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!

 

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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Bringing smiles to children of war

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I would like to tell you about my friend David Mason and his amazing plight to bring smiles to the faces of innocent children. He has dedicated his life to helping children of War.

Unfortunately, right now, while our kids are safe and thriving, there are millions of children around the world suffering. This is happening right now, in our lifetime. Those of us who are parents can imagine the horrors that these innocent children have face. Think of what they feel and how they are able to survive.

I met David in 2003, when I was on a trip to Afghanistan, my parents homeland. I had not been there since before the war, so I was vey young. My family was in the US, when Afghanistan was invaded by Russia. My father was a diplomat in the United Nations and so, the trip in 2003, was my first time back “home”.

It was an emotional trip. Before our plane even descended, the landscape of the country took my breath away and took me back in time. Seeing the majestic mountains ignited a rush of  bitter-sweet memories.

 

My cousin Wais introduced me to David, a Danish-Iranian, in his early 30’s who had left his comfortable life in Denmark to help the Afghan children. He was inspired after 9-11. He wanted to do something good, for the most innocent of us, for our children. According to David, my cousin kind of adopted him and his dream of what is now the Afghan Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC). 

 

David, is the founder, MMCC, an educational non-profit that uses circus activities to educate and empower kids. The program also manages to bring smiles to the faces of Afghanistan’s children and promote peace in the war-torn country.

At MMCC’s flagship school in Kabul, Afghanistan, 120 children ages ten to 17, learn juggling, unicycling, acrobatics, theater, singing, puppetry and magic tricks. They then perform and conduct workshops across the country, spreading awareness about health, land mines, the importance of education, and other issues along the way.

 Most of the circus activities are led by the kids themselves.

This wonderful human being continues to spread joy and awareness with the Afghan Mobile Mini-Circus for Children (MMCC) for all these years. 

 

Now they are looking to raise money to transform the harsh winter of 900 underprivileged Afghan Children into a cheerful one. By donating, you will help ensure that the children will be safe and secure from the cold and bitterness of winter, while learning English, Computer, various Artistic, physical, Social and Life Skills while having fun.

Please take some time to log onto their site and give what you can. 

46% of the funds for Cheerful Afghan Winter for 900 underprivileged is raised, Thanks and keep Donating and Sharing please: www.globalgiving.org/projects/Cheerful-Af

ghan-Winter

 

“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.

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!

 

Time is Fleeting

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 Let me love you a little more before you’re not little anymore. I want you to be my little girl forever but at the same time I’m excited about all the great things you will do in the life. In the meantime I cherish every minute I have with you because I know it will all end way too soon.

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You will have a newborn for a month…

An infant for a year…

A toddler for two years…

A preschooler for two years..

A child for five years…

A preteen for three years..

A teenager for five years..

And then they are off to college and life.

Be mindful and present in what you do with the years that you have with your children.

They are few. And then you’ll have to let them go. So until then, listen to them when they want to talk, hold them tight when they want a hug. Play with them even when your tired. Read to them, take in their innocence and show them that everything they do interests you. Breathe in their sweet smell, love them. Take note of how very lucky you are to have them and pay attention to how much they teach you. Appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.

Yoga for Kids!

 

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If you’ve ever tried Yoga, you have already felt the benefits of it. Why not try it for your children? My ten-year old has been taking yoga from the very beginning. I first exposed her to it when she was just an infant. We took Mommy and me yoga together. Since then, she has been practicing yoga on and off for years. I also practice meditation with her.img_9735

I recently signed her up for a series of yoga classes that my friend teaches right in my town. Both Yoga and mindfulness have been shown to improve physical and mental health in children.

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Yoga can be fun and beneficial for kids. It improves balance, strength and endurance.  In fact, research has already shown that yoga can improve focus, memory, self-esteem, academic performance, classroom behavior and can even reduce anxiety and stress in kids.

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Another benefit of yoga is self-awareness. Through this practice kids begin to listen to their internal cues and emotions. By shifting self-awareness inward, a buffer forms between the yoga student and the many negative outside influences that promote poor body images.

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Thousands of schools across the country are now offering yoga. If your school hasn’t implemented the practice yet, you can always find one in your neighborhood. So go ahead and look for it at a studio near you. You will see for yourself just how great it can be for you and your child!

Namaste

 

Lavender Feilds

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Forgiveness is the smell that Lavender gives out when you tread on it.-Mark Twain

img_9311Every second of every day is an opportunity to be grateful. Grateful for the air we breathe, the beauty that surrounds us, our health, the children we are fortunate enough to raise, our loved ones, our friends. Every situation in life good or bad gives us an opportunity to grow and to be grateful. Even in the worst of times we can find something to be thankful about.  Live this way and you will see your life change for the positive.

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Here are some other ways to live a positive life

  1. Spend time getting to know yourself
  2. Appreciate what you have
  3. Accept and love yourself 
  4. See the positive in every situation
  5. Live in the moment
  6. Travel to new places
  7. Stop worrying about the future
  8. Spend quality alone time with your spouse
  9. Enjoy every second of your children, they grow fast
  10. If you are lucky enough to still have your parents, spend time with them
  11. Make time for friends that want to spend time with you
  12. Be a positive role model for your children by living authentically
  13. Teach kindness and compassion by practicing it yourself
  14. Do something for others on a daily basis, you will be surprised how much happiness this will bring you
  15. Keep on learning, a new language, knitting, dancing, cooking, something that will keep you reaching for goals
  16. Take time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones
  17. Forgive, love and let go
  18. Stay away from negative people
  19. Live your dreams and take risks, life is happening now
  20. Connect with your source, learn to meditate, pray

In all things in nature there is something of the marvelous -Aristotle

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Take time to be present, stop and smell the flowers.