Category Archives: Personal

Missing Planes, Protests, and Ebola – What Stories Stick in Your Mind?

I’m a news junkie. I always have been, and even more so while I was studying journalism during my undergrad years. And now, thanks to social media, my addiction to the media has grown.

2014 was filled with an abundance of news stories. Some happy, some horrific and some just mind-boggling. There are plenty that will stick in everyone’s minds, while others just disappear into the endless knowledge of our brains. I am one of those people. So many things are thrown at us on a daily basis, myself included, and sometimes I just have a hard time processing it all. But since I’m a news junkie, I wanted to take a moment to recap the top news stories that have stuck in my mind, among the endless knowledge, since the beginning of 2014.

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  • The Missing Malaysian Plane (MH370): This particular story will forever stick in my mind. I’m not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but I’ve definitely found myself reading some of the theories on a few different occasions. How can I plane that large just disappear? Even if it crashed into the ocean, wouldn’t something have been found my now?
  • The Market Basket Protests: This began as a local story, but quickly evolved into one that made national headlines. It went beyond just boycotting the ousted CEO and into human rights and equal wages. I wrote a blog post on it, but more as a letter to the protestors who we could hear at all hours of the night. I fully supported their efforts, but many disagreed with my post. It was the first time I learned that if I wanted to blog, and write what I wanted, I needed to have thick skin.
  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: With all of the horrible news happening, this was one of those stories that filled me with absolute joy. I actually waited for the day that someone would nominate me to participate. And I was more than happy to donate money to this cause. Especially with the local ties. To read more about my experience, and see the video, check out my blog post.
  • The Gunned Down Malaysian Plane: I was in Spain when this happened. I sat in my best friend’s living room, on a navy base, watching this unfold. And I was due to get on a flight in less than a week. I knew we would be safe. I knew we weren’t traveling over any countries that have this kind of hatred and fighting. But I couldn’t wrap my head around this happening. All 298 lives were lost.
  • Ebola: Ebola is a horrible, scary disease and I can’t even imagine what it’s like with the threat in West Africa. Those Ebola fighters were named “Person of the Year” by Time Magazine. While the epidemic in West Africa was a story itself, the panic in the United States is the story that sticks out in my mind. The United States has seen 10 confirmed cases of Ebola, with 2 deaths, neither of whom had contracted the disease in the states. But the hysteria that came with Ebola entering the country was insane. People panicked. Flights were diverted. People who had the flu were contained. It seemed like for a good month, all you heard about was Ebola. With good reason of course, but it did show how the media can cause widespread panic when something like this enters our borders.
  • Leaked Celebrity Photos: This story might be the most ‘fluffy’ that sticks out in my mind, but it was a serious matter that exposed how easy it is to get into our virtual lives. Hollywood stars had their photos leaked after an iCloud hack. Many people (not celebrities) thought it was great… for obvious reasons. But many didn’t really think about the other side of this; our online safety. The majority of us who have Apple devices backup our data to the iCloud. Of course, no one really knows where or what the cloud is, but we know it’s there and we can retrieve it when necessary. Our lives are on our devices, at least I know mine is. When this hack and leak happened, I think it made many of us feel vulnerable. If it can happy to those celebrities, it could just as easily happen to one us. It brought on many debates over the internet about the safety of the Cloud, and just goes to show that no one is really safe if the cyber world. I certainly learned. My photos are not backed up to iCloud; I store them directly on my computer and back them up in an external hard drive.

That’s my round-up. Obviously, there are a lot more. I could write about everything in my head for hours, but this post would end up incredibly long, and you’d probably get bored reading it. So I stuck with 6. And some of them may not be the ones that are at the forefront of your mind.

Having said that, I want to know: What news stories stick out in your mind? 

New Signature

Homemade Buffalo Chicken Chowder

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Let me start by saying, I love buffalo-flavored anything. Ever since I was introduced to it in college, I haven’t been able to get enough. When a cafe around the corner from my work began offering a buffalo chicken chowder every now and then, I was stoked. Buffalo Chicken…in a soup? Two of my favorite things combined into one? Yes please! I was then on a quest for the perfect recipe.

Now, I’m not creative in the kitchen. I will never be that person who creates a recipe from scratch to give to all of you. I wish I was, but I’m just not. I always second guess my own cooking, even following a recipe exactly.

I decided last night that I wanted to attempt a buffalo chicken chowder, instead of making my normal turkey chili. Something a bit different, but something that would be delicious and hearty, especially as the cold weather starts to set it (not today…70s!). I settled on this recipe from Food.com. I liked that it used real ingredients and it looked like it would be a pretty simple recipe to throw together on a Tuesday evening.

I doubled, well kind of doubled the recipe, to make more than we needed (as always). Here is the recipe and what I did (in bold).

Serves 6 (Even though I doubled this, we probably get 6 servings out of it because that’s just how we roll)

  • 2 tablespoons of butter (I stuck with the 2 tablespoons. 4 tablespoons looked like a lot. I also used Kerrygold.)
  • 1 small onion, chopped (I forgot the onion… whoops. I’m okay with it because I don’t like onions.)
  • 4 celery ribs (8 ribs)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (I used minced garlic out of the jar… we have a Sam’s Club container of it)
  • 1/4 cup flour (1/2 cup of whole wheat flour)
  • 3 cups skim milk (5 1/2 cups 1% milk)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce, instead of wing sauce. And I used 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn (2 cans of corn)
  • 2 cups of diced cooked chicken (I used Purdue Fit&Easy Tenderloins. Already small and no need for all the trimming. I probably ended up with 3 cups once I was done chopping)
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese (I used around 12… reduced fat)
  • crumbled blue cheese (for topping!)

Directions

  1. Sauté onions and celery in butter in a large pot until tender. Since I didn’t have the onions it was just celery sauteing in the butter. I like my celery to stay crunchy, so I only sauteed for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Reduce heat and stir in flour, cook for 1-2 minutes. Do not brown. This was confusing… the flour didn’t really seem to absorb and instead stuck to the bottom. I’m thinking it was because I didn’t have enough butter. But it turned out find in the end.
  4. Add milk, wing sauce, corn, chicken and cream cheese and bring to a simmer. Cook until cheese is melted and soup has thickened. It will look like a giant mash of nothing. The cream cheese will just be a giant brick. I turned the heat up to med-high (probably higher than it needed to be), to get it melting more. It says to let it simmer, but I ended up stirring quite a bit to make sure the cream cheese stirred in and the flour wasn’t chunky. Needless to say, I was pretty much questioning if this would even be edible in the end.IMG_0277
    5. Serve topped with bleu cheese crumbles.

Verdict: I was pretty darn proud of myself once it was done. The chowder ended up pretty thick, just like it should be, and it really resembled a chowder. It had the perfect about of buffalo-taste to it, and the chicken ended up softening even more in the soup and almost started to shred. I was skeptical about using cream cheese, but maybe that’s the norm in chowders?, but it definitely gave it that yummy creamy flavor and helped to thicken it.

One word of advice. Make sure to have the chicken cooked before you decide to start cooking the chowder. That chowder only took about 20 minutes, but the chicken took 20 minutes by itself. If you have the chicken pre-cooked in the fridge, it will save you a HUGE step.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to devour more of this for lunch today. Such a hearty soup!

IMG_0278The finished product!

New Signature

Why I Chose Online Graduate School

As I drove to work a couple of mornings ago, the radio station I listen to daily was discussing with a listener about online degree programs. As I listened to their conversation (the mother was discussing how her daughter wanted to leave college because there was too much partying and she was considering an online degree), I couldn’t believe what the words that came out of the DJ’s mouth. The DJ uttered the words, “Online degree programs are a joke and a waste of money.”

I’m a longtime listener of this particular station, and I immediately turned it off. It takes quite a bit to offend me. But this hit a nerve. Why? Because I chose an online graduate program for my Master’s Degree. And for me, it was the best decision I had ever made.

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As a freshman in college, I knew I wanted to go to graduate school. Not because I needed too. But because I wanted too. I planned to finish my undergraduate degree, take a year off and start my journalism career, and then begin a Master’s program in the field of Journalism.

Fast forward to 2009.

After learning that print journalism may not be the best career choice, or one that would be around for much longer, it was time to look at my options. What could I do for a career that could incorporate my love for writing and creativity, into a job that would be useful? I landed on Marketing. A major that would open me to up to numerous career choices, companies and industries. I knew I couldn’t afford to attend a school in Boston, or closer to the city, even though it was my dream to go to Emerson. I also knew commuting all the time for classes wasn’t going to feasible and I would be pretty likely to call my program quits if that was my only option. I needed to work AND focus on school. As I searched, I discovered Southern New Hampshire University. They were close enough that I could get to campus if I needed too, but my classes would be solely online. Exactly what I was looking for.

Why did I choose to go with an online graduate school when I was only 40 minutes outside of Boston? Here’s why.

Convenience

I didn’t want to live by a schedule, other than my work schedule. I didn’t want to have to commute. I didn’t want the hassle of a classroom setting again. I wanted to be able to get up in the morning, log in to my courses, and begin my work for the week, from the comfort of my home. Or be able to do some of my discussions during my lunch break.

Cost

Graduate school is expensive. And since I was paying for it on my own, I didn’t want to go someplace where I wouldn’t be able to pay my loans back. I wanted a good ROI. Southern New Hampshire University fit that bill (no pun intended).

Real-Life Experience

As many of you know, a lot of your undergraduate coursework is a lot of classes you just don’t care about with information that you’re just not ever going to worry about again. At least until you get deep into your major’s classes.

I wanted a graduate school experience where I was in charge of my own learning. I wanted a school where my classes weren’t just about teaching the material, but rather applying it to real situations. Much of my coursework involved creating Marketing Plans for Mock Companies, Social Media Platforms, Contracts and so forth. I even had the opportunity to create my own company and all of the marketing that would be involved, as well as my own sports team.

These exercises not only prepared me for a future career, my assisted me with my own goals of a creating and running a business.  And much of it I got to use, while I was taking my classes, at my real-life careers. Not internships. CAREERS. Yep, I was creating marketing plans before I even had my Master’s degree completed.

Discipline

Going to school online taught me a lot about time management and discipline, even more so than my undergrad. It prepared me for ‘adulthood’ and managing a work/life balance. I had to make time for my classes, and make sure I was checking in throughout the week. No one was going to make me do it. No one was going to check in with me. It was all on my shoulders. If I didn’t do it, the only one who would suffer would be me.

Learning On My Terms

You’re probably reading this thinking “Yeah, well you can get that even at a school with in person classes.” Yep. You can. The difference? Each class is different and they run three days a week (depending on the school and major of course). My classes began on Sundays and ran through Saturdays. Each week was a new module, or theme, and we had readings and assignments for the whole week. Discussions? Oh, we had them. And boy could they be intense. How you ask? Discussion boards.

“But that’s not very personal. You don’t get a feel for your classroom and your classmates.”

Sure you do. Each of my professors had their own teaching style, even online, and you learned your classmates nuances. Even over the computer. Believe it or not, I still keep in touch with friends from my courses, who for the record, were all over the country and world.

If I wasn’t going to be around for the weekend, I made sure to get all of my work done with plenty of time. My posts in the forums happened at the beginning of the week instead of spread throughout the week. If I didn’t feel like studying on a particular day, I didn’t have too. Purely because I didn’t have to be at class the next day.

I was responsible for every bit of knowledge I acquired. If I didn’t do the readings, or the discussions, I wasn’t going to succeed. Just like if you were to go to class. You go to class, listen to the lectures, take notes, do the readings and assignments, and then go back to class. My difference was my classroom, was at home in my bedroom, or on my screened in porch, or on the beach. I could learn from anywhere.

In fact, here is a video I had to create for one of my online classes my final year of graduate school. I was asked to use it as a tool to recruit other potential online students as well.

Still not convinced about online programs? That’s fine. This post wasn’t meant to convince you. It was simply to show you why it was the best option for me.  And for all those online-program haters out there? It’s not a joke. I have a Master’s Degree in Marketing with a Social Media Marketing Graduate Certificate. I have a fantastic career where I utilize my knowledge daily.

And Southern New Hampshire University?

Yep, they’re getting coverage all over the country now for their cutting edge and affordable online programs. The amount of people I’ve met in recent years who have told me they did their program online at SNHU is amazing.

Do I wish I had been able to go to a large school in Boston for my Masters? Of course. And I easily could have.

Do I regret choosing an online program? Absolutely not. At the time, it was what was best for me. And I am now a huge supporter and encourager of online programs.

So I ask you: Have you ever taken courses online? Have you considered furthering your education online? If you already have, what was your experience like?

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What I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self: Tips for Happiness, Overcoming Anxiety, and Tackling Life Head-On

Life goes by in an instant. One day, you’re 18 and off to your freshman year of college, and the next you’re nearing 30.

Recently, I’ve found myself looking back at my life so far. Nostalgic? Perhaps. But I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve learned so far in my short life, more than I have been reminiscing.

And as I thought about what I’ve learned, it made me think about the things I wish I could tell my younger self; the lessons I’ve learned, how to handle the bumps in the road and to remember that even those dark moments, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If I could go back in time, these are the things I would tell myself.

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Kick your worries to the curb. Worrying is normal. Letting your worries overcome your day is not. Some worries are worth fretting over. While others, like saying ‘no’ to someone isn’t worth it. Worrying takes up too much energy.

Don’t be afraid to try new things.  You may have a fear of what others think of you, but don’t let it hold you back from trying something you’ve always wanted to. Letting what others think of you get in the way of life will only cause missed opportunities and regret.

You will suffer from debilitating anxiety and depression. And you will get through it. Anxiety and depression run in your family. You’re bound to face it at some point. It just so happens that it will be your first semester of college and your first time living away from home. A very common time. You will battle with it all through college. Panic attacks and debilitating depression will become a normal part of your day. But in the end, you will get through it. You will learn how to cope. You will learn how to fight back. And in the end, you will want to help others simply by telling your story and letting others know they are not alone.

Exercise is necessary.  Just because you rode horses and practically lived at a barn, does not mean you will stay skinny and in shape forever. Learn to enjoy going to the gym, going for runs, and being outside. Because once you have a full-time job, finding time to exercise will become an excuse. And you will end up having at least 10 excuses every day for not going to the gym. If only you developed a routine in college, you’d be less likely now to fight the idea of working out.

Ask questions of family members before it’s too late. Your family members hold the key to your history. Learn everything you can before it’s too late. Find out more about your great grandparents. Ask your grandparents about their families. Listen intently. Your grandparents love to tell stories from their younger years.

You will know when you fall in love (and it will happen when you’re 22). It’s life-consuming, mind-altering and the best feeling in the entire world. When movies describe finding your soul mate, they most definitely got it right.

Friendships come and go. Some friendships will fade away on there own as you grow up and grow apart. Some will disintegrate before your eyes and there is nothing you can do. Others will end abruptly and painfully for various reasons. Others will grow stronger than ever, and you realize that they are some of the best people you know. Some will be new; that will develop over college and your career. And you can’t imagine life without them now.

Life will challenge you. As cliche as it sounds, life will throw you curveballs. And you will have times where you question how you are going to overcome them. But you will, and you will come out stronger than before. Life isn’t supposed to be easy. Without challenges, we as people aren’t able to grow and change. Take those challenges head-on and know that you will rise above.

Your best laid plans will change. At 16, you had a plan. You were going to graduate high school. Go to college. Become a teacher. And teach 2nd grade. Suddenly, as a freshman in college, you discover you would rather be writing, change your major, and focus on Journalism. As graduation nears, it hits you that print journalism is disappearing. You flounder. Take a few odd jobs, and end up at a company that changes your direction. You start a Master’s program in Marketing, and focus on a new career path. You end up in financial marketing for 2 years before landing a career that you are both passionate about and enjoy.

Sometimes those initial plans are meant to be disrupted. Because without the disruption, you may not end up where you are supposed to be.

You are responsible for your own happiness. The actions of others can make you happy, but they are not responsible for your happiness. Find ways to enjoy life. Find your passions. And do them everyday. Life is too short to not be happy.

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My Must-Haves for Fall

I’m in denial that summer is officially over. Today is the first official day of fall, even though fall has been teasing on and off for a couple of weeks now. Up here in New England, we’ve had a variety of 50-60 degrees, sprinkled in with a few 80-90 degree days, and a lot of 30-40 degree mornings!

While I’m in denial that summer 2014 is behind us, I am looking forward to fall. I love everything about fall. The flavors, the clothing, the colors, the crispness in the air, the lack of allergies (until the leaves start to fall of course…), and the holidays that follow. What I don’t like? Our cold New England winters. Dislike.

As fall approached, I started to think hard about what items I have to have for fall every year, along with what things I really wanted for fall this year. I hope you enjoy!

1. Pumpkin-flavored anything. Pumpkin Coffee. Pumpkin Beer. Pumpkin Bread. Pretty much pumpkin everything. I love pumpkin!

2. Riding Boots. And not the kind I actually ride in. I have a few pairs of these already. I love them. They look cute with jeans, dresses or sweaters. While I probably won’t need to buy any this year… I would LOVE to be able to own a pair of Frye Boots. Or maybe these adorable boots.

3. My camera. Probably a given. I mean… I always have a camera with me. But I love taking fall photos. I feel like the sunsets are always better. The colors are always better. And the lighting in general is just better. At least until daylight savings kicks in. Then I don’t leave my house.

4. My space heater. Okay. Let’s be honest for a quick minute. I need this stupid thing year-round. My office is quite comfortable temperature wise. But I’m ALWAYS cold. Like even on 90 degree days with the AC going. Freezing. But the second the temperature dips below 60 degrees, that bad boy is running overtime. I wish I wasn’t such a cold person (cue mocking jokes here…) but I freeze.

5. Crockpot. I love my crockpot. I don’t use it nearly as much as should. And I always forget that I can dump stuff in it in the AM and go to work, but on weekends it’s a god send. Specifically for Patriots games. When we make pulled pork (which is happened this weekend.) But my goal for fall is to use it much more often.

6. Ugg boots. Part of me doesn’t even want to admit to owning these… but I love them. And I always will. I used to go through at least 2-3 pairs of the bear paw boots every year. I finally sucked it up and bought real Uggs three years ago. And another pair two years ago. And neither pair need to be replaced. I swear, they are indestructible.

 7. Sweaters. I think one of the reasons I love fall is for the adorable sweaters. And I’m always on the lookout for cute new ones. Thankfully, I bought a bunch last winter, and hadn’t worn them yet, so I should be able to get another season out of them.

And my latest addition to my Must-Haves for Fall….

Hot Pink Crutch Covers. Obviously… this isn’t something I intended or normally would suggest for fall. But since I’ll be on crutches for the next 4 weeks, I might as well enjoy the way they look for the time being!

So tell me… what are your fall must-haves?

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Apple Can Put Stuff In Your iTunes Library… Without You Even Realizing It.

If you’re an iTunes user  then you have probably heard about the free U2 album that arrived in 500 million iTunes libraries. For Apple, and for U2, it seemed like a pretty ingenious marketing plan when it was announced at last Tuesday’s event, but for those 500 million accounts that suddenly had an album in their libraries that they may not have wanted, it was just a nuisance. I should know. I was one of them.

And I’m a huge Apple fan. I watch the live events. I read about them. I don’t recall ever reading something about a free album being pushed to my iTunes library. Maybe I just missed it? But I’m pretty sure that would have stuck out in my mind since I would have thought two things – “Cool.” and “Borderline Creepy.”

I’m sure those U2/Bono fans were pleased to discover their latest album already loaded on their device, if they were like me and didn’t hear about it last week. In fact, they were probably thrilled they didn’t have to spend the money, even though a fan would aptly buy it. But for those of us who aren’t fans, let’s just say displeased, is putting it lightly.

Amid the backlash, Apple did create and push out a tool that will allow Apple users to easily remove the CD from their iTunes libraries. Smart move on their part. Except, people could have just gone in and deleted it too. But maybe that makes me old-fashioned in an age where everyone needs instant gratification.

What it did do, at least for me, is open up an entirely new conversation about the capabilities of Apple. May I remind you that this all comes just a couple of weeks after the alleged iCloud photo leak. Not only is Apple able to push something out to their 500 million iTunes users, but they can also create a tool that can remove content from your library?

Is anyone else slightly bothered by the fact that Apple can do this?

Okay, it’s probably not a huge deal. Honestly, if they want to throw some more free albums my way, I’ll happily take them. As long as that’s all they plan to use that ability for. I won’t lie. If random apps start showing up on my iPhone that actually interest me, but I have never downloaded, I’m going to be a bit freaked out.

Because that would mean that they, theoretically, could also have the ability to know what every Apple user is doing at all times. Which means they could start pushing content, products and apps to users based on what they like. And yes, I know the ‘I’ devices have a way to limit ad tracking, but I’m talking about on a much larger, more futuristic level.

I digress. Mainly because now I’m just thinking about what COULD happen. Especially with the way Apple moves. I’m not saying they can, but it certaintly begs the question that can they? Or will they?

But what does this prove? Besides the fact that Apple has managed to royally annoy several million users?

Obviously Apple is going to take over the world. And Tim Cook will be the next President of the United States. 😉

Providing a free album to 500 million customers was just a test, clearly. And they successfully pushed it out to 500 million customers. Even though it didn’t go very well (A costly $100 million mistake).

What do you think they will try next?

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Disclaimer: I’m an Apple-obsessed fan. I am not a conspiracy theorist or sci-fi junkie. I’m just a person who is convinced that at some point Apple will take over the world. Or Google. Or Amazon. One of those three, but probably Apple. Just based on their abilities and advancements. Just saying.

Never Forget.

It’s been 13 years since 9/11. And yet, it feels like just yesterday I was watching it unfold on the television in front of me.

I have no words. But today, please take a moment to remember. I know I will.

Even if the other 359 days out of the year, you push this day out of your mind, take today to reflect and remember.

Remember the bravery, the courage, the heroes, the victims, and all those effected.

And as another passes, remember to never forget. Even if it’s just on this day each year.

Standing Proud Small

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#TransformationTuesday

As an avid Instagram user, I always try to keep up with the latest trends. I don’t always participate, but as someone who loves social media, and uses it daily both in my life and career, I like to know what’s popular. Social media is always evolving and changing, and it’s important to me to keep up with those changes.

One weekly hashtag that I’ve had an interest in has been #TransformationTuesday. Search for this particular hashtag and you will have thousands of photos in front of you, of people who have made incredible weight loss transformations. Whether it be from a weight loss pill company flaunting the results of their products, or the hard work of someone over a couple of years to reach their goal weight, these are truly incredible and inspirational transformations.

CREATIVITY.

Someday, I’d love to be the person flaunting my huge weight loss. It would be a great feeling to have a #TransformationTuesday like that. But, since I’m nowhere close to that, it made me think long and hard about what #TransformationTuesday means.

Is it about weight loss? Or is it a representation of a new you?

My own personal #TransformationTuesday – it represents a new me.

At 18 years old, I was 50 pounds lighter then I currently am. I was an avid horseback rider who spent most of her high school years living at the barn, where I was the happiest. The four-legged creatures were my favorite. I was a freshman in college. I had a core group of friends from home. I was a homebody. I was shy. I didn’t handle meeting new people well. I had never been in a serious relationship. And I was ashamed of my body. Even though, looking back now, I would love to be back at that size.

Fast forward 10 years later. I’m close to 50 lbs heavier. I don’t ride nearly as often as I would like, but I still get to the barn at least once a week, nor am I as active I should be. I’ve graduated with my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. I’m engaged to the love of my life. I grew out of my shyness. I’m not afraid to speak up and express what’s on my mind. I enjoy meeting new people. I have a career I love. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Yes, I don’t like my body. But I’ve learned to accept it and know that the only one who can change it is me. But the difference is, I’m happy. I may be overweight and not in good shape, but I’m happy.

10562506_10100146174202975_5170983196039126486_oOne of our engagement photos done by the talented Jaclyne Beaupre Photography

So what’s my transformation? I may have gained 50 lbs, but during that time, I found a sense of happiness and well-being that I never fully allowed myself to have.

I fully believe that we are never done ‘transforming’ ourselves. In a world that moves fast to move forward, we are always in need of some form of transformation to stay relevant. My next transformation will be working on getting to a body I’m 100% comfortable with. Not a weight; a body.

And from there, my next transformation will be continuing to live, love and learn and enjoy every day to the fullest. While not a normal transformation, continuing to open our lives to those three things every day will help up to transform as human beings.

So let’s change the traditional #TransformationTuesday from a weight-loss inspired hashtag to one that shows how our happiness has transformed.

 What defines your #TransformationTuesday?

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I Took the #IceBucketChallenge.

I meant to post this last week, but with so many other posts already scheduled and ready to go, I decided to wait. If you don’t know what the #IceBucketChallenge is, it’s time to familiarize yourself.

Pete Frates, a Boston guy, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 27 in 2012. He has been known pretty locally for awhile for his work with the Massachusetts chapter of the ALS Association. Frates and his family have been a driving force behind the #IceBucketChallenge and helping to bring awareness to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Since it began, the challenge has spread like wildfire, with everyone from President Obama to Ben Affleck being challenged. Even many of our local Boston sports teams have participated! Want to learn more? Read more here.

Basically, if you’re challenged, you have 24 hours to complete it and nominate others, or you have to donate $100. While the idea is to bring awareness, it’s also to donate to this worthy cause and help them to find a cure!

In a press release issued on 8/19/14, from the ALS Association, they reported that  $22.9 MILLION dollars has been raised since the challenge began, from both existing donors and over 450,000 new donors. The time period they looked at is July 29 – August 19. Last year during that same period, they received $1.9 million.

THAT. IS. INCREDIBLE!

So, here is my video. I happily dumped ice cold water on myself (after being at the barn all morning), and then donated to this incredible cause.

Let’s #StrikeOutALS!

To learn more, here are a couple of links you can visit.

Pete Frates Fund

ALS Association

Even though I’ve completed my challenge, and nominated my people, I now challenge YOU, yes YOU, to complete the #IceBucketChallenge. Don’t forget to donate (no donation is too small!) and help #StrikeOutALS!

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