Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Day 22 - Say hello to strangers, especially to the elderly.

One of the reasons I have always loved going out on the boat is that once you’re out on the ocean every one waves at each other. It's like on land your one person and on the ocean the niceness inside of you just comes out. I always wondered why that never happens on land. Is it really that hard to say hello to each other?

I usually try to be as friendly as possible on a normal basis so I didn't find today's task difficult at all. I love smiling at strangers because most times than not they give you the biggest smile back. I work doing property management for a large outdoor commercial property that has retail stores and restaurants and I usually have to walk the property to talk to tenants. As I walked the property I said hello to a couple of customers and the nice thing is they always smiled and said hello back. After the day was over I changed into running clothes and went to run the bleachers at the park, around that time the track is usually filled with people. I didn't want to be that creeper girl that says hello to people while they are running so I waited to finish my laps and as I was finishing my bottle of water I said hello to whom ever walked by. Once again, I found that mostly everyone said hello back with a smile on their faces and some even told me to have a good evening. It feels good to interact with strangers and to say hello. Unfortunately I didn't see many elderly today so I couldn't really say hello to them. I will definitely continue saying hello to strangers and as soon as an elderly person crosses my path I will update this entry.
One of the strangest parts about big cities is how little we talk to one another despite being stacked on top of each other like cans of soup. You would think that such close quarters would give you a desire to meet everyone around you, but instead it draws people further apart. I am not saying the key to happiness lies in talking to everyone you meet but sometimes it's nice to interact with people. One of the most important commandments is love thy neighbor, how many people actually know their neighbors? You would be amazed at how many people have lived somewhere for years and until this day have no idea who their next door neighbors are.

I challenge you to go out there tomorrow and say hello to 3 strangers, I am positive that at the end of the day you will want to say hi to many more. Share your experiences; let me know how it went, good or bad. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 21 - Tell a friend she's beautiful.

We all know that as women we love it when someone tells us we are beautiful. But it's very rare for a friend to tell another friend they are beautiful. The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough. You are not thin enough. You are not tan enough. You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough. Your teeth are not white enough. Your legs are not long enough. Your clothes are not stylish enough. You are not educated enough. You don't have enough experience. You are not creative enough.

There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, and most unfortunately, a pornography industry which all have unique ways of communicating to bright young women: you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough. You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true.

I know a girl, I will not say her name but I met her through one of my best friends. Unfortunately, I can be very judgmental and if I don't click with someone right away I can come across as insolent. When I met her we didn't really click and the more we hung out the more I realized (at that time) that I didn't want to hang out with her.

The time passed and the tension grew, my friends told me to be more understanding because she had been through a lot and was very insecure, at that time I didn't understand. It wasn't until one of my friends explained to me that she was in a five year relationship and all her ex-boyfriend did was put her down. When they would be intimate, he would call her names and tell her how she wasn't good enough for him and how her body was disgusting. In my mind I couldn't understand and/or grasp how someone could be with someone like that for so long so I blamed it on her. It was her fault for staying with him right? It took me a while to realize (I'm not sure why it took me so long because I am a Psychology minor) that women who stay with men who mentally abuse them is due to firstly not knowing any better and thinking that's the way they are supposed to be treated and secondly because they feel they can't do any better. It saddens me to know that thousands of women deal with this on a daily basis and this particular girl I am speaking about did too.

Even after finding out what she had been through I never really amended our friendship (if you would even like to call it that). Time passed and recently I went to meet my best friend somewhere and she was there, we caught up on things and this past weekend hung out just us two. I decided to choose her as my deed of the day, when I spoke to her I apologized for not being understanding in the past and for being a little on the callous side, I also told her that I really, genuinely thought she was beautiful, just the way she is. I told her that she doesn't need a man to make her feel like she's beautiful because she IS beautiful and I told her she didn't have to change anything about herself. The conversation got very emotional and I am very happy we had it.

I wanted to end this entry by saying this.... YOU reading this right now, you we're created for a purpose. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend and you are completely adored. There has never been, and there will never be another you. You have uniqueness to offer the world that nobody else has; they are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them. Your flaws are beautiful, they make you who you are. Your love makes you beautiful, the unconditional positive energy that you give when you love makes you even more beautiful. Your beautiful when you do things and think no one is watching. Your body is absolutely beautiful, with all the curves, birthmarks and freckles. You are beautiful when you laugh. You are beautiful when you smile. You are beautiful when you sleep. Beauty is not only about your looks, makeups or clothes. True beauty comes from being yourself, the more you show who you really are, the prettier you will be.

If you remember anything from this always remember.. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you'd ever imagined!!!♥

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 20 - Visit your local library.

Today's deed was to visit the local library, to be quite honest I wasn't quite sure why visiting the library is a good deed but I did it anyways. Since in my eyes there wasn't much "good" in visiting the library, I decided to take my little sister Stephanie with me; it shocked me that she didn't have a library card and rarely visited the public library. When she told me that I knew right away that she would be my good deed of the day.

On the way to the library I spoke to her about how important it is to read and stimulate her mind, we discussed books and I told her I wanted her to research and come up with a list of 5 books she really wanted to read. Once at the library we viewed books and I gave her ideas about what books she could put on her list, we also got her a library card which I told her she will be putting to use!

Going to the library today was a learning experience not only for my little sister but for me as well. I spoke to the lady working at the library and she advised me about all of the new things public libraries have that I had no idea about. Here are 4 cool things that public libraries across the country now have:

  1. Digital Books: They now offer e-books which you can borrow FREE of charge as long as you have a library card. The e-books require an electronic device which is called an e-reader but most libraries lend those out as well; how cool is that? I wish I would have had digital books growing up, the luxuries of being a millennium kid.
  2. Learn a New Language: Want to learn a new language or improve on one that you already know? Public libraries now offer not only books in every language but books and CD's to improve speaking and writing skills in specific languages. Who would have thought that libraries could be a great place to learn another language?
  3. Programs & Events for your Entire Family: You don't have to read a book to experience art and culture at your library, many libraries now sponsor and organize different types of programs and cultural events, such as concerts, and photography and film exhibitions. They even have summer programs for all ages, including computer classes, storytelling for children, fun and educational games as well as reading activities and more.
  4. Specialized Resources: Most libraries have a computer room for people to use the internet in a quiet relaxed environment. They also have highly skilled professionals that can help you find what you're looking for or can recommend books and resources for practically anything.
Although at the beginning of the day I believed the whole library thing was silly, after spending the day with my little munchkin and learning all those new things not only was I happy that I spent time with my little sissy but it made me extra happy that I could convince a 15 year old the library was a "cool and hip" spot. Not only did we love the library but we definitely want to return soon and go more often.

I hope that you make the decision to visit the library with your family soon and get involved with them! What's your list of books you would like to read? I would love to know!!♥

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Day 19 - Strike up a conversation with the person working the cash register.

Today's deed was not at all difficult for me; I've never been the obnoxious, in a hurry girl. On the contrary I usually smile at every one and more times than not I ask the cashier at any store how their day is.

There's nothing ruder than someone who's at the store and totally ignores the cashier, I am sure the cashier didn't say when they we're little "when I grow up, I want to be a cashier"; no matter what job anyone has they are still a person with feelings.

Usually on the weekends I go to the fresh market to get some fresh fruits, I am totally obsessed with them and it's an issue. This Saturday it was pouring rain out, what I really wanted to do was lay in bed all day in PJ's eating cookies and watching movies but not only did I have a good deed to do, I also had to buy a yoga mat for yoga class the following day. I pulled it together, pulled my hair back and managed to get out of bed. Being that I was going to two different places, why not do two good deeds instead of one?

My first stop was the fresh market; I grabbed some fruits and went to the cashier. It was a middle aged woman whom was very friendly; I asked her how her day was going and if the rain was affecting customers coming in, not only was she very friendly but we managed to have a conversation for a couple minutes. She made me smile knowing that there are still friendly people who will converse with you. Second stop was Sport's Authority, there was a young guy working the register who was hilarious, he managed to talk about his annoying boss and co-workers, he gave me a good laugh and as I was walking away he told me that usually people are super uptight and thanks for making him smile, that comment totally made my day.

Although I usually do converse with whoever is working at the cash register, I'm sure I've had my hurried days where I am texting and not paying attention. I will definitely make it a point to at least ask how their day is going because I know it brightens up my day when someone asks me. Next time you're at the store you should make it a point to brighten the cashier's day as well, I'm sure they don't want to be there just as much as you don't, so take it easy on them and make them smile!!!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 18 - Eat your next meal in silence (away from a computer).

I honestly don't remember the last time I ate a meal in silence, without my iPhone or computer or someone there to talk too. With today's technology everyone is always on their phones, it's funny because every time I go to dinner with my family and I look up every one is texting on their cell phones and I always tell them I wish we could all put our phones down just for one dinner, but the sad reality is that we never do, we laugh and talk and continue texting all while sitting in a restaurant at the dinner table.

When I looked up eating and sitting in silence it turns out there are many benefits you gain from being in silence. Silence can provide inner peace, who can remember the last time they sat in silence and heard the sound of their own breathing? The last time I did so was in yoga and only because they instructed us too, when you take a few minutes to quiet your mind and let go of all the issues in your life, you just allow yourself to let be and feel peace inside of you.
There's a saying that not until you can sit in complete silence with someone are you truly comfortable with them.  I've always felt that silence needs to be filled with something, otherwise the whole situation will get too awkward and uncomfortable. Only as I got older I realized that there are different ways of communication, words allow us to exchange information and sometimes express our feelings but silence is communication of the souls, there is something magical about just sitting quietly with another person and being in complete harmony with yourself and the outside world. Silence also energizes you, think of all the energy that we use while thinking, speaking and performing acts. Taking a few minutes to yourself will help your battery recharge.

With all of that being said, today on my lunch break instead of working or texting or going to lunch with a friend, I closed myself in our office's conference room and ate my lunch in silence. I don't want to lie and say that it was super mind enhancing because it wasn’t; instead I stared in awkward silence at my 100 calorie Cheeto’s pack trying to read the small lettering for fun. I didn't get any bright ideas or benefits of silence and solitude; I just tried to eat faster so that I could finish my meal and go run the errands I needed to do. Don't get me wrong, I love silence, especially when I am doing yoga or reading a book but silence with nothing in it is just weird. And I do know however that when I have my very own family I will have a rule of no technology at the dinner table, only our family and conversations including our highs and lows of our days. So that was my deed of the day, it's over with and that's all for now folks.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 17 - Start a list of books you'd like to Read for fun.

When I first purchased the book "One Good Deed a Day" I browsed through the pages and this was one of the deeds that stood out, I was actually really looking forward to it. I am a huge bookworm at heart and being in nursing school I barely get to read for fun, I love reading for enjoyment so every time I have time off from classes I purchase books I actually want to read. My perfect vacations are usually going to a tropical island, waking up every morning and laying out under an umbrella reading all day.

As a lifelong bookworm, I admit that I am more passionate about books than the average gal or guy on the street. It completely shocked me when I read that the average American never reads another book after college. Reading for pleasure is good for you for so many reasons, not only because it will open your mind, or doors in the future but because if you get into it it's actually enjoyable. There's so much to be gained from reading books, the mind-expanding benefits are huge.

Books help you escape, when life is getting a bit too much, escaping into a book for an hour can really make a difference in your mood - a book can completely absorb your mind, and you can "tune out" the chatter on a train, the TV in the background and even the chatter in your own mind. Books are hugely entertaining, words can do things which images and sound can't: they can take us deep into a character's mind, delight us with wordplay, and deliver a much deeper, richer story than is possible in an hour long episode of your favorite show. Lastly, one of the biggest reasons to turn to books is because not only is it sexy when someone reads but you’re learning as well about different cultures, places and things you've never seen in your wildest dreams.

With all of that being said, after thinking for a bit I came up with a list of 10 books I would love to read:
  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I am a big believer in reading books before watching the movie because anyone who's read a book beforehand knows that the book gives so many more details than the movie ever will. I've never been a big "action" type of girl so the book never really appealed to me but after watching the movie (my bestfriends made me) I completely fell in "like" with the concept and defintely want to read the book, not to mention I've heard nothing but good reviews  from anyone who's read it and our local basketball celebrity Lebron James from the Heat was snapped reading the book in his locker room which is definitely a plus.
  2. 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James - All of my friends who have read it have instantly become obsessed, it's erotic, sexual, adventurous, steamy, sexy, dominating and a love story all in one; in other words its every womans type of book. It's definitely a series of books I'd like to add to my collection. 
  3. Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde - This is another fantastic movie I saw, the only thing is I never knew there was a book. Once I found out that there was a book I instantly knew I had to read it. The concept is that one thing can be used to change the world which is gratitude. In order to truly benefit from the power of gratitude though, we need to learn to abandon the traditional act of paying people back, and adopt the act of "paying people forward". As a simple example, you do 3 favors for 3 people and eventually these 3 people will do the same for 3 other people and so forth.
  4. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks - Nicholas Sparks has always been one of my favorite authors; his stories have a way of drawing you in and making you not want to set the book down until your done with it. Not to mention he wrote the book The Notebook and what girl didn't fall in love with that story? A Walk to Remember is about a popular boy who falls in love with a preachers daughter yet he doesn't know that she's dying of cancer. The story ends very sadly but it's still one I would like to read. One of my favorite quotes is from the book, "love is like the wind, you can feel it but you can't see it" .
  5. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - I actually purchased this book some time ago and I haven't gotten around to reading it, I definetely want to make the time in the near future to read it because the reviews on it are fantastic. It has been on Oprah's Favorite Books list (not that I care) and not to mention 3 years on the New York Best Seller's list. It's a true story about the author Elizabeth who felt trapped in her life, she left her husband, sold a book and took her book advance to find herself and transcendent love in Italy, India and Indonesia. It's about a healing journey that gives hope to everyone no matter what age.
  6. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - I've heard that this book is a real gem, it's beautifully written and captivating. Animals are one of my biggest passions along with traveling and books, this book is about an elephant who brings a man and woman in a circus together, it's an adventurous love affair and many say it's based on a true story. A movie recently came out about the book in which I refuse to watch until I read the book.
  7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - The book was made into a Hollywood motion picture which was nominated for many oscars, yes I saw the movie which then in turn made me want to read the book. It's a true story based in the 1960's about a young white american girl who returns home from college and is passionate about telling the truth about "the help" which are the black maids that raise the white children and get treated like second class citizens.
  8. To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee - It's a novel published in the 1960's and until this day is on the bestseller's list. It's a compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving book about the roots of human behavior. The book is translated into 40 languages and is regarded an a masterpiece of American literature.
  9. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneoger - The book was published in 2003, it is a love story about a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel unpredictably, and about his wife, an artist who has to cope with him frequent absences and dangerous experiences.
  10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling - I've never really been into the whol fictional wizard and magical stuff but this a book I promised my little sister I'd read, she said if I didn't she would destroy of bestfriend bracelets lol.

When was the last time you read? No, I don’t mean textbooks and no, your latest issue of Cosmo, doesn’t count. I mean a good book that you could curl up in bed with at the end of the day that keeps you flipping from page to page? I definitely encourage you to try picking at least one book you've always wanted to read for fun and get to it!!!♥

"If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She'll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. - Robert Pattinson

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 16 - Spend no money today.

To be honest I am not quite sure why spending no money is a good deed. Today really taught me a lesson which was... read my deed beforehand so that I can plan ahead accordingly. I had no idea I could not spend money and brought no lunch to work, I was actually going to switch the deed for another day but my lucky savior came in hand, my little Stephanie Gonzalez also known as my little adopted sister.

She's actually been my number one follower and possibly the only person who reads my blog LOL. She refused to let me mess up the order of my deeds since I have been doing so good thus far, so she treated me to lunch. At the end of the day I reflected back on my deed and was actually really happy and grateful, I love spending time with her and talking to her so at the end of the day I appreciated my deed more because it gave me more "us" time.

I usually don't go a day without spending money and thought to myself why is this such a good deed? So I did some research on the internet and was astonished at my findings. People don't notice how much they spend on a daily basis, a Starbucks coffee here, lunch there, etc., all of those "small" purchases add up at the end of the day, and if you are doing it 7 days a week, just imagine! Not buying anything for a day makes you pause and think about what you buy. Do you really need that $3.00 game on your phone to pass the time or could you use that time more constructively? What you are essentially training yourself to do is to be aware of your daily impulse buys, which you can control more easily.

So after thinking about all of this, I will be inviting all of my friends and family, including YOU, to try not spending money for just one day. Just like having a gym buddy, group encouragement makes you accountable to others. With a little planning ahead of time, going a day without spending is a lot easier than you think. Also, there are a bunch of things in your city that you can do that are FREE and lots of fun, all you need to do is use your handy website Google and look it up, I googled "free things to do in Miami" and so many things came up. How many days could you go without spending money? I definitely learned a valuable lesson but knowing me I will go back to my spending ways tomorrow! ;)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 15 - Hold the elevator door even if it will delay you.

I have always believed there is such a thing as elevator etiquette but I can't deny that as a nursing student there are days that I have class after work, I'm exhausted and in a terrible mood and if I see someone walking towards the elevator I look down as if I didn't see them and accidently let the door close, if they make it they make it, if not oh well. I'm not proud to admit that and I am pretty sure we have ALL done it once or twice so don't judge me.

We had a corporate visit today which means this last week or so has been pretty hectic, so today I woke up mentally drained (which is why a museum day this week will come in handy), I got to work and fortunately for me my office is on the first level but I still had to run around for most of the day including a morning trip to one of our tenants on the third floor. There I stood, a bit groggily, there we're customers waiting for the elevator as well and when the car finally arrived most seemed in a hurry to jump in. Knowing my deed of the day, I waited towards the front to see if anyone was going to come running, that way I could hold the door open and get it over with but unfortunately no one came running. Later on while at the mall I was in a hurry, I was on my lunch break and was running late back to the office, I got into the elevator and as I was pressing the "Close Door" button I saw a lady running towards the elevator. Although I was in a complete hurry, I stood in front of the door and held it for her almost falling down due to the weight of the door. When she finally got in she was so grateful and thanked me twice which actually made me happy and made me want to do it more often.

I started thinking afterwards and point is, okay let's say you've been waiting for the elevator for what seems like forever, the reality is it's only been 30 seconds, breath, take it easy and be polite. It's sad that we live in a society that everyone thinks everyone's mean, one polite person can change your point of view on everyone, I'm sure you've used the line before "wow, there are good people left in this world", we all have. Wouldn't you want to be the person who they are talking about? Who changed their view on others? Be nice, niceness goes a long way. If someone smiles, SMILE BACK! If someone says hello, say it back, and hold the door for them, remember it's only 30 seconds of your life that can make an impression on someone for the rest of their lives!!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 14 - Give yourself a pep talk.

When we are discouraged, feeling down and feeling like we have reached the end of the road nothing helps more than hearing a pep talk from someone you love and respect. That one little pep talk can change your entire attitude, give you a boost to your confidence and increase your energy, even make your approach to things completely positive.
I am not one to deny that in times of discouragement, I am the first to review all of the things that are going wrong in my life and instead of being positive I anticipate negative events in the future. I am pretty sure that I am not the first to do that, what's crazy is that usually when most don't have someone there to encourage and build them up they feel worthless and down. The truth is that we can take control of our emotions and determine our own attitudes, why wait for someone else to do it?

The first thing that came to my mind when reading today's deed was that I have never actually given myself a pep talk but the more I thought about it I realized of course I had, I am pretty sure we all have at least once. Haven't you ever been running, or working out or doing something intense and you are just so tired you want to stop and give up? Then that little voice comes in your head saying "you are stronger than you think you are, look around, they are doing it why can't you?". That's a pep talk right? Just one that you keep inside and don't say out loud.

This time I wanted to give myself an actual pep talk, out loud so that I can hear myself say it. I didn't know where to begin so I got to looking things up and learned some easy steps on how anyone can give themselves a pep talk:
  1. Think about the progress you've made rather than dwelling on where you wish you were. Consider how far you have come instead of where you think you would have been. Focus on these things and remind yourself that you have come far and that you are getting somewhere.
  2. Tell yourself what you need to do next, what your next step is, make a plan, set a goal. Without knowing your goals you will always be hard on yourself because you won't notice what you have achieved.
  3. Tell yourself you are strong and you can do anything you set your mind too, talk to yourself in a positive way, stay motivated.
I have never been really good at talking verbally, I am better at writing and can show my emotions more that way so I decided to write down my pep talk and read it to myself out loud, it went something like this:

"Cindee, you are much stronger than you think you are. You are a fighter and can make it through anything; we both know it's in you. Look at everything you've been through, you got through it all and you'll get through anything, I promise you. Don't give up on yourself, you can do anything you set your mind too, stay positive and you will always be confident and most importantly don't forget to smile. Love, Me."

Reading that to myself actually made me feel better than I thought it would. Last night I was watching the movie Bruce Almighty and towards the end of the movie, when Bruce was in heaven and he was talking to God; he said something that really made me think and actually made me start crying. In that particular part he was talking about his then ex-girlfriend in the movie, God asked him "what do you really care about? Grace? Do you want her back?" and Bruce answered "No, I want her to be happy, no matter what that means. I want her to find someone who will treat her with all of the love she deserved from me. I want her to meet someone who will see her always as I do now, through your eyes."

The reason that particular line made me cry so much is because us, as human beings never see ourselves worthy of others, we are constantly putting ourselves down, looking at our imperfections and never see the good we have to offer. I am sure if you we're to ask God how he saw you, how beautiful you we're in his eyes, how amazing you we're to him, and why he created you the way that you are, you would see yourself in a whole different way and in a whole another light.  Point is, don't be so hard on yourself, you are amazing, you are beautiful and you should tell yourself that every day, try by starting today, give yourself that much needed pep talk!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 13 - Leave your change in the vending machine for the next person.

I know I am only 13 days into my Good Deed's project but I really believe that I have learned a lot of things that I didn't know before thus far. Doing kind things for others can sometimes be a defining moment of their day, turning a bad day around or setting the tone for a great day and it makes you feel good in the process. These acts have been my gift without expecting anything in return which is an amazing feeling. I never thought not expecting anything in return would actually feel good.

Today I drove around looking for a vending machine and ended up finding a soda vending machine in our local grocery store Publix. I purchased a soda for $0.75 and thought to myself a quarter wasn't sufficient change for someone else, so I added another two quarters to the change slot. Hopefully when the next person goes to purchase a soda and finds the change, they are inspired to pay it forward and do an act of kindness for another person. The little things, the sweet gestures, are fantastic gifts. Pay it forward.

"We can do no great things; only small things with great love." - Mother Theresa
***While writing this entry I came across a non-profit organization that's main purpose is to do good for others, they sell logo style cards which are a reminder and encourage others to perform an act of kindness, for example, perform an act of kindness and leave a DGT card behind, when the recipient of your deed sees the card, they'll know it's their turn to "pay it forward". The coolest part of all is that 100% of the proceeds go to supporting outreach efforts such as bringing yoga to at-risk youth, please take a moment to check them out and give a donation at http://www.karmakrew.org/index_initiatives-dogoodthings.asp.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 12 - Treat yourself.

When reading others blogs I noticed most people on a normal basis get a pang of guilt whenever they treat themselves to something unexpected like a mani/pedi, clothes, professional massage, vacation, etc. I on the contrary have never had a problem treating myself to anything.
I work pretty hard and to go through life not rewarding myself, what would be the point? I'm sure you've heard the line "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"; well I take that line literally. Not to mention, it's been proven that taking the time to reward yourself is crucial to your well being and makes you a happier person in the long run.

There are so many reasons to treat yourself, one of the most important is because it automatically makes you feel revitalized and will perk up your mood; I don't know about you but when I spend a day in the spa, when I return to work after the weekend is over I feel like an entirely new person, relaxed, less stressed and all around happy, although for most of you who truly know me I am usually always happy. Another reason is because when you're good to yourself it usually makes you want to be good to others, regularly treating yourself means that you'll be a better friend, significant other or co-worker, so think of "me" time not only as a gift to yourself but as a gift to others. It can also serve as motivation, if you set up a reward for yourself each treat will be well deserved. Lastly, treating yourself, mind, body and soul will avoid burning yourself out.

Today I treated myself to a well deserved manicure and pedicure. That one hour of getting my nails done and getting a massage completely made my day. Next time you're feeling down or a little under pressure, treat yourself to something big or small, learn to ease up on yourself and focus on how much you deserve the reward, because the truth is, treating yourself will make you a better person in the long run. Here's an idea, start by doing what I'm about to do and go have yourself a slice of cake! ;)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 11 - Take your neighbor's trash bins in off the curb.

Okay I don't want to be negative but this deed really didn't do one thing for me LOL. Of course it was a nice gesture to take my neighbors trash bin in off the curb but I didn't gain anything significant from it like the previous deeds I have completed. 

The neighbor's to the right side of my house are totally anti-social so I completely refuse to help them out and my crazy neighbors to the left side are sweet so I decided to do the deed for them. Here's the thing, they have a son around the same age as me who completes all of their deeds for them and I highly doubt they know that a nice gesture was done on someone else's behalf. But none the less I am glad I did the deed and I really hope that they noticed.

That is all for this one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Day 10 - Choose the longer walk home.

In a big city like Miami, Florida walking home is nearly impossible. Driving is necessary almost anywhere you go not to mention my job (with traffic) is nearly an hour away from home. Now you can imagine that when someone has to put up with that amount of traffic
and time consumption, the first things that come to mind are a) finding any way around it and b) taking as many short cuts as possible. I don't know about you, but I always find myself rushing through the day, every day, basically to sum it up, rushing through life. In a hurry to get to work, once at work watching the clock hoping the day ends soon, timing myself at the gym to make sure that I am finished on time, rushing back home to end my day and start all over again the next day. I always think to myself, "wow, time is flying so fast, I hate it" but we are the ones that do it to ourselves. Everyone always posting on Facebook "I can't wait until Friday", why can't we enjoy Monday just as much? Yes, I know, Mondays we have to work,  but shouldn't we be doing something we enjoy or taking up an extra activity after work that we have always wanted to do? Okay, sorry I am getting off topic, back to my deed of the day...

The easiest, fastest way for me to get home which is what I usually take is the main express way but today I decided to take the long drive, instead of walk, home down Old Cutler Road. Those of you that are familiar with Miami, are familiar with a beautiful road/semi-highway called Old Cutler Road. The two-lane road can take you from one side of South Miami all the way down to past Homestead. The road is absolutely gorgeous; it looks like a South American jungle according to some. The overhead is full of banyans that canopy over the roadways, shading a journey past secluded estates with high, vine-covered stucco walls. Ever-flowing bougainvillea's, bromeliads, and other tropical flowers are along this serene back road which draws you along its route. Lucky for me although this road makes my drive much longer, leads to my house. While driving home today on Old Cutler Road I took the time to look at the scenery and the greenery around me, it was such a beautiful day, the sun was shining and everything was so lovely and colorful around me. I must admit it was nice to take my time and look at the view around me and not worry or stress about the traffic.

While taking my drive today I started thinking, my entire life feels like one big fast forward button on a VCR, I eat fast, I talk fast, I walk fast, and according to my driving record, I drive fast, so it's nice to take it easy and slow for once. I think we should all try to take it easy and slow our lives down, if not what are we living for? Life is not a race, and if you think about it, it's quite short, so we should enjoy it and take in the beauty of the world on a normal basis. While browsing the web today I found a marvelous article with 5 good reasons why EVERYONE should slow their pace down and take the long walk and/or drive home on a normal basis, they are as follows (in my own words):

1) Slow down slowly, obviously you can't change overnight but starting to take a 5 minute breather on a normal basis will make a huge difference in your day, and you will definitely start noticing pronto.

2) Just imagine taking a random day off from work. No meetings, no errands, no work phone calls, no commitments. What would you do? Make a cup of tea, stroll through a museum? Sit on a beach with your iPod and a piña colada? Don't you feel relaxed just thinking about it? Life is too short not to randomly take a day off and enjoy it, why does everything have to be planned.

3) Take your lunch hour. My parents always taught me one thing when I started working, which was always to take my lunch hour at work. They always encouraged me to leave the office, even if it was for a walk or to listen to music. Now in my mid-twenties, okay, okay, I hate to say it but my late-twenties I realize why. Taking my one hour away from the office makes such a HUGE difference, I get to relax and not think of anything, we we're given a "lunch hour" for a reason, it was there to provide renewal, refuel, rest and rejuvenation. TAKE THE HOUR! Be comfortable being alone in your thoughts.

4) Don't sweat the little things. Yes, traffic is a bitch, long grocery lines are a bitch, and we all know this. Bring your iPod, download you're favorite music and jam out. Whatever you do, find a way to breathe through the rush.

5) Make your weekly goal to slow down, bring more calm into your life.

We all know we are a work in progress but let's try to follow these five steps above and I guarantee our lives will be much more relaxing in no time. This deed not only made my day a little more relaxing and better but it also encouraged me to take a random day next week off from work and stroll a museum or do something I appreciate and love. If I'm doing it, maybe you should try it too....!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Day 9 - Send a friend a beloved book from your shelf.

Call me a nerd (I prefer you call me a bookworm instead) but I have always been in love with reading. Something about basking in the reality of someone else's story has always intrigued me. Getting lost in someone's story, getting lost in the moments, feeling what they feel because the characters feel so real. The worst feeling to me is that moment when you finish a book and have to return to reality. The setting, the story, all felt so true and for the time being you we're in it, you we're part of it. 

Reading will always be my favorite past time. It feels like traveling into different places, meeting new people, gaining wisdom, learning different cultures, languages and the likes without having to leave the comfort of your home. There's nothing like a good book to take you away and make you forget about your worries for the time being. I once heard someone say that reading is dreaming with your eyes open, I love that line and I must say I agree.

My deed for today was to send a friend a beloved book off of my shelf but instead of sending it I decided to hand it over to her, Stephanie being that she works in my office. The book I chose to give her was Twilight, don't get me wrong, I've never been into the whole vampire thing, never watched a vampire show in my life and nothing about vampires has ever intrigued me. I'm a realist and as a realist I know that vampires definitely do not exist and/or will never exist. I can't even remember how I ended up reading the first Twilight book, because Lord knows I wouldn't go out and purchase it "just cause'" but I will tell you this, once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. It wasn't just a story about vampires, it was more a love story, a story that I couldn't put down, four books and four movies later I still love Twilight. I mean I am completely over it and on to better books but I definitely think it's an experience Stephanie would like and should have.

In conclusion, everyone should read books and get lost in a story every once in a while. You should take this opportunity to share one of your beloved books with a beloved person like I did, you won't regret it and they won't either.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 8 - Forgive someone for a minor resentment that's been bothering you.

This deed was a very difficult one for me, not because it's hard for me to forgive but because I've always forgiven. I've never held hatred nor grudges towards someone because every single thing I have gone through has made me the person I am today, I know that sounds cliché or silly but it's true. I mean don't get me wrong, maybe I am more closed off and reserved than I used to be and maybe I have a huge wall up but it's not because I haven't forgiven someone, it's only to protect myself from the future and what it can hold.

I am a firm believer in forgiving people and letting go, throughout my life I've learned that everyone makes mistakes, it's unavoidable. Harboring negative feelings towards people for any reason makes you feel even worse, so why let the feelings fester and eat you up inside? I often feel like I forgive people too easily but it doesn't mean I am condoning their behavior, it just simply means I'm strong enough to look past it and I am simply accepting it happened and moving on. After all, everyone makes mistakes.

"We achieve inner health only through forgiveness - the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves." - Joshua Loth Liebman

Monday, July 16, 2012

Day 7 - Send one of your grandparents a photograph.

I've always thought that grandparents we're put on this earth to smother you with love, spoil you and of course give you everything your parents say no too. To love you when you're down, bake for you and give you extra special kisses.
Growing up I only had grandparents from my father's side of the family, my mom's parents had passed away before I was born. Due to that significant factor, I never really had grandparents that adored me growing up. They came from a country where "tough love" was the way things went. My grandfather who I was closer to passed away from cancer when I was around 8 years old, I remember him just like it was yesterday, he was always loving and I remember him mostly with a smile on his face. I was never really close to my grandmother, she favored my brother and she wouldn't deny it until this day. I never had many good memories with her so the older I got the less I visited.

Currently, I only see her on special holidays when she's over my father's house or for special dinner's. I've noticed now that I am older, she wants my love and wants me to visit her but I'm embarrassed to say I never make the time; something always comes up and/or something is always more important. Come to think of it, every time I have seen her she always asks me for pictures because she doesn't have any recent ones of me, so when I read the deed of the day "send one of your grandparents a photograph" it made me regret all of the time I hadn't spent with her. It's crazy to me how something so small such as sending my grandmother a picture of me could make her whole day; I can picture her smiling from ear to ear when she opens the envelope.

I decided to send her two pictures, one of when I was a little girl, you can barely see my face but the main thing in the picture are the curls in my hair. Something I didn't know growing up that my mom told me recently was that when I was little my grandmother used to curl my hair with her fingers, such as the way it is in this picture. Although you can't see my face, you can see my precious curls and little grin and that is a memory I will always hold fond to my heart. The second picture I sent her was a recent picture of myself now with curls in my hair. I also sent her a small letter, that went something along the lines of.. "Nana, I'm sorry that I don't spend as much time as I would like too with you, but I want you to know that I love you very much. Although I cannot make up for lost time, I would love to see you soon to hear all of your stories and share a few laughs. I know I don't say it much but I love you, always have and always will, your mamiña".

This deed made me realize that time is precious and although someone is not how you would like them to be, maybe it's not their fault, maybe it was the way they we're raised. And also that the greatest treasures are those invisible to the eye but felt by the heart. After today I will make it a point to go visit my grandmother even if it's just for an hour because an hour could make her entire day perfect. I encourage all of you that read this entry to spend time with your loved ones before it's too late, don't hold grudges; let them go, forgive and give love. Don't make excuses, if there's distance between you and your grandparents, send them a letter and a picture which is guaranteed to make their day and maybe even the rest of their life!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day 6 - Be kind to yourself.

When I read the deed of the day I stayed staring at the words, "be kind to yourself." Since I was a little girl I always understood the importance of kindness, but kindness in my eyes was always being kind to others, never did I step back and think about kindness towards myself. I thought about how it feels to be kind - the type of emotions  that surge within you when you are considering another person; care and gentleness, and then I thought to myself that I don't often feel those types of emotions when it came to dealing with myself. In fact, I think I am harder on myself than anyone else and I believe we are all like that on ourselves.
What's the first thing that came to my mind when I thought about being kind to myself? Going shopping, taking a vacation or maybe even just an unexpected, relaxing day in the beach? They are all considered being kind to yourself right? Yes, of course these are all ways you can be kind to yourself but I don't believe they are the most important. Maybe I took the deed a little too in depth but the nerd in me loves getting new ideas and researching so that's exactly what I did and when I googled "being in kind to yourself" most of what came up wasn't materialistic and/or vacations, it was more about the way you treat yourself. In example, being patient with oneself, encouraging ourselves, forgiving ourselves, treating yourself to things you enjoy, listening to yourself, and the list goes on. I also learned that it's been proven that the secret to success is in fact being kind to yourself.
Today I went to the beach with a good friend and while laying out and I decided to reflect on what I learned on how to be kinder to myself.
  • Patience -  Remind yourself that some days you will be better than others, some days your practice will be stronger than others and stop competing with yourself. Impatience has a tendency to lead towards decreased self-esteem and a bad mood in general, it makes you want to achieve things right at that moment and if you don't you feel discouraged and like you'll never be able to do it. Everything wasn't built over night, stay patient and you will be sure to have more peace in your life. Don't be so hard on yourself.
  • Encourage Myself  - I am the first to tell myself "I can't" but I should be the first person encouraging myself, if I don't encourage myself then who will? When things are tough or you are battling with something, encouragement is like a boost to your self-esteem, why should it always come externally? I believe that we should all have positive beliefs in ourselves to carry us through. Belief is empowering so believe in yourself, if someone else can do it, you can too.
  • Forgiveness  - In my perspective this one is the hardest for me, I never forgive myself and hold on to everything I have done wrong. Forgiveness will make a huge difference in your lives and the lives of those around us, helping us remove many of the blocks that we have hidden deep down in our subconscious mind, blocks that keep us stuck and away from living the life we always dreamed of. Forgive yourself for not accepting yourself completely. Forgive yourself so all of the judgments you've placed on yourself and others. Forgive yourself for your mistakes for without mistakes you wouldn't be who you are today.
  • Be Giving - It's important to treat yourself with things you enjoy, whether its reading a book or attending a class you have always wanted to or even getting yourself your favorite cupcake or dessert (and not worrying about the calorie intake). You give to others to rejuvenate them, you should be just as worthy of and in need of rejuvenation.
  • Listen - Lastly, listen to yourself. Don't overwhelm yourself or overdo it. If you're tired, take a break or a nap, if you have been mentally overworking take a day off.
Learning how to be more compassionate on myself was something that I never even thought of or considered so this was actually an amazing reward to myself. I've come to terms today that I am only human, I'll make mistakes, change my mind, it's normal. I can't control everything and will always fail if I try too, it's better to embrace change and go with the flow. Nothing is as difficult as my mind makes it out to be. Take a deep breath. Smile and enjoy the ride.

“Love yourself—accept yourself—forgive yourself—and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.”  - Leo F. Buscaglia

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 5 - Walk around your block and pick up some trash.

I've always been a "Green World" type of person, always recycled at home, at work and anywhere I had the chance, never polluted and yelled at my friends and family when they even thought about throwing a piece of trash on the floor. That being said, although I don't pollute, I have never actually been one to walk outside and pick up trash from the floor.

I first read online to see how much trash affected this world and it's crazy to know that the streets are filled with trash everywhere and no one ever stops to pick-up one piece from the floor. Did you know that every year, the United States generates approximately 230 million tons of "trash", that is about 4.6 pounds per person, per day and less than one-quarter is recycled. When trash is not recycled it turns into pollution and that in turn equals poor air quality and major health issues for many people around the country.

This Saturday was the perfect day for this deed, the sun was shining and there was the perfect little breeze, it's usually scorching hot and humid in Florida and you'll die just walking outside for five minutes (maybe I'm being a little exaggerated but you get the point). I walked around my neighborhood with gloves and a plastic trash bag and it wasn't long before the bag was full and my street looked clean and neat, I knew it wouldn't last long but it made me feel great that I had made a tiny difference, even if it was just for an hour or maybe even a day. I started thinking to myself imagine if every day I picked up trash I saw on the floor, what if everyone in the world did that, just one piece of trash a day? That would be pretty powerful, amazing in fact but impossible more likely. So why throw trash away on the floor at all? It is so easy to walk to a trash can and throw it away, our cities provide trash cans everywhere, almost in every corner, yet people still throw things away on the street.

I believe that if just a handful of people joined in on the green movement places would be trash free in no time. I know people think to themselves that one person can't make a difference but I do, I think that if you really set your mind to it and start doing things to make a difference people will notice and want to join in, that is the reason for my blog, so that I can encourage people to do good. When writing this entry I came across an amazing, proven theory called The Butterfly Effect, the theory originated with a meaning that tiny changes within a complex system can lead to results that are impossible to predict. In example, the flapping of a butterfly's wings in South America could affect the weather in Texas, it's a proven theory by mathematician and scientist Edward Norton Lorenz.

The incentive of the theory is that tiny changes you make do in fact make a difference, and when those tiny changes are aggregated among millions of people, we can truly make a real difference in how much nature we save for our children, grandchildren, and beyond.

So next time you're walking through your neighborhood, or on the beach or anywhere for that matter, pick-up that piece of trash (little and/or big) you see near you and make a small difference that could have an immense impact. It's a simple step that will help make our home here on earth more green and clean.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Day 4 - Talk about what you're grateful for.

Have you ever sat down and truly thought about what you we're thankful for? When I read this deed so many things ran through my mind, how could I narrow down everything I was grateful for? And if I didn't narrow it down I would be writing a book because there are so many things I could think of that I am grateful for. 

For most of my life I have overlooked gratitude; I've always wanted more than I've had and I've never really stopped to be grateful for what I have other than on national holidays like Thanksgiving or when something goes wrong. I mean don't get me wrong, as a child I was taught to be grateful as in to say please and thank you and to always ask to be excused from the table before I got up, but the older I got the busier and the less I stopped to think about what I was grateful for. Simple things can trigger a feeling of gratitude - for example, everyone who's ever been sick knows that they value being healthy more when they're sick than they do when they're healthy, because they realize how wonderful it is to just feel normal.

With all of that being said, I share with you my list of things I am grateful for:
    1. God♥  - The first thing I am grateful for is such an amazing, powerful and illuminating God. One who makes me see the beauty in everything, one who listens to me when no one else does, one that although I am alone I always feel him there. Thank you God for helping me when times get hard and thank you for opening my eyes to things people usually don't stop and take the time to look at. Thank you for helping me help others through you, thank you for being so astonishing, thank you for understanding who I am more than I understand, thank you for your comfort when I need you most and for your silence when I need to reflect. You are the most beautiful thing that has ever happened to this world and I am grateful for you.

    2. My Family♥  - They are not "kind of crazy", they are completely crazy, the type of crazy that makes me smile because I know I am one of the luckiest girls in the world to have a family like mine. Although there may be arguments or disagreements like in any other family, the one thing there is always plenty of is love. We are so full of love, always have been and always will. They have always been there for me through thick and thin and I am convinced that I have one of the best families in the world, at least from my stand point of view. They catch me when I fall, they make me laugh when I'm hurt and not only are they my family but they are my best friends. My mother, my aunts, my cousins, my brother, my father, they are all pieces of me, pieces I hold dear to my heart and I don't know where I would be without them and can't picture life without them.

    3. My friends♥  - I've noticed that many people who call themselves friends walk in and out of your life. But there comes a time when someone walks in and you just know they we're meant for you, they are there for good no matter what happens, kind of like soul mates but friend soul mates.  Over the years I've come to learn that close friends are truly life's treasures, sometimes they know you better than you know yourself. Someone who you can be completely yourself around, when your needy, when your weak, when your sad, there's no hiding it. Someone who knows every single thing about you and still loves you, tremendously, for you, not for being something that you are not. Twenty years from now I am going to look back and remember the ones that could turn every frown into a smile in a few simple words. The ones that lifted my head when I was losing faith in myself. The one's who carried tears on their shoulders after every fight, every break-up, every death. The ones who accepted every decision I made, the ones who knew who I really was, and the ones that made the biggest difference in my life... my best friends, and I am beyond grateful for them.
    4. Animals♥  - I am so grateful for all of the animals in the world, they brighten my day and make me smile. Animals are loyal, loving, always happy to see you and the only thing they want from you is to love you and be loved in return.

    5. Kisses and Hugs♥  - I am grateful for those kisses and hugs that don't happen all of the time. The ones that knock you off of your feet and makes you smile and leaves you breathless and gives you butterflies all at the same time. Or the hugs and kisses on the forehead from your loved ones when you need them most.

    6. Cookies and Desserts♥  - I'm grateful for the cookies and desserts that melt in your mouth and taste so good and instantly make you feel better.

    7. Sunny Days♥  - I am grateful for the days when the sun is shining on my face and I can't help but to think how beautiful life is and everything living in it. It's funny how sunny days make you happier and make you appreciate life more.

    8. Laughter♥  - It's proven that laughter reduces stress, improves breathing, automatically makes you feel better, cleanses you all the way down to your soul, and according to most doctors laughing is the best medicine. If you can make a girl laugh you can make her do anything. I am grateful for laughing, which is one of the best feelings in the world.

    9. Breakfast in Bed♥ - I am grateful for the mornings I wake up with a loved one holding a just made, warm and tasteful breakfast over my head so that I can have breakfast in bed. I love breakfast in bed.

    10. Good Novels and Poetry♥ - I am grateful for the books I read that leave me in awe with a whole new view on the world, or the books that make me live in a fantasy world. I am grateful for poetry and what it has brought into my life, it's taught me to love a little longer and hug a little tighter. I love books. I love that moment when you open one and sink into it, you can escape from the world, into a story that's way more interesting than yours will ever be.

    11. The Ocean♥ - I am grateful for the beautiful ocean that can instantly turn a bad day into a good one. I am grateful for the days I get to sit in the sand and just listen to the waves crashing on the shore. "The world is a watery shadow of ocean-love, that sea of light cannot be contained in single humans, so leave fragments, and be the mountain."

    12. Love♥♥ - I am grateful for love. "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."  Love is the best feeling in the world, it brings beauty to anything and can put you on the highest high of all highs. It can make you light headed and smiley and make you want to day dream all day. It can make you feel safe and give you butterflies and for that I am thankful.

    13. Wine♥ - I am grateful for wine and all the nights it's brought laughter and tears to my loved ones and myself. A good wine can make you feel sexy, strong and able to take on the world. "Wine is sunlight held together by water!" - Galileo Gallilei

    14. Children♥ - I am grateful for the innocence in children, for their laughter and carelessness and for their love. A child has no trouble believing the unbelievable and while we try to teach children all about life, they end up teaching us what life is all about.

    15. Life♥ - I am grateful for life in general, for giving me the chance to experience all that I am experiencing, and will be experiencing in the time to come. The challenges it brings that help me grow and become the person I am today. I am grateful for kind strangers that brighten up your days when you least expect it and teach you that life isn't all selfishness.
I can go on and on about what I am grateful for but these are some of some of the most important things to me. Sometimes we forget that there is much around us to be thankful for.  And we often take for granted the time we have with our loved ones. It's not until we are reminded of how precious life and every breath is, that we can truly be thankful. And in the midst of uncertainty and fear, God is the one who brings light out of the darkness and hope out of fear.

Your life story is written with every breath you take and when we take the time to look at the world around us, we see just how amazing this life is.

"Let us rise up and be thankful for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." - Buddha