Get Uncomfortable

For the next SEVEN days, I am taking a challenge to PUSH myself OUTSIDE of my comfort zone. It’s so important for me to do something like this because I can get comfortable where I am, and it means that I’m not reaching out and growing as a person anymore. Taking on a challenge like this is extremely important for someone like me.

I like being comfortable. Really, who doesn’t? But if we get TOO comfortable, things just STOP. There’s no more growth, and no more development. Our relationships with others become stagnant. We get bored. We lose interest.

It’s time to MIX IT UP!

Get Uncomfortable Challenge

We shy away from any semblance of discomfort. We don’t like it because it is UNCOMFORTABLE. It is hard to appreciate that feeling in the moment, and even in looking back, sometimes we struggle to understand why that was so key and crucial to our growth.

Being a teacher, and working with people to help them grow reminds me how important it is to GET UNCOMFORTABLE. If you don’t challenge yourself, you will not change. The difference between who you want to be and who you are is what you do. If you don’t change what you’re doing, you won’t become the person you want to be.

Guess what? Today, I’m admitting something. As part of this challenge, I’m admitting that I’m NOT happy with who I am. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t dislike myself or anything. But I KNOW that I can be better. I know that I’m capable of more than I’m reaching for right now.

For the next seven days, I VOW to push myself OUTSIDE of my comfort zone so that I can grow as an individual, and as part of my team. I’m ready to MIX IT UP, and live life to the fullest! Let’s do this!

30 Ways to Reward Yourself!

Earlier, I posted about rewarding yourself. Treats can sometimes undermine the goals we have. Cake, cookies, fancy coffee drinks, and other goodies have so many calories and so little nutritional value. A better way to reward yourself is to choose something that isn’t going to add extra calories but will still make you feel great.

Here’s my list of 30 ways to reward yourself WITHOUT eating! I’ve broken it down into 5 sections: Shopping, Activity, Pamering, Vacation, and Free!

Image from: Winning! / Shutterstock

Image from: Winning! / Shutterstock

Shopping Ideas

  1. Buy a new workout outfit
  2. Buy yourself flowers at the farmers market
  3. Buy a new pair of running shoes or cross trainers
  4. Buy a new water bottle
  5. Spring for something sparkly
  6. Get a bottle of fancy shower gel or lotion to treat your ski

Activity Ideas

  1. Go see a new movie
  2. Enjoy a laugh at a local comedy club
  3. Go see your favorite band
  4. Attend a local sports game
  5. Try a new exercise class
  6. Sign up for a charity walk or running event

Pampering Ideas

  1. Get a massage
  2. Get a pedicure
  3. Get a new hairstyle
  4. Get a manicure
  5. Get a facial
  6. Spend the day at a spa

Vacation Ideas

  1. Go on a ski or snowboard vacation
  2. Go on a beach vacation
  3. Go on a cruise
  4. Go camping
  5. Go on a river/lake vacation
  6. Go to an amusement park (but bring your own snacks!)

Free Ideas

  1. Enjoy a staycation
  2. Start a garden
  3. Go for a hike and enjoy nature
  4. Take a vacation day from work to do whatever you want
  5. Unwind with a movie or book of your choice.
  6. Complete one activity/idea from your pinterest board!

What other ideas do you have?

Change is HAPPENING!

When I first started working out in December, I didn’t always feel great afterwards. I felt exhausted, worn out, and defeated.

But I didn’t let that stop me. Through the support of my coach and my challenge group, I kept with it. I did some sort of workout every day (I used yoga on my rest day to help stretch my body. Active recovery helps keep me from falling off the wagon). And I survived my first challenge, dropping about 7lbs, and SEVERAL inches.

I kept with it, but there were months where I didn’t see the same changes. There were rounds where, physically, my body’s weight and measurements didn’t change. 

Today, though, I had a revelation. Even during the months where there weren’t the changes I wanted, the changes that I hoped for, there were changes. And the biggest one was apparent to me when I took my sweaty selfie today.


I look HAPPIER. Even after a kick-butt workout. I look happier. I feel happier. My body feels stronger. My mind is better able to deal with all the stuff I throw at it.

So remember…even when the scale and measurements aren’t changing, you most certainly are!


Rubik’s Cubes Are My Life

Rubik’s Cubes are my life.


As a child, I had a box full of Rubik’s Cubes: the traditional ones, cheap souvenir versions, and even some variants on the cube. Though I had no clue what they were about at the time, I was fascinated by the way the colored squares moved. I would sit and twist them into puzzling patterns until I was able to get one side solved. Eventually, the cubes were placed in storage and forgotten.

imagesDuring the summer after high school, I was at Saint Mary’s College for orientation when I met my best friend; he was holding a Rubik’s Cube, twisting the little cubes, trying to solve it. I sat next to him, and we discussed how the squares moved around the cube. This moment reignited my interest in the cube, and when I saw a Rubik’s Cube at the store a few days later, I bought a new one. Since I didn’t know how to solve it, discovering its mysteries became my goal.

The first time that I solved the cube, I didn’t believe it. I thought it was a stroke of luck. But when I was able to solve it again, I realized I was beginning to understand, and I created new challenges. Visualizing a pattern in my head, I was able to take the cube from an unsolved state to a patterned state.

By the time summer ended, I considered myself competent in the language of the cube, and it became a source of comfort for me throughout college. When I needed to center myself, I would pick up the cube and solve it. I understood how it moved, and had control of it. I got it. It became my “interesting fact” and my “party trick”.

My relationship with the cube stayed this way until my Topology class. It was then that I realized just how applicable to mathematics the cube was. I realized that there were many mathematical secrets hidden in my interactions with the cube. From algorithms, to spacial awareness, to graph theory, this cube emanated mathematics.

I began to read mathematical articles about this cube, which led me to consider graduate school for math. As the deadlines approached, I realized I wasn’t ready for that step yet. I needed to do something else first, so I joined the Lasallian Volunteers, a religious organization that works with the De La Salle Christian Brothers to serve the poor. This experience took me from my home in California, a state where I had spent my entire life, and placed me in New York City. I packed up my bags, grabbed my Rubik’s Cube, and headed to the unknown.

I became a volunteer at a Lasallian, inner-city boys high school. For the first month or so, I struggled to connect with my students. There were a few students who would come to me for their tutoring needs, but most avoided talking to me until something happened. One day, my rubik’s cube was sitting on my desk, and a student picked it up.

He asked me if I could solve it. Nodding, I held my hand out, and, within three minutes, I had solved the cube and placed it back in his hand. After that, students began to stop by to chat and get help on their homework.

Most of my students struggle with math. It’s understandable, especially once you realize that math is a different language, much like the movements of the Rubik’s Cube. I loved tutoring them and teaching them about one of my passions. There was one student, though, who just didn’t get it.

One day, he and I started to work on the Rubik’s Cube, and eventually he got used to the movements. Now, he can solve it on his own. The Rubik’s Cube keeps him quiet during his classes, and now when we go over math, we talk about the steps in terms of the steps to solving a Rubik’s Cube.Professors_cube

Eventually, I moved up from my traditional Rubik’s Cube. The really impressive one that I have is my Professor’s cube (the 5x5x5 version).

It really wows my students and brings a little more of a challenge into my world. I sat for almost a week when I first got it and challenged myself to figure it out without “cheating.” I didn’t want to look up how to do it, even though there were times where I was really tempted. I remember the moment I solved it, and the pride and happiness that I felt. I wish I could share that feeling with others. That sense of accomplishment still greets me anytime I solve this cube.

Still, there are times when I pull out the traditional cube, sit back, and make the colors dance around the surface.


And If You’re Gone Tomorrow, What Was Ours Still Will Be…

Dear Newsies,

We’ve talked about this before. You have changed my life for the better. Newsies, you have given me hope in the dark times, and have carried the banner through the trials and tribulations of a few Tony Nominations, some early morning TV shows, and so much more.

Your short Papermill Playhouse production wasn’t enough for the Fansies, and the powers at be in Disney heard the cries of fans across the country begging for more. Like Joe Pulitzer, they caved, and we won! We got a measly little 12 week run on Broadway.

But that wasn’t enough. See, like Jack Kelly, you yearned for your Santa Fe…you wanted to be produced across the country and around the world. You wanted regional and high school productions, community theatre shows. But you knew that we still needed you on Broadway, and the cast wowed audiences from around the world. Suddenly, that 12 week engagement was extended…and eventually became an open ended run.

Today is the day where it all ends. Newsies, you’re leaving us. Did we not love you enough? Were we not big enough fans? Did we not carry the banner enough?

The world needs to know. Because hearts around the world are BREAKING today. Mine included.

Newsies, I came to NYC three years ago as a volunteer. Just before you started your Papermill run. But long before that, I had fallen madly and deeply in love with you: your message, your songs (even the awful ones), your dances (oh, those thrusting hips), and your stars (who would have thought that Jack Kelly would grow up to be BATMAN???).

Newsies, even in college, I was able to connect with and grow closer to people because of you. You were a cult classic, and we loved every cheesy moment of your film. But through it all, my dream was a live musical version.

After moving clear across the country, I saw that little banner announcing a Newsies show at Papermill in New Jersey. I couldn’t believe it…my dream was coming true! And a few short months later, when I heard about the Broadway transfer, I was even happier.

By the time Newsies had gotten to Broadway, most of my NYC area friends were from my volunteer program or from my volunteer site. In fact, I didn’t even know how to work the Broadway system yet.

Newsies, you changed all that. I made so many new friends through a mutual love of you. And you continuously gave us something to believe in. You shined on Broadway.

The cast made the fansies feel like they were part of the show. They attributed the show’s existence to us…the extra performances were because of our love and passion for this epic show.

You carried the banner 8 times a week, and gave it your all each and every day, and you inspired more that just a love of your show…you inspired a love of broadway, Flamin’ Hot Cheetohs, and glasses of seltzer.

Newsies, you’re so much more than just a show. You deserved a special Tony…more than just score and choreography. Your message reminds us that we can make a difference. Your existence reminds us that we did make a difference.

Newsies, you let us know that no matter how small, we can all have a voice, and that our voices can change the world. You’ve inspired us to seize the day and change the world.

I can’t even keep writing this, because tears are streaming down my face. You’re leaving today, and its likely that you will not be back to Broadway…today is bittersweet. You’re leaving NYC, but a national tour is starting, and so many more people are going to experience how wonderful and amazing you are.

Newsies, go out, and inspire a whole new set of Fansies. Share your story and your message with the world. Carry the banner to the far corners of our country…and to the far corners of the world. I love you, and I always will.

Even though you’ll be gone tomorrow, what was ours will always be. #NewsiesForever #FansieForLife


PS In case you’ve missed these…here are my posts about you, including the ones with pictures of you. Here are some of my favorites: