We All Become Manic After The New Year!

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The New Year brings out the manic in all of us; at least I can speak for myself, anyway. It’s not like I’m not already prone to a little OCD…well, I’m actually more than a little OCD.

Every year we get a chance to kick ourselves in the ass and broadcast to our friends and loved ones all the things we have on our to-do list during the coming year. One of my manic goals is that I plan on posting a blog every day, which isn’t such a bad thing ex Read the rest of this entry »

Do Your Shortcomings Make You A Good Writer?

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Insomnia has been one of the most challenging aspects of my life, but I manage with the right medication. Depression is the second most challenging fight. And currently, I’m winning. But, on the sleep front, the battle is ongoing. It’s already taken a few trial and error rounds with my doctor in order to treat my chronic insomnia and to find the right medication that works. Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Time To Blog & Finish That Novel

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The most challenging thing I find about being a writer is not so much writer’s block or even completing an 80,000-word novel, as many people assume.

For me, writing a novel is the easy part. But it’s not so simple to revise and rewrite it. Let’s not forget our blogs that require daily, if not, weekly maintenance in order to market ourselves and build our platforms. Working on your novel and building a blogging network at the same time can pose many challenges, not the least of which time management. For example, often when I’m writing a blog post I catch myself thinking, “I should really be working on my book.” Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Past: I am Happy For You & I Forgive You!

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This post isn’t about forgiving someone who is currently in your life. It’s specifically about forgiving people you no longer have contact with.

It’s easy to be happy for a friend or a loved one, or anyone who has been supportive and caring towards you. But, can you be happy for someone who has hurt you? Can you be happy for those who still haunt your soul?

How many ghosts do you have? I have a few that haunt me. They linger around whenever I am trying to live in the present, until they’ve successfully dragged me back into the land of the past. Read the rest of this entry »

Catch & Release: Why You Must Do Both When Dealing With Emotional Baggage

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It’s not easy to release the unnecessary baggage you’ve been carrying around with you all this time unless you know to how to catch yourself holding onto it.

The past is the hardest thing to rid ourselves of, mostly because we don’t realize that it is weighing us down. Or we have become addicted to the pull. I’m one of those people. But on Oct. 10, I turned one year older, and hopefully I am also one year wiser. Read the rest of this entry »

Political Discrimination: Are People Judging You Based On Your Vote?

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Elections 2016


I’m a bit of a news junkie; I guess there are worse addictions. So, as you can imagine every four years the elections is likened to what the Super Bowl is to a sports fanatic. I saw my therapist yesterday and she said she’s never seen so many patients who are overly passionate, even emotional over this election cycle. Now, I wasn’t really pontificating on politics but I briefly mentioned an encounter I had with some Twitter users. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You Too Hard or Too Easy on Yourself?

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Balance


Do you cut yourself too much slack? It’s okay to let yourself splurge sometimes; you don’t need to be so hard on yourself, of course. But, being too lax can end up negatively affecting you down the road.

The interesting thing about consequences is that they don’t always show up immediately. If you are too easy on yourself in high school, you kick yourself when it’s time to get into a decent college. If you party too much during college, then you find yourself floating aimlessly after you graduate. That’s if you graduate. Read the rest of this entry »

Never Negotiate Your Integrity

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Life is certainly too short to live our lives affected by other people’s decisions. That’s why we have to reach a point of focusing on our own choices and how we can better live our lives. We only have control over ourselves, but certainly people do affect us with their stubborn refusal to negotiate. When dealing with inflexible people, sometimes the only thing to do is to get up and walk away. This is as true in business and as it is in most areas of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »

The Force of Positive Connection

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Photo by Sonyo Estavillo shot on Canon T5i at the South Coast Botanical Gardens

Early this morning on my way to the gym, I saw a disheveled homeless man convincingly arguing with a phantom antagonist. He was waving his hands in the air to emphasize an imperative point.

We call people like this homeless man crazy, but I wonder how much of his insanity stems from isolation and the need for positive connection. I wonder how many of us dog lovers have better conversations with our four-legged friends than with humans. I wonder if like this homeless man, we are all craving a little conversation and are willing to argue with ourselves just to feel the rise of human emotion, reminding us we’re still alive. Read the rest of this entry »

Love Is A Verb

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love-is-a-verbLove Is More Than Just Words

The one thing I’ve learned in my travels, having lived all over the United States, is how easy it is for people to come and go in your life. Those who remain in our lives for the long haul are meant to be a part of it. Their love is demonstrated through their actions and not just their words. Read the rest of this entry »

Practicing Mindfulness

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Practicing Mindfulness


Monitoring Social Media Usage to Live in the Real Moment Rather Than the Virtual One

Mindfulness today is hard to achieve especially living in our current, highly distracting information and technology driven society. Our gadgets have become highly addictive and often get in the way of ordinary social engagement. I am really guilty of this. Just look around for yourself the next time you are at a restaurant. Pay attention to how many people are not talking to those they are with and instead are glued to their smart phones. Read the rest of this entry »

Insomnia: Can Getting Sleep Reduce Depression?

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Insomnia = Depression?

I have always been a night owl. Without fail, I’d stay up way too late and often not by choice. Insomnia has been a big part of most, if not, all of my life. People who can just fall asleep with ease have always baffled me. I mean, they lie down and within 5 minutes or less they’re totally OUT! I have no idea what that feels like and have a doctor’s prescribed medication that helps me fall asleep at night. Those of us with true chronic and life long insomnia can wake up at 5 am, run a marathon, remain busy from morning until night, maybe even solve all the world’s problems and still can’t fall asleep at night. Read the rest of this entry »

Quality Health Is Much More than Physical

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I was recently interviewed on the podcast Upside Downtrodden (Scott Mullin and Sean Namanny) on the important subject of healthcare. That’s right, someone actually found me via lilpickmeup and actually asked for an interview?!?!  Now, realize I am not a self-help expert. Quite the contrary; I am just like you trying to figure my way through this thing called “life.” While many of you were blessed to be born with the “happy gene,” others like me do their best to manage their happiness and contentment, taking them one day at a time. Read the rest of this entry »

Reclaiming Your Momentum

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Motivation is a muscle, just like obtaining positive vibrations when you don’t necessarily feel it. Emotions can be deceiving. Feelings can be manipulative. You hear the phrase “think positive” or “stay positive” yet what most people don’t realize is that being positive is a muscle. Our positive muscle requires exercise daily but that equally requires motivation, inspiration and most importantly energy. Read the rest of this entry »

Totally Drained!

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Drained is the only word that describes my current state. And no, I’m not going to blame it on daylight savings. I am searching for momentum, but each day I’ve found myself struggling to find the energy. It’s taken all of me to be a present mother living in the moment with my daughter. So unfortunately, I’m not an everyday blogger. I used to be and then I created a very active little human that requires a lot of attention. My daughter is priority. Managing my time is not a matter of discipline, but a matter of energy. Read the rest of this entry »

An Ego Epidemic: What Happened to Humility?

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An Ego Epidemic: What Happened to Humility?


Some might categorize me as an activist, while others might call me passionate. But those who know me best understand I am a decent and caring individual, one who abhors injustice of any kind. Some people become flaccid when they’re treated unfairly; however, I believe that if you’re disrespected, regardless of who the bully is and no matter how stacked the scales are against you, it is your right to stand up for yourself. But no one owes you anything because people have a right to behave however they want no matter how catty, rude, or downright disrespectful and self-centered or just plain wrong their behavior might be. Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Second Class Citizens: Minority Women and Mothers

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In the 21st Century we as a country are far behind others when it comes to discrimination against not just skin color but also age and sex. Out of all the social issues facing our country, I want to discuss unequal pay as well as unhealthy work environments that are tainted by sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and intimidation and bullying.1 Why? Women are deemed to be “easy” targets. Read the rest of this entry »

Prioritizing Family: Why The U.S. Falls Behind

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Nurturing Family: Why The U.S. Falls Behind The Rest Of The World


I am exhausted. I was told that once a baby reaches the three-month threshold that they become easier to manage. After passing the three-month mark, you are supposedly able to get decent rest. When having a new kid, the one thing new parents want more than anything other than to know their child is safe and developing correctly is sleep, which suddenly is hard to come by. Read the rest of this entry »

Moving On in the New Year by Confronting The Past

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Moving On in the New Year by Confronting The Past


Only a few days into 2016, most of us have recently emerged from the excess of the holiday season and are inspired to improve ourselves in mind, body and spirit. But are we prepared for the reality, when it comes, that self-improvement means changing the dynamics that are fundamentally rooted within the basic blueprint that makes us who we are?

How do we change what we’ve been led to believe all our lives? The parents and extended family we were automatically linked to at birth as well as all other daily interactions with friends, co-workers, neighbors and strangers that fall outside of our control are what we battle against daily. So what can we control? How each of us deal with these forces. Read the rest of this entry »

The Gift of Crisis We Are Leaving for the Next Generation

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Photo Credit: English Blog

My delay in posting a blog lately has been directly related to a couple of family members being recently admitted into the ICU. It’s been a challenge to focus on writing when my mind has been consumed with a concern for their wellbeing. Luckily, one is recovering well but the other remains in the hospital as I type.

Aside from being mentally distracted, the holidays have gotten in the way and then there’s this “new mom” thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Evolve or Dissolve

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We hope to become more than we are because stagnancy is a recipe for momentum lost. But change is often the one thing we fight against. We’re afraid to admit that there are weaknesses that can be improved upon; otherwise, our ego takes over and convinces us that there is absolutely nothing wrong with us. And maybe this is true, but the history of Earth is the story of evolving. Read the rest of this entry »

Silence: Finding Peace Without Noise

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Silence is not always the easiest thing to experience. Who wants to sit through nothingness and void? We are often bombarded by noise. It’s all around us. It’s in our technology: Smart phones, tablets, laptops, computers, television, radio, music. There is noise everywhere. And where there are coffee shops, we are sure to have caffeinated humanoids who are overly chatty and overly boisterous. Noise feels like energy; it resonates as if life is riveting through us. This is why many of us feel the need to go to coffee houses or bookstores to do work. Silence feels like isolation, and this is why some of us crave crowds and the noise that comes with it. Read the rest of this entry »

Rejection: The Root of Gun Violence?

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Rejection is the most powerful human emotion. Without a doubt, it is a universal experience that, it’s safe to say, everyone hopes to avoid. Personally, I believe everyone has a deep desire to be accepted.

Acceptance is the driving force behind everyone’s human need to love and to be loved. Without the acceptance from peers, friends or family, feelings of rejection often result as does the seeking of vengeance. In our generation of gun violence and school shootings, most of the deadly news headlines have resulted from the same recycled cause. Read the rest of this entry »

Life’s Beautiful Moments in Focus

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It’s easy to be so busy that we forget to live in the moment. Before I became a mother, I found myself consumed with two things: Living in the past or worrying about the future. You can’t undo the past, but you can learn from it. And it’s important to plan for the future, but obsessing about it only increases anxiety. At least, this is what I have learned. Read the rest of this entry »

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

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People want to be around winners. Politics is the prime example because people often are undecided about which candidate they will back until a “front runner” emerges. It can be the same with sports. There are the die-hard fans who bleed their teams colors and there are the fair-weather fans who wait to see which teams make the playoffs before they get really interested. Read the rest of this entry »

Transformed by Despair

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Invaded By Despair- Finding Hope


Everyone, even the likes of Tony Robbins and Eckhart Tolle, has a bad day. And if you’re one of the few who swears you’ve never experienced dark times, I question if you are human. Some can use spiritual or Zen rhetoric to pontificate that there is no such thing as “bad,” that it’s simply perception. But if you were to strip out the spiritual jargon, a bad day is a bad day.

This is especially if it’s not only bad but you’ve reached your lowest point. You’ve hit rock bottom. Taken from 16th-century Spanish poet, Saint John of the Cross and his famous Noche obscura del alma. Translated into English it means The Dark Night of the Soul. Tolle and others have used the poem’s title to describe a moment in their lives when the feeling of utter despair became all-consuming. Read the rest of this entry »

Raising Your Energy: Nothing Happens Without Movement

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Raising Your Energy: Nothing Happens Without Movement


I am a firm believer in a layered approach to productivity, living a healthier and potentially happier life. A layered approach to progress is like living in snow country. When it’s 30 below zero (I’ve actually lived in such conditions) you have to dress in layers. It’s the same when it comes to addressing a stable emotional, spiritual, mental and physical life. Some of you might only need a couple of layers, while some of us might need several. After all, everyone handles cold weather differently.

Locals might be so used to the weather, that they’re almost immune. Others can live in the same area for the same amount of time and can never get used to how cold it is. Then there are times when it’s so damn cold, that wearing layers is the difference between life and death, no matter if you claim to be thick skinned or not. My main pursuit is happiness, as my main struggle has been my ongoing battle with depression. I know many creative people and artists who struggle with depression. But what I learned is that it really does take a layered approach. You have to try every angle and you have to tackle each life area and analyze it, to see if there’s something that can be improved. Read the rest of this entry »

Depression is NOT Lack of Gratitude

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Depression is Not Lack of Gratitude


In my experience, anytime people hear of someone who throws the word “depressed” around with the next breath you are automatically bombarded with the word “gratitude.” And the more you’ve seemingly accomplished in life, it seems, the more you’re a total moron for living with a serious and underestimated illness such as clinical depression. Read the rest of this entry »

I Haven’t Reached Enlightenment

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I Haven't Reached Enlightenment


I haven’t reached enlightenment yet. And although we are all on a path to hopefully discover this for ourselves, sometimes people will not understand your process because it’s not theirs. We see things often one-sided through one story and one set of lens.

Introspection is more than digging deep within yourself to face the mirror towards our own face, but it’s also asking others to respect the period of transformation you undergo. I am working on doing the best and being my best that I can be without comparing or competing against anyone other than myself. I do my best to avoid situations and people who function off of one-upmanship. I know people who see nothing wrong with it, as they literally thrive off of trying to outdo everyone around them. Read the rest of this entry »

To Self-Publish or Not Self-Publish

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I’m seeing more and more aspiring writers and future authors impatiently go the self-publishing route. I say “impatiently” because it indeed takes some time to go the traditional way, namely knocking on publisher’s doors and, often, getting rejected over and over again before something happens.

Like many bloggers, I’m a writer who aspires to have her books published, but I don’t feel it necessary to constantly post or discuss it. As a matter of fact, I prefer not to discuss it. Having said this, for the sake of this post title, I’ll finally mention it. I’ve written a memoir titled Scars of Valor, but I am also considering it as fiction “based on a true story” about my experiences as a former Army wife who struggled through our nation’s period of heavy deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. It’s an insight into depression and isolation caused by moving from base to base, town to town, and enduring Army life, PTSD and, then, divorce. Read the rest of this entry »

Expect Nothing: No One Owes You ANYTHING!

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http://mimiandeunice.com/2011/07/19/expectations/

Ever heard of the biblical saying, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you?” You don’t need to be religious to understand the meaning or to abide by it. Just because you live by a certain moral and ethical code, it doesn’t mean others do.

Over time I’ve grown to realize that living my life this way would one day reward me on many different levels. At the same time, I’ve also learned that having expectations of other people and how they live is wrong because everyone has free will. Just because you respect someone else’s time and planning doesn’t mean that they have to return the favor. People will say that respect is earned, but this is not always the case. You’ll meet people who simply refuse to respect you regardless of what you have or haven’t done, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it. Read the rest of this entry »

You Cannot Lose. You Either Win or Learn!

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You Cannot Lose. You Either Win or Learn.


From the time that we are in kindergarten or maybe even preschool we are conditioned to keep score. We are introduced to scoreboards, on which we receive stars for doing good, or we lose them for doing bad or at least not good enough. The more stars we obtain, the closer we get to winning some type of prize.

We are ranked from childhood. We have report cards that indicate how well we are doing in our school subjects. By December, we even have Santa Clause to remind us if we’ve been naughty or nice. By the time we are deep into elementary school and junior high, we realize that not only do we have to do well because our grades depend upon them, but we learn the importance of conforming to social and family pressures of perfectionism. Read the rest of this entry »

Lack of Community + Selfishly Independent = Depression

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People working in a community garden --- Image by © Monalyn Gracia/Corbis
People working in a community garden — Image by © Monalyn Gracia/Corbis

Until 12,000 years ago, approximately 90 percent of human history functioned off of food foraging. Our communities were simple with simple tasks and roles. It seemed the simpler our society, the easier it was to live comfortably in supportive communities where people truly helped each other. Perhaps in communities, relationships are naturally cultivated and nurtured. The more advanced our civilization has evolved, the more competitive and autonomous we’ve all become.

We triple lock our doors, scoff as we wiz by the neighbor with the morning coffee in hand and hope that no one else interrupts our perfectly sculpted routine. Today, especially if you live in big cities, it almost seems impossible to say you live in a real community. Back in the day, we used to be able to knock on our neighbor’s doors to borrow a cup of sugar. We used to wave to familiar friends as we jogged down the street. While some people can genuinely say that they’ve managed to find the best and most friendly community to live in, I’m going to say most people have naturally become more shut off. It’s like the more you crave community, the more it shows that you are weak, needy, and even insecure?! Read the rest of this entry »

The Value of Forming Organic Friendships

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Walking along the beach one day, my 15-pound Jarkie (Japanese Chin/Yorkie mix) immediately took to Molly, a Tibetan Terrier. Abigail my 5-pound Japanese Chin was a little more aloof because that’s just her personality and, by default unfortunately, Chins take a while to warm up to people – or other dogs – they don’t know. Just like dog breeds have natural disposition and personality quirks, it goes the same for humans.

On that walk along the beach I immediately took to Melanie, Molly’s owner. She was sweet, honest, willing to listen, open to forming new friendships, and she was 65 years old. Ever since, we’ve walked every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We met the month I got pregnant and walked throughout my pregnancy, and we’ve continued to walk after my daughter was born. Melanie’s an no-nonsense Jewish woman who’s lived an interesting life full of old school gender roles, sexism, and adjusting to being a mother while juggling a career as an accountant. Melanie and I have enjoyed coffee and breakfast and genuine, good conversation that money cannot buy. Read the rest of this entry »

Why Is Your Baby So Skinny? America’s Obsession With Fat Babies

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Ariabella Zofia Gray
6 weeks old, a little over 8 Ibs and growing!

If you don’t already know, I had my daughter on May 12, so as I write this she’s exactly 6 weeks old (a little over one month in non-mommy lingo.) I know, I know, it’s annoying how mother’s use weeks when asked how old their child is, as in they’re like “24 weeks,” and you quickly have to do the math in your head to figure out the kid is 6 months old.

It is odd how being a new parent changes your vocabulary, disposition and level of patience and how it forces you to become the best time manager ever. You literally have to plot out a strategy as to not when but if you will shower, and only then can you maybe figure out when it will happen. You spend way too much time figuring out how you will walk the dogs and how you will get everyone (including baby) out the door. If you’re crafty, you manage to go to the toilet while the baby is still snuggled against you in the baby carrier. Read the rest of this entry »

The Various Stages of Life: Can Grief & Happiness Co-Exist?

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The Various Stages of Life- Can Grief & Happiness Co-Exist?


Anytime there is a life change, the stages you go through can often mirror those of grief. If your only child or youngest finally goes off to college and moves out, you may experience “empty nest syndrome.” Or your 40-year career is finally winding to a close and the light of retirement that you once looked forward to at the end of a very long tunnel suddenly is replaced with a feeling you didn’t expect – sadness.

Say you’re moving out of state for a new job. Coming from personal experience, having moved around more than the average person (an ex-military brat), I can say that moving can be stressful on so many levels, not only physically but emotionally. You’re likely met with a heavy heart as you are faced to deal with saying goodbye to people, places and things that you’ll miss more than you can comprehend at the time. Saying sayonara to friends, relatives and, heck, even old routines makes you yearn for familiar stomping grounds. Read the rest of this entry »

The Homeless Generation

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Hunched over on the cement bench facing the ocean at Redondo Beach is Esperanza. Most, if not, all locals know who she is by sight though very few know her by name. Esperanza in French and Spanish, ironically, mean’s hope, though perhaps from society’s perspective she represents the loss of it.

I have tried to talk to Esperanza on several occasions, only for her to retreat by hanging her head in shame, reversing her cart piled with a hodge-podge collection of discarded junk, but it’s all that she owns. Despite her need for privacy or, perhaps, due to her fear of the outside world, I managed to catch her on a good day and squeezed out her name. Walking my dogs along the beach, we’ve managed to get to know other dogs and their owners around the neighborhood. So, I wanted to also know Esperanza by name rather than to simply point to her, referencing her by apparent her lack of finances and an address. Read the rest of this entry »

But, That Wasn’t The Plan?!?! – Dealing With Life’s Curve Balls

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I haven’t gotten a chance to breathe, at least that is what it feels like since May 12th when my daughter was born. I’ve managed to check my email here and there via my cellphone (starting to really pat myself on the back for choosing the iPhone 6 Plus for its large screen) and to virally poke in from time to time on Facebook. But that’s the extent of it. This is my very first time turning on my computer and attempting to write a post before I am back up to my eyeballs in poop and pee-pee diapers.

As a late bloomer, motherhood didn’t seem to sink in for me during my pregnancy. Perhaps I should blame it on my body’s amazing ability to absorb most, if not, all of the negative side effects and instead leave me feeling mostly symptom-free. Compared to the ordinary woman and most stories I’ve read and heard, my pregnancy was by far the easiest. I never felt sick and did not experience any swelling whatsoever. Occasionally I’d need a nap after I ate, but that wasn’t until I was nearly 8 months prego. So, honestly, my pregnancy itself was DRAMA-FREE! Read the rest of this entry »

1st Time Mommy: Why I Kept My Pregnancy in the Social Media Closet

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Baby Bump
Me & my bump at Manhattan Beach. Photography By: Yaz

As Mother’s Day approaches, I thought it fitting to explain the reasons behind a very personal decision to not write or discuss a huge moment in my life. For the past few months, I have kept this very huge life transition practically secret on Facebook, Twitter and the like, opting instead to share the news the old-fashioned way. In about a week and five days, my first child will be due. You’ve heard me correctly; I am 9 ½ months pregnant, 38 weeks to be exact. My daughter can come any day now, as I am full term.

I have discussed my education in some of my posts, but what you might not know is that I’ve always been a bit of a late bloomer. I didn’t graduate with my bachelor’s degree in film production until I was 29. This wasn’t by choice; I was working full-time and didn’t receive any help from family. Following graduation, I waited a few years before getting my project management certification, and then I opted to get my master’s degree after that. Somewhere in between, I wrote a couple of screenplays and a novel that I am attempting to publish after a few final touch ups and last-minute revisions. But, who hasn’t written a screenplay or a novel? Tons of bloggers have and they even write about their self-published or traditionally published books. It’s more common especially now days and especially in Los Angeles. Read the rest of this entry »

The Condition of Unconditional Love

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More times than not we place conditions on everything. This is especially true when it comes to love. I am not necessarily speaking of romantic love but the kind that you give to yourself. But, many of us continue to place conditions on ourselves as we do others.

There’s a quota we must all meet, and if this minimum is not satisfied, then we put up barriers and our love is constrained. Disappointment can equally set in and devastate our motivation when we haven’t lived up to our own expectations. FYI – beating up on yourself or others, whether physically or verbally, is not love. Read the rest of this entry »