set a fire

My whole life I have been someone who naturally encourages others. I have grown to learn that words are a way of spreading love and joy and seeing people smile is something that gives me butterflies. Whether it is sending a text to let someone know that I am thinking about them, giving someone a gift for a birthday or a holiday, reaching out when life is getting them down, or just bringing someone a laugh when they want to cry. It’s part of who I am. It is in my blood and lifting others up is what keeps me going. After graduating with my Fitness and Wellness degree I have taken my drive to help others on a more personal level. I want to see people becoming happier, healthier, and the BEST versions of themselves. Why? Because feeling good in your own skin is great, but bringing that comfort and love to others is even better. I want the people in my life to wake up with a sense of purpose and hope for each day. I want to shine a light on everyone I know, because I believe that every single person deserves to feel LOVED, WORTHY, WANTED, and STRONG.

I have a busy life and I have let my passion fade. I recently restarted my journey and instead of being obsessed with the results I am hoping for, I am falling in love with the process. I want to help build a community where people can share their highs and lows of their journey together. Where we can encourage each other, share ideas, and lift each other up when we feel like giving up.

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I am taking this opportunity to reach out and grow personally and hopefully with others. I am going to open my arms and ask that if you have a goal you want to reach, let me be your hype girl. If you want to start cutting back on old habits, if you want to start changing your mindset, changing your diet, maybe pick up a new hobby, or getting back to an old one. Doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is something out there that sets a fire in your soul and I want to help you keep it burning.

change of plans

“For I know the plans I have for you.” - Jeremiah 29:11

This is a verse I have been telling myself everyday this past year. I am always trying to plan out everything in my life, in my week, in my day. No matter how planned I think everything is, guess what? Nothing goes as planned. I have been practicing being okay with the lack of control I have over certain things and planning is a huge one. If you would have asked me a year ago where I would be and what I would be doing I wouldn’t have guessed for a second it would be this. 

 

I never expected to be in Spain for five months, or to travel to as many places as I did. I thought I had my summer planned out with a job, starting massage school in September… Little did I know that I would be starting in July instead. My working schedule quickly changed and I left the restaurant job I just finished training for. Then I was given an amazing opportunity to work for a new and local company called BALUNSD in Scottsdale. Here I have grown and taken steps towards that sports massage/ recovery world that I hoped to join once graduating. 

 

Next thing I know, I have school four days a week, working two days a week, and having massage clinical one day a week. Amongst all the chaos, all I can do is smile and be grateful because- WOW. So many great things all at once. 

 

About a week ago I received a call from someone who was offering me yet another amazing opportunity. This time it was a position for a part time nanny. Three kids, twin 3 year olds, and a new born baby. They were looking for someone long term, and able to travel with them. They are musicians and where willing to work with my school schedule, not to mention hire me as a personal massage therapist once I am licensed. It was not a job with the Diamondbacks, which is what I have been hoping for the last few months. It is not a sports team offer. But it is the most perfect fit. I love kids, I have always enjoyed being around kids and babies. This family is not what I planned on, but I know that the Big Man upstairs has my back and has led me here. 

 

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Just a reminder that maybe what is happening in our lives isn’t what we thought; or expected, but just keep the faith that everything happens for a reason and that if you keep your mind and heart open, the best plans; His plans, will fall in your lap. 

 

unconditional

We are conditioned in this life. We are conditioned how to think and how to behave. I think the world is so conditioned to seeing negativity and ignoring the positive. How many times do you look for the bad in life? Before you spend time trying to convince yourself that you are the most positive person on the planet and you never have a single negative thought or judgment- hear me out. When you look in the mirror what do you see? Maybe it's not what you see at all. Your thoughts go wild with "why is my hair so awful", "I wish my teeth were whiter", "I am breaking out", "will my outfit compliment my body". Why don't we look in the mirror, and see how beautiful we are. 

Still don't believe me? Your best friend compliments you, what is your response? "What?! No, I am not (fill in the blank)" - see? Why is it so difficult for us to accept these words of kindness and TRUTH? I want to bring attention to this because it truly breaks my heart when I see people lacking self-love. I just wish everyone could hype themselves up like you would your best friend. 

If everyone could love themselves unconditionally, then I truly believe it would make this world a better place. 

"Treat others the way you wish to be treated"

We have all heard this before right? Maybe it should be "Treat yourself as you treat others" ... 

Self-love/care is important and when it is neglected it is noticeable and can lead to dangerous habits. So next time you are hating on yourself in the mirror. Hype yourself instead. 

Perspective is everything. 

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-D

My MRKH

After much thought, I have decided to create a video to talk about my MRKH and to help spread awareness. I know that I have mentioned being born without my uterus, but I wanted to share about the struggles and the surgery itself. 

Being born different is not always easy to talk about, but owning it and helping others to understand is how we grow and learn. 

 Almost 5 years post-op 

Almost 5 years post-op 

life update

I have almost been back home in the USA for a month now. I don’t think I have ever been busier in my life. Within the first week I started working two jobs and babysitting as well. As everyone knows (and if you don’t you are silly) traveling the world is not exactly nice to your bank account! Shocker, right? I don’t regret anything except not saving enough- however, every penny spent in Europe was worth it!!! With that being said, I knew coming home meant diving back into reality and working hard. 

I still have so many people that I haven’t even been able to see yet because I simply haven’t had the time. 

I had this wonderful plan of coming home, working for the summer, saving my money, and then starting in September- massage therapy school. Well turns out, when you make plans God laughs and says “I’ll do ya one better!” I am so excited because I got accepted into the summer program and will begin taking classes on July 9th! I am still living at home (and loving the rent free life) and will be attending Cortiva Institute of Massage Therapy School in Scottsdale. I absolutely cannot wait to get started! The best part is the opportunities for sports massage therapy (MY DREAM JOB) is in high demand and with my program being 7 1/2 months I will be graduating in February of 2019! Just in time for my favorite time of year- SPRING TRAINING!!! Working with baseball teams from all over the country!!!*I’m screaming with excitement* 

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So over all doing well, very excited and looking forward to this next chapter of my wild ride of a life! 

be a good person

***WARNING: (Content is not full of rainbows and butterflies or beaches)***

Why is it that the people who seem the happiest and are the most caring on the outside hurt the most on the inside? Why is depression and suicidal thoughts something that no one wants to talk about? Isn’t the best way to prevent dark and sometimes fatal actions simply that? Talking about it. So let’s talk. 

Unfortunately, a man I knew, recently took his own life. 

 This was a man who had a heart bigger than most. He was caring and always smiling. He would ask you how you were doing and he would genuinely listen to your answer.He would check back in with you if you weren’t 100%. He was helpful in every possible way and he was everyone’s biggest fan. What upsets me the most is that somewhere down the road, maybe no one reciprocated this character to him. I failed to be that support, to check in more often. Does that make me (or anyone) responsible? Everyone will tell you no, but I am not sure I believe that. I don’t want to put blame on myself or anyone else... But when do we start taking responsibility for what is happening around us? The point I am trying to make is that SOMETHING NEEDS TO CHANGE!How many suicides will it take before we realize that we need to do something different. The reason I say this is because I believe that if we don’t change the way we interact and care about the people in our lives, then one day we will all be wishing we had. I don’t wish this on anyone. So please. Be a good person. Care for one another. 

“We are not primarily put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.”-Peter De Vries

five months later

My time traveling the world is quickly coming to an end. It’s crazy to think how much I have seen and done, yet I feel as if I have barely scratched the surface. There is still so much of the world I want to see. 

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I have grown so much in these past few months. I took independence to a whole new level. I pushed myself beyond outside my comfort zone, more than I ever thought possible. I have learned a foreign language and have tried so many new things. I have seen places I thought were only a dream. I have felt isolated and alone. I have also felt accepted and loved. This has all allowed me to learn so much more about myself and those around me. My eyes have been opened to many different cultures and styles of life, people, and places. My awareness has been heightened and for the best. 

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I have officially passed all my classes and will finally receive my bachelors degree from NAU. I am so excited to return home with all these changes and a positive mindset going into the rest of my life.

muchas gracias

I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that my semester abroad is almost over. I have met so many incredible people, made some friends who will forever have a place in my heart. I have so many memories and wild stories, even if they only make me laugh, I will never forget these months in Spain and spent traveling. Coming home is such a bittersweet idea. I am so happy to see my dog and family, I CANNOT WAIT to drive my car, and to just be somewhere familiar and comfortable. I also will miss when that walking 10 minutes to the beach “is so far” and I will miss being able to walk, ride the tram, or bus to get wherever I want. I will miss my beloved coffee shop, Sip and Wonder, and the wonderful homey feeling it has given me. Spain has truly left a mark on my heart and I will never be able to say thank you enough. 

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Coming home is also nerve-racking because I have to leave this paradise and return to Arizona in the wonderful 100 degree summer weather. I will have to work my life away until I am on my feet again (being abroad fills your heart but empties your bank account). I am planning on staying home in Phoenix, pretty much until I can afford to live anywhere else. I am unsure of what I will be doing for work, but I am confident that I will be okay. (If you or anyone you know needs a petsitter, house sitter, or babysitter, let me know!) Once I get back I want to spend some time in the gym and work on getting multiple personal training certifications to help improve my experience and build my resume. Once summer is over, I hope to start my massage therapy school in September and if all goes well I will be able to graduate from that in May 2019!

One more week of classes and then I will be going to Greece for a week, crossing off the number one place on my bucket list! I appreciate any of you for sticking with me and all my silly posts these past few months! 

Muchas gracias!

-D

scuba diving

Bucket list item ✔️

On Saturday some friends and I went with Dive Academy Santa Pola for a discover dive. I have never been scuba diving and thought without a certification I wouldn’t be able to. This was the perfect solution! My good friend Wayne from the local coffee shop (Sip and Wonder) told me about a discover dive they take beginners on and it is basically a trial dive before people decide to get certified. They taught us three skills and helped us get comfortable underwater. Breathing underwater is probably the coolest feeling I have ever experienced! I felt like I had a super power or something! The water was pretty cold and they gave us gloves and hoods to help keep us warmer. While these were very helpful for warmth, they did not exactly appear the most flattering. We were all laughing so hard at each other it was quite a site. Since it was a discover dive we didn’t go more than 15 feet. The water was so clear and there were fish all around us. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any crazy creatures. A girl who was with us said the day before she saw an octopus but no one could see it during our dive. Scuba diving is definitely something I need to do again. If you haven’t tried, I highly recommend!!! Honestly best decision ever!!!!

Check them out if you ever want to have a fun dive! https://www.facebook.com/DiveAcademySantaPola/ 

morocco

My spring break was unlike any break I have ever had for school in my life. I was given not one, but two weeks off from my university. I spent the first week in Alicante, going to the beach, relaxing and just enjoying my little town I live in.

I had previously signed up for a field study tour in Morocco with my study abroad program for the remaining week of break. I won't lie going to Morocco sounded slightly intimidating at first. Just like all my trips I told myself to clear my mind of any expectations and to just take it all in... I could go on about this trip but the most important things from this:

  • Pictures don't do justice (not even 397 of them)
  • Never underestimate skills a person can have, especially if they are impaired.
  • Clean water is HUGELY taken for granted.
  • Craftsmanship and culture are not dead.
  • Religion vs. culture is commonly misunderstood 
  • Arabic is more complicated than Spanish 

One of my favorite things we did was meet the people from the DARNA an association for blind women who take wool and make it into yarn and then into thread and they use the loom to make fabrics. I purchased a blue jacket and a red blanket. Chefchaouen was also my favorite place we went. This city is famously known as "the blue city" and it did not disappoint. 

challenge accepted

If you have been following my journey with me you should already know that I have struggled in the past and some recent battles in regards to my happiness. It sounds silly when I say it, but it's the truth! I've said it before and I will say it again, the whole point of this blog is not to fill you all with lies about myself but with honesty and the truth.

So recently I was invited to join a free five day Facebook challenge by a stranger who had just randomly started following my Instagram account. In this challenge there was going to be a focus on positive mindset, personal development, and at home workouts. I thought to myself, "how funny this stranger found me, and reached out to me, right when I needed this the most." You all probably think I am the most positive person. Or at least that's what I am used to hearing people say about me. But I am guilty of getting stuck in my own negativity and this was the hand reaching to pull me out. Thank God for that! 

This challenge has helped me to really change my way of thinking and to truly be a happier version of myself. Its only been four days and I felt like a new person after the first. I'm not even joking. Everyone in this group has been so amazing and supportive of one another. We have each been through/ are going through something similar or can relate to one another. Personal development podcasts are shared each day along with a workout video or some form of encouragement. We are all listening to an audio book by Melissa Ambrosini, "Mastering Your Mean Girl". This book is amazing and I would recommend it to everyone. 

Some simple changes I have made that I feel have really set me up for happiness are these:

  1. Start and end each day with gratitude.
  2. Write down affirmations that resonate with you and say them every day, and mean them.
  3. Spend time in nature (walking outside or laying on the beach).
  4. Make food that is nurturing to your body and makes you feel good.
  5. Vent about the good things from your day, not the negative.

So basically that is what is new with me and the reason I have this crazy happiness buzz going on. Now I want to challenge you all!!

Challenge #1: Comment 3 things that you are grateful for

Challenge #2: Can you go 5 days without complaining? Instead change your way of thinking to a positive outlook. Example: "Ugh work really sucks" vs. "I am so happy that I have a job"

cooking with carmen

    I will never forget the every first day of my cooking class. I was under the impression that I was going to be taught in English and upon arrival, the class was most definitely NOT taught in English. I only slightly panicked but realized I would probably figure it out as I went. This is just a mindset I have learned to accept when it comes to everything in this foreign country. We were placed in groups of 4 and two of the girls in my group spoke much better Spanish than I did. 

    Our class was held in a separate facility than our regular classes. In fact, it is held at a cooking school. Centres de Turisme (Cdt) I felt like I was walking onto the set of ‘Top Chef’. Every class they start with a glass of wine and tell us where it is from and what kind of food goes well with it. 

*Pro tip:

white/rosé = seafood/ light pasta/ salads  

red = meat/ desserts

    I will also never forget that the first class I ate essentially caviar… that’s not exactly what it was but let’s call it that… let’s also say that I won’t be eating that ever again… 

    Each day I tried something I never would have tried without this class. Our Chef, Carmen is quite possibly my favorite person I have met in Spain. She is patient with me and jokes with me that I am “dangerous”. Couldn’t tell ya why! I won’t lie my group was most definitely the best and Carmen’s favorite. (Her words I swear!) On our last day we made Tortillas de Patatas and our group tied (*won*) for making the best one. 

    I can’t really put into words how much fun this class was, but I hope this helped. I also thought maybe sharing some of the funny moments would be better than rambling. So hope ya’ll enjoy this!!!

italy

I spent this past weekend in Italy with my parents! I took a train from Alicante to Madrid and met them there. They had an Airbnb for the night in the city near Gran Vía and we found a cool restaurant just around the corner. The next morning we left early for the airport and unlike my Amsterdam experience we had plenty of time. Our flight to Pisa was actually delayed almost an hour. Eventually we made it and rented our car and found the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Driving in Italy is definitely an experience, but surviving is all that matters. We then drove two hours to our Airbnb in Bocca di Magra. It was right by the river and even though the weather was rainy everyday it was very beautiful.

We drove to Florence the next morning and went to see Michael Angelo’s David. We walked around some of the streets and found a cute little pizzeria. Later after we made it back to our small little town we found a place down the road from us to eat. We enjoyed a wonderful seafood and pasta meal with wine. The next morning we left to go explore Cinque Terre. This has been on my bucket list and it was so breathtaking. We ended up driving up and down the narrow and winding roads and really got to see how incredible it was. There was water running down the mountains and rivers everywhere and so much green! Of course it was raining but we didn’t let that stop us. Once we got back to our Airbnb I made my parents a pasta dinner and shared a bottle of wine.

Throughout the whole trip we took many wrong turns, but as I told my parents, “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”

amsterdam

Amsterdam was a wild couple days! Me and six other people took a trip to Amsterdam and it was so cool to see such a different place than what I am used to. We did a canal tour, the Heineken Experience, and also walked around the city a lot (sometimes because we were lost, but mostly just wondering). We checked out the Vondel Park, and even though winter had made its mark on the nature it was still worth seeing.

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The food was AMAZING. And I am pretty sure I ate enough to feed all of us for a week. My favorite was the market and finding the fresh (and famous) Dutch cookies! Stroopwafels! And let me tell you, they are the most amazing fresh off the skillet. The bikes were only slightly nerve racking because instead of looking both ways before crossing a street you probably should just do a 360 check. You never know where someone is coming from! In face our first day there, the city’s power went out and the crossing signs weren’t working and it was basically a free for all. We walked a total of 20miles or more in our weekend and I justify all the food I ate for that reason. That’s how it works right??

I will say that the Amsterdam airport is definitely in my top five most disliked places. That airport should have it’s own zip code. We definitely did not give ourselves enough time to get through security and I got stuck behind six people who had to get their bags searched. (I didn’t take out my camera...rookie mistake I know). This resulted in me almost missing my flight but with a quick sprint to my gate I was the last person on our plane and the doors shut behind me. So my takeaways from Amsterdam:

1- always give yourself more time than you think for the airport (including transportation)

2-look into hostels because Airbnb’s are way too over priced 

3- eat the fresh stroopwaffles (but also buy some at the grocery store for a more reasonable price) 

4- you might break the bank but you will make memories that will never have a price on them

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say a little prayer

I would say that I have a pretty good memory. I like to cherish events, people, places, and feelings. I think that comes from my past and just a general realization that nothing lasts forever. So I try my best to be observant all the time. I notice little things. This comes in handy when trying to find a place after only being there one time and not having directions. Or getting to know a place, or even a person. I take in my surroundings. Signs, doors, words, walls, colors, anything really. 

Awhile ago when I went to San Francisco in high school for our youth mission trip we did something that I have found myself doing often here in Spain. We drove around for hours in the vans and we did a prayer tour. We didn’t speak, we just glanced out our windows and individually prayed for anything we thought necessary or anything we wanted. With all my time walking around/spent in public transportation I find myself doing this. I grew up learning that sometimes the best way to help someone on the street is not to give them money, but instead maybe water, food, or a prayer. 

So I wanted to share a prayer I say and maybe challenge you to try something similar next time you see a person or a place that might be needing some love...

“Dear God, I pray for every person who had to sleep without a bed and without a roof over their heads. I pray for the families that a struggling each day. I pray for the members who have been separated from one another. I pray wherever they are that they are not cold from the weather because you have filled them with such a warmth. I pray that they rise each day with peace in their hearts and the grace of your love. I pray for all the people and animals who didn’t have dinner and are searching for a bite. I pray that you quench whatever thirst they have and that they find hope in everything. I pray that you hold them close to your heart and watch over them. I pray for all your creations and thank you for opening my eyes to not simply pass by each of them.”

like disneyland but better...

I am beyond excited and can barely sit still. Why? MY PARENTS ARE IN MADRID! I am leaving after my class tomorrow to meet them and then we will leave for a weekend in Italy! No set agenda, just open minds and freedom to explore wherever we wish! I cannot tell you how happy I am that my parents are even in Europe! At the beginning of me wanting to come abroad it was never part of the plan for them to come visit (maybe they just kept it a secret). As my departure date grew closer I said to them “don’t you want to take me there and make sure that I make it okay?... You know like when you used to take me to camp?” They laughed and told me I would be just fine. But I knew that deep down they were plotting something! On the way to the airport the day I left my mom says casually, “so I’m thinking we will come visit around March or April.” That time felt so far away and IT IS FINALLY HERE! I realized that the reason I became so homesick while being here was due to the lack of family here. Sure I spent three months away from home in New Jersey, but I was surrounded by my family out there. 

So basically I just wanted to share that you are never too old to miss your parents and that having them travel across the world to come see you is pretty much the greatest feeling. Also they made it safely to Madrid and that is so wonderful! Hope everyone is enjoying their day/night and most importantly finding gratitude in something new every day! 

 

-D

food for thought

Lately I have noticed that nutrition and diet have been on my mind more often then not. If any of you follow my Instagram or Twitter account you might have seen that I recently watched a documentary called “What The Health”. I have spent my whole life eating meat, so never being a vegetarian before, I’m not sure why the topic kept popping up in my head. However it was just one of those things that would randomly be on my mind. As I was scrolling through movies on Netflix this past weekend that title stood out to me. “Why not?” I thought, so I decided to watch it, and I will say that it has opened my eyes way more than I expected. 

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I’m not going to harp on everyone to become vegetarian or vegan, but I will encourage everyone to check it out for themselves. I thought it was very interesting and seemed to be mostly honest. Of course there was a bias but some of the information was hard to ignore. 

Everyone has a rhyme or reason, right?

So getting a little more personal...When I was 17 years old I was diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). It is not something that will go away. But can almost completely be managed with diet. This is one reason that being vegan (eating an all plant based diet) has crossed my mind. At first I thought it would be too difficult and that I wouldn’t be able to eat so picky. After years of making so many changes to my diet I will say that eating healthier and more plant based items have only made positive impacts to my overall health. After seeing those changes it makes becoming vegan only more ideal.

 

I definitely have a lot more to learn before I make any drastic changes. Especially being abroad, I don’t think this is something that I will be able to fully commit to. I still want to experience the culture and try the food wherever I travel. But now I have a new curiosity for becoming a vegan and I am pretty sure that when I get home I just might try it out! 

 

 

Here is a link to the website from the documentary, take a look for yourself! http://www.whatthehealthfilm.com 

 

 

what color is your grass?

We have all heard that the grass is always greener on the other side... I have been so conflicted since coming to Spain. A huge thing for me before coming was being worried about leaving too soon. Giving myself the time to adjust and get comfortable and then having to leave. Being in Arizona made me so ready to travel and see the world. Because how could you want to stay home when you have the opportunity right in front of you? Well here I am. Across the world. Some days I find myself wanting nothing more than to be home, and other days I wonder how I could ever want to be stuck in a desert. I’ve been told how to feel by so many people. All with the intention that they are helping to encourage me. I am so lucky to have so many people who check on me and care. I have come to the conclusion that my feelings each day are valid. They are not silly, or wrong. It’s okay to feel uneasy or excited or nervous. Each day is a new day and I know that I will be missing this beautiful place one day the same way I am missing my beautiful home right now.

The lesson I have learned from this, and a lesson I keep coming across: we will only truly understand what have after it is no longer ours.

Therefore let this be a reminder to be appreciative and grateful for all that we have. Especially when we have it.

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