Ciao 2018!

2018 was another unexpected year. My 2 pregnancy posts summarized that portion, but how did everything else go?

I truly believe days are long, but years are short.There was a flood of activity not only for me but for loved ones. Majority of our dearest friends had children. Welcome Lucas, Angelo, Ethan, Bernadette, Leela, and Julianna. Gabriel is so excited to have playmates his age. Friends bought beautiful homes/moved away from the city – some even went international! There were showers, engagements, weddings, and pet children, too!

Travelling was minimized for Keith and I, but the stand out trip was Greece. We often spoke about retiring there one day.

That or the Amalfi Coast – LVMH did acquire Belmond Properties and Hotel Caruso is their Amalfi Coast Hotel…

This year reaffirmed that life is completely unpredictable and the only thing you have somewhat control over is the actual present moment. This will continue to be a lifetime challenge for me because I’m a planner by nature, but I’ve learned to surrender to the universe and ‘hand it up’, or as Keith jokingly refers to it as ‘Jesus take the wheel!’. Here is my new serenity prayer.

After reflecting on this year, I decided my ambitions for 2019 are health and work-life integration.

Mission 1: Overall Physical, Spiritual and Emotional Health

I hate feeling tired and run down. I also hate my anxiety. I spent most of 2018 out of control physically and emotionally and it was debilitating. Some stand out comments this year were:

‘You always seem to have it together’ (my inner voice: I can’t remember what I did a minute ago)

‘You make it look so easy’ (my inner voice: Probably because I have the mentality of a 5thgrader and need to dumb everything down)

‘Your life is perfect’ (my inner voice: You obviously know nothing about my life)

‘Don’t you ever get pissed off’ (my inner voice: Every flipping day)

‘You are always so zen’ (my inner voice: It’s because I have a round old Asian head and look like Buddha)

Although I could sit and whine about little discomforts of life, I realize I am so blessed for all I DO have, and worked hard for. It also means I have a lot to live for. I want my days on this earth to be happy, fulfilling, and fueled with positive energy and love.

So after 7 years of a resolution to be the ‘healthiest version of me’, which I have epically failed at, how am I going to finally achieve it? Drum roll….

  1. Balanced Energetic – I already started with the Alternative Medical Evaluation and feel a huge improvement in a month
  2. Consistent Exercise – Cycle Bar and Rodney Yee Yoga DVDs
  3. DASH Diet with the use of my new Instapot
  4. Meditation – thanks Headspace
  5. Herna surgery – yup, I discovered this year I have 2 hernias from my pregnancy and have to take care of that.

So what does success look like? Well, my goal is to be off half my hypertension medication dose by end of year (if not everything!), fit into my circa 2008 summer clothes (that was a fabulous wardrobe season that I refused to donate with the hopes of squeezing my fat ass into again), no more broken anything, natural vibrant energy with a little shot of caffeine when needed, no more crazy anxiety chatter, and the ability to do this kick up move again.Image result for KICK UP

Mission #2 Master a work-life integration.

Image result for WORK LIFE INTEGRATION

I believe sacrificing family time, free time and personal well-being for a career isn’t necessary.

What truly defines success isn’t the long hours, it’s the innate talent and high-level contributions that may be buried under fears of protecting that hard-earned place at the table.

In 2019, I want to train myself to mentally disconnect from the pace of a stressful career and show up calm & energized at home. I don’t want to feel guilty about self-care, making doctor appointments, working out and getting healthy. I need to learn to navigate my career with authentic authority, lose the fear, and show up at with unapologetic influence.

I want to be a multi-dimensional woman with dreams and desires that are not buried under a mountain of commitment and the daily grind. I believe we are all go-getters, doers, architects of our destiny.
My personal style is to build things and make things happen on my own terms; I hate waiting for others. Waiting and allowing things to happen are not in my DNA.

However, in the game of life, we all receive a unique set of unexpected limitations and variables in the field of play. The question is: How will you respond to the hand you’ve been dealt? You can either focus on the lack thereof or empower yourself to play the game sensibly and resourcefully, making the very best of every outcome as it arises, even when it’s heartbreaking and hard to accept.

The older you grow, the more mindful you become. Life humbles you gradually as you age. You realize just how much nonsense you’ve wasted time on. I am done with that.

So how am I going to do this?

  1. Train the mind to see the silver linings.  Positivity is my choice.
  2. Realize life will take things from you, and give things to you, gradually and continuously.  It’s funny how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn’t live without (clothes, bags, shoes), and then we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted (Gabriel). I will do my best to embrace life’s uncertainties as they arise. 
  3. Be selective in your battles.  I can’t control how other people receive my energy.  Anything I do or say gets filtered through the lens of whatever they are going through at the moment, which has nothing to do with me.  Just keep doing my thing with as much love and integrity as possible.
  4. Remind myself every day that Life doesn’t get easier, I just get stronger.

Usually my annual recap posts are must longer than this, but I am trying to finish this up in order to post before the actual new year. Having a baby poses some challenges with his schedule and the fact that we both wound up pretty sick the past few days delayed a lot.

In summary, 2018 was filled with unexpected perfectly imperfect surprises. All the experiences taught me to re-prioritize and truly recognize the mission critical tasks. It definitely made me grateful, stronger and wiser… and for that I am so excited to go into 2019 with a new hopes and ambitions.

I wish all the love and health to my friends and families in this new year. Here is how I hope we all approach the new year.

Love,

Brielle

The Early Arrival of Gabriel Xavier Witek

My last post left off at the 3rd Trimester. In true Brielle fashion, even with the best plan in place, nothing went according to it. I’m convinced life has to be dramatic for me otherwise I will never learn or be as grateful as I am for what I have. Life doesn’t give us what we want. It gives us what we need. In my case it was a little boy named Gabriel Xavier Witek.

Chapter 1: The 3rdTrimester (that never happened)

I had the shortest pregnancy. Remember, I didn’t know I was pregnant for the first trimester, suffered tremendously during the second with gestational diabetes, a thyroid issue, endometriosis, preeclampsia, sciatica, feet that were swollen beyond belief (I won’t horrify you with those pictures), inability to walk 2 blocks without getting out of breath, cystic acne and weight gain on a 5-foot frame that was very painful. I guarantee Gabriel realized I was not the vessel he needed, took the necessary nutrients and decided he was going to take his chances and come early.

On June 31stmy mother and I visited my father at the nursing home. We were having a lovely Italian lunch and watching Ronaldo play (how does he always find his way into my life – haha). Keith and I joke now that it was him that caused my pre-mature labor.

I developed awful cramps and decided to just get back to Jersey City so I was at my home base.

Long story short, I wound up in the ER at Jersey City Medical, my water was ruptured, I was in labor and having the baby within 48 hours, took the epidermal like a champ (didn’t even feel it), they got my skyrocketing blood pressure under control and my son was born early (surprise) on July 1stat 12:46am. He was only 3lbs and 2.5 months early.

 

Looking back at everything that happened, it really feels like a dream. I don’t think Keith or I fully grasped what was happening. We were going through the motions not necessarily feeling the emotions because everything happened so quickly and there was a lot at stake. In the end, Gabriel proved to be the toughest guy I know and is thriving. He has shown me true courage and strength and for that I not only love, but have the deepest respect for the him. Here is our story:

Chapter 2: The NICU

I had no idea what a NICU was until Gabriel came into this world. The NICU [pronounced NICK-you] is a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Gabriel was high risk because he was so early. He lived in an incubator for almost 2.5 months. The NICU road is bumpy and, frankly, scary. Whether your baby is in critical condition or just needs to grow a bit more it’s a vulnerable time for parents. Gabriel had a ton of tubes, wires, needles – you name it, plugged into him.

Everything needed to be monitored to ensure he could breath and develop. We visited him every single day without fail and let me tell you, just sitting there watching him and praying for hours at end was exhausting. Knowing I had little control over the circumstances and could only watch and wait killed me emotionally. What I did to help me get through was compile a NICU survival tip check list for parents that find themselves in similar situations.

  • Be a presence. Make yourself known. Introduce yourself to the doctors and nurses and even to the orderlies and desk attendants. Make sure they know which baby yours is. It’s human nature to feel more accountable if one is feeling accountable. You want the medical staff to know that your baby has actual parents who will want to keep up on the progress. The best decision we made was to have one of us there for the doctors’ rounds each morning so we could meet with the actual doctors and discuss how Gabriel was doing.
  • Do not move into the NICU. Your baby is likely in an incubator, which presumably reminds him/her of exactly one place: the womb. The temperature in an incubator mimics that of the womb, and smaller babies are even given eye coverings. YOUR BABY WILL NOT KNOW IF YOU SLEEP AT HOME OR KEEP BEDSIDE VIGIL. So go to sleep in your own bed, whether during the day or at night and do not feel guilty. Trade off shifts with your spouse or go there together a few times a day. But make sure to ground yourself in your own house or room. Look at it this way, you are getting something few postpartum mothers get: time in your own home, your own shower, your own bed, and with someone else caring for your baby. Spending at least a few hours a day on your own turf will make you feel like yourself. I realize some mothers resist this because they don’t want their babies to bond with the nurses instead of them, but I looked at those nurses as his second mothers. They cared for him in ways I didn’t know how to and provided him the resources he needed to survive. They also patiently taught me how to change a diaper, feed… basic things that I wasn’t comfortable with on my own. I owe them so much and will be forever grateful to them.
  • Your baby knows you. Your voice and smell are intimately familiar to your baby; he’ll know who you are.

  • Accept offers of help. If friends and family offer to make dinner, say yes. I was surprised (and blessed) that many of my friends and family came to support us without us even asking. Their love and encouragement during a really uncertain and scary time will never be forgotten. Keith and I are the luckiest to have our framily.
  • Familiarize yourself with your baby’s care and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I have no medical background at all and the array of monitors and medical terms can be confusing. If the nurse tells you that “his pulse is 96” and this sounds like a foreign language, stop the nurse and ask what this means. Clarity is key, and don’t be afraid to advocate for your child.
  • Don’t be afraid of your baby. Many new mothers are afraid they’ll ‘break’ their little ones; this anxiety increases tenfold when your little one is tiny and/or hooked up to monitors. Be assured that the nurses would not let you handle your baby or leave the room if they didn’t think you could handle it. In fact, most NICUs encourage “kangaroo care,” which consists of putting your undressed baby on your bare chest for skin time. This is of great benefit to the baby, and again, you would not be given the opportunity to do this if the baby were not well enough.
  • Take advantage of the education offered. At our NICU, the nurses were extremely focused on parent education. We learned how to feed, burp, change and bathe. We took Gabriel’s temperature and (sorry) learned what normal stools looked like. Everything. I’m very grateful for this; I even took some phone tutorial videos! There is a wealth of knowledge there. Embrace it.
  • You will experience a post-NICU guilt: You’ll find yourself thinking things like, “Since I didn’t hold my baby much during the first 2.5 months of his life, I must now pick him up at every whimper.” Resist this. This might be enjoyable at first, but trust me: it becomes less and less enjoyable. Your baby is now home with you; anytime he needs something, you’ll be there. But if he needs to learn to sleep on his own or suck on a pacifier, now is the time for that too. Your baby is now able to have a normal home-life.
  • Remember, we are human and worry so don’t freak out about the parent anxiety. It’s real, just remember and repeat after me: a team of doctors have unequivocally determined that your baby is ok enough to be home. You have discharge instructions, the internet, common sense, but above all, this unimaginable love that will get you through.

Chapter 3: The Shower

Our Combo 10-Year Wedding Anniversary and Baby Shower still happened even though Gabriel was already in the world. It was a beautiful day with family and friends – so much so that we forgot to take pictures. Thank goodness for friend’s cameras. The outpouring of love and generosity was overwhelming.

 

We were blessed to receive all our registry items and had a hell of a time trying to figure out where to put everything.

   

Another thing I learned from all this is to absolutely register, but there are certain items that are mission critical and others that are simply nice to have. Your baby will also determine what they like so don’t be disheartened if certain things are/aren’t working. Just from my experience here are my top 10 items that I cannot live without – all can be found on amazon.com

Chapter 4: Brielle’s Top 10 Life Saving Baby Items

  • A travel stroller set (thanks Mom). We are fans of the Uppa Baby Vista. Many mom friends have validated, the reviews are terrific, my mom generously got it for us, and I have tested it every single day! I love it.

 

 

  • Great Diaper Bag (find one you are comfortable with and that fits your style) with Insert Organzier (thanks Mel)

 

*Listen to any recommendations from mothers and fathers you trust. They have experienced it firsthand. If it worked for them, it most likely will work for you! The timing of Gabriel’s birth was terrific because all my closest friends have kids/are having kids so we can relate and speak the baby language together. This support system was invaluable.

Chapter 5: GXW Comes Home

Gabriel started his life as a critical care patient and worked his way out of the NICU in a little over 2 months.

On Friday, August 24th he was discharged. By the way, he was early…again. Now my son, Rambo and I have ‘coming home anniversaries’. We ordered pizza that night to celebrate…typical of us.

  

On a side note to all of this, I was very lucky that work/my boss accommodated this unique situation. I was able to take my 6 weeks disability immediately after birth which allowed me to be with him in the NICU. I went back to work August month so I could be home when he was home and had my official maternity leave Sept. 1 – today, Nov 26th. It flew by but I realize how important and necessary this time is to bond with your newborn. While the tasks aren’t hard, they are tedious, tiring, all hours and sometimes so simple you feel like your brain is turning to jelly. Late nights, crying fits, insecurities of being a new parent, etc. There were definitely very low moments and some post partum depressive scenarios, but that is not what I’m focusing this post on.

Chapter 6: The Adventures

I am adamant about Gabriel being social. He wasn’t allowed visitors for the first 2 weeks home because of germs, but once he was cleared, we made it a point to do a daily ‘adventure’ whether it be grocery shopping, family/friend visits (which we had a ton of and it was so much fun for him to meet everyone), coffee talk time, shopping, lunch dates, errands… anything to get him out, give me practice on getting him out (all the gear!) and keeping us both sane.

  

 

There were many epic fails and survival mode moments. To start, the lack of sleep beats you up big time. I thought I could function with my over a decade training of partying, late night road crew moments, traveling around the world, etc. This was nothing compared to lack of sleep due to a newborn.

  

You are in pure zombie mode and becoming delirious is real. The cry-fests at 3am and then every 2-3 hours after causes insanity at times. But you just repeat, This too shall pass. Once you think it will never end, things change/get better and you move to a new ‘stage.’ Next up: teething, potty training, day care…

We were advised to do tummy time with him over the course of an hour each day to strengthen his back and neck muscles. What does Gabriel do? Stretches, does a superman for a hot second, and passes out. It was and is very hysterical.

   

We were able to get him to one Rutgers game to meet the crew. He had his own parking spot in our beloved purple lot tailgate and insisted we bring champagne to celebrate.

 

In the midst of all this maternity activity, we had to get our floors in the condo completely redone due to a flood. What a fiasco with a newborn. Thankfully I was able to stay with my mom who did an incredible job helping me with Gabriel and Rambo, and joining us on daily ‘adventure’ activities.

 

We also had to baby proof the condo. Thank goodness for professionals as they educated me on things I never would have thought of. We gated our precious bar area to keep it safe from the little man. Those are very valuable items and took years to accumulate.

There were some really priceless moments like when Rambo met his little brother. This picture melts my heart.

Rambo continues to be very protective watching over him during tummy time, and when he sleeps. He follows me around to make sure Gabriel is ok and takes strolls with us. He also snuggled Gabriel’s NICU blanket.

  

We enjoyed our first snowfall recently. Gabriel was exhausted when we got back home.

 

In the past month, Gabriel has gotten even more expressive. People have called me an emoji. I guess I passed that onto him. No poker face whatsoever. That prison looking picture in the upper left is me as a baby in Korea. I have a mini-me.

  

…and he’s vocal. I have convinced myself we are having conversations. Every morning we discuss what we are grateful for and the goals of the day. Yes I’m sure you must think I’m absurd but it’s part of our bonding moments.

Keith and Gabriel truly enjoy watching the morning news together. And college football.

Keith and I began a ‘date night’ tradition since we got married 10 years ago, and were determined to continue with Gabriel. It’s currently evolved into a new type of bottle service and we have to include him, but it’s been fun to have him join in good food, drinks and broadway show tunes.

His first Halloween was so much fun. We celebrated at the Jersey City Medical Center Annual NICU party for all the graduates. He went as Superman because he really is our little super hero.

On actual Halloween Day he had some costume changes. In tribute to my favorite band, Queen, and the movie that was released around the same time, he started the day as Freddie Mercy, and ended as Captain America. Rambo assumed the role of Super Pug.

 

We recently celebrated Thanksgiving. He visited my sister, Nicole, who passed away in 2011 this time of year.

There are always bittersweet memories associated with this holiday, but this year there was a lot of joy because it was not only Gabriel’s first, but we were able to celebrate with both families: The Caruso’s and The Witek’s. We all survived so I’d say it was a success!

With Christmas approaching, Gabriel had to visit Santa. We discovered the Express Line at Short Hills Mall (amen!). What did Gabriel do? Slept.Through.Everything. Some kids scream, some kids cry. Mine couldn’t be bothered.

  

Chapter 7: The Weight

Unfortunately I was unable to breast feed. Here’s a shot of my breastfeeding graveyard, which I donated to a dear friend.

I had all the gear and pumped for 6 weeks before throwing in the towel. My valiant effort resulted in 2 tear drops of fluid. So sad. Because of this, I also have not lost the baby weight as quickly as I hoped for. Breast feeding burns 800 calories a day. I, also, swear my fat cells have a mind of their own. This is how I feel.

  

Chapter 8: Divide and Conquer

I don’t know how people can parent alone. It’s a production, requires all your time and energy and quite honestly is an exhausting experience. I wouldn’t have had a child if I didn’t think Keith would be a responsible, helpful father but he turned out to be a super hero. Because of Gabriel’s early birth, I worked the month of August. Gabriel came home a week before my 2nd maternity leave. Keith stepped up and was Mr. Mom handling the changing, feeding, and newborn activity. Now that I am returning to work, he took the month of December off to watch Gabriel until day care begins in January. He’s proven to be an exceptional and doting father that wears Gabriel’s spit up like a little badge. Watching him interact and seeing how Gabriel is enamored by him melts my heart. All of this reiterates that I made the right decision choosing him to be my partner in crime. There have been bumps in the road but we remain a team and I cannot wait to raise this little nugget with the greatest man I know. (Love you Keith even though you aren’t even on social media and probably won’t read this.)

Chapter 9: What’s Next?

So today is the last day of my maternity leave. What a year. My son has taught me so many more crucial life lessons in the 6 months than I learned in my 37 years.

  • Feeling good is finally feeling comfortable being ourselves in our messy, perfectly imperfect lives.

  • Real luxuries are turning ordinary experiences into treats. A shower, a non-rushed meal, a full night’s sleep…
  • Life happens and you can let it beat you down and break you, or you can heal yourself by refusing to belittle yourself and recognize how strong you actually are.
  • Accept your quirks entirely and sincerely. They are solely your own and make you you.
  • The old you might not be charming anymore. You have evolved and it’s ok. And maybe (gasp) embarking on an odyssey of moderation and simplicity is the next step.
  • You will post pics of your kid on social media.

  • Your kid is annoying and will drive you nuts, but maybe they have the potential to be a superstar?! See a resemblance?

  • You are not perfect and will annoy your kid. I had to dress him up like the Where the Wild Things Are character.

  • Never expect perfect circumstances. Use what’s at your disposal to keep moving forward. Take a tip from MacGyver and learn to make the best of the situation with the tools you’ve got. Especially the ones in your diaper bag!
  • I had a misalignment of priorities and got stuck. Having a kid forces you to re-evaluate everything. It’s not about you anymore.

  • We are good enough. We just need more practice at times. Instead of thinking ‘I have to be better’ change it to ‘I will do my absolute best today.’

It has been one hell of a journey and chapter of my (and Keith and Rambo’s) life. I am excited for this next installment: the work-life balance. I believe it’s possible to have a fulfilling career, marriage/partnership, friendship, family time, be a mom, maintain emotional and spiritual health, travel and still be a spitfire. This will be an ongoing challenge as life changes and you have to maneuver with it, but I hope to surrender to how dynamic life can be and embrace that no day is the same and we have the ability to just make the most of it.

I truly believe you only learn by actually experiencing something. I’ve often asked why has so much happened in my life? Maybe it’s to fully understand life circumstances, successes and tragedies first hand so I can be a better person for others. I know that is why I had and will have this experience with Gabriel. I feel blessed for the love and support I received during this journey. I simultaneously feel a little ashamed that I wasn’t always there for other moms. It was partially due to the fact that I was not equipped but I also didn’t understand the dynamics and challenges of motherhood. I am going to learn from this and not make certain assumptions or judgements. You never know what others are going through and should show compassion and support, and pay it forward when/if you can.

And I’ll end this with the adventures of being a parent are super scary and exciting. Every day is like a clue, not a conclusion. There are no black and white scenarios to this. It’s all gray territory where gnarly, messy, fabulous truths exist. If you keep your heart and mind open and your expectations reasonable, the outcome will be remarkable.

@Gabriel, I want you to live a life of originality, confidence and authenticity. You will always be legendary in my, Keith’s and Rambo’s eyes. I can’t wait for the rest of our life together. Thanks for helping me write this post.

Love,

Brielle

 

 

Should Brielle Caruso Have a Baby?

Should Brielle Caruso Have a Baby?

Disclaimer: These thoughts and opinions are solely my own, and based on my personal experience.

I always put myself in the camp of “I am not having a baby” Why have one? I’ve lived a very independent life, consciously made and owned up to my good/bad choices, had epic failures and successes and worked very hard to create a life that made me happy.

I’m an overly detailed, slightly neurotic, decisive, out-spoken, organized control freak. Why do something of such uncertainty?

This decision wasn’t based on religious or family obligations. I’m very fortunate my husband, Keith, and my parents never pressured me because if you know me, when people provide their unsolicited opinions or tell me what to do, I tend to retaliate, shut them out and do the complete opposite – very mature, I know.

You told me what?!

But one day, the question of Why not have a baby arose? Is there something that everyone else seems to know that I don’t?

In classic Brielle form, I made a list of everything I worried about:

  • Finances: Kids are expensive and I like to have control over my money and how I spend it.

Items Munchkin Must Have

  • Time: For me, this is the greatest currency. I use all 525,600 minutes of the year as wisely and efficiently as possible.
  • Sleep: I don’t get enough now and somehow function. How will I function on less? And, Keith and Rambo love sleeping, too.

  • Love: I love Keith because I want him, I don’t need him. He’s a complement to my crazy and he chooses me every day, too. It’s a joint decision to be with each other. Do I really want someone depending on me?

  • What If:  I don’t like this kid?

We always joked this is what we’d produce – recognize those facial expressions?

  • What If: We become parents that fall off the face of the earth and never see friends again?
  • Work: How will this impact work? I truly love my job. As crazy as it can be, it brings me joy and I’m so grateful to be in the role I’m in. I don’t like when things/circumstances take me away from it.

Munchkin’s picture is on my desk

  • Physical: I am not a baby vessel by any stretch. I have hypertension, scoliosis, osteoporosis, endometriosis, Keith thinks I have sleep apnea, I have the worse sinuses (it’s the flat nose) and my intolerance to lactose is up there. I’m also 4’11’’ without shoes, so additional weight on my joints is killer. I do have a high tolerance for pain though. Last year I walked around with 4 broken ribs and didn’t know it.
  • Retiring: My 17 year old belly ring.

It was removed May 18, 2018

  • Eliminating that glass of wine or champagne: I personally don’t see a problem with a glass  every once in a blue moon, however eliminating liquor was the one thing Keith asked me to do.

Keith has to drink for both of us.

  • Fear of Missing Out On…. My late teens and 20’s were the party, accumulate material goods and beginning of travel years. I was also in the best shape of my life. I was doing everything with no set direction.

  • My 30’s were when I started to focus on career, relationships, realizing what to be grateful for. I was humbled by my sister’s death and other family circumstances. I literally travelled around the world and saw new cultures and ways of living I had no idea existed. Truly the best education I ever received. I learned how to fall in love with life again.

  • Now that I’m closer to 40 than 30, I had to ask myself: What was the next life discovery/adventure to embark on?

I went through this list with Keith and he simply looked at me and said, it would be nice to create someone with you. I love you, and we could teach them a lot. In that moment, all my lists and trying to rationalize this went out the door. For the first time in my life, I felt mentally ready to embark on this unknown journey with a partner that I trusted and knew would support me through it.

This journey, as expected, was unexpected and certainly didn’t turn out the way I planned. I am blessed to have a little boy arriving this Sept who I have nicknamed ‘Munchkin’ cause he has me loving dessert and all things sweet (like him!).

Note: I suck at pregnancy. There is no way around it. It’s not pleasant, I’m constantly uncomfortable, the swollenness – baked bread feet and cankles –  lack of sleep and snoring like a bear, heartburn, gas, epic exhaustion, pregnancy brain (it’s so real, and if I don’t write it down I’ll completely forget), joint and back pain, and just feeling like my body is out of my control has been a real challenge to adjust to. I love to live fast and furious and run at rapid paces. Gone are those days till he arrives. Munchkin is the only man that can tire me out. That’s how I know this was meant to be.

What I really look like pregnant. Not a pretty site. 

How I wish I felt

First Trimester

Skipped through it completely. Sounds crazy but I didn’t know. I had an ectopic pregnancy in November and had to remove my right fallopian tube in an emergency surgery. I had post-surgery symptoms and no actual pregnancy symptoms the following months, coupled with personal family issues that distracted me. It wasn’t until I was in Miami in March for work that I got terribly ill and ran through tests to discover that I was almost 3 months pregnant. I almost fell off my doctor’s table in shock.

The look on my face when I found out

It also dawned on me that this little guy had been to LA, Miami, Montreal, Savannah and Paris before I knew. Lucky well-traveled kid!

Second Trimester

“Experts” say this is when you feel vibrant and alive. Not me. Thankfully I had no morning sickness and my cravings were for desserts which I never eat, but the level of fatigue, mind fog and swollenness hit hard. I also learned I had a thyroid issue in addition to my other ailments. I literally felt like my body was just breaking in every way. Actually, I had a small fracture (again) in my right foot in May. Everything took longer – thinking, breathing, physical activity. The struggle is real. It sounds completely vain, but seeing my body change made me feel so unattractive and unlovable. I am not one of those beautiful, vibrant, glowing pregnant women you see in pictures. Why couldn’t I be like them?

How I wish I looked

 

The reality – I’m really trying to look decent

I think Keith is having physical sympathy pains

Another big change occurred in May. We realized it was probably a smart idea to get a car. Keith was all about a Suburu for safety. I can’t believe we own a car…All of these changes are for the greater good, though.

Coming out of my second trimester, I am in awe and admiration of every single woman that has gone through this – biological, adoptive, foster, spiritual, communal. Women are so strong because this is a physical and emotional experience in every way possible.

Third Trimester

The final chapter. Admittedly, I’m scared of how I will manage physically this summer. My goal is to simplify, not stress and ensure that Munchkin gets all he needs before he arrives into this world. I keep repeating “Move slower to go faster” and “Respect your limits.”

Keith and my 10 Year Wedding Anniversary Party has morphed into a combination with Munchkin’s Shower. Excited for that celebration with our loved ones.

I have been beyond blessed to have fellow mothers and friends help with registry items – the necessities – keep it simple! The love and support I have received has been tremendous and I know that it will get me through these remaining 3 months. My framily is one of the things I am most grateful for in life. Home stretch.

So, after 6 months, what has pregnancy taught me?

  • Rushing through life is a surefire way to miss the gifts that only come when you are aware and give 100% of yourself to.
  • Pregnancy tired is unlike anything I’ve experienced

  • Never say never and always is not always right.
  • Waddling is real.

  • Challenging moments generate positive outcomes. I hate the gym and eating clean, but it makes me healthy. All my business, family, friendship and life failures have led to a better understanding of what I needed to do to be successful. The pain of honest confrontations with my insecurities, weakness, anxieties and limitations generated a stronger version of me and gave me perseverance and courage to continue and truly be grateful for the life I have. It’s given me a humility that I am thankful for.
  • You are defined by what you struggle for. Stairs have become my nemesis. I see them, take a deep breath and pray to sweet baby Jesus I’ll make it

During our Babymoon in Greece I had to climb these rocks to get to the restaurant. Keith’s caption: Have you see Old Bri Kenobe?

  • We don’t always control what happens to us, but we always control how we interpret it and how we respond.
  • I really gave up liquor. Miracles happen.

  • Every child begins the world again.

  • The heartburn / integestion is real.

  • The weight gain is real.

  • Munchkin loves all sweets, pizza, lobster pasta, steak, hamburgers, chicken gyros, fruits and most veggies. He does not like Chinese and Vietnamese food (no Pho! I’m so sad) and sausage.

At more than my halfway point in this pregnancy, I am not trying to out-pain any other woman that has experienced this. If anything, I have spent 37 years of my life measuring myself against many of my old values. This experience is frightfully beautiful. It’s made me re-learn life, change priorities, change my metrics of what love, happiness and success is. I feel completely uncomfortable and that’s exciting because it means a wonderful change is coming and I will soon be in a place far more important and worthy of my time, energy and love. Life really is about not knowing and just doing it anyway.

So, Munchkin, I am not going to be perfect at this thing called Motherhood. I’m sorry for the million mistakes I will make, but I promise that my actions will come from a place of love and respect and I will do my best to give you a better life than I had and impart whatever knowledge I have to make you a good man that I know will change the world for the better.

I hope you have a great sense of humor, a taste for adventure, a healthy glow. I hope you keep your mind and heart open, have confidence, but balance it with humility. If you’re a product of Keith and I, I suspect you will have a hearty appetite, a deep intuition and have smart-ass comebacks with a little taste for wanting to be center of attention. You will have a presence, a quick wit, and a beautiful soul. You will know who you are and not pretend to be anything else because you will have principles and values.

I know with all my heart you will transform my, Keith and Rambo’s life in ways we never knew possible and we will have the permission to live a new life through your innocent and precious eyes.

Happiness and true love, I believe, comes from caring about something greater than yourself and somehow believing you can still contribute to it.  Keith and I love you and can’t wait to begin this adventure when we see you in person come September.

 

PS: Rambo can’t wait to be a big brother.

2017: A Year In Review

The key takeaway from 2017 – NOTHING MAKES SENSE!

Everything I thought would happen didn’t, and the unexpected – good and bad – happened in full force!


The Different Moods of 2017

This is how I started the year feeling. I was all over the place.

By mid-year this mood kicked in…

And by the end, this is exactly where I’m at (thanks Suzy).

BLC Communications

I landed what would be my favorite consulting gig at MKTG in Q1…creative and passionate people and a very fun project to work on. How many times do you see branded soda machines with adorable little super hero characters?

A Return to Moet Hennessy 

I worked at Moet Hennessy, USA in my twenties. What a ride! I began on the Hennessy brand, worked on 10 Cane Rum, Glenmorangie Scotch, and Belvedere Vodka. I left to work at Serralles, USA and eventually opened my own consulting firm but had the amazing opportunity to return as the Hennessy V.S Brand Director. Going back to where it all started….

I got to join in the ranks of these extraordinary folks.

My first day was my birthday, March 27th, and I must say it was pretty amazing. The day started in Las Vegas with a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon and VCP Champagne. A pretty incredible way to meet my team.

There was an amazing trip to Cognac to see the Hennessy distillery and experience the history first hand.

I even had the privilege to meet Roch Hennessy.

…and see the archives.

Back on US Soil, I organized a team building day at the DogPound where we boxed out our aggressions. Yes, I have a boot on…

I also had the honor of participating in the launch of Hennessy V.S Limited Edition with Jon One.

Had another fantastic trip to Champagne in June. I’m still in the boot!

And in the summer I enjoyed an educational market visit to Florida.

By the end of the summer, I moved into the role of Experiential Marketing Director for the Hennessy Portfolio.

In November, I was thrilled to have Hennessy participate in Hopeland’s annual gala. The organization finds loving homes for children, a cause very close to my heart.

Year end dinners were celebratory, although some were bittersweet as some people left the Moet Hennessy family.

And I had the great fortune of closing out the year with the Hennessy team at our delicious holiday lunch at my favorite Italian restaurant in NY, Carbone.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

My best friend, Linda, had her fabulous NY Bachelorette Party in March and we danced the night away! (Eddie the Eagle?)

She married Adam Ponsi in April and her wedding was epic on every level. Linda, thank you for making me your made of honor. It was my honor to be by your side! Love you.

*Food*

The story of my life…

Keith and I experienced the chicken parm pizza at Quality Italian with Cristina + Ralph Racanelli. We loved it so much we went back with Linda and Adam.

Can’t say enough about the bagel at Nur. This was a delicious experience with Linda and John.

Who says you can’t have it all? Champagne, pizza and a pierogi!

4 Charles’ 40oz Prime Rib – MEAT, MEAT, MEAT!

Discovered the best duck in NY at Decoy (thanks Orit!)

Although I love Carbone, there is nothing like a home cooked Italian meal with homemade red sauce. Cristina, thank you for this amazing meal.

Ayurvedic Cuisine at Divya’s with Orit.

I had my 2 extraordinary moms – Karen + Diane – come together for a cook off where they made their famous recipes and I took a ton of notes! The output = 3 days worth of delicious meals my dad got to taste test.

The Grill – Keith and my 9 year wedding Anniversary meal.

Beyond proud of Simon Kim, my brother from another (Korean) mother. What a tremendous year. He closed Piora, opened Cote, won another Michelin star, had a baby girl and serves some of the best steak I’ve ever tasted.

Pu Pu Platters and Wonton Soup with sliced pork. The way it’s supposed to be.

The NoMad’s Chicken with Cooper.

Hillstone – Trish and John 🙂

Emmy’s: Burger, Detroit-style pizza and the rice krispy treat dessert.

Love useful food pairings!

I’d like the dover sole. He’ll have the branzino…

My Family: Keith and Rambo

Rambo and Paulie – Grumpy old men.

Our trip to Aruba. We didn’t get to do a lot of personal travel this year but this vacation was so relaxing and a good mid-year reset.

Keith and I continue our broadway nights where we usually start with wine, then move to champagne, then scotch and if ambitious tequila. Over the course of 5 hours, we sing all our favorite show tunes, dance around our apartment with Rambo, or if warm, sing on our balcony. We usually end with an order from our local 24 hour diner.

Keith’s Bday with polish cuisine.

Rocking out at Linda and Adam’s wedding!

Date night for my 36th birthday.

Keith’s Christmas Decor – Disco lights in the apartment surrounded by ‘spirits’

My handsome 13 year old dog child.

Our annual holiday tradition of fancy cocktails in our favorite NY Hotels. He still fits in his tux from our wedding (9 years ago) and I rocked my mom’s dress (the one that as a daughter I use to think she was a princess in).

Rutgers Tailgating and Football

Yeah, we’re still tailgating with the greatest crew.

Things That Made Me Smile in 2017

Leaf cookies, walkman (felt like Star Lord), the baby boys, and this Christmas card.

Love you, mean it!

JLC.

Being able to work and play in this extraordinary city.

The JC Crew.

Powered by Pizza!

The ability to leave freezing NY for sunny Miami.

The BNBs.

Housewarming Parties.

Coffee & Wine.

The Eclipse.

The DogPound – best workout on the planet.

The Caruso’s – this was quite a Q4 for my family but it was a reminder that you will do anything for your loved ones. I truly have the craziest, but most amazing parents. And Nicole, we just need you to continue to watch over us.

The Witek’s – I am truly blessed to have such supportive and loving in-laws. Thank you for all your help this year.

What I Learned

Because I’m an obsessive, hyper-detailed type A personality, I had quite a wake up call this year. I questioned the way I was leading my life and what I was prioritizing. Was what I considered success a few years ago ‘success’ now? By conventional definitions, you could say I was successful but when you had a year filled with health mishaps – 4 broken ribs and a broken left foot forcing me to wear a very sexy (insert sarcastic face) boot for 4 months, 2 ER trips for my hypertension, and a surgery, I would say I didn’t feel that way.


I will admit, up to the age of thirty, I needed conventional successes to create structure. After thirty, everything I’ve learned has been from failure, rejection, humility, and vulnerability. I think that’s how your soul expands. Admittedly, I don’t always like it, but I realize the acceptance and perhaps surrendering to it makes me realize how strong I actually am.

There were a few key learnings I took away this year that I hope in my sharing helps you.

  • Sometimes you need to simply listen.

  • When people become multi sensory, they become more aware. That’s why I love traveling to new places because it forces me to engage all my senses and I actually feel more alive and alert, no longer operating on auto-pilot.
  • It never hurts to see the good in someone. They often act better because of it. Make people feel valued, seen, heard, and treat them with reverence and respect. You will bring out the best in them.
  • There is power in vulnerability and trust.
  • We live in a scarcity culture – nothing is enough. We are not good enough. We are not thin enough. We are not safe enough. I challenge that now. I think we have enough if we allow ourselves to enjoy the moment

  • It’s ok to surrender to the hurt, loss, resentment and disappointment. Accept it because it did happen, and now it’s done.
  • The energy we put out is the energy we get back – the law of attraction.
  • Get rid of the disease to please. Not worth it cause you’re never going to make everyone happy. You must make yourself happy.
  • You are in control of 2 things: how to prepare for what might happen and how to respond to what just happened.
  • Success is being healthy, living a life you admire and finding inner peace.
  • When I have a comparison moment, I now ask: What am I trying to prove, to whom and for what?
  • Nothing Makes Sense 

My hopes for 2018

I have a lot of ambitions for 2018 and hope for a healthy, balanced year.

introduce

I don’t want to let a moment pass without my acknowledgement and full experience of it. I plan to stay mindful, grateful and hope to entertain, enlighten and uplift those around me. #3QT

Stay inspired and cheers to 2018.

Love,

Brielle

20 Signs You Are Succeeding in Life from Lifehack

Well, another year ended and in classic human form, we re-evaluated what we did and didn’t do, trying to get closure, creating new goals/resolutions and having faith that the best is yet to come.

For many years, I viewed success through my career, love life, financial situation, tangible goods, travel… It probably sounds like all the ‘Enlightenment’ stories… but in the end, it didn’t satisfy me and was never enough. I didn’t feel successful even though I was fortunate enough to have what I did. Something was missing.

I came across this beautiful list that re-defined success in such a wholesome, balanced way and wanted to share. Seems that we are all probably much more successful than we give ourselves credit for. I bet most of us are starting 2017 on the right foot!

This was posted on the lifehack.org site.

Enjoy and #stayinspired.

  1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.

Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

  1. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.

Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is a strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

  1. You have raised your standards.

You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

  1. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.

No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success. Love yourself enough to say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t serve your purpose, or drags you down.

  1. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.

Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

  1. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.

Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

  1. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.

If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

  1. You don’t complain much.

Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

  1. You can celebrate others’ successes.

Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

  1. You have passions that you pursue.

You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

  1. You have things to look forward to.

If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

  1. You have goals that have come true.

Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

  1. You have empathy for others.

A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

  1. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.

Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

  1. You refuse to be a victim.

You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

  1. You don’t care what other people think.

You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standards with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

  1. You always look on the bright side.

Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

  1. You accept what you can’t change.

Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

  1. You change what you can.

And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

  1. You are happy.

To me, this list is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life.

Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You just need to keep moving onward and upward.

What 2016 Taught Me – The Year in Review

2016 was a roller coaster ride. There were supreme celebrations, unexpected obstacles, health tragedies and recoveries, humbling moments, transformations and trying to make sense of it all. I realized sometimes you just have to surrender to life. Everything happens for a reason.

happens-for-a-reason

How empowering is it to know you actually get to create your story? As a recap for this year, I decided to post what I learned in hopes that it could somehow help, guide and inspire you.

Disclaimer: I have no fancy degrees. I can only offer my honest experiences from what this year taught me.

If I had one piece of advice:  Everyone wants to feel needed, validated and secure.

The absence of meaning, the loss of self-identity and the lack of devotion to something are the strongest challenges we face. If we can find ways to complete these needs and offer them to others, we will truly live happy, complete and balanced lives.

What’s the greatest gift you can give: Give the people you love your full TRUST, potential and attention. We are only validated when we are acknowledged.

how-trust-is-gained

Actions speak louder than words: I have heard this all my life but it rings true. It’s not what you say but what you do that defines you. And by you doing things, you give others the courage and inspiration to do it, too.

Health is imperative: This includes your mental, emotional, spiritual and physical self. Combining conventional medical approaches with appropriate alternative therapies to create the most effective healing program is essential. Disease is more than physical. We are born with a self-healing program inside us that is designed to be capable of fixing anything – our bodies are the perfect machine. Nature has also given us every resource necessary to heal. Healing spiritually in conjunction with contemporary medical treatments is a win/win. Our bodies are living history books of us! Our health becomes a living, breathing biographical statement that conveys our strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears. Bear in mind, I’m not saying that we should blame ourselves for becoming ill, but rather recognize that illness develops as a consequence of behavioral patterns and attitudes that we do not realize are biologically toxic until they have already surfaced.

Avoid power symbols: We have structured our lives around money, authority, title, beauty and security… and at what cost? (Trust me, I have been very guilty of this and still need work) We need to break free of these beliefs that no longer serve our personal development. Unplug from these symbols so they no longer have power over you. You are an original! No one has or ever will be like you – you are one of a kind. Take advantage of that knowledge and declare yourself extraordinary.

Coping vs. Healing:

  • Coping: You have learned a more constructive way to deal with the pain/issue but it isn’t healed.
  • Healing: Permanent healing is when you are in full balance (Mental, Spiritual, Physical, Emotional).
  • You want to HEAL. (I am still working on this, too)

Even the ‘winners’ have downtime: When you read about world-changing people, you find there’s always an ‘exile’ season. They experienced an apparent failure that set them back, but ultimately enabled them to fulfill their purpose. It might have seemed like an unproductive period to most but these were the most important times.

dark-days

Death: Death is not a failure to heal. We are born at the perfect moment for our energy to enter this earth and there is a perfect moment for us to leave this earth.

img_2197

Process-oriented with instant gratification: Yup, that’s our culture and we love our goals, resolutions and results…quickly. This has worked for and against me throughout my life. It’s enabled me to push through to completion because I love the feeling of finishing things, but at other times, when I’m considering starting something that I know will take a while, I have a tendency of freezing up and not assigning the proper timeline to get it done/get motivated. I have succumbed to the fact that this is a process for me and it will take the rest of my life to perfect. It’s not a goal of achievement but an ongoing goal of process and an ever-evolving experience. In a culture that seeks instant results, we must learn the beauty of effort, patience, and perseverance.  Be strong, present, and steadfast.

People Pleasing: I suffer from this tremendously. So now I ask myself –

  • What am I trying to prove?
  • To Whom?
  • For What?

What makes you memorable on social media: We all post and want those likes and approvals (see first learning). From all the posts I’d consider ‘successful’, I noticed they all incorporated the following.

social-media

  • Social Currency: We share things that make us look awesome whether it’s the full truth or not.
  • Triggers: We remember what’s top of mind.
  • Emotion: When we care (good or bad) we share.
  • Public: Build to show, build to grow.
  • Practical Value: It’s some form of information you can use (and share).
  • Stories: Information that can be communicated under the guise of idle chatter.

You have control over NOW: The moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life. Create the life you deserve to live in this present moment.

control-1

Framily: This is my combination of family and friends. Being adopted, it is not about a blood link for me. My family, or framily as I call it, consists of the people that truly ‘have my back’, know when I need something before I need it and don’t hesitate to be my biggest cheerleaders when I do something great but also constructively criticize and share necessary feedback when I am plummeting down the wrong track.

*If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you*

img_2969

Patience: I struggle with this, too, but if achieved it’s truly the most genuine expression of confidence, acceptance, serenity, and faith in your own ability.  It’s a sign of strength.

Rejection: It happens to everyone and hurts like hell. It makes us question our identity and value. Remember, your struggle is part of your story.  Being rejected from something you want often means you are being directed toward something you need…to take the next best step forward.

Digital Detoxes are Mandatory: I became a slave to my devices. If I wasn’t checking emails, I was texting or checking in on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In. It became non-stop and very stressful feeling the need to stay ‘in touch’. As painful as it was, I realized I needed to manage this relationship better.

img_2201

  • Change expectations: I started to fall into the trap of being available 24/7 and reacting to everything immediately. Solution? Redefine my availability and stick to it.
  • Out of sight, out of mind: When I see/hear my device go off, I react. Solution? Simply remove it, put it in another room or put it on airplane mode – these will all remove the temptation to check it.
  • Learn when to multitask: I thought I was a rock star because I could multitask multiple projects and be plugged into my social media all at once. Wrong! I was trying to get that satisfaction of completeting things and in the end nothing was being done at 100%. I reconciled that if I’m doing something that requires a very high quality, something represents me or something has time pressure on it, it’s not the time to multitask and play with the device.
  • It’s ok to do nothing: One of the scariest things I ever heard. How could you NOT want to be productive? And then I realized, move slower to go faster. Being unstimulated calms you down and actually allows for reflection which ultimately leads to creation. There is a lot of value in the quiet, simple moments.

Choose to improve: Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development because success is something you attract by the person you become. Remember you are a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be from this moment on. (And sometimes you need a little help along the way…)

Circle of Influence: Research has shown that we virtually become like the average of the 5 people we spend most time with. Chew on that nugget of information…

Choose your words wisely: Words have both the power to hurt and heal.

words

Your words have an impact on your life and others. You should ask yourself if your words foster love or bring harm. Listen to the people you encounter. If we talk to others and listen, we create the possibility of mutual sympathy, understanding and tolerance.

Nothing is permanent. Nothing lasts forever. You only lose what you cling to. The one constant in the universe is change. What is real is the existing moment, the present that is a product of the past, or a result of the previous causes and actions. Because of ignorance, an ordinary mind conceives them all to be part of one continuous reality. No life story is one chapter long.  No chapter tells the whole tale.  No mistake defines who you are.  Keep turning the pages that need to be turned. Embrace change.

nothing-is-perm

Allow yourself to be a beginner: When the student is ready the teacher appears. At 35 I thought I knew so much. Yes, I have had many life experiences, but this year humbled me into realizing I am still a student in so many ways and should embrace all the teachers that come into my life. They are everywhere and will teach me what I want to be and what I don’t want to be – both are valuable.

No one owes you anything.

You are not a product of your circumstances:  You are a product of your decisions.  It’s about deciding to NOT let your frustration or fear decide your future.

Be kind to all: Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant with the weak and wrong. Sometime in your life, you will have been all of these.

At this stage in my life: If it doesn’t make me happy, make me better or make me money, I don’t make time for it.

Hours: We all have the same amount of time in a day – how will you use them?

time

The 6 Best Doctors: I have this as my screen shot on my iphone. Whenever I’m feeling ill emotionally or physically, it reminds me nature has my back and I will heal.

  • Sunshine
  • Water
  • Rest
  • Air
  • Exercise
  • Diet

6-best-doc

…And sometimes these bad boys can be great doctors,, too 🙂

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Don’t believe everything you are told: Ask questions and be curious. Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Observe and analyze.  When you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

True control is being able to control your mind: To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind.

Make self-care a daily priority: How can you help others and be of use to this world if you are unhealthy?

self-care

Never is never right and always is always wrong.

You are an original: Every life is a chance to change the world. Every life is an experiment the universe has never attempted before. Being (who you need to be) + Doing (what you need to do) = Having (what you want to have). This takes commitment and only YOU can do it. Also, remember, that the knowledge you accumulate and share cannot be stolen or removed, it is timeless and ageless, and in many ways just like you.

Replace jealousy with admiration.

kindness

Forgive (if you succeed in doing this, let me know how).

forgive

Give up labels: They only create boundaries and are relevant to a person’s experiences.

Things to Shut Up About:

  1. Your Goals: Plans should be guarded with diligence until you are able to achieve them. Being loud about everything you do enables others to steal them, cripple you with timelines, demoralize you….
  2. Your Deepest Thoughts: What you think about certain topics should be your belief and not what you try to inculcate into others. Learn to understand that your thoughts are your interpretation and not the objective truth.
  3. Philanthropy: Helping another is charitable work and does a whole lot to the development of individuals and our society. Its more value when you do not seek recognition for such benevolence.
  4. Your Lifestyle: It’s simply not worth putting your emotional conditions out to all. Expecting appraisals from people is not necessary.
  5. Your Family’s Dirty Laundry: Not only is it disrespectful and unwise to bring conflicts within your family to others, it devalues you and your family as these stories are usually passed on by the people you told them to which, in the end, makes matters worse.

Consume Mindfully: Be thankful for the nourishment good food provides, and be aware of what you put into your body. Think about it before you buy it. Is it really something you need, or just a transient desire (I am known for the latter)? Pay attention to the effects of negative media you consume – this is not all about food, folks! Ask yourself: is it helping me to grow or learn, or is it a form of distraction? Eat less to taste more.

truth

Changing the Game: Too many people try and change the game before they even learn to play it. Learn it, own it, then change it.

Debate.Decide.DO.

Detachment:  Others call it a law of success or learning how to let go emotionally. I like to think of it as separating ourselves from the expectant pressures that actually block us from living to our full potential. When we allow ourselves to release the emotional attachment to certain outcomes, we open up a new route for ourselves and, instead, find a route to freedom. We learn to let things be how they are instead of creating ideals in our minds of how we think things should be. And we learn to trust that we are where we are supposed to be. After all, trust and faith are the most fundamental components to our success. Detaching emotionally from the outcome of our desires does not mean we lose the desire itself. The key is to hold on to our intention. Our intentions push us to reach our desires.

let-go

Embrace the ‘Chapters’ of your life. Remember the good life isn’t made only of major moments. It’s the everyday ‘ahas’ that bring you close to what you’re wishing for.

chapters

On my website, Three Quarters There, I wrote this at the launch 1 year ago…it still holds true.

Simply put – Your life is your party. You get to create the invite list, the experiences, the décor, the soundtrack. Enjoy the process, but remember as long as you continue to strive for greatness, you are most likely Three Quarters There. That is my life message.

life-is-a-party

Start writing your damn story! Cheers to 2017!

Love

Brielle

Motivational Monday w/o Oct 3rd: New Day

We forget that every day is a new #beginning. It’s literally a chance to start over & become who you want to be. Change those habits. Start that #journey. #Dreams don’t have deadlines but you have to start somewhere so why not today? #stayinspired #3QT

wallpaper-on-every-new-day

Motivational Monday w/o Sept. 19th: Expect, Desire, Respect, Admire

If you want things to change and become better in your life, you have to act upon your expectations, desires, what you respect and what you admire. #stayinspired #3QT

mm-sept-19

Motivational Monday w/o Sept. 12th: No is the New Yes

I am still a work in progress on this. I want to find a healthy balance of helping others and keeping myself sane.

no 1 I’ve discovered through much trial and error that learning to say ‘No’ is the single most effective way to increase focus and productivity (something I love!). How is this? Well, saying no:

  1. Reduces low leverage activities – the ones that consumer resources and drive results slowly.
  2. You will invest your time in high leverage activities which gets results faster.
  3. Saying no to things that don’t matter for self/community/world will give us time to say yes to things we care about/will make a difference.
  4. Saying ‘no’ doesn’t have to be an actual ‘no’. It could be a ‘not now’ or ‘no, but instead…’

no button

These are small steps that will make a big difference, free up your time and give you an empowering feeling that you are managing your time most efficiently.

#stayinspired

Motivational Monday w/o Aug. 15th: Legends!

This will be the last Motivational Monday post for 2016 August month. Keith and I will be on holiday for the rest of August embarking on some great adventures and self-discovery.

This week’s motivation is realizing what a legend we all are once we stop seeing ourselves as average. #stayinspired #togreatness #legend #3qt

A Legend