Community · Community Giving · COVID19 · Faith · Giving Back · Goal Digger · Journaling · Living with Intention · Motivation · Self Realization · Uncategorized

Remaining Positive and Stress Free While Staying Home

I don’t know about you guys, but we’re well into six weeks of quarantine and I have definitely hit that mark where sometimes I’m feeling a little stressed out and not as positive as normal.

While of course coronavirus itself scares me, most of my family/friends and I have been lucky enough to remain at home and #StayHome. I am in a career however, where COVID-19 has doubled my workload at times. There’s been a few 12 and 13 hour days, and pairing that with a pandemic, can do a number on anyone. The last few days I’ve been feeling very stressed out and rather than letting negativity and anxiety takeover, I began writing out a list of things I can do to put my mind at ease and to promote a more positive mindset.

A huge part of why I like sharing some details of my life on social media, as well as in this blog, is because there have been plenty of obstacles I’ve gone through or life lessons I’ve learned that make me think:

If I’m going through this, I’m sure somebody else has or will too… and if I can share something that resonates with them, Why not put it out there?

That’s where this post comes in: I want to share some things that have helped me during quarantine that maybe you haven’t considered doing or haven’t thought of to get your mind, body and spirit on the same page while we’re all going a little Corona crazy. If there’s something not on this list that you have found to be helpful during the pandemic, please let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list!

The last thought I’d like to leave off on is this: we are responsible for our own attitudes, mindsets and how we allow situations/ people/ setbacks/ frustrations impact us. Every morning we can choose how to start the day and as obstacles pop up we have the choice to go over, under, around, or through it. I use some of these things below when trying to power through it:

16 Ways to Shift Your Attitude During Stressful Times

Go for a walk/run or get physical– Exercise helps manage stress! Ever have a rough day and workout afterword? It always turns my mood around! If you take a stroll outside, try and be present when you’re out in nature. Listen to the birds, feel the breeze, notice the colors of the leaves- putting yourself in the moment while taking in what’s around you can immediately calm you down.

Meditate/ Pray- I love doing the below exercise! My favorite part about it? You can do it anywhere, in any setting, at any moment!

Get good sleep– Seriously- is anyone else on a really funky sleep routine due to Covid-19?? That’s a hard yes for me! My goal has been to get at least 7 hours a night.

Download an app like Headspace – Headspace walks you through mindful meditations day or night to help you relax and center yourself. I use this app usually when going to sleep and the breathing techniques are amazing and have me out in minutes!

Start your day with gratitude– this is my morning GO TO- before your feet hit the floor, note 3 things you’re thankful for for that day!

Take a break– many of us are at home right now. It’s okay to take a break from your work space (just like you might when in the office). Go for a walk, stop by your “break room” aka kitchen and change the scenery every once in awhile. If your screen is doing a number to your eyes, you can also purchase my favorite blue light glasses from Amazon by visiting my Aurora Loves Page.

Unplug from electronics– Leave your phone in another room, shut off the Tv, time how long you’re allowed to scroll, whatever it is you need to do, breaking away from your electronics is A-OK in my book!

Put a feel good playlist together! I made The Weekly Sparkle Quarnatine Playlist specifically for you that you can download instantly on Apple Music of Spotify!

Find ways to Give Back– helping others immediately makes you feel good and so many people can use the support right now! Look up your local Volunteer Center to see who needs what!

Clean up a small area– I love tidying up a space that could use the love. This might have been a weekend task in the past, but since we’re home now, I may take 15 minutes and cleanup a space I may not typically think to. It’s proven- when you’re in a cleaner environment, your stress reduces significantly.

Start a new show! Hiiii Netflix!!!

Start a new hobby or pick up an old one– I plan on doing some arts and crafts this week to flex my creative muscle! Why not do some of the things during this time that make you happy/excited? You can catch me making some jewelry this weekend!

Journal– there is no right or wrong way to write down what’s in your head! Grab a pen and paper and get your thoughts out- sometimes it helps to de-clutter your brain and let your emotions out. I call this “brain-dumping” and use it to organize my thoughts!

Read a new book– I just got Love Does by Bob Goff and I can’t wait to read it! Bob is truly inspirational!!

TAKE A NAP– this one is for your Nap Queen over here. Naps reset mindsets/allow you to shut your brain off.

Take a Breather and Give Yourself Grace– You’re allowed to have a bad day, you’re allowed to have a moment you wish you handled better, you’re allowed to feel crazy right now! FEEL everything you’re feeling. None of us have gone through this before, so you’re feeling is 100% okay and allowed. The important part of feeling stress, however, is that we don’t allow it to completely take over and lead us down a negative path.

I hope there’s something you can grab off this list and try! Let me know what you’ve done and if it’s not here I’ll add it for others to see too!

We are in this together everyone!!!

-Stay Well (And Stay Home!!!)

-Aurora

Community Giving · Dreams · Giving Back · Living with Intention · Motivation · Paying It Forward · Uncategorized

Give Back Lehigh Valley 2019

WE DID IT!!!!!!!

This past Saturday, together with our family, friends and community, we were able to raised $18,500 for the MS Wellness Program at Good Shepherd here in the Lehigh Valley!! Good Shepherd’s MS Wellness Program, is a unique, bi-weekly program that offers activities to promote and maintain the health and well being of participants who are our neighbors here in the Valley. The goal of the MS Wellness Program is to enhance the quality of life for our participants and their families.

For our 6th Annual #GiveBackLehighValley Softball and Cornhole Tournament, we knew we wanted to rally together and focus on MS, especially with so many loved ones effected by this disease. The event was a hit!!! We’ve had more participants than ever, and know that Give Back 2020 is going to be even bigger!!!!!! Here are some pictures from the event:

From our amazing sponsors and donors, to volunteers, players and spectators… we cannot say THANK YOU enough for the amazing support behind this event! We have already announced that our Give Back 2020 event will be on August 22, 2019! If you’d like more information on how to get involved, please send me a message or write in the comments below!

Feeling all the grateful feels!

-Aurora

Cleaning · Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Housekeeping · Motivation · Networking · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

Sunday’s Are Hard…

Maybe if we all sit extremely still Monday won’t be able to see us.”

HAS. ANYONE. ELSE. SEEN. THIS. AND. THOUGHT. OMG. THIS. IS. ME?!?! Ugh! 🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️🙋‍♀️

I have this thing that I call Sunday night before we getting into Monday… want to know what it’s called?

Yes… The Smonday feeling is real over here! But here are some things I do to try and not let my last bit of weekend end in the negative…

1️⃣ Prep your week! What’s coming up? Do you need to food shop/food prep/pack clothes. Do it!

2️⃣ Do something you enjoy today! Sunday is still the weekend and you deserve spending (even if only a little) part enjoying it! (Wash the car, go window shopping, order something off AMAZON or TARGET!

3️⃣ Take a breather. Watch your favorite movie, clean if you like cleaning, do some laundry- just make sure it’s something you can relax doing and breathe.

4️⃣ Have a moment of gratitude. Sometimes when I’m feeling down or negative, I think about the things that I’m grateful for giving thanks for them. Unhappy times doesn’t have to mean an unhappy life.

5️⃣ Lay your clothes out for tomorrow. I don’t do this half as much as I should, but when I don’t have to pick an outfit in the morning, it makes my morning start off a little easier.

Happy Smonday my friends! It’s officially 7:52pm here in Pennsylvania, so the Monday blues could be settling in… but instead, I’m gonna relax with the husb and watch our new favorite show on Netflix.

To realizing that Sunday’s aren’t so hard..

✨✨Aurora

Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

Happy News in the Media

Every once in awhile, I come across some really amazing and heartwarming stories on the internet. Below are a bunch I’ve posted on The Weekly Sparkle Facebook Page that have touched a lot of my followers. If you need a pick me up today, here is your dose of Positivity and human to human kindness going on around us ✨✨

Truck Drivers Save a Suicidal Man’s Life

Two Men From Different Walks of Life Enjoy an Impromptu Basketball Game

Lehigh Valley Couple Creates Give Back Tournament to Help Local Non-Profits Each Year- 2018 Benefactor Announced

Women Can Hear For The First Time And Gets Proposed To

Man Gets a Surprise Thank You From Children He Saved During the Holocaust

Will Smith Talks About Who You Surround Yourself With- Who is Fanning Your Flames?

Please send more videos my way in the comments if I should add them to a future post!!

✨✨- Aurora

Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Networking · New Year · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

Celebrating YOU on your Birthday

I love Birthdays. I’ve said this before on this blog and I will say it again.

Your birthday is like a personal New Year.

It’s an opportunity to reflect on the year that has passed and to look forward to things you want to accomplish. I spoke about this idea 2 years ago in my blog titled, The Importance of Birthdays, where I talk about why I feel we need to take the day (or week or month) and celebrate YOUR life. At that point in my life, I was about to turn 29 and reflected on how far I’ve taken this website and where I want to go. This time around, I’m taking a look back at all of the amazing things year 30 brought me (new home, new job, amazing times with family a friends, a new niece, Godmother-hood and so much more), and thinking about my hopes and dreams for what 31 has in store.

31…

I’m going to be married with a few kids and be well into my career…

LOL… how many of us thought that?! When I was 15, the thought of being in my 30’s meant I was OLD and obviously living life as a mom with a million and one kids. I would say that my generation however, is the first to show that this isn’t the norm anymore. Yes, many of my family and friends began a family in their 20’s, {which is great}, but it’s socially acceptable to not start a family now until you are in your 30’s, where before it was looked down upon. While age is “only a number,” history has taught us that certain things need to happen in certain years, and that idea has faded quite a bit. For me, I’m enjoying every single year and appreciating the things I’m learning, the paths life has put me on, the people I’ve met and the difference I’m making in the lives of those around me.

Since today is my birthday, I’m feeling extra reflective about where the last year has taken me, but am even more excited to see what the year ahead has in store. The one thing that I know I’m looking for to is the constant and ever changing project of bettering myself.

What good is a New Year if you don’t have resolutions, right?

In year 31, I’m going to be more forgiving of others and project more positivity and warmth to those around me than I ever have before. I want to work on the inside so it reflects even brighter on the outside.

What are your feelings on birthdays? Do you like celebrating them? Do you need to show yourself a little more love on your birthday? If my vote counts, I say you go all in and celebrate that amazing life of yours! Whether your 15, 18, 25, 37, 52, 60, 71 or 100, every new year offers us the opportunity to do things we want, say what needs to be said, travel, change, date, get married, start a hobby…

W H A T E V E R   W E   W A N T

Use your birthday as the launching pad to the life you want to live.. even if it’s for this year only!

Happy birthday to you, and happy birthday to me!

Cheers,

-Aurora

Children · Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

If You Can’t Be Kind, Be Quiet.

Being rude is easy. It does not take any effort and is a sign of weakness and insecurity. Kindness shows great self-discipline and strong self-esteem. Being kind is not always easy when dealing with rude people. Kindness is a sign of a person who has done a lot of personal work and has come to a great self-understanding and wisdom. Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time because kindness is a sign of STRENGTH.

This week I came across a few instances and reminders of how important it is to be KIND. Most importantly, I was reminded how important it is to be kind, even when someone isn’t being kind to you or has done something hurtful or rude to you. YIKES is that a hard one or what? You know me, and my likelihood of being a positivity promoter, but how can you do that when someone is rude or mean to you?

It isn’t easy!

There is someone in my life, whom I care a lot about, that sometimes falls in the category I mentioned above. Every once in awhile, they cross that line of no return: they say something that is mean, rude or insensitive, and it leaves me wondering:

what the heck did I do do deserve that?

So when I tell you that I KNOW being kind to a rude person is not easy, I mean it. How can you turn the cheek when it’s someone close to you and also, how do you turn the cheek when it’s someone NOT close to you (maybe a boss, co-worker, person on the street, acquaintance, social media troll etc). I’ll touch on both of these topics:

  1. Someone close to you. I just paused and sighed as I wrote that. This is probably the worst. I am a firm believer in that if you allow someone to continuously treat you a certain way {good or bad}, that they will continue to do so, because it’s a learned, established behavior. In my adult life, I’ve never had a problem with confrontation, nor do I view tough conversations as negative, because I believe they’re important to reach a positive outcome. I expect, that if we’re having a mature conversation, that two adults should be able to come to a resolution, even if not right away, {or if there’s some screaming and yelling}, because they both should have the same desired outcome- a resolution. If the other person isn’t on this same page, or isn’t open to mature discussion (right away or ever), the Road Less Traveled here, is Kindness. I think this is most applicable with people who might not be being anywhere (family, bosses, co-workers etc). People do not have to be on the same page as you for you to be kind to them. By being kind, you’re respecting that they aren’t where you’re at and whatever position it is that they have in your life. My advice, you remain calm and kind to these people. Be the example of how they should act, and remember, being kind always puts you in right.

2. Someone NOT close to you. These people ALWAYS get 1 of 2 things from me: a quick witted (but KIND, sometimes sarcastic) response OR a smile and no response at all.

Because sometimes, being KIND also means keeping your mouth shut.

Especially when you know it won’t help make the situation better. In my career, it’s not uncommon for me to have hard conversations with employees, and every once in awhile, a rude, unnecessary comment gets directed toward me. Sometimes it’s public, sometimes it’s behind closed doors, but it does happen. I would say 99.9% of the time, it has nothing to do with me, and more about the issue at hand, so I always try to remember that. This might be an occasion where I smile and not say much, or I respond kindly and try to understand their view. This is also where I practice keeping my mouth shut. Is there someone in your workplace bothering you? Can you try harder to keep a smile, and focus on yourself? It’s not easy people, but I’m telling you- It’s Worth IT!

I think another place we see this is in our own communities and day-to-day interactions with strangers. It is SO important to remember Kindness, even when we are in a rush or having a bad day. Why? Because of the ripple-effect not being kind can have. Imagine the impact you can make in someones day by going out of your way to be Kind, rather than the opposite effect of what being rude, mean or frustrated can create.

I’m going to leave you with inspiration I’ve gained over the last week. I began following Real Talk Kim on Twitter and think she is one of the realest, most genuine people on there! She’s all about keeping it real, while also promoting positivity, faith and being Kind. I also listen weekly to the Podcast of my favorite Bachelorette, Kaitlyn Bristowe  and her guests this week, Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson, are the creators of the Kind Campaign. This campaign focuses on girl on girl bullying, and it’s lasting effects, while also taking a preventative measure, focusing on forgiveness and KINDness. It’s truly remarkable, and I encourage you to check it out. I’m passing along the inspiration I received from them, so help keep the chain going!

What a difference we could all make if we chose to treat one another with Kindness, even, and especially when, it isn’t easy.

And remember…

Now go spread some Kindess!

Cheers,

-Aurora

Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Family · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Networking · New Year · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

Casting Your Insecurities On Someone Else

I could really take this post so many routes, but I’ll stick with the title: Casting Your Insecurities On Someone Else. What does this quote me?

Blowing out someone else’s candle won’t make yours shine any brighter.

I’ve seen this thought so many times and always look to it as one of my favorites. How many times have we, or someone we know, put down something about others because it’s meant to downplay an insecurity that we or another have.

I’ve had a lot of examples in my own life lately that bring me back to this quote. I’ve seen people I’m close with put down a thought or an action of someone we know, because (in reality) it’s making them feel better about a shortcoming or insecurity that they have about themselves.

I guess when I think about this, my conclusion is, before we tear someone down or judge them, take a second to think inward. Nine times out of 10, critiques and negativity toward others stem from our own insecurities and things we want to change (or don’t like) about ourselves.

Can’t you think about a time where you blew out someone’s candle to make yours shine brighter? I bet you can.

To blowing out less candles,

-Aurora

Community Giving · Counseling · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Housekeeping · Motivation · Networking · New Year · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

Why you can Begin, Again

I’ve thought about these 2 words, almost obsessively, for the last month and a half. Begin Again. Aurora, you can BEGIN.AGAIN. 

It’s funny, a new year starts and all of a sudden you’re given this feeling that everything can start fresh. 11:59 changing to 12:00 on January 1st sparks something that gives you the feeling that you can do anything this upcoming year. For all of the social media posts that I see stating things like “New Year, New Me,” Or “This Year is My Year,” I also see the ones telling us that we don’t need a new year to start something new. That we don’t need a new year to wipe the slate clean, start over, get a new job, leave that lousy relationship, lose the weight, begin the hobby etc. I always fell in the category of the first group of people, because the new year, to me, felt like an auto-delete of anything you’ve been unhappy with, and provides the (whether you like it or not) birth of something new.  It’s a fresh start.

This new year was different for me though- I didn’t make many changes I was hoping to, to jump start 2018. I began the year sick, had a sudden loss of someone close to my family and found that after all of this died down, I wanted to rest. Rather than propel myself into my “New Year New Me” attitude, I wanted to take a breather.

And the above, really got me thinking.

What are the things I want to change this year? Why do I want to change them and what’s the motivation to do so? Why did I have to start January 1st, and why can’t I start anytime? While the excitement of a new year has always been something to motivate me, the reasons WHY I want to make these changes should be enough to motivate me to get going. To begin, again.

So starting with the publishing of this post, I’m giving myself permission to BEGIN again. It’s not 1/1/18, nor did the clock turning to midnight last night mean anything spectacular… it just meant it’s my day to be ready to press play. What am I pressing play on?

  1. Lent begins tomorrow. That means, for Catholics, preparing for the death and resurrection of Jesus. AKA I’m gonna continue attending church weekly and being more mindful of prayer and the big G!
  2. I need to get my work out on!  I know when I’m stressed or feeling low, that a good work out can boost my energy and help me feel more productive throughout the day. This means, 3+ more gym visits a week and minding my diet. I also think this will include runs with my pup… because she loves that!
  3. Reading my mountain of books at home before buying more. I’ve been averaging 1 every 2 weeks, so, so far so good.
  4. Reestablishing connections with the family and friends in my life that I haven’t spoken with as much as I’d like to. Sometimes you have to be the one to initiate, and it’s better to help build than to wait. My brother is doing this one too, so having that reminder helps too!
  5. Get more sleep. There is no explanation needed here.
  6. Lastly, I’m going to put my positivity and inspirational attitude to the test. I’ve always been proud of the way I carry myself and engage others with my warmth and excitedness for life. Some things in my life have gotten me to feeling a little unlike myself, so I’m going to work harder to put my best attributes forward.

Is there anything you need to Begin Again?

I encourage you and pray that you do it… because you owe it to yourself to!

To beginning again, cheers.

-Aurora

Community Giving · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Faith · Friendship · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Networking · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Tribes · Uncategorized

The 12 Days of Positivity & Self-Care

5A531D3F-91DC-4660-B448-E884D6D7D596.jpegChristmas is around the corner, and I truly believe this is the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Whether you still need to shop and wrap, you’re counting down the days until school and work are over OR you’re relaxing and blasting Christmas music all day (that’s not just me right? 🤷‍♀️😹), this 12 Days countdown is for you!

While the 12 days of Christmas usually begin Dec 25, my 12 Days of Positivity and Self-Care are kicking of Thursday Dec 14, and will last through Christmas Day! Check back each evening around 8:00 EST to see the next Days theme or idea to get your heart and mind ready for Christmas! Please share with someone who loves Christmas or needs to get in the spirit! Visit The Weekly Sparkle Facebook page for more as well! Day 1 will be posted this Wednesday 12/13 @ 8:00pm for Thursday’s kick off! Please see the tab at the top of the Website for the 12 days updates!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Please tag #Sparkle12Days on your social media to get others involved!

To the MOST wonderful time of the year! 🎄❤️- Aurora

Community Giving · Dreams · Entrepreneur · Goal Digger · Goals · Motivation · Networking · Paying It Forward · Self Realization · Uncategorized

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