Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Well......tomorrow is the last day of my 30 day fast. I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I can't wait to enjoy a cocktail with my dinner or have a cupcake for dessert but on the other hand, I love the way I feel, I've lost 8 lbs this month and the entire journey has been very interesting. As for my social media fast....that I'm ready to end. I'm looking forward to the many loving interactions I have with my Facebook friends, the antics on Twitter and my Foursquare check in points that sometimes get me free things. (Yay for free stuff!) Overall this has been an enlightening time period. I'm glad I decided to do it.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Soooooo recently I was asked by a wonderful young lady named Marsha Barnes to star in a YouTube based reality about 3 African American female entrepreneurs. I jumped at the opportunity. Marsha explained that she was annoyed at all the negativity being displayed on reality tv and wanted to show that there are positive images out here doing amazing things. So far we've taped two episodes and I've loved the experience. I thought it would be great to be able to showcase all the things I love in such a great platform. I'm excited about what's to come. You can see the first episode here.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
Everytime I get a massage from my massage therapist who has also become a good friend, she says the same thing..."You are such a giver. The right side of your body is your giving side and it's very loose which is a sign that you are giving freely....your left side on the other hand is your receiving side. You need to learn to receive all the love you give out!" All this while she spends the majority of the massage on the left side, specifically my left shoulder where I carry all my tension. Everytime, I tell her the same thing...."Monique, I'm trying!" Her response...."try harder Ladybug." And we laugh. The truth of the matter is I'm a giver....sometimes to a fault, I give and give and give until I've given my all simply because it makes me feel good. And the universe usually returns it to me twofold in ways I could have never imagined. I've been a control freak most of my life, and even as a past procrastinator, I love organization. I like for things to flow smoothly. And as I've grown older I've realized you can't control everything. Sometimes things are gonna be f'd up and that's just the way it is. Let it happen, work through it and move on. So in all the growing I've done....the praying, the meditating, the exercising, the yoga, the breathing techniques to try to maintain balance in my life, I've come to the realization that I'm unbalanced. The more I've tipped the scales to giving the smaller the window has gotten for me to learn to receive...truly receive everything God has in store for me. So this is going to be a learning experience. Learning to receive love on a deeper spiritual level. Learning to trust on a deeper level that it's ok for people to do things for me. At one point in my life, I would refuse gifts because I just felt "some kinda way" about it. Even though those days are gone I still feel a little overwhelmed anytime someone gives me something. One, because they thought so highly of me to give it to me and two, because I'm wondering if I truly deserve it. And then I wonder if I show enough gratitude for the things I've received. A tornado of thoughts all at one time until I have to mentally tell myself to just STOP. Today in less than 3 hours I received gifts from two people. One from my friend Wanda (a gift certificate to my favorite restaurant) and one from my client Jason (who must have been reading my mind because I had complained for 2 days how badly I needed a massage and he shows up with a gift card for Massage Envy!) I thanked both of them and told them how thankful I was but even as I'm typing this I'm wondering if they really know how much I appreciate them. I try to live my life as transparent as possible because I know I'm not alone in my thought process and hopefully by sharing (and giving) someone will be helped. But I'm going to challenge myself to learn how to truly receive.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Up at 8 again I really wanted to grab some rays at the beach but Evan wasn't feeling the sand. So I swam some laps in the hotel pool instead and soaked up the sun. We were packed, showered and on the road by 10:30. I must have worn him out. He slept almost the entire trip home. When he woke up finally, he thanked me again and asked if we could make this an annual trip. "I suppose" was my response but I'm sure he already knew that would happen. I learned a lot on my trip and I have a newfound respect for parents. He listened to me the entire time and didn't give me any problems but I noticed that when you have kids around, it's a constant. Like, there's no time to really be in your own thoughts. You're constantly concerned about their well being and your influence on them and making sure they have the tools they need to be an asset to society. Luckily, I think Evan has that sewn up. He's the perfect gentleman, mannerable, kind and friendly. But that took a village. I'm glad we took this trip. I leaned a lot about him, about me and about us. I'm looking forward to next year.
Up at 8, checked out by 9 we drove an hour and a half to Myrtle Beach. I surprised him by going to NASCAR speedpark. He had been saying he wanted to go. When we arrived however, the arcade trumped the cars all together. Lucky for me. I spent $20 on tokens vs. $29.99 per person to ride. We played every token....all 80 of them and had a great time. One thing I love about my nephew... He is so thoughtful and thankful. He kept thanking me the entire trip for bringing him and kept saying how much he loved me and hanging out with me. That made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Nothing like a greatful kid. Especially a teenager. After we left there we headed to the mall to buy a souvenir for my mom. Can't forget her! We went to Pandora and in a joint effort, picked out the perfect charm. We had lunch in the mall food court and headed to Books A Million to check out some books of course. As we were walking through the mall, Evan held my hand. I told him I'd better enjoy it because soon he'd be holding some little girl's hand at the mall. He blushed. After all that we headed to our hotel. We stayed at The Hilton Garden Inn at Coastal Grand. Once again great hotel and staff. Our room wasn't ready so the front desk guy upgraded us and switched our room to a suite so we didn't have to wait. Evan loved that and said he just wanted to stay in the room the rest of the day. So, I obliged. We watched a special on Bullying. He asked if I ever considered suicide so we discussed that along with other random questions he asked. We watched The Mentalist marathon, The Closer marathon, Happy Feet Two and Speed and ordered room service. A great way to spend our last day.
Today we slept in late again and decided to chill at the hotel. We went to the pool and spent most of our day there...swimming and reading. It took us about an hour to decide what we were doing for dinner. We chose a seafood restaurant called The Crab Shack. It was about a 25 minute drive from the hotel down 17S towards Ogden. Evan ordered a crab cake dinner and I order blue crabs. Don't eat here....the food was subpar. My crabs were undercooked. I had to send them back which was a total turnoff. Evan said he enjoyed his crab cakes. We drove back to the hotel where I had popcorn for dinner. I had another surprise for Evan...we were leaving in the am to head to Myrtle Beach for a day. I thought it would be fun to drive up the coast to another beach. When we got back to the hotel we packed our bags and watched a Shark Week special on The Discover Channel until we fell asleep.
We slept in VERY late. I decided I wanted to hit the beach to work on my tan. So we had breakfast, packed a beach bag, dropped the top on the wrangler and we were off. Since we visited Kure Beach the day before (it wasn't that clean near Fort Fisher), we decided to head to Wilmington Beach. It was only about a 15 minute drive from our hotel. We looked for parking. (Note: parking here is strange but good. You can buy a ticket from a pay station and use it all day. You can move from parking space to parking space anywhere near the beach with that ticket. Very convenient as we found a closer spot after we parked so we moved.) This beach was much better....very clean and not overly crowded. We parked near 26th. We found a spot in the sand and made it ours. My nephew had a ball in the ocean. We jumped waves and watched minnows in the shallow part of the ocean. After a few hours, it started to drizzle. We made it back to the jeep in enough time to put the top back up and head back to the hotel. After we showered we caught a movie (The Campaign starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis-who is a NC native is hilarious!!!) I felt bad though because it was rated R and had crazy language! LOL. Then we had dinner at a little place called Tokyo 101 as we laughed hysterically while reliving parts of the movie. Day 2 was a wrap.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
OK....so what happens when a self proclaimed technology addicted 41 year old woman and a 13 year old boy go on a 4 day semi-technology free road trip? Good times occur. We left on Evan's birthday and headed to Wilmington. This was our first trip together with just the 2 of us, so I didn't really know what to expect. We were excited, that much I knew. We did have a GPS so we wouldn't get lost and his iPhone for phone calls and google. We arrived in Wilmington early afternoon, checked into our hotel (our room wasn't ready) so we decided to start our adventures immediately. First stop...The Aquarium at Fort Fisher. We drove toward the coast to Kure Beach and arrived at the aquarium. We had fun looking at all the exhibits. Evan was particularly fond of the shark exhibit since it was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. (Go figure) After several hours there, we headed back to our hotel, checked in and unpacked our bags. (We stayed at The Hilton Garden Inn at Mayfaire....excellent hotel and staff). Since it was his birthday I told him we could go wherever he wanted for dinner. There was a Longhorn in the neighborhood so he decided he wanted to eat there and I think that was mostly because there was a Barnes and Nobles in the parking lot as well. Just like me, he loves book stores. We enjoyed dinner, he had dessert (I'm still on my fast) and we decided to walk it off by heading to Barnes and Nobles. We created our own antics in the parking lot...seeing who could jump the most without getting tired. Of course, I lost. We spent a couple of hours in Barnes and Nobles flipping through books and laughing. He told me he wanted one of those "dummy books". I asked "which one." His reply "you know...the dummy book." I then had to explain to him there was a dummy book on just about every subject known to mankind. He said "ohhhhh, now I get it." We split up for a while then he came back and said "I found the perfect dummy book for you." He pulled it from behind his back. How to Play Guitar for Dummies....Then he said with excitement, "There's even a CD." I laughed. I have a guitar that I have no idea how to play. He had me on that one. But I still didn't buy the book. Since our day started so early we were both tired so we went back to the hotel, showered and crashed.
For those of you that don't know me or are new to my blog, I have a nephew that's like a son to me. His name is Evan. He's turning 13 on August 12. In honor of this event he asked me to take him on a trip...just the two of us to... the Bahamas. He's a great kid and doesn't ask for much so I agreed. Financially however that didn't pan out on such short notice so I opted for the beach instead. So we are going on a 4 day adventure to Wilmington. He's been saying for the past 3 weeks that he's excited which of course makes me excited. :) Today we decided that to make the trip more of a bonding experience, it's going to be a technology free trip. No MacBooks, no iPods, no iPads and no i...Phones? OK WAIT! We need one for emergency purposes so he's bringing his but we are only turning it on to check in with our loved ones. Otherwise, it's me, the boy, books, the beach and fun. Let's see how this goes.
Day 11 of my 30 day fast......Today would have been pretty easy if I had not been met with a conflicting situation. You see this evening I went to a wedding to celebrate the union of my friends, Mike and Ashley. Mike is not only my photographer but he's one of the most awesome men I know....seriously. He is sweet, kind, giving and funny. His spirit is gentle and warm. I've never had an encounter with him that didn't leave me smiling. Most times he can be caught capturing the most amazing shots on film and if he's not doing that, he's probably cracking racial jokes about his part Asian heritage. I love this dude and I'm so happy for him and Ashley. They had a beautiful ceremony in a renovated rock quarry that now houses Carrigan Farms. They got married on a rock cliff overlooking a manmade lake...breathtaking. So here's the conflict....once we arrived at the wedding site we were greeted with 2 words that I did not need to hear...OPEN BAR! Awwwwwhhhh man! I had all these thoughts running through my mind but mostly...you can handle this. I made it through the ceremony and we headed over to the reception area where there was a...CUPCAKE BAR. Anyone that knows me knows that alcohol and cupcakes are my 2 favorite vices. So, it begins. I'm talking to my girls about how my next blog would just be about how I had to give in....I mean, it was in fact a celebration. They agreed as they had both succumbed to the Moscato at this point. I rationalized how it was OK and I was only human and people would understand. I mean how would I get past the toast? All of these thoughts raced back and forth. Then I stopped. I thought about all the other people who were looking to me to support them through this challenge and if I gave in to my own wants for a few minutes I would be letting them all down. And that's all it took. I watched everyone else drink and eat cupcakes and it was all good. I had a great time, I laughed so hard I almost peed on myself. Near the end, I made my way to the photo booth on site and grabbed Mike so I could capture a moment in time. As I look back at the pictures today, I smile. I smile for his happiness, I smile for our friendship and mostly I smile because I made it through.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
I know....who writes a blog about tires? But, have you ever gone somewhere and felt like one of the people from that show Cheers? "A place where everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came?" Well that place for me yesterday was Speedy Tire Care on The Plaza. These guys are awesome! They always act excited to see me, remember the last time I was there and just make me feel like they truly value my business. And in a declining customer service based world, that's very refreshing. Not only are they nice, they have the best prices on tires in town and will price match. All tire purchases also include free tire rotation for the life of your tires. And the life of my tires has been almost 3 years now and that's pretty major considering how much I'm on the go. If you get a chance, check them out. They also do car inspections. The owner is Mike Melton and the manager is Joey Christmas...tell them I sent ya cause that's how I roll. :)
Monday, August 6, 2012
.....basically sucked! Yeah I said it. It was one long "I want a cookie, or some pizza....I wonder what's happening on Facebook....man, I wish I had a cocktail.....I should just give up already" kinda day. I spent most of the day in bed....reading, thinking, praying and meditating. I knew that's the only way I would survive. I thought about how clear my mind would be after these 30 days. And in the middle, I watched documentaries about some pretty freaking awesome people as a reminder that greatness requires sacrifice. Mediocre is cool if that's your thing but I feel like God put me here to be more than just "ok". I want to be great. "Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life." ~John F Kennedy So... I endured what seemed like mental torture and guess what?! Yeah, I survived. On to day 6.
Saturday, August 4, 2012
Last night I went to bed at 8:30 pm so I could be up and ready at 6:30 am for my first 5K run/walk. I prayed and listened to my sleep meditation app and fell fast asleep. I woke up at 11:30 pm. Wired.....a little nervous and concerned that I wasn't prepared because I have a bum knee and I haven't been training properly. I prayed again, listened to my meditation sleep app and fell back asleep. I woke up again at 3:30 am. This time I just started thinking all the positive thoughts I could and visualized myself crossing the finish line with a smile. I thought about how it was exciting to be doing something new. Some ideas for projects I'm working on popped in my head so I jotted those in my iPhone so I wouldn't forget. I always seem to be creative at crazy hours. Then I fell back asleep around 4:30 am and dreamed of a meeting with Jay Z and antics with my 2 besties. At 5:30 am my alarm clock went off.....damn! Right in the middle of some good sleep. :-) I got up, ate a light breakfast, showered and I was on my way to the race. I put on my number...255 and got the chip for my shoe that tracks your time. It was great to see the anticipation of the people racing. Professionals, kids, moms with strollers, elderly people and most inspiring.....even a blind man. I just wanted to finish. Nothing less, nothing more. No expectations of time. Just simply enjoy and be in the moment of doing something I've never done before.....and I did! It was fun, exciting and exhausting all at the same time. After all that.....Would I do it again? Probably so. I mean isn't that what life is really all about anyway? ;-)
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Today was a piece of cake! Oh wait...that may not be a good analogy. LOL Seriously though, food wise, it was no sweat off my back but the social media on the other hand.....jeezy creezy! It was hard to pick up my phone and not be able to log into FB or check into Foursquare or look at pics on Instagram. I didn't realize just how much I really use and depend on social media on a regular basis. Very interesting.
Let's see how long it takes for this feeling to subside.
I'm constantly in a state of transition...constantly checking in to see where I want to go next, what I want to do. Normally the answer comes quick without hesitation and I just know. But this time, the voice said "be still and wait." Needless to say, that drove me bananas.....me? Be still? BUT I'm no fool. I'll listen.
I need my mind to be clear so I decided to go on a 30 day fast. No fried foods, no bread, no sugar and what the hell?!?!?...no alcohol. (I like a cocktail, ok, love a cocktail or 2 or 3) I know this will not only challenge me but make me better physically. Then I decided to take it a step further. If I'm going to detox physically, why not mentally? So I decided to give up social media. *flatlines* because if you know me, it's pretty much my lifeline. Which is an even better reason to give it up. I need to get back in tune, meditate, come back to me. Let's see what happens.
This is day 1.