The Reel is not Real

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel 

I’m going to start this post with a hashtag that I’ve created: #TheReelisNotReal 

How many of us become insecure because of something we see on the internet? Ladies, have you ever looked at another woman’s post and thought: “I wish I looked like that.” Have you ever seen someone’s relationship posts and thought: “I wish I was that happy in my relationship.” To the gents out there, ever see abs you wish you had or the perfect woman with the perfect guy and wish that was you? Ever see someone with the perfect job you wish you had? Welcome to Instagram and most of social media my friends. 

BUT LISTEN UP:::::::: 

The Highlight Reel of peoples lives that you see online is not their life, I would gamble, 90% of the time! The loving relationship, perfectly fit body, amazing career, perfect hair… these are all things we want, but comparing your whole life situation to one persons post, is causing more issues and insecurity because you believe that what you’re seeing is someone’s 100% life. It ISN’T

I do believe that majority of people who post their Highlight Reel aren’t trying to make anyone feel bad, insecure or less than them- they’re posting the things that make them feel good, proud, pretty, lucky etc. We all do that! BUT this is about our responses to the Reel. You can’t be critical of yourself over perfection you see on the internet. The perfection that most likely took:

  •  25 takes
  • The perfect lighting
  • Face Tune
  • Do-overs
  • Photoshop
  • etc etc etc etc etc

It is proven that depression rates have gone up in our country among children and adults because of what they compare themselves to online posts. It’s. So. Sad. But it’s also a reality. So how do you stop this? How do you feel more secure with yourself and not compare yourself to ideals you see online? I haven’t mastered this yet, but I tell myself that anyone or anything I admire on the internet, 9 times out of 10, has their own issues, too. The seemingly perfect couples gets into drag out fights, the girl with a perfect body took a half hour picking a filter and whitening her teeth with FaceTune (although I do love that app), the person who lost 100lbs (GO THEM), feels like they haven’t lost enough… it’s in all of us!  And what better way to help dig yourself out of your thoughts than to realize you’re not alone? ♡

The internet is a tricky place. Especially social media. How do you fall in line with posting positive things & not airing your dirty laundry? The truth to that, I think, is being an authentic post-er. I thought about this after following an amazing initiative #Realstagram through Raw Beauty Talks and how they’re empowering instagrammers and social media gurus to be themselves online, while still posting or promoting what they are all about or trying to sell. How…? By posting a makeup-free selfie or writing the truth behind the perfect picture you just posted (*not seen: my dog bitting a hole through my favorite shoe as I capture my perfectly puckered kissy face*).  I love this. 

In closing, friends- try and be nice to yourself. And while you’re at it- remember that the entire internet who posts away each day feels the exact same way you do– just a tad bit insecure. But just as they share that with you, remember their posts are mainly their Highlight Reel and not their Behind The Scenes. We all have that, too. ♡

To appreciating the genuine you ★ ☆ ✰

-Aurora 

The Results of Giving Back 

This number is incredible... and it’s a huge example of what can happen when people come together to make a difference! When my husband and I created the Give Back Lehigh Valley Softball Tournament we never knew how big it would get and that we’d also have amazing friends who could MATCH our raised dollars!! As someone who has planned a lot of fundraisers, I’m more than happy to help anyone looking for ways to raise money for your cause!! 

We raised over 5K for both of our organizations: Nam Knights and Logan’s Heroes! It was an amazing day and I can’t begin to express my gratitude for everyone who made the event what it was! If you want to get involved next year, please let me know!!! 

To giving back to our community… ❤️

-Aurora

Why You Should Give Back- The Power of Small Acts

Tonight is the eve of our annual Give Back Lehigh Valley Softball Tournament and I am SO EXCITED… and a little antsy! My (now) husband and I created this event back when we were dating… we got engaged there and now are married. It’s been 4 years and I can’t believe how quickly the time to passed and how this event has evolved. 

What does not amaze me, is how awesome it feels to have created such an amazing give-back event that continues to get bigger and bigger as the years go by!!! GIVING BACK IS EASY… and it doesn’t have to be something big or something that grows… it can be small acts that make a difference in the life of another.  

We began our Give Back Event to help me fundraise for our local Cystic Fibrosis chapter a few years back when I was named a Lehigh Valley Finest Under 40 honoree. That was with 4 teams, a few donations and some cool T-shirts. The event tomorrow is anticipated to have anywhere from 150-200 people and over 100 participants. 😳 IT’S amazing!… but truly, it also takes a village. 

Each year, I use the all social media outlets to plug the event, solicit sponsorship and to shed the light on how YOU can give back and together, all of our small efforts make a BIG impact. For example, this year alone, strangers have reached out to me to become a part of this and volunteer; friends from grade school that I haven’t spoken to personally or seen in years have donated product for the event; and some incredible Lehigh Valley businesses stepped up to be big name sponsors of the event. I know this has built over the years, but it doesn’t change the pure awe that I feel when I see so many people coming together. I can tell you, that as our 4th Annual event, we became completely sponsored by businesses and individuals who want to give back, right here where we live. Years ago- a lot of what made the event came out of our own pockets… which was something we were prepared for, but appreciate now that it’s changed. It’s a beautiful thing to see so many wanting to drive change and to be a positive force in the community. 

So here we are, a few hours out from the big day beginning, and I’m so excited I can’t sleep. This event is our little piece of what we’re able to put out into the world, and it feels amazing. If this day inspires a few people to give a little more than they do, then we’ve done our job. At the very least, we can provide some assistance for our local charities and organizations, and provide a positive, fun day for the community. In our last 3 tournaments we’ve raised $25,000 and hope to add another 10k to that number tomorrow for Nam Knights of the LV and Logan’s Heroes Animal Recue! 🐾🇺🇸⚾️

If you want to see more about our event, please visit GiveBackSoftball.com & please comment below if you need any inspo or help creating a Give Back event!

To helping those in your community… ❤️

-Aurora 

Why You Should Choose Wisely on Who Surrounds You

Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters, the game shakers. They’ll challenge you, break you open, uplift and expand you. They don’t play small with your life. These heartbeats are your people. These people are your tribe

Ohhhhhhh the feels this saying gives me!! I’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, as I usually do when I come across some good quotes. If it jumps out at me for one reason or another, I save it, diguest it and decide if I want to pick it apart a little bit with you guys. 

So there’s two parts here that I want to address: the people you surround yourself with and the impact they have on you, and also whether or not you’re exuding your best qualities, wanting others to be surrounded by you. 

1. Who you surround yourself with. This is SO important for so many reasons. When we talk about “light bringers” and “magic makers” did you have someone pop in to your mind?? KEEP THAT PERSON AROUND! Now don’t get me wrong, we’re not booting all friends and acquaintances out of circle if we’re not describing them as magical, uplifting, game changers etc. What is most important in my point here is that you have those people or circles you’re involved with that feed your soul, purpose, direction you want to go, goals you want to reach etc. If you’re looking around your regular circles and not liking how you feel/what you see/ what’s being discussed/done etc etc etc by all means, change your scenery. Move. You’re not a tree. (I blogged about this idea once too…) 

For me, I have a ton of fun, adventurous and goofy friends that are great to hang out with. Then I also have some key inspirational people in my life that I trust for advice, look to for personal and professional growth, people I look up to, etc. It’s great to have multiple circles you’re in, but I can’t express enough that having these game shakers in your corner are amazing. These people can help you while you discover your own potential, make and reach goals and be a positive presence in your life. Have you ever heard the saying: you’re only as good as the company you keep. If you’re always surrounded by people who aren’t helping you grow and become a better person, I recommend changing some of your circles. It’s not easy, but the pay off will be worth it. And you’ll FEEL better! Negative people can suck the life out of you, rob you of happy moments and removing as much of this as possible is bound to bring nothing but positive effects into your life. 

2. Do people view you as their magic maker, game shaker, light bringer, motivator etc? I hope they do! Just how you will THRIVE with these people in your corner, how amazing would it be to be that for someone else? This life will always reward those who make it their mission to help others... I firmly believe that. Where in your life can you be the light and motivation someone needs?

I try and do this through the many organizations and groups I’ve become a part of in the Lehigh Valley where I live. I get to network with young professionals and invite them to become a part of an amazing philanthropic professional group that helps them to give Back locally, meet top local business owners and CEOs as well as build great relationships within their peer group. I personally reach out to individuals I meet that I think would be a great part of the group and help them determine if it’s a good fit! Other times, I’m inspiring others to become a part of  committees I’m involved in, volunteer opportunities I’m organizing or involved in and lastly I ALWAYS use my professional expertise to help my friends/ old co-workers / sometimes even acquaintances. As an HR, I’m often asked to write recommendations, Linked In testimonys, review resumes, practice interviewing skills etc. Its an honor people as me for my help, but it’s also so humbling to know that for these people, I’m the motivator, the light bringer, whatever you want to call it- I’m that for these people. 

If you have something you can do to bring your magic to  others, do it! 
Here’s my other favorite quote that I’ve used before but LOVE Bc it’s all about surrounding yourself with the right people! 
Watch who you surround yourself with, and be someone that others want to be surrounded by! 

Be someone’s light ✨

-Aurora 

Living in Kindness

Kindness. Do I really need to say more? We are at this point currently, I believe as a country (world?), where being nice and having compassion for your fellow man does not exist as much as it used to/should. While we regularly see news from all over the world highlighting hate and war, there are things happening in our own communities that are building a culture of negativity and lack of compassion for others. 

BE NICE. Being positive, kind, respectful, grateful, appreciative… these are all reasons I created this blog- to exude these feelings and emotions, openly and honestly. Being nice to someone you don’t know or to someone you do, for nothing, can go a longer way than you’d never imagine. 

Challenge: this is something you can do RIGHT NOW. I’ve tried this recently, and it’s impact is more than I thought it would. So here it is…

Try not talking negative about anyone for 3 days.

“Oh that won’t be hard,” I’m sure you may have just thought. Well, trust me- I think that are multiple times throughout the day where you encounter someone or something irritating and it so easy to talk about it with people, coworkers, a friend, a spouse etc. 

Here’s the problem with that: unless you’re talking it through with someone (to find resolution or peace) is talking about them going to change the situation or add anything into your life but more negativity? No. Festering on negative feelings for someone is only going to bring you down… so knock it off. 

Speaking to myself here, too. 

Turn the other cheek. TRY THIS! And when you succeed (you may have to hit the re-start button a few times)- try it for 7 days…. then 10… then 14… and keep going! When you can stop talking negatively about people you’re upset with, people who hurt you, people who are just plain difficult- you’ll eventually feel some peace around your situation that you hadn’t before. 

I’m working on this too… so if we can help each other through it, let’s do it! Contact info is up top or a comment below is good too!

Let’s start talking more nicely and spread the kindness this world so desperately needs ❤️

-Aurora 

GIVE BACK FRIDAY

We are gearing up for our 4th Annual Give Back Softball Tournament on July 29th and I wanna bring the positive vibes to life!!!!! Today, and every Friday for the next 6 weeks, in bringing the feel good, Give Back vibes to life! 

Today, I’m giving back to all of you! Have a coffee on me!… yes really!!!! Thanks for always being so supportive and spreading the love. Find me on FB and IG @TheWeeklySparkle


And remember… At the end of the day, it’s not about who YOU are, what your job is, what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve failed at… LIFE is about who you’ve lifted up, impacted and took along for the ride! LIFE is about what you’ve given back! 


Wanna get involved with Give Back Softball? Click the tab on top of the page!

❤️-Aurora 

Viewing Battles as Blessings

“If you saw the size of the blessing coming, you would understand the magnitude of the battle you are fighting”

Have you ever gone through a rough patch? My guess is that your answer is probably “yes,” since if you’re reading this you’re most likely human and that comes with the territory. Life is not always easy– which I know I am not the first to tell you this, but sometimes the going truly gets tough… and your response to these moments are pretty important. Take it from me- about 3 months ago I was at a point that felt pretty low: I was miserable in my job, I was being forced to move out of my rental and my loving, amazing Grandmother passed away.

The “Everything Happens in Threes” saying completely applied to my life, and I thought that if a 4th thing occurred, I would break.

As a positive-minded person, of course I knew things would get better; As a person full of faith, I knew God had bigger, better plans for me and was with me; As a person with an amazing husband, family and friends, I knew there were people that would not let me fall and that would have my back along the way. This doesn’t make the rough time any more bearable, nor does it make the pain/sadness/worry/insecurity pass any faster- because you don’t know at the time how good life can be in the future. You’re stuck in the “now.” But hindsight, as they say, is always 20/20. Would it have made any of the feelings I had at the time better if I could see the future? Maybe not, but maybe if I knew life would be amazing now, back then, the anxiety over the unforeseen future would be gone. Which for me personally, was the biggest part.

THE GOOD THING IS THOUGH…

when you finally reach the light at the end of the dark tunnel, only then can you understand why the battle was worth it.

Every decision, every road block, any negativity or sadness you faced- it lead you here. Now that I’ve reached the end of my tunnel, I can tell you that the blessings have been worth the battle, even though it was hard to see when the light at the end of the tunnel was only a speck. So if you’re going through the battle now, I can tell you IT GETS BETTER, and although it’s easier to read than believe, everything you are looking for is through the tunnel. To reach the blessings you need to go through the battle.

I recently began my dream job (Seriously… I’m so grateful!), am moving into my new home with my husband (that we LOVE!!) and I have extreme peace with my Grandmothers passing and know that she is with me always and that I’m a better person for knowing her.

If the battle is huge, the blessings are BIGGER!!!! If you’re in the dark, keep going!! If you’ve reached the end of your tunnel, good!

To the battles that help us appreciate the blessings,

Aurora

Why Losing a Grandparent Sucks

I debated on what I wanted to title this, but through much thought, this was the best way to share how I really feel. Losing a grandparent sucks. If you’re reading this, it’s most likely because you’ve felt the pain that I’m feeling recently or you’re remembering one you’ve lost over the years at this moment. No matter what category you fall in, I’m sorry.


The biggest part of this post and most important to me, is that you know about Rita. The greatest loss I’ve had of a loved one and someone I cared for very much. Rita Amelia Flynn was my grandmother and the most amazing, courageous woman I ever met. Rita was one of the first people I remember baking cookies with, the woman who taught me the importance of 3 daily Hail Marys and the bold woman who wrote President Reagen to make construction changes in her Bronx neighborhood… to which he responded… and fixed what was broken! (I know… wow)!! 

Rita was also my Grandmother– and she is missed more in this moment than ever. In the last year, I’ve had the pleasure of spending some very special moments with my Grandma and they’ve provided me with memories that will last a lifetime. She walked with my other Grandmother down the aisle as a “flower girl” in my wedding this past May- She had just turned 95 years old.


So why does losing a grandparent suck? THEY WERE AWESOME TO YOU! Grandparents spoiling their grandkids isn’t a myth… they gave us the fun stuff we wanted as we grew up, their house was the fun place to go and they gave the best hugs! The childhood appreciation lasts a long time, and then you think of life in young adulthood and how your appreciation for grandparents evolved. For me, I loved talking to my grandma about what life was like as she grew up… how she met my grandpa, what attracted her to him, what their first date was like, what it like having 8 kids etc etc etc. Your grandparents are (probably) the oldest family member you have- so you try and absorb as much of them as possible! 

In this last year, at 95, Rita walked down the aisle at my wedding as a flower girl, she drank a Stella Artois or 2 at her birthday dinner, dressed as flawless and classy as ever, and finally, she laid her head to rest.

I literally just teared up typing that. 


My grandma was AWESOME! She attended church daily, was loved by the congregation and gave more love to my family than most give in a lifetime. She made sure my siblings and I made it through Catholic school and that we felt loved every inch of our lives while she was here. The thing about losing your grandparent though, is that your love for them stays with you even when they’re gone! She may be gone, but I still feel Rita with me. When I pray, I know she’s the extra booster next to God, helping pass my hopes and prayers up his way. 

She was, and is, the best. 

In 2nd grade I had to write a report on who in my life I thought would become a saint. I chose Rita. I’ve always looked up to this amazing woman, and in those moments and now, I had the blessed privilege of calling her Grandma. 

Rita Amelia Flynn, Grandma, I love you so much. Thank you for impacting my life in so many ways… tell Grandpa we love him and say Hello. You were the best for 95 years and lived a long, healthy, amazing life. As perfectly said by my Grandmothers priest: she lived a long life, but we simply miss her- the world needs more of Rita Flynn. 

To those reading this because you miss your grandparents too, take some time and cherish the moments you had with them! I believe my grandma is still with me, and your loved one is still with you, too. The best way you can honor their life, is by living yours in a way that would make them proud. 

To our amazing grandparents, 

❤ Aurora 

Being Grateful Through the Negative 

I opened two amazing gifts this morning- my eyes!! 

…If you did too, take a moment today to appreciate the day! This life is FULL of curveballs, ups, downs and the inbeteeen can be trying as well. It is not easy, but making the effort to REMEMBER your blessings when you’re feeling down and out can make the challenges more bearable. How can you do this? It takes practice. Next time something comes up during your day that feels negative or makes you upset or mad, it’s important to address these feelings, but don’t stay there. For every one bad moment in our lives, we have 100 more to be grateful for. I’m going to start with the obvious, but something I know I take for granted- if you’re able to read this, you’ve already been able to list one thing to be grateful for. 

Happy Wednesday friends! What gift do you have that you’ve taken for granted?

Love, Aurora 

2017- The Year of What Is

 

I am officially calling 2017 The Year of What Is. So, what does this mean exactly? Think of the saying: “It Is What It Is.” For years, I didn’t like this saying because I thought it was a way of sweeping things under the rug. I thought it was a shrug of the shoulders and the allowing of something to pass by that maybe should be addressed, understood or discussed. I found that friends, family, people I look up to- would all use the phrase when they felt like something was out of their control or couldn’t be fixed, changed etc. When I think deeper about this now, I think the reason I didn’t like the saying stems from my own inability to believe that some things are just what they are.  You cannot change them. Whether it was something that happened to you, a relationship with someone in your life or an outcome to something you wish had been different. It’s not what you want it to be- It is what it is. 

In a recent conversation with a friend, we got to talking about certain situations in our own lives currently that rather than trying to understand and fight, that we needed to accept and understand that these things can’t be what we want them to be. They are going to be what they are. 

*THIS WAS SUCH A HUGE MOMENT FOR ME*

Are you following me here?

I don’t know why or how, but in that moment the saying meant more to me than it ever had. “It Is What It Is,” is not a shrugging of the shoulders, rather, it’s the acceptance that something cannot become what you want it to be just because you want it to be that way or because you want to understand it. In a relationship that means a lot to you, in circumstances at work/home, something you really want for yourself, the lose of a loved one, the pain of a past experience- it is WHAT IS. However- the thing we are able to control in this experience, is our reaction to it. How we proceed with our feelings and the way we view it (the friendship, job, argument, relationship, shortcoming, failure, pain), is up to us. You can’t always change “it,” but you can change the way you feel about it. 

I’ve always been one of those people who tried to help change others, if I felt like they needed “fixing.” Whether it was an old boyfriend, troubled friend, a coworker- the therapist in me was always at work trying my best to be there for that person and often offered 2nd, 3rd, 4th chances in the pursuit of trying to understand them and help them become a better person. Some might say I was doing that to feed some of my own ego, and that while I was trying to help them, there was some gain I was trying to obtain for myself. I won’t argue that- I know it has felt good to know you would have contributed to someones happiness or self-discovery, so I won’t say this is too far off track. But I can say, that “fixing” others, or helping them change for what you think is best, is exhausting. This is why accepting WHAT IS is so important. Even with the best intentions, putting so much energy into trying to help, understand, or change someone else or situations only depletes the energy you’re giving back to yourself… and I am finally beginning to understand that.

Self-love is paramount. (via @mindbodygreen):

So I am saying 2017 is the Year of What Is, but I plan on moving forward with the idea that I can’t always control or understand things, but than I can control how I view them and how I allow them to effect me. As someone who has a strong faith and often turns to prayer for solace, comfort and direction, I think this is a strong tool to help these feelings and understanding that you won’t always be able to control the outcome.

I hope this makes sense– maybe it even enlightened some of your thoughts too! If so, please let me know in the comments and I will reply shortly after.

Happy 2017 to all of you!.. best wishes for a healthy new year and accepting what is. 

Xo

Aurora

Photo cred: I took this photo of the beautiful “Liberty Bell Church” on Hamilton St, Allentown Pennsylvania from my office.