s my weak point, but I’m working on it.
  5. To go into uncharted territory and to be able to deal with the roller coaster of emotions that comes with failing, this one is really hard but I’m ready to conquer it.

I can go on and on but here is the shortcut of it, in order to be a successful entrepreneur you have to:

  • make a passion of learning,
  • to have courage and perseverance,
  • to stay optimistic when things fall apart.
  • be people oriented,
  • to see opportunity everywhere,
  • to take calculated risks,
  • to look at the bigger picture,
  • to have the creativity to question, the strength to believe and the courage to move,
  • be wired to be driven by an innate need to create, build and grow,
  • to push the naysayers aside, and turn possibility into a reality,
  • to be able to take the bumps in the road and remain focused

That said, being an entrepreneur means being in full control of your destiny. If that’s something that is meaningful to you then all of the challenges associated with striking out on one’s own are worth it. And, this one is something that’s important to me. You need to be supportive of other women who are venturing out to do what you are doing. As women, we need to be supportive of one another. That’s what I teach my daughter, to be happy when her friends succeed and be supportive.

I’m focusing on my dream, I have many things on the burner, but this one is ready to happen. I have an online children’s store opening on Monday.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for about 10 years, since my little girl was two. Now she is 12, about to turn 13 in three months…better late than never.

My store,  Aria & Sophia is named after my daughter Sophia and my niece Aria, the two girls who own my heart. The desire to open a store that reflects my style has been something that my daughter Sophia has inspired.

Aria & Sophia will launch tomorrow. I would love to know what you think. Feel free to shop for the little one’s in your life,.

Stay tuned….www.ariaandsophia.com debuting on Monday, January 21st.

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YOUR WORDS GIVE LIFE TO YOUR LIFE

“What we speak becomes the house we live in.” ~ Hafiz
“Words are things, I’m convinced. You must be careful about the words you use or the words you allow to be used in your house.” -Maya Angelou

Think about how profound that is, especially if you are a parent. 

Words bring out the best or the worst in us. You can uplift people or tear them down with words. You can empower or disempower both yourself and those you share words with. And that is why it is so important to pay close attention to our words.

Words are seeds that do more than blow around. They land in our hearts and not the ground. Be careful what you plant and careful what you say. You might have to eat what you planted one day.-unkown

We are all human and lose control of ourselves from time to time but for the little humans we are raising, it’s imperative that they hear words that encourage, uplift and even heal. So the next time you have something to say, speak with intention. It all goes back to being mindful.

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.” -Bill Keane

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There are mornings when I wake up and the reality that I have lost both of my parents hits me hard! My heart falls into my stomach, I feel sick and so lost. To be without them always feels like a punch in the gut. It still takes my breathe away. My father is gone a year and four months, my mother passed away almost a year ago. It’s a pain that I would never want for anyone to experience, yet we all will. Some morning  I feel completely paralyzed, unable to accept that they are both gone, until I hear my 12 year-old call out to me. Her voice helps me to  refocus and be grateful for her existence.

It’s not easy to deal with loss, especially when you suffer multiple losses. Regardless of my pain, I put a smile on my face and try to begin my daughter’s day on a positive note. We chat as she gets ready, some mornings we are frantic, trying to get out the door.  After I drop her off at school, I return and often find myself unable to leave the couch.

I try to enjoy and be mindful of my first cup of coffee. It always puts a smile on my face. I thank God for my husband, who almost never leaves the house without making me coffee. That’s love.

As soon as I allow myself to feel gratitude,  my heart gets lighter. I am grateful for the people I have in my life. Today is a present.

Mindfulness

You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

The past few weeks have been difficult for my family. It was our first Thanksgiving since my parents passed away. We decided to skip it this year, it was too difficult. Instead, we sat in our pj’s and watched movies. I took some time to think of all that I had to be thankful about, there are boundless things and people whom I am thankful for. I am mostly grateful for my parents and their gifts of discipline, faith, compassion and their love of family. We will forever cherish one another because of how they raised us.

So while I mourn my parents, I also need to honor them by being the best wife, mother, sister, friend that I can be. So I sit, I reflect, I am mindful of the pain, but I’m also mindful of all they have given me. I am grateful for their love and that will never leave me.

Jon Kabat-Zinn, a mindfulness expert, uses the ancient metaphor of the ocean to describe how mindfulness works. The entirety of our mind is deep, it’s vast and intrinsically still and quiet, like the debts in the ocean. There are times in life when the waves are dangerously rough, but if we learn to sit still and get a hold of our thoughts, we can ride through the waves.

Mindfulness is a practice, it’s all about being. Mindfulness helps you find your way, it allows you to listen to your heart, listen to your own yearning. Just begin by paying attention to your mind, really get to know it, be present, so when you are stirring the pot, or washing the dishes, just do that, be mindful of it. Whatever you are doing, do it with awareness. Dive underneath your pain, your anxiety, your anger and you will find awareness capable of holding it all and knowing “this is anxiety, It’s going to be ok”. When we actually believe our negative thoughts we spiral into anxiety and depression. Change your thought pattern and you can change your entire life. When you become aware of your negative thoughts, you have power over them. Zinn says that mindfulness is the gateway into the full dimensionality of being human of being alive. Without it you miss a lot.

I try to be mindful as much as I can. I often find it easier when I walk in nature. Mindfulness is not meditation, you don’t have to sit still for a period of time in order to be mindful. It’s just the practice of being present. Try it and you will realize that you are not your thoughts, but the awareness of your thoughts. It will change your life.

You can learn more by picking up Jon Kabat-Zinn’s book Mindfulness for Beginners.

INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   
   
In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   
   
Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   
   
It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

 

Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin, The poem was written while Henley was in the hospital being treated for Pott’s disease.

If you are fighting some sort of battle be it depression, loss, divorce, just go inward and feed your soul. Be kind to yourself, take it slow, meditate, pray, surround yourself with people who love you and want to listen to you. This may be a painful time but know that you are strong and you are never alone. And remember to count your blessings, that in itself is a way back from the dark.

Until next time……

Live Life Now!

In just a second your entire life can change. Someone you love can be diagnosed with cancer, or get hit by a car. You can have an accident that can leave you disabled. Your perfect idea of a relationship can suddenly end in divorce. These are changes that can leave you filled with anxiety and fear. There are also many positive changes in life, such as a new partnership or marriage, the birth of a new baby, a new exciting career opportunity.  Change is inevitable, it’s all part of life. Some are planned, others are unplanned

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We forget that we are all on an inexorable journey that will end with the obliteration of our individual ego. Change is all around us but we ignore it. I can remember exactly how I felt bringing my daughter home from the hospital. She was so tiny and perfect, so helpless, unable to do anything for herself. Now she is a tall, lovely, competent ten-year old girl with her own opinions and ideas. Before I know it, she will be a teenager and there will be even more changes in my life. These are things we can’t control. When you can’t control what is happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power is!

The end is inevitable. The journey is irreversible. We die because we are born and that begins the unrelenting odyssey. We don’t know how much time we have in life. What matters is what you do with the time you have. In fact, with each day. Live it now!

  • Spend time with the people who bring you happiness
  • Do what makes you happy
  • Don’t fall into the ‘some day’ trap
  • Use your best china
  • Go on that vacation
  • Explore the world, go somewhere new every year
  • Show your love to the people who mean everything to you, saying I love you is one thing but actions speak louder than words
  • Be kind, serve others
  • Spend one on one time with your children, parents, partners and friends you cherish

Do it now, this is not your practice life!