Monday, December 30, 2013

A very "non" list for 2014

As the New Year approaches lists and blogs and Buzzfeeds surface with titles like,

"23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23"

"Things to Let Go of in 2014"

"How to be a Good Person in 2014"

etcetera, etcetera, you get the drift.

While I find these lists and blogs, extremely thought provoking, as reading through one I started thinking to myself how my generation is so caught up on these lists.

These lists are very constraining, these authors do not know me as a person, and it just made me realize it is so important to understand ourselves.

Some lists tell you to be healthy in 2014, awesome, I'm an advocate for this, however if I decide I want to eat a whole pizza to myself every night for a month straight, that's my decision (tempting, although I would never do that.)

Other lists say go out and date multiple people and see how that plays out. What if someone does not want to date at all? Or the posts that essentially judge people for being married young, that's their choice, let them be.

Here is my advice for 2014...

Be you. 
Know your voice.
Do what you want.

These are all merely just thoughts that came to my mind recently, but throughout life and something I personally have realized lately is the importance of knowing your own voice. It is so easy to lose ourselves to society and how we have to be or someone telling you things have to be done a certain way. If you lose yourself in that process, the authenticity is gone. So be you.

Ironically enough, I saw this on the billboard outside my middle school today when I went for a run, (left there 2004, what?!)....

"Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

So with that, happy New Year! I hope to see you all in 2014 and continue to share my thoughts in this space during that time!

xox.

Monday, December 9, 2013

happiness.


Today on Facebook I had the opportunity to click on my "Year in Review" and some of the things that popped up included:

  • Getting a new Keurig (monumental moment people)
  • Meeting Lauren Conrad
  • A Wawa opening up in Tampa (it's a Jersey thing...)
  • Registering for my last semester of graduate school
  • Some status about coffee (shocker)
Beyond these less significant things, other things popped up such as:

  • Being an on-site coordinator for the AFLV LeaderShape session at UCLA
  • Starting my last "first day" of school
  • Interning at Brandeis University
  • Running two half marathons
  • Receiving a scholarship
The last thing on my "Year in Review" was one of the best experiences I've had all year and that was serving as a member of the 2013 Graduate Staff for the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Annual Meeting. 

Essentially through this experience I realized a lot about myself, how I continue to work in a team and more about my future profession. It was an incredible experience.

However, what I have learned this year and through a lot of these other experiences is what makes me happy. 

  • What makes me happy is people, being in the company of really good people and having meaningful relationships with people. These are people who are passionate about what they do, find ways to connect with one another, are generally positive and people I can laugh with. I found this with my grad staff team, my LeaderShape experience, my time in Boston, my cohort, my roommates and more! 
  • Being happy means taking care of myself. I found this through managing training for a half marathon and taking time outside of school and work to connect with friends and to do things on my own too!
  • Happiness is a cup of coffee in the morning, with a student, with a campus colleague or a new friend
  • Happiness is giving back to a cause and the community. I've been lucky enough to do this this year more, especially for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. 
  • Happiness is family.
  • Happiness is loving yourself and being your true self through that process.

While this may be repetitive of my thankful post on Thanksgiving, I truly cannot show enough gratitude to all the people in my life who have, made this one of the happiest years and best years. 

Dave Matthews Band said it best with his song "Best of What's Around":


Cheers!


Monday, November 25, 2013

Thankful.


A lot has changed since last Thanksgiving. It was last Thanksgiving that I ran my second 5k ever...

Clearwater Turkey Trot 5k

and celebrated the holiday at Walt Disney World, while ending the day eating chicken nuggets a McDonald's with my best friend Britta. Can't complain!

And a lot has happened since then. But I have so much to be thankful for this year. This past year I have been fortunate to form new friendships, strengthen old ones, spend an awesome summer interning in Boston, travel to Cali for LeaderShape, have more professional development opportunities, do well in school and more. 

But most importantly this past year, I was healthy, happier and more positive. While there are times where it is easy for me to complain and be frustrated, it is so important to remember that there is so much in life that I am so grateful to have. There are so many freedoms I am granted with that I am forever thankful for.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go on a service learning trip with the class I am a TA for to a local Tampa Bay non profit, Metropolitan Ministries. Metropolitan Ministries serves the poor and homeless in the area. There I had an extremely eye opening and humbling experience. It further made me realize the importance of using what we have to give back to those who do not have as much.

This Thanksgiving, I challenge you to do more than a Facebook status. Give back to the homeless, serve a local food bank, donate to a cause, use what you have and give back to those who do not. If you can wake up at 5am to stand in line outside of a Best Buy, why not wake up at 5am to help the community?

Have a blessed, healthy and Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for each and every one of you. Spend time with your families, eat turkey and enjoy the company you have. We are so lucky!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Energy


Lately, it's been rough.

For instance, this post is being written out of pure procrastination from me studying for a midterm and because I, of course, have sudden sparks of inspiration during these times.

In previous posts, I talked about how I am really wearing a lot of different hats right now and how it is quite stressful (refer here). I have still been cherishing the little things and realizing why I do what I do.

However there is something I notice I do a lot of and we as a society do a lot of....

we complain.

a lot.

Whether it is sitting in traffic on a Monday morning, having a broken coffee machine (my dilemma this week), feeling too tired, being under paid, being hungry--those are just some of the daily things we complain about! We do not even realize it because of how minute they are. But these things, they add up. And we hear it daily and we see it daily! Whether it is through a text message, conversation or especially social media, it is all we seem to know how to do.

What I have realized lately is a few things:

  1. Complaining does not get you anywhere or accomplish anything
  2. It is not who I am as a generally positive person--positivity is something I value so when I complain I am not living my values
  3. Complaining requires you to exert ENERGY, negative energy mind you

Now let me highlight something, exerting this energy is exhausting. Have you ever tried a day where you did not complain and just lived happy and realizing what comes your way, so be it? It's rejuvenating. When we are positive, expressing gratitude, being active listeners and really taking time to stop worrying about what is so "bad" in our lives we feel better. I promise you.

With this post I am going to challenge you (and challenge myself!) to take one day within the next few weeks where you don't complain and think about it before you do! Ask yourself, "Is my energy best invested in what I am about to say?" I also challenge you to hold ME accountable! This is something I strive to do and I am my own worst enemy. 

And while this post is extremely ironic because I am complaining about complaining, I think it gets the point across. I promise, we will build so much more positive energy in ourselves and in the world around us this way.





Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Where Are You Going?


Today I was walking across campus and came across our weekly student organization tabling. Generally I am usually in a hurry and do not really take much time to look at the different tables and what they have to offer. However, today was different.

When walking past some of the tables, some for awareness events this month, some selling organic products, others just simply raising money, I was stopped by a religious group on campus. They were having people sign a poster that asked you a question along the lines of "Where will your path take you?". Now being a second year in graduate school, getting prepared for the next transition in my life and after having ironically registered for my job placement conference last night, THIS was a loaded question.

For a minute I had to really think...

"Where AM I going?"

I did not know the answer to that question, but I found myself responding:


"In a big city and one day with a Ph.D!"


Now this is interesting. I know I want to be in a city and I always teeter back and forth on a more advanced degree in the future, however at this moment I found myself writing it down on paper. While I am not certain of my path in the next 7 months, I am certain that I have big goals and dreams.

Lately I have been having a lot of self doubt and asking myself a lot of "What-if" questions. I have realized though, that by being more energized by my future and what is truly out there, there is so much to celebrate. I am not perfect, but there is so much about me that I need to be proud of that I do not let myself see. These are feelings that are easy for me to suppress and I have always been that way.

But as I start this journey on my "path", these are feelings that will hold me back from that big city, from that one day Ph.D, from that first job and more. I need to embrace myself and follow this path wherever it takes me on.

That organization will probably never know what that poster did for me today and tonight as I write this blog, but thank you.

My favorite band, Dave Matthews Band best put it:

"...take what you can from your dreams, make them as real as anything"- Grey Street

and this, this is something I have to do.



Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Little Things and the Why


Lately I have been overwhelmed, trying to stay afloat managing my job, two internships, being a teaching assistant for a class, being an alumna advisor for my sorority, training for a half marathon, fundraising, taking class and completing school work and just keeping sane. While time management has not always been an issue for me, it is something that can turn into one. However I have realized throughout all of this WHY I do what I do and what this in turn really means for those students, organization members and myself. I recognize that the surface level things I do on a daily basis have a greater and deeper meaning that I can sometimes find myself wandering astray from and forgetting about.

It is our why that keeps us going, in any situation.

In addition, throughout all of this craziness I have begun to value "little things" more. These little things include, the ten minutes before I walk out the door in the AM where I can enjoy a cup of coffee and read the news, a Pumpkin Spice Latte (they're back!), an episode of terrible television right before I go to bed, writing a handwritten card to a friend, a new Woodwick candle for my bedroom, cooking dinner for myself, a funny Snapchat from a friend, a student telling you you're a great role model, trying to do one act of kindness a day, a good quote or daily inspiration, organizing my gmail labels, trying a new place for brunch...the list goes on and this is the surface level of the little things that have made me happy this past month.

While it is crazy, I love it. And I am grateful because I know that what I do is powerful and that I will and can make a difference.

Do yourself a favor. Honor the little things, revisit your why and reflect upon all this. You will be glad you did!





Monday, August 5, 2013

A Very Long, Overdue, Post....


So...it has been quite sometime since I have posted. There is really no rhyme or reason to why it has been so long except that

a) I have truly hit the ground running since my return to Florida
b) I was away for a week at UCLA for the AFLV session of the LeaderShape Institute (we'll get to that!)
c) I've been at a loss of inspiration or words lately...until now.

Since leaving Boston I have been self reflecting a lot, examining where I am going in life, learning more about myself and realizing more about how that experience and other really have impacted me. I have also been realizing what is really important in life and what I need to be successful and happy.

So through the past few weeks I've learned a lot and learned the importance of my favorite quote from Emily Dickinson's poem "I Dwell in Possibility". For those who aren't familiar...

I dwell in Possibility--
A fairer House than Prose--
More numerous of Windows--
Superior--for Doors-- 


Of Chambers as the Cedars--
Impregnable of Eye--
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky-- 


Of Visitors--the fairest--
For Occupation--This--
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise-- 


Now. While this may bring you back to high school English, this poem to me is really about going beyond the ordinary, trying new things, seeing new places, being uncomfortable and vulnerable and so much more. This idea was brought back to my attention and revisited after serving as an On-Site Coordinator at the LeaderShape Institute this past July.

Day 4 of LeaderShape, participants have the opportunity to watch a video featuring Boston Orchestra Director Benjamin Zander where he teaches us to a few things such as to see mistakes as fascinating, to sit in the front row of our lives and my favorite to live in possibility.

After this summer in Boston and a week at LeaderShape, this has taken a new meaning to me. After seeing the impact new individuals and friends can have on my life in a short period of time and how doing things that may have stretched me and my comfort zone,  I have realized the next 8 months until I graduate it is crucial that I continue to ease into the discomfort and truly "dwell in possibility".

Whether that means applying to a job in a city I have never been to or going skydiving or trying a new food, I need to start practicing what I preach more and doing things that will make me happy. While I have realized transition is hard for me, I now know how to handle it now and what I have to do to be successful.

I am 23 years old with no commitment to hold me down or stop me. I have the world at my feet, great people on my side and a whole lot to accomplish.

While I have always known this, sometimes it takes a few powerful experiences for me to actually REALIZE it. So with that, I am ready. Will you join me on this journey?



Monday, July 1, 2013

"Dwell in Possibility"



As I embark onto my last few days here in the great state of Massachusetts and the city of Boston, I cannot help but feel reflective on my past 6 weeks here and the time I have been away from Tampa.

There are some things for certain:

  • I have become a beer snob thanks to the abundance of craft beer in this city and the Harpoon brewery
  • I need to live in a city, particularly this city or Washington D.C
  • I need to come back for the Boston Marathon and be involved as a volunteer or maybe, just maybe one day a runner
  • Modern Pastry is better than Mike's Pastry
  • A Georgetown Cupcake is good no matter what city you're in
  • The incline here makes running more difficult
  • While I was in Boston for a difficult sports week (Hernandez, Celtics trade, Bruins losing, etc.), this city has the best sports pride in my humble opinion
  • Lauren Conrad and The Postal Service are just amazing
  • The Royal Family portraits at the MFA were incredible
  • The history here is incredible and one that really made me realize how much I used to love learning 
 But besides the foodie adventures, the celebrity sightings and more, this trip made me learn more about myself, my surroundings and how to truly live IN the moment, something that I proposed I would do as a 23 year old (blog post here).

For the longest time I've struggled with transition and being in new environments, but what I've learned is that it's about embracing the situation, taking it in, doing some soul searching, being completely vulnerable and more. And I did that here. With the challenge of having physical therapy and being in an apartment by myself for a bit not directly in the city, these in themselves were growing moments for me. 

I appreciate the laughs I've had with friends, the couches that were turned into a second home for weekends in the city (thanks Jamie!), the people who I worked with and taught me about a new area, the people who impacted me and probably don't realize they did, the old friends I reconnected with, my cohort members, the people who I don't think this is the last time we'll meet and more...

So Boston. This is not a goodbye, this is truly a "See You Later" because I have this gut feeling that I will be back and I will so enjoy re-visiting this post when I am.
See ya later! xox gfr

And with that....I'll leave you with this.

 
A Boston anthem..."Sweet Caroline"

Monday, June 24, 2013

5670


Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the Boston Athletic Association's 10k. For those of you who do not know, the Boston Athletic Association is the same organization that has put on the Boston Marathon since April 19th, 1897. The B.A.A 10k was their first event since the tragedy that occurred this past spring.

The event was incredible. Everyone was decked out in blue and gold (organization's colors) in honor of Boston. There was a moment of silence for the victims of the marathon and even the winner of the marathon Lelisa Desisa, presented his medal back to the mayor of the city in honor of the race (I also got to meet him!). The energy and pride that one felt in the audience could not be explained.

It was a shared experience and one that I will remember for the rest of my life.

To me, my time or a PR did not matter, but what mattered was being a part of something larger than myself and sharing this experience with everyone there. Every runner their had a story, whether they were the elite trying to place for the chance at a title, a man who had been at the Boston Marathon participating or the older woman who had a "Boston Strong" shirt on trying to give back and do something in honor of her city. This race filled my expectations and more.

For the past year, I have had the pleasure of interning for Phired Up Productions. Phired Up is an education firm that helps organizations grow and helps in engaging people around their purpose. One thing that Phired Up has developed is the notion of "social excellence". Within social excellence there are four pillars:
  • Curiosity
  • Generosity
  • Authenticity 
  • Vulnerability
Yesterday I saw and experienced all four of those. I experienced curiosity when I met a few new friends while waiting at the starting line. I learned about where they came from, what they did, what brought them to Boston.

I saw generosity throughout the whole entire race. Between the volunteer cheering me on by name (it was on my bib) on the sideline to this conversation I overheard at the finish line:

"Thank you so much for pushing me and supporting me while we ran together, I really appreciated it"


Those are conversations you don't hear everyday and it warmed my heart to hear that. It shows the power of the running community.

I saw the power of authenticity when marathon winner Lelisa Desisa, spoke and presented his medal
Lelisa and me!
to the city. He showed compassion and care. He went around connecting with different runners in the audience, taking pictures, handing out autographs-he was an authentic leader and person.

Lastly, I experienced the power of vulnerability from every individual at that race. As mentioned before this was the first race by the B.A.A since the tragedy. For some runners this may easily have been their first race since participating in the marathon, for some it was their first race ever, some may have had doubts showing up because of what had happened...needless to say every individual had a story and every individual put their hearts out onto that course for the city of Boston. That is vulnerability, that is social excellence.

I am so thankful and grateful for this experience. I couldn't have asked for a better race or day. What is your most memorable race? How have you seen social excellence within your organizations, clubs or communities?






xox,
gfr


For more information on Phired Up, please visit: http://www.phiredup.com/
For more information the Boston Athletic Association, please visit: http://www.baa.org/


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

That time I met Lauren Conrad...


This is not my typical blog post, but I need to write about it.
I met Lauren Conrad.

That's right.

LC.

Ever since I was younger I was an avid Laguna Beach fan and later The Hills. When I was casually browsing Twitter on Monday (@gfrimmaudo), I saw that LC was going to be in Mass! When I checked out Google Maps it was to my surprise she was going to be at the Barnes and Noble 20 minutes from where I am currently residing.

I, of course, had to go. And I am so glad I did! Once I got there, I was a few hours early so I decided to grab some coffee and wait till I could get in line. While getting coffee I met new friends, Hannah and her mom! I told them about my blog so of course here's my shout out to them! Once we were able to get in line I started getting so excited! I thought about what I could say to her....this is how it played out.

Me: "I LOVE your blog! I read it often and use it as an inspiration for my own. You are amazing!"
LC then told me, [Disclaimer: This is not a direct quote as I do not remember the wording exactly],

"You look like a blogger! You have great style and just have the look, you're going places"

I was star struck! I still cannot believe that that happened! Here's a picture of how it went down:
 




Needless to say it was an amazing experience and has inspired me to blog more! I plan on incorporating my style into it more too, starting with today's #OOTD (Outfit of the Day for those who are not big into hashtags!). 

Yesterday at Old Navy I found this adorable top for 7 dollars and I had to wear it today. I combined it with a necklace from Francesca's, my Michael Kors watch, white glitter Jack Rogers and khakis from The Limited. Perfect summer outfit for a casual day at my internship! 

What are some of your favorite blogs? How do you take a great find and pair it with accessories you already have?


OOTD

xox,
gfr

Thursday, June 13, 2013

gratitude.


What is gratitude?

As defined by Merriam-Webster, gratitude is a noun that is "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness."

When doing a simple Google search (oh so characteristic of my millennial generation) gratitude comes up in religions, psychology, as the "Queen of Virtues" and in the form of rocks to give to people.

I started exploring this idea of gratitude last year when I read Brene Brown's book "The Gift of Imperfections". Brene talks about practicing gratitude and how it will truly bring us joy in our lives allowing us to live wholehearted lives.

Watch Brene Here!

This is something that as I embarked onto my 23 year has been extremely important to me and something I have really been trying to work on.

Lately I have really been reflecting on my experience here up in Massachusetts and there is so much to be grateful for....to name a few:

  • I am grateful for the experiences I've had so far within my department and the opportunity to learn
  • I am grateful for the ability to be able to run again and being cleared with the physical therapist
  • I am grateful for the amazing company I've had with my cohort members and student affairs friends 
  • I am grateful for my family and the support they have given me while away
  • I am grateful to be alive and healthy
The other day I had the opportunity to visit Copley Square to see the Boston Marathon Memorial. It really made me realize how amazing this city is and how despite everything they have come together and shown kindness to the victims and individuals present. This is what expressing gratitude is about.


This year I want to continue to express gratitude and continue to pay it forward. So with that I have decided to do it in a way that means so much to me...

The Disney Princess Half Marathon registration has already opened for next year. Because it was my first half marathon, my roommate and I pledged to do it again. This time I got a sorority sister to participate as well. However this time around I will be raising money and running with the St. Jude's Children's Hospital charity group. I have pledged to raise $2000 dollars for this amazing cause while doing something I am passionate about. If I am going to run, I want to do it for something, for someone. This has always been an organization I have cared about and I finally want to give back. 

I thankful for this experience and I am so EXCITED to get started on fundraising! To donate please visit my personal page at:


Your donation will help a child with cancer or another life threatening disease through research and treatment. Your donation will help a family who is facing a tough path in their lives.  

Give thanks, love one another and express gratitude. You'll be glad you did!



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Revisiting a VISION


Last summer I had the amazing opportunity to attend the George Mason University session of LeaderShape. It was something I had always wanted to do as an undergraduate student and was so happy I finally got to be a part of it the year I graduated.

For those of you who do not know what LeaderShape is, LeaderShape is an institute that is held across the country through national sessions and at universities. Students have the opportunity to learn how to be change agents in our world and to create visions with a "healthy disregard for the impossible". Another big part of LeaderShape is also learning how to lead with integrity. 

Needless to say this program changed my life. During the month of July I will have the opportunity to reconnect with LeaderShape at the AFLV session at UCLA as an on-site coordinator. I am so excited to give back to this program as it gave so much to me.

Now, like I said the big part of LeaderShape is creating a vision. My vision during the program last year was something along the lines of:

A vision of a world where negative stigmas around mental illness were eliminated

This was something that meant a lot to me and still does. While reading the news yesterday, I was so delighted to hear that MY VISION is something that our country wants to help eliminate at the Mental Health Summit. I am feeling so inspired and grateful that this serious issue is finally being put into the spotlight. I am also inspired by the reaction from national groups who are taking action on bring this issue out more. Without stigma, people do not have to live life in silence and can be free to be who they are and get the help they need.

With that being said, this summit inspired me to take action, to do even more about it. I plan to be a find a way to be a part of conversations and dialogue on how we can make this great in our country, state, college campuses and more. I plan to continue to be an advocate and a voice for the topic. I also even signed up to volunteer with groups that help the cause to help reconnect to my vision. You too can be an advocate and a voice. I have provided some resources below for you to check out! Overall this movement, inspired me to reconnect to my vision.

And with that I am so thankful for my past opportunities that have lead me to where I am!

For more information on these topics and institutes, check out the following!:

The LeaderShape Institute

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Active Minds

#mentalhealthmatters !


My amazing LeaderShape cluster family, United Underground, May 2012

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shipping Up to Boston


So. It has been sometime since I last blogged because I have been busy adjusting to my summer up in the Greater Boston Area.

It has been quite the adventure with a lot of food and a lot of exploring. This week I did this...

Red Sox Game

and this...

Museum of Fine Arts!

and we cannot forget a little bit of foodie adventures...


     

But I also did what I am here for...work as a Department of Community Living Graduate Intern!

 Isn't it a gorgeous campus!

I am so grateful and excited for what the next few weeks has in store for me! I am excited to learn more within the housing area of student affairs and be challenged in a new environment. I am extremely blessed and lucky to have this opportunity! 

In the meantime, I start physical therapy this week for my ankle. I am looking forward to recovery and getting back on track. There are great spots to workout here in the city. I am especially looking forward to a 10 mile bike ride right into Boston on some trails with a colleague! Also I am super excited to run the Boston 10k put on by the Boston Athletic Association. There is so much pride and spirit in this city after the unfortunate events and I am excited to be a part of it!


This quote definitely describes the practicum experience. We are here to grow and become better professionals and I am so ready for this new experience.

That's it for now. I will leave you with this great Vine video my good friend Jeff took of us singing "Sweet Caroline" during the 8th inning at the Red Sox game! 


xox,
gfr


 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Setbacks


In life we all face different things that could be classified as setbacks or reasons why we hold ourselves back.

Growing up I have had my fair share of these. Between being told I looked ridiculous when I ran by mean middle school boys, being cast as a Munchkin in the "Wizard of Oz" three times when in my eyes I was a leading lady, being told that I was not cut out for Honors English, getting wait listed at colleges and now being told that I can't run for 6 weeks due to my ankle never fully healing from my sprain.

Needless to say. We've all been there. However analyzing this list, I have to express my gratitude for each of these circumstances.

I looked ridiculous running? Now I can run a half marathon.

Not the leading lady? Great memories from each production I was a part of.

Not "cut out" for Honors English? About to graduate from a writing intensive graduate program within the next year.

Wait listed at my "dream" college? I would have never gone to George Mason University and have made the friendships I did there.

From looking at all these circumstances, I know that my setback from running will open some sort of door for me. Whether it be getting more into cycling, swimming or other forms of exercise, I know that out of this situation good will come. In addition, by going to physical therapy twice a week I know that I will be stronger than before!

We need to be thankful for setbacks because it is what grows us into stronger individuals. I firmly believe that. What are some setbacks you've faced and grown from?

And with that, I'll leave you with this:





Wasn't I the best looking munchkin you've ever seen?




Friday, May 10, 2013

Leaving On a Jet Plane


I write this blog post from the Tampa International Airport.

I am exhausted, excited, nervous, anxious and a whole slew of emotions. It's been interesting getting here this morning, bag was overweight, I was not fully packed at 6:30am, etc. but here I am! I will be going home for a few days before I depart for Massachusetts for my summer practicum for my graduate school program. While I am nervous to leave because I do not know what to expect, I know that this is a good thing. As I've talked about before, being vulnerable and open to these experiences is the best thing you can do for yourself. It is how you grow and become a better person! I am ready for this adventure and to get some things accomplished from my Bucket List within Boston.

Some of these things include:

  • Go to a Red Sox game
  • Run Boston! (I am registered for the B.A.A 10k! Excited for this race and the energy that will be around it!)
  • Network and grow professionally through my internship
  • Visit Cape Cod 
  • Go hiking in New England for a day
  • Eat clam chowder, lobster and all of those things that are typical for the area
  • Explore places from Travel Channel and Food Network (I have an affinity for these channels)
  • And so much more!

I expect to come back to Tampa in July refreshed, re-energized, healthier and in a better state of mind then when I left. They say the summer practicum is the highlight of grad school and I am so excited to experience it! In addition, I am excited to be in New Jersey to see family, friends, indulge in pizza and bagels, go to Trader Joe's, get my ankle checked out finally (post to follow...) and hopefully get a drive in to the shore since I haven't been there since Hurricane Sandy. 

That's all for now. Tampa I will miss you, follow me the next few months through the blog! Updates will be posted continuously!


Cheesing at the airport, don't mind the bags under my eyes!



Sunday, April 28, 2013

What 23 Means to Me



Sorry for the delay in posts recently. I have finished up course work for the semester and have been taking a break from a lot lately. Within the past week I turned 23 and have decided to make a list of what 23 means to me this next year...Every year I like to reflect and here is where I stand now.

23 means..


  1. Continuing to live a wholehearted and authentic life. 
  2. Continuing to strive for excellence and reaching goals.
  3. Finishing up my first year of grad school and starting my second.
  4. Having new professional experiences! (ex. Boston, UCLA, etc.)
  5. Continuing to stive for a life filled with healthy living, including losing weight and reaching fitness goals.
  6. Loving myself.
  7. Running longer distances and being able to register for a marathon by my next birthday.
  8. Going to Disney more.
  9. Really embracing Florida for one more year and exploring more and new places.
  10. Cooking more and trying new recipes. 
  11. Appreciating people in my life more.
  12. Sending more handwritten notes, cards and letters.
  13. Taking up a new hobby. Scrap booking? Photography? Playing the flute and piano again? Whatever my life allows me to do?
  14. Trying to read a new book for enjoyment once a month.
  15. Attempting to save money.
  16. Starting to look for jobs and decide where my life path will take me.
  17. Embracing and being more "in" the moment.
  18. Volunteering my time to the community more.
  19. Trying different things like skydiving and paddle boarding!
  20. Being more positive.
  21. Drinking from more local coffee shops.
  22. Running my dad's first half marathon by his side.
  23. Living it up and being grateful for everyday of my life.

While this list is eclectic and diverse, I think it speaks truly to what it means to be 23 to me. And with that being said good night!

Disney Birthday Day!












With one of my biggest fans, my mom

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

"It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn"



It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this post. Originally for the day I wanted to reflect upon my experience at the Athleta Iron Girl 5k from Sunday, but in light of the events yesterday at the Boston Marathon, I did not think that my personal experiences should be the focus nor appropriate for this post.

The events at yesterdays Boston Marathon is something that is becoming too common within our country. We can't go to malls, school, movie theater or now even races without having some sort of fear. It saddens me because now what should have been a celebration of accomplishments and hard work, has turned into another situation where we have to come together and support the runners, the civilians, the people of Boston and more to help the situation.

While I am empowered and know that there are good people in the world because of the stories of runners donating blood to Fraternity men opening their home at MIT to let people in, it should not have to come to this anymore. I can only hope and pray that this ends, that violence in our country ceases and life could be peaceful for awhile. My millennial generation has grown up always seeing this sort of violence--I remember being in 6th grade in my hometown that is approximately 18 miles outside of Manhattan and seeing smoke from the World Trade Center in the sky. I had to ask my father why that was, why would people do this?

There are no answers to these senseless acts of violence. What we could only do is persevere. I am not a religious person, but this quote from Romans 12:21 can only describe the situation we face today best.


By being good and doing good, we can overcome this obstacle as a country and only hope to move forward. By living whole-hearted lives and living with joy, we can continue to make the world a little bit brighter everyday at a time.

Yesterday when I heard the news, the first thing I did when I got home was lace up my sneakers, throw on my Red Sox shirts, and ran. I ran for the 8 year old boy who lost his life, I ran for those individuals who no longer can run because of injuries and I most importantly ran for Boston. Becoming a runner this past year is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I can only hope I can achieve that goal of running the Boston Marathon. But for now, whether you are a marathoner or a walker, I challenge each and every one of you to get out there and #runforBoston. And when you do run, walk, cycle, skip, dance, etc. your miles be sure to record them here to show the difference you can make and show the US the support you are willing to give!


#runforBoston (Record your miles here)


And with that I leave you with this song ("Glee" version obviously). As the song says, "It's always darkest before the dawn". We will move forward. We will succeed.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Numbers Game



Ever since I was younger numbers were never my thing. I hated math, I hated the SATs, I hated rankings, I hated the GREs and I always, always hated the scale. I had always felt why should a number define who I am or make me any better or less of a person. It was (and still is) always an intimidating part of my doctor's visits and physicals for school.

However I realized that sometimes you just have to get on it and let yourself be vulnerable. And today I not only got on a scale but received a "Body Composition Analysis" from the InBody scale in the Wellness Center at the university I work at. What the analysis does is measure your body composition (including total body water, dry lean mass and body fat mass), your body composition analysis (including weight, skeletal muscle mass and body fat mass) and an obesity analysis looking at BMI and PBF (percentage of body fat).

Now I did not really know what to expect as I had never done this before and was facing my fears. However, what I did find out was not exactly what I wanted to hear. While this may not be good news, it is a great thing. I needed a reality to check to get me motivated and back on My Fitness Pal.

Today has not been my greatest day in awhile, however I believe that we need to have a challenge only to better ourselves to be great. It is also important to remember, while you may not be feeling great it is important to express gratitude. When I graduated in May 2012 I was heavier and very much less active than I am now, I still have come a long way since then. I am thankful for that. I am grateful for that.

Within the next few months going into summer and my second year of grad school. I expect even greater change and greater things to accomplish starting off with a potential PR this Sunday at the Athleta Iron Girl 5k.

I'm about to be 23. Let's make this year of my life a great one, starting off with loving myself, accepting vulnerability and expressing gratitude (if you have not seen Brene Brown's TED Talk I highly suggest it).

After all, age (and weight, and scores, and GPA, and everything else) is nothing but a number!



P.S-I am way to stoked to see Kelly in concert in September. 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Little Hump Day Inspiration...



 I have been extremely busy lately, but here is a little hump day inspiration from "The Little Engine That Could" to get you through the week, I know this helps me and will help me the next month while I wrap up my first year of graduate studies.



xox,
gfr

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Forward Thinking Friday: What Motivates You?



Since the completion of my Disney Princess Half Marathon, let's just say I have been very unmotivated. There are a few different factors that go into this, the main one being that this spring semester is the hardest for my graduate program. It is difficult to balance that alongside with work and personal life.
I had intentions of getting back on my fitness and healthy living bandwagon this week, but I just returned from a conference and I am still recovering from that.


So my question I pose and ask myself is what motivates you? Through a Twitter question and tips from friends I have gotten some great suggestions including:


  1. Signing up for another race (this came from my sorority sister Michelle who just finished her first full marathon, snaps!)
  2. Rewarding yourself for small goals
  3. Taking a break and finding a new activity
  4. Find someone to hold you accountable

Taking these tips this is how I plan to proceed:


  1. First, signing up for the Athleta Iron Girl 5k in Clearwater, FL on April 14th. This will be a small and achievable goal right now!
  2. Being that I want to get back onto MyFitnessPal, by running I will be able to reward myself with a good snack or dessert (Double win! Eating healthy and being able to reward myself). New running clothes are also a great motivation.
  3. I hope to get back in the pool again soon. I used to be a swimmer when I was younger and for a short period of time in high school. I enjoyed it and now that I live in Florida I can swim outside all year long!
  4. I am currently recruiting someone to hold me accountable. Any takers?

Other things I still like to do or process to stay motivated are:


  • Download a new playlist! For me, listening to a brand new playlist is enough motivation to get out of bed.
  • Think about the end result (there's that futuristic in me). What does the future look like 1 year from now? How will this activity affect my health and well being down the line?
  • Positive self talk. There is nothing more powerful!

Some other tips that were sent to me from @BeFitMotivation include:


These are all great reminders. Not to mention I'd also love to reward myself with this Marley Lilly monogrammed chevron bikini top!


What are some suggestions you have on staying motivated and re-energizing yourself? Enjoy one of my favorite motivating songs below! Happy Friday!

xox,
gfr








Friday, March 15, 2013

Forward Thinking Friday: What's Next?



As an individual who has done multiple leadership workshops, retreats and as someone who works at a university, I have done multiple personality-leadership style assessments to learn more about myself. One of my favorites of these though is StrengthsQuest. This test allows you to learn more about what your natural strengths are and how to focus on these rather than trying to improve your weaknesses. When you take the assessment it delivers you a report of your top 5 strengths and a description of each.

My top five are: Strategic, Responsibility, Futuristic, Positivity and Arranger

I will not go into detail now about what each of them mean, but I included a link above for you to find out more or to take it yourself. It is pretty inexpensive to take it online and it allows you to learn more about yourself, your work styles and how to use these to the best of your ability.

What I will say from this though is that my number 3, futuristic explains me to a tee and explains why Fridays will be "Forward Thinking Friday". The theme description according to StrengthsQuest is that,

"People who are especially talented in the Futuristic theme are inspired by the future and what could
be. They inspire others with their visions of the future."


 ...And that is exactly how I feel. I have always had future goals and dreams that I wanted to work for--the most recent being the half marathon. That inspired me to do more and work more. The future excites me, especially knowing that so much lies ahead of me in my journey of personal well-being, running, education and adventures. I hope I can only lead by example through my footsteps and actions to inspire others.

That all being said today's post is really what's next for me in this quest. Well today I officially registered for another half marathon in November...which is really exciting because it's the..


I am especially excited about this race because I will be running it with my dad (Papa). He is one of the greatest inspirations for me in life and I am so excited to runDisney with my dad and also have a fun family getaway for the long weekend (Veteran's Day weekend)! For now that is really what I know is definitely next. I will continually be updating the "Future Races" sections of the blog at the top as things come up. This summer I will be doing an internship and I do not know the location yet, but that is for sure going to determine some 5k and 10k races (maybe even more!). The next few weeks are about to be crazy with a conference, major assignments due, my birthday and then finally summer time. Needless to say I am excited for what lies ahead, but I need to find the balance between school work, work and a healthy/active lifestyle which is certainly a challenge!

That is it for today! How do you find balance in your life? What are some goals ahead of you?

xox,
gfr

Monday, March 11, 2013

My Favorite Things

My Favorite Things

Through this blog I will be sharing some of my favorite health, beauty and personal inspirations that gets me through life and transitions. Channeling my inner Oprah I decided to share my favorite things with you today. These are some items I use everyday! What are some of your favorite things?
 
xox,
gfr

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

well orange you confused?




The title of this blog is for a few different reasons...


  1. Orange has been my favorite color since I was a little girl
  2. When I crossed the Florida state line in June the first thing I did at the travel stop was drink Florida orange juice, so it can be symbolic
  3. But in all seriousness, when I moved here I bought a letterpress for my room from etsy.com  seller 1canoe2.  The letterpress says "Orange you glad you live in Florida". This is hanging in my room as a constant reminder to be happy that I am here and that I have this opportunity, hence the name of this blog. It would not be my blog if it was not clever, cute and fun!

Letterpress hanging in my room courtesy of seller 1canoe2 from etsy.com

Monday, February 25, 2013

"I can go the distance!"



I did it.

Those were the words I told myself as I crossed the finish line at the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon.

I did it. Speaking to myself in second person I repeated, you did it.

Let me put this into perspective...May 2012 I began the "Couch to 5k" program while I was home before my move to Tampa.  I had never been an athlete and was always discouraged and embarrassed with my abilities throughout middle and high school. That May I struggled trying to run a mile, wanted to give up and became extremely frustrated. I remember the exact playlist that I had for those runs too to help give me some motivation. My mom even took me shopping for running clothes to help me out. It was a tough, tough battle. The goal, 5k.

Fast forward to July 2012, I move to Florida in the heat of the summer for graduate school. I find out my new roommate is an avid runner and we join some local running groups. I remember struggling to finish the 5k routes and I was always towards the end of the pack having so much trouble finishing. It was discouraging, but I still would not give up.

In August I received an email from runDisney saying Disney Princess Half Marathon Registration was open. I thought to myself, "I could NEVER do that, maybe in another year". My roommate being the great encourager she is pushed me to sign up and we created a team. It was a "Here goes nothing" moment, but I knew I was going to have to work hard. Really, really hard.

Fast forward to October 2012, I finally signed up and participated in my first 5k. At that point I had never run a full 3.1 miles and did not know if I honestly could. It was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and I had always been involved in this organization through my sorority, so I figured why not, it's a good cause. I ran this race with my friend from grad school. I remember distinctly at mile 2 saying I am going to do this and we did it. I finished my first 5k. My friend told me I was a fighter and it was those words I took with me this past weekend.

November came and full training had begun. I participated in another 5k on Thanksgiving, the Turkey Trot. After the race I had some extreme ankle pain, but I figured it was just very sore...one week later and a trip to the clinic turns out I had sprained it pretty bad. I cried to my dad on the phone because this interrupted my training plan and my lifestyle. Through my huge transition here, running is the one thing that has kept me sane, it has kept me grounded and it has given me inner peace. It has been the one thing that has given me truly "me" time and has allowed for me to process my thoughts and my days. This was a defeating moment for me, but I was not backing down.

Within three weeks I was back at it again on during the winter holiday in NJ. I did not care it was 20 degrees out or that it was a holiday or that it was icy, I had a job to do and that was to get ready for this race. And I did. I also made it my New Years Resolution to run a race every month till January 2014.

The New Year came, motivation came and I pushed through January and the rest of February the best I could. And then this weekend came. I was nervous, excited and scared. What if I had to get picked up? What if I did not finish? What if I had to walk? I was not letting any of that happen.

The morning began at 2am when we woke up to get ready for the bus. When we arrived to the pre race location, we were greeted by photographers and bright lights and a DJ. This pepped me up! There was so many people, so many things to look at and still so many nerves. We did a little pre run shake out, we stretched and we wobbled, my favorite dance. I was READY to do this. I was READY to go.

Throughout the race, channeling my inner Rapunzel, I visualized myself crossing the finish line and walking around the park with a medal. I visualized proving to myself that I am more than what I used to be. I am stronger, determined, motivated and a fighter. The beginning of the race began and I was off. I was focusing on the end and what I had to do to cross the line. Then mile 5.5 came where we began to ascend into the Magic Kingdom. With hundreds of people, young and old from different backgrounds and ethnicities cheering me on on Main Street as I ran in, I could not help but get emotional. I was REALLY doing this, I was really here. When I got under Cinderella's castle and trumpets blared for me entrance (literally!)  I thought to myself "I am so lucky and happy and fortunate to have this opportunity and to know I worked for this".

At the half way mark, Alicia Key's "Girl on Fire" came on. I could not help myself but belt it. I was on fire and I was not letting down. Then mile 8 came and the volunteers from LUNA (my favorite protein bars) were on the side cheering me on and were extremely inspirational, I needed that. I get my energy from people and they truly got me there. Mile 10 then came where an army man from "Toy Story" motivated me to keep going, although this is the hardest part of the course I pushed through, I only had 3 more to go.

Finally we began to enter Epcot and I knew the end was near. With my tutu falling apart, my hair a mess (but tiara still in tact!) I picked up my pace and headed towards the Spaceship Earth ball, while a live choir sang in the background. Workers and cast members were telling me I was almost there, no time to stop now. I saw the stands, I saw the pink finish line, I saw Minnie and Mickey and I sprinted. I sprinted through that finish line, heard my roommates cheering for me and I sobbed. I sobbed because for the first time in my life I achieved a goal that I thought was impossible. I never thought I would have this moment. I received my medal and was sprinkled with "pixie dust" by a Disney cast member.

I had the opportunity to hobble (because despite the achievements, there is pain associated with it) around the park all day with my medal on and share this special day with great friends and the 22,000 other individuals who became true princesses that day and achieved their goals. I ended the night reflecting at "Reflections" at Epcot with my roommate and just recapped how amazing of a weekend that was. We both achieved goals whether it was time goals or just finishing, we both did it.

For now I will continue to stick to my New Years commitment, ending it in January 2014 at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Running has helped me immensely with this big transition in my life and I am glad it is now a part of my life. Welcome to my blog, "orange" you glad you came?

xox
gfr



"If you can dream it, you can do it!"-Walt Disney





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