Seasons change and so do the months.  It seems to be that there really are no constants in life, which is a good thing when you really think about it.  We don’t want things to be static; we want them to be dynamic in more ways than one.  I don’t know what it is for me, but as I age (I know 26 is not much of an age) I realize that time goes faster and faster.  However because of all the things that I buy myself with I am okay with this factor.  The fact that May is upon us tomorrow is just crazy to me though I am looking forward to summer months for some much needed vacation time off and a way to get refreshed and renewed for another school year.  

May is my birthday month.  May babies are pretty special if you ask me.  As someone that shares a birthday with the late Pope John Paul II, I know that May birthdays are special.  I’m turning 27 this month…well, tomorrow’s month, but if there is one thing about my age that surprises me, it is that I look at the 27 years I have been on this earth and I wonder where they went.  

I am a person that often reflects on how past events went in my life.  Not just good, but also bad.  I reflect on what could have gone better or what went the best that it could.  I look to the future to think about all the neat things that could happen in my life, and I try my hardest not to let things bother me ever, but they do.  Sometimes they bother me a lot.  But you know what, that’s okay.  Acknowledgement of these anxieties and working through them is half the battle of becoming a stronger person I believe.  

Have you ever heard of being mindful?  Not in the sense of just thinking about things in general but mindfulness as a practice?  Recently in my new found habits as of lately I have really been trying to concentrate on mindfulness and think about the present.  Reflection is good, don’t get me wrong, but mindfulness really helps you to focus on what is good now, not before, not after, but now.  I went for a walk tonight and I really took in the trail and all of nature’s glory even though the pollen count was a little too high for my nose to fully appreciate what I was smelling.  Life was truly blissful for the time that I completely focused on what was happening around me and not what I needed to be doing at home or this week.  

I am not cheery all the time, nor do I really want to be.  I know that may come as a shock to some, but I also know that anxiety is a normal part of life.  I have had panic attacks, and I don’t wish that on anyone because they are truly the epitome of scary.  However small anxieties keep us on our toes.  There are some unwanted anxieties that really keep us on our toes too.  Those are the ones that we don’t want but they happen anyway.  

May is a time for spring to really blossom.  A time for everything to come out of its hiding from winter and begin to explore the world around it.  Weather gets nicer, flowers and trees bloom, and we get more of a dose of Vitamin D in PA than we have had since August.  Did I mention May is my birthday month and that it is a pretty cool month?  Did I mention that I’m okay with turning 27 because it means new opportunities and more chances to improve myself?

Do we treat everyday like it’s May?  Do we come out of hiding and enjoy what is around us?  Do we allow ourselves to bloom and thrive even though we may have suffered a theoretical winter?  It’s really not the type of storm we weather, it’s how we weather it.  

I have been waiting patiently or not so patiently to write this blog until I was good and ready which is hard these days with my routine.  Alas, here I am with a title that could really mean a lot of different things in many different contexts.  However, when we look at the current situation of my body, we can see that there is less of me.  This less is a good thing.  Good for my health and good for my well-being.  However, I want to make it clear that losing weight really is not my goal in my changed eating habits and exercise routine.  I want to be strong and more fit.  I realize this is not a SMART goal and as a counselor that should bug me, but I guess I will know when I am satisfied.  Yes I want to lose some more weight, as it really is only healthy for me still.  I am down to a weight that I haven’t seen since college.  

With that being said, this time is wayyyy different in more ways than one.  When I rewind back to 2010-2012 there was a time that I was about the same weight that I am now, however I was a very sad, depressed person.  Which I know you may look at me now, and wonder “huh?”  But in all honesty, I was skinnier than my heaviest weight, but I was in a horrible state of mind.  I want to preface the following things I’m going to say with the fact that this should be something we talk about more as a society, stigma has no place with me.  

I would wake up in the morning at my apartment in Pittsburgh, look at myself in the mirror, and ask myself, “who are you?”  Now when you think about that statement as a young person it can mean many things.  I had lost my sense of self for really no reason at all.  My grades were fine, my friends were fine, my mom was in the process of moving which caused stress but everyone was supportive.  At this point I had settled into my major and the major stress of freshman year was gone.  However I had lost weight not because I was happy, but because I was sad.  Skinny and sad is really no place for anyone to be just like fat and sad is no place to be either.  

One of the reasons I wanted to be a counselor myself in the first place was because of my experiences with a counselor at Pitt.  I am stubborn.  I know this well, so when I was asked to meditate or listen to relaxation things I did not comply.  However talking helped, and the counselor I saw made an impact so great that is what I do everyday of my life.  

Fast forward to grad school.  I was teaching Zumba a couple days a week and going to the gym when I could but my mood had improved immensely since my junior year at Pitt.  I can’t tell you how it happened because if I knew I would not have turned that way in the first place but I gained all the weight back and then some that I lost when I was sad.  So this time I was fat and happy.  Happy is a much better place to be regardless of your size, stature, or weight.  I turned my thinking around, I choose to look at things from a whole different perspective and I choose happiness on a daily basis still even though I have my rough patches.  

Grad school was great.  Good grades, good friends, good times, and really nothing that I felt needed a change.  In 2014 I graduated and I got my current job the summer I graduated.  Hard work pays off, it really does and there is no greater feeling in the world than being satisfied and thankful for what you have in life.  Keep going through the years and it will bring you to 2016 when I started at the YMCA teaching Hip Hop and eventually Aqua Zumba.  I am a person that is a group fitness instructor, however you really wouldn’t have known it looking at me on the street, well at least I don’t think so. I ate whatever I wanted, and now that I look back my portion sizes were wayyyy out of control.  

So now it is April 2017.  I started my journey to being a more fit person in January.  On the 15th to be exact, I decided enough was enough.  I am not a person of new year’s resolutions so that can be thrown out the window, and I did not just think, “Oh man, I really need a diet.”  I really can’t tell you the event that switched my thinking in my brain and my choice, however I have not looked back since then and I don’t plan to.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are going to be bumps in the road because the road to success is never a straight path, but I am more strong willed than I have ever been.  This time is different.  This time I am eating what I want in moderation.  This time I am giving 110% in my classes and the classes I go to.  

I never ever want to be the person seen as fat shaming or skinny shaming.  Neither is a good thing.  I want to be a person that motivates with their presence and encouragement.  A person that is seen as someone who can be a positive influence.  I look at myself not and I’m not only happy, I am also more healthy.  Happy and healthy is a great combination.  

Motivation is something that definitely has to be intrinsic and extrinsic in my beliefs.  I started going to Boot Camp and Body Pump in January (well Body Pump came later because I was not sure about that one) and the instructor is just phenomenal.  There really are no words that can really put to light how great she is.  Positive, caring, smiling, butt-kicking, and awesome are just some of the words that would describe her personality.  It doesn’t matter if we are doing push-ups galore or burpees for days, she is so motivating and never, ever puts anyone down.  I smile through the struggle every time.  I can do things that I never thought I could do because of her influence.  

I’m just getting started…I am 26 and looking forward to the rest of my life.  This is just the beginning.  Being strong is the same as being weak.  The difference is you don’t quit.  

I have turned a corner…a rather large corner I might add.  I am not one for resolutions so that is not what this is.  I really can’t say what made me “wake up” or want to change, but who really cares anyway.  I have been feeling for awhile that I needed to get back in control of my life as far as my weight goes.  I work out a few times weekly as most people know, but I have never been one to reflect that fitness lifestyle in my eating habits.  Diet pop was my crack, and candy, cookies, and other sweets were everything that I loved to snack on.  Everything in moderation.  That is what everyone says.  But it really hard to live that until you truly understand that it really is everything in moderation.  

One day I missed drinking a Diet Coke.  Then one became two and two became three.  I am now at 11 days pop free besides one fountain drink this past weekend.  Not only is this helping me to save money in the workplace since I typically would purchase one from the machine daily, but it is also helping me to focus on drinking more water which I never ever do.  I have been faithful about bringing my water bottle daily and focusing on trying to drink more water daily.  I have never cared for the taste of water besides when I work out, so this is a big change, however, I have not really craved pop or caffeine since I gave it the boot.  

Working out is the next corner turned.  I teach 2, sometimes 3 classes a week, but for awhile I was in a rut.  However, I am a positive person who knows that things will get better, so I am good now.  I am making new routines, and I have been growing my classes which is seriously the best.  And these classes during the week are not enough to make a lifestyle change, so pretty much any chance I get, I am going to go to the Y and at least walk on the treadmill if not the elliptical since the weather outside is not good for walking really.  I also found an app called FitStar which is a neat app that syncs with FitBit and allows you to do workouts with personal training videos.  So far, so good, and I hope to add Boot Camp and maybe Body Pump to my routine too.  Lifestyle changes…

Last thing to change is food.  One of the hardest things when you work in a school is not eating many sweets.  Birthdays, parties, treats, etc make it hard to say no to snacking.  Like I said, though, moderation.  Starving myself has never been a way that could ever work for me, but in the past I have cut out all sweets and been hungry.  I now know this is not what you need to do.  You need to allow yourself those treats, but instead of 3 cookies, you have one.  Instead of 8 Hershey Kisses, you have 2.  The quantity is really my downfall.  I have been eating more veggies, more proteins, and cutting back overall on my quantity but making sure that I have a treat here and there and not leave myself totally hungry.  

9lbs down.  That is small in the scheme of things, but it is 9lbs.  It is progress, it is moving forward.  It takes longer than 2 weeks to make a lifestyle change, but I am hoping that my will is strong enough to keep going.  I am well aware that skinny is not the same as being in shape.  However, losing weight is what I need to becoming more fit.  This “diet” which I would rather refer to it as a “lifestyle change” does not knock out any foods.  It allows me to have days where I rest, it allows me to eat fast food if I want one day.  It does not allow me to do it everyday or fall into a rut of spending all that money on that food either.  It’s not going to be easy, but then again, it shouldn’t be easy.  So here we go.  Buckle up, I’m ready to go. 

Continue reading “I’ve turned a corner.”

Though this blog post may come three (or four) weeks too late, it’s never too late to celebrate a milestone such as one that you are excited about which is that this is my third year as a school counselor.  I think the craziest thing about it is that it has been that long since I graduated grad school.  Time flies…that is really all I have to say.  However, I can say this because the year has started out smoothly so far, that I am still excited for this year 20 days into the school year.  Let’s just hope at the 40 day mark, the 60 day mark and the 179 mark that I am feeling the same way.  The thing about being a school counselor is all of the different hats that you get to wear throughout the day and also the year.  

Advocacy is one of the biggest things as a school counselor.  Is the child being treated fairly in the school environment by the teacher and by the system?  Can we do anything to make it better for the student to be able to reach their potential.  I have started to really find my voice as an advocate this year, and that is something that takes time I believe.  You can’t come into a position freshly out of school and think that everyone is going to take you seriously, especially being the youngest one in the building.  I love the people I work it, and they have their whole hearts in the students, but sometimes we all get frustrated and need to see things from a new perspective and that’s where I come in.  It’s not to fight with anyone, it’s not to ridicule or belittle, it is to help which is obviously what I set out to do everyday.  Helpers…another role of the counselor among the 30 million other things that get stacked.  I don’t mind that stack though, it really keeps me loving what I’m doing because it is not mundane.  

This Friday I am helping to deliver yoga classes for one of our grades which I can’t wait for.  Last school year I was able to get funded on Donor’s Choose for yoga mats for our school to help with the delivery of these lessons.  I was lucky enough to have parental help by a licensed yoga instructor.  These are just a few examples of the small joys that keep me going throughout the day and make the rough patches seem less rough.  

Life is also going well as this blog is not just about my job.  I’m confused about some things but I’m sure in time they will work themselves out.  Life is also busy.  Busy is the best word for it.  One simple word.  Busy.  We all are busy, right?  Well I know that I often take that word to extremes as I go through my daily routine of almost never getting home til after 7 or 8 pm on a work night because of my extras.  Between mobile therapy, teaching fitness classes, school board, photography, and other miscellaneous things that come up I am often getting home four hours later than the end of my work day, but that is what makes me who I am.  I am a person that needs a lot of stimulation to keep them going.  I like being busy, I like doing lots of activities, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  

This is a rather short post, but I’m going to try to be more diligent to work on posting more regularly, fingers crossed!  




You know those times that you do other things to get out of doing what it is your really have to you?  Yeah.  That’s now.  I need to finish my binder and maybe (probably not) go to bed early in order to be ready for the big day.  I am like my own 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in that I’m nervous about tomorrow.  I know, I know, it’s my second year, but I am feeling more high strung than last year.  Funny thing is that last year went just fine, so this year is sure to follow, right?  Hopefully!

Anyway…I felt it necessary to write a poem about the PSSA’s and it is going to be totally off the top of my head so here it goes:

There once was a test that happened every spring,

School was mostly done but the state had to add that zing,

It goes by the name of PSSA,

And it takes up a lot of my school day,

It makes teachers nervous and students too,

Sometimes it even makes us blue,

I tell all the students to just do their best,

If they do this it won’t feel like much of a test,

I don’t like that it makes my students fret,

But I do give them all the support they can get,

It would be really cool if we didn’t have them,

Hopefully by the time my 4th graders are DuBois Alum,

They will be finished and no longer a thing,

A girl can dream for no more tests the future will bring.


I don’t know about that…but it’s a poem, and it rhymes so maybe it has some value?  Haha.  Anyway….this day was crazy to say the least and it’s only Monday.  I’m just hoping that the week goes quickly and that no issues come up.  I just want my kiddos to know that they will be just fine and they will make it to the next grade.  This time of year puts so much stress on everyone, and it’s just so nice to be done with it once May hits.  All I can hope for is a smooth day, week, and month.  Say a little prayer, keep us in your thoughts, because the educators of PA are having a rough week.  

Thinking is one of my specialties.  Funny, you might think because “haha, you’re a counselor and all.”  But, it’s something that I’ve naturally always done a lot of whether good or at times bad.  Mindfulness is one thing that I struggle with sometimes too.  One of the reasons I’m incorporating it into classroom lessons is to help my students gain a sense of peace at a young age so they have the ability to relax when they get to be 25 like me.   Continue reading “Thinking is what I do.”

Today was a day that was one that you don’t usually see in February.  A day without a coat is rare in a PA winter, but today was an exception.  I like these exceptions and I took full advantage of the day.  I even cleaned my car which hasn’t gotten a real bath since I bought it in November.  Sadly, I went a short hour before I got it dirty again going through random puddles on the road from the melting snow.  The cool thing, though, about Spring peeking its head through the winter is the idea that everything renews itself in Spring.

Just as the trees and flowers start to come around in Spring, so does the warmer weather and sunnier days.  This also means that we get happier Pennsylvanians and nicer, less dry, skin.  Spring symbolizes the renewing of everything and if we think of life in this metaphor, we could see Spring as a chance to make something new happen in our lives.  Not that one day should make a difference, because not just want day does something usually click to make a change for most of us, but we can find peace in the fact that every year there is a consistency that after snow and blah we find sunshine and blooming trees.  Cheesy maybe, but in the same respect it is refreshing.

I am not a winter person, and I would tell anyone that.  I don’t like the cold, I don’t like the snow, the dirty cars, the salted roads, or the dry skin that comes from this time of year.  I also don’t enjoy being pale and wondering where the blessed sun is for days.  I don’t let that get me down, however.  I acknowledge the snow, I get mad at it, and I let it go.  Not all things are that simple to do for me, and I know that many things are easier said than done.  That is the neat thing about being a work in progress though.  I am trying to constantly better my self through my self-image and how I react to others to get to where I want to be.  It’s this unsettling of myself that makes me comfortable with who I am but also makes me strive to be better in some aspect that is lacking.  I will never be perfect, I am far from it, however I hope that in the years to come I gain a better sense of self and help others to see the same things in themselves.  Self-esteem is one of those things that is not something can give you externally, but I’m not saying the extrinsic things do not matter either.  Constantly being put down by someone you love is definitely extrinsic and a way to feel low self-esteem.  However, it is an inside job like happiness and even if someone puts us down, it is our choice of whether or not to react.

Just like Spring gives the trees another chance to bloom, we can give ourselves another chance to help ourselves or someone else that is in need of a pick-me-up.  Sometimes the best advice we can give is no advice at all (spoken like a true counselor there).  Our support and caring attitude is what other people need to get through the tough times.  Giving answers is not helpful.

So as Spring approaches and the sun keeps teasing us, know that you have the potential to change something for you or someone else…or both!  It’s never too late to get on the wagon of helping and being there for someone.

Oh here it goes again, a blog from me….in a new year…about what a year I had this past year.  The year I turned 25.  The year I made it halfway to 50 and a quarter of a century!  You just have to love all the end of the year reviews, even if you get sick of the “new year, new me” posts.  Just so you know, this is not one of those because I’m the same person I was before the new year.  2015 was a rather great year though for sure.  Not like 2015 didn’t throw its punches at me, but all in all it was a good year.  I always remind myself that just because one day something bad may happen, it doesn’t mean that everyday is going to be bad.  I hear people saying, “2015 sucked.”  Well maybe it wasn’t the best for you, but I have a hard time saying that a whole year of my life was bad.   Continue reading “Goodbye Twenty Fifteen, Hello Twenty Sixteen”

Wowzers, it’s been since February that I’ve blogged.  That’s utterly insane!  Life has been a whirlwind since then.  I saw my dentist complaints were on the last blog, and I’ve had 2 root canals since then and my teeth are alllll better now!  So full force on fast forward to where I am not.  I finished my school year out strong even though testing drove me crazy.  I could not believe it was time for summer.  I visited Chicago and Nashville this summer, I had an amazing summer for the most part even though there were some friendship woes.  Then it was August in a flash, and it was time for school to start up again.  So here I am in September with one year under my belt and working on my second year as a school counselor at a school that I love.   Continue reading “Uh huh I’m worth it, give it to me I’m worth it”

If there’s one thing that is bound to get me nervous, it is the dentist.  I can’t tell you any crazy horror stories from when I was a child other than being seriously afraid of my dentist sealing my teeth and always talking to be from behind the mask.  As a kid, that’s scary, and not really knowing what’s going on is even more scary.  I never really felt like I knew exactly what was going on, other than my dentist told me that I had a cavity or needed something done.  That is, until now.  I just switched dentists and let me tell you, I’ve never felt more pumped (and extremely upset) about embarking on a new adventure as I have now. Continue reading “Dentist Woes”