Ahhhhhh I’ve missed you guys! It feels absolutely WEIRD to be excitedly typing in the way I am right now (legit have a smile on my face)! It’s been too long and I am so excited to be EXCITED to write here again. It’s a new year, and I’ve gotten some new fire in me to write and share my heart with everyone again.
If you recall, 10 months ago, I became a first time mama! EEEK! What an amazing, exciting, overwhelming, scary and fantastic journey it’s been so far. Ms. Oakley Gray is the light of my life and truly such an incredible blessing. Ok Ok, here is a pic, because AHHHH she’s the best:
Becoming a mom, to no ones surprise, created such a perspective shift for me. Once you get your head back on straight (can takes weeks or even months), it’s eye-opening to see how much your mind changes- what’s important, what takes your time, what you worry about, what you’re excited for, it all shifts. Feeling a little more in tune with who I am as a mama, I got to thinking a lot about the things and people in my life that make me happy and deserve the limited time I have, outside of being Oak’s mama. One thing I’ve always loved is connecting with all of you, around the world, and seeing the commonalities we all have, even if across the country or in an entirely different one.
I started reading “Take Back Your Time” by Christy Wright, recently (LOVE HER) and it’s really put into perspective where I spend my time, and focusing on the important things in my life. All that said, YOU guys, and The Weekly Sparkle, absolutely make that list for me. I hope you’ll visit here weekly or my Weekly Sparkle Facebook Page for some pops of inspo and a little escape to either get inspired or realize you’re not alone in the crazy, happy, sad, insane times! SO HAPPY 👏you 👏are 👏here!
Hey friends! New Mom life going on over here, so I’ve been a little quiet lately. I shared some inspo on my Instagram today so I wanted to share here as well! Feel free to take and share what you need ❤️ Sending you lots of love!
A friend recently asked me how I’ve kept such a positive attitude throughout my pregnancy. The answer was easy: I’m grateful.
After praying for our baby, trusting in God’s timing and having patience, I don’t see any other way to view this season of my life than through a lens of gratitude and overall happiness. The aches, pains, tiredness, tough moments, it’s all been worth it & is a part of our story as we await for baby girl to arrive- and I’m just so overwhelmingly grateful.
This isn’t just a mentality if you’re pregnant- this is a way you can choose to live your life every single day. I’ve found, through my own experience, that every day I lead with appreciation and gratitude for the blessings in my life, the happier I become and the more blessings come my way 🙏✨
I encourage anyone to make a conscious effort to try and practice gratitude as much as possible ♥️ Cheers to blessings in our lives & being grateful
This month marks 8 years since I began my blog TheWeeklySparkle.com 🥳🤯 I have no clue where the time has gone!
Since the beginning, my blog has focused on the real and raw aspects of life, offering my own insight, personal feelings and inspiration along the way. My hope was always that whoever stumbled upon it could find some words that inspire them, that they can relate to, or depending on the topic, assure them that they’re not alone.
Well, after 8 years and 300,000 views later, I thought it was time to give my blog and Instagram a refresh! My new Instagram handle, Sparkle with Aurora, is an expansion of The Weekly Sparkle blog & I’m SO EXCITED to share that in 2021 you can expect to see:
▪️Pretty updates to TheWeeklySparkle.com 👩💻
▪️Real & raw content from yours truly 🌱
▪️Insight into my adventures as a new Mama🤰
▪️Increased content for you that focuses on the sparkle and inspirational around us all each day: fashion trends, feel good energy and inspo & of course, gratitude to the big G 🙏
I believe that no matter where you are in this journey called life, you should always focus on the things that makes you feel alive and sparkle- sharing these pieces with all of you does that for me ♥️✨ Thank you for following along and for the love and support along the way!
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!
I’ve had this thought in mind to share for quite some time, because I think it’s so important to remember. We spend so much time worrying about the past and planning for the future, that now more than ever, living in and appreciating the NOW is fleeting.
Anyone else struggle to remain present? 🙋♀️
Lately I’ve been thinking about how personally I’ve been so laser focused on the future and what’s next that enjoying the journey is getting lost. We’re currently living in “the good old days” and I don’t want this time to pass without truly enjoying it.
Any Office fans out there? (Haha I know, there’s literally a billion of us)! One of my favorite scenes in the enter series is this one: Good Old Days- Andy Bernard He says:
“I wish there was a way to know you’re in the Good Old Days, before you actually left them.”
As he says this he flashes back to good times with his coworkers and moments that at the time didn’t seem very important, but he now realizes that those moments were in fact “the good old days.”
Ahhh… this is literally what I’m talking about here!!! I think in our current world where our heads are buried in our phones and we’re always on the go, leaping to “what’s next,” it’s so easy to let the important moments pass by unnoticed. In thinking about this, I’ve decided to do a few things to get back to being more present, and I hope some of these tips can help you too!
Things I’m going to do to be more present:
Put my phone away when out to dinner or when spending quality time with family and friends
Writing out or acknowledging the small or large blessings of the day that I’m grateful for
Leave my phone upstairs when spending quality time with my husband at night as we wind down
Worry less about posting on social media “in the moment” and actually enjoy the thing it is that I reallllywant to post about
Listen better. Rather than worrying about the next thing on my to-do list, where I need to be, or who is texting me, I’m want to do a better job at listening when in conversation
PHEW- That’s a lot 😅
What is list screams to me is: Put your phone down, lift your head up, open your ears, be where you are, focus on what’s in front of you, worry less about what’s ahead and my favorite and the most important piece- count your blessings
I’d love to hear what some of you do to remain present! If you have something that works well for you, please drop it in the comments!
Lately I’ve been realizing how much of my own happiness/disappointments within myself are based around pleasing others or living up to their expectations of me. I find myself feeling stressed over what someone might think, how they took this or that, whether or not they think that is good enough, etc etc etc.
Sounds exhausting, right?
This is where my “SO WHAT” mantra comes in. So what if you’re not living up to others expectations of you, does that matter? Are their expectations realistic and do they match what’s important to you?
What actually matters is whether or not you are (or are becoming) the version of yourself that you went to be!! It only matters if you are living up to your own expectations. And guess what? If you’re not, you have the power, every-single-day, to change that. Remember that what others expect of us isn’t always about us- it’s can be about a fear, or an insecurity of theirs that they’re projecting on you or needing from you. Others expectations often have nothing to do with us specifically. And just how others do it to us, it’s important to remember that sometimes we can be doing that to others as well. It’s not easy to be mindful of, but if you are, you’re ahead of the curve!
On the flip side, what’s even crazier to think, is that majority of the time, the expectations we think others have about us, don’t even exist! We are subconsciously making things “heavier” than they need to be! Somewhere along the line in our relationship other people, we may have developed a feeling of what they expect from us as friends, siblings, co-workers, partners, colleagues, acquaintances, etc etc etc. Most of the time, however, you’ll find, the things people love and value in you are a lot less complicated than what you think you have to live up to.
Again for those who need to read this again:
…the things people love and value in you are a lot less complicated than what you think you have to live up to.
Being honest, I read that for myself again, too.
To overthinking a little less, letting go of the heavy feelings, giving ourselves more grace and sharing that grace with others too…
Days like today, I’m filled with such pride to be an American. I’m always proud of my country, but on days like this, where we are all united in celebrating it, it feels even more amazing.
Today we celebrate the Declaration of Independence and the birth of the United States of America as an independent nation. Something accomplished hundreds of years ago, yet the FREEDOM still remains. To think of the impact this declaration would have on the millions of lives that came after it is nothing short of amazing. To know we live somewhere where we are truly FREE is such a blessing, especially when you know others around the world don’t live this way.
So in honor of all Americans who fought for this freedom, and those who don’t have the chance to exercise it where they live, I won’t take this day for granted. I’ll keep the fallen in my heart today and always, and pray for those who continue to fight for our freedom. We live in the Land of the Free, because of the Brave. Because of our, American, Brave.
Happy 4th of July everyone and God Bless America ♥️🇺🇸
“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” – The Scarlet Letter
Ah….. I know I always start my blogs this way when something really hits me, but, WOW!!!!! This perfectly sums up how I’ve been feeling lately- like this huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders- yet, I had no idea how heavy the weight was until it was gone. It literally feels like I’m viewing my life differently and in a more positive light than even a few weeks ago. My mood feels different, my energy has shifted. I mean, I feel… happy.
Don’t get me wrong, I try to approach life and others in a positive light as much as anyone else might, but something shifted a few months (maybe even a year back), and I was experiencing all this negative self talk. I touched on this a few postings ago in, Let’s Talk Self Talk and I really feel like this blog was the tip of the Positivity Iceberg that I was about to meet.
(Positivity Iceberg, noun: a made up term I just created to define the beginning of feeing positive, and so much more is to come underneath it) 🙂
So what was this shift?
Let me start by telling you why the shift needed to happen. The feeling of letting others “stuff” effect your mood, actions and thoughts- this can be a killer. These feelings have been something weighing me down, making me second guess myself, keeping me up some nights and overall killing my positive way of thinking. When people would say something negative to me, or even about others, or make a “dig” to me or a side comment, it would really effect me. When did I start worrying so much about what others thought? Especially the negative things, and why did I start putting blame on myself and putting so much thought into their thoughts over my own truth?
After overanalyzing too many situations and nearing a breaking point, I said enough. It is EXHAUSTING to think in the ways I just described. Right? I’m sure many of you reading this are probably like,”Wow… Aurora that’s rough.” While others are thinking, “WOW, I thought I was alone in this.” This blog is for both of you.
About a month and a half ago, I began doing the work to figure out why I’ve felt this way, and how to stop it. Sometimes you need to walk through the tough things to figure them out, rather than avoid and suppress them, so that’s what I did- I began walking.
Friends, it’s every semi-corny quote you’ve ever read… it’s the ones you read and think, “that is so cheesy...” or “yeah great point but doesn’t apply to me.” And here they are:
“What people think of you is none of your business.”
“Nothing other people do is because of you, it is because of themselves.”
“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”
“A wise man once said nothing.”
“Most people barely know themselves, so what does it matter what they think of you”
GUYSSSS…. these cheesy quotes are not BS! They’re actually true… and I think talking through how I was feeling and applying them to my own life and circumstances caused some kind of light bulb to go off… It does not matter what people think of you, especially the bad things they are projecting onto you from you own experiencing. We all have our “stuff” : Our history, the way we were raised, the beliefs hardwired into us, our insecurities and judgements. Every single person has this “stuff” that they are possibly able to project onto you. Fitting you into THEIR narrative.
THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT A REALITY.
I’m gonna say it louder for the people in the back…
THIS DOES NOT MAKE IT A REALITY.
And until you believe that, to your core, you won’t be able to move beyond these thoughts. When I’m telling you I literally feel lighter, and happier, I mean it. The thoughts I felt were suffocating me at times I now see were projections onto me of others “stuff,” not necessarily truths that I have to over analyze within myself. Understanding this has changed my self talk, and has made me feel so happy and positive approaching each new day. It’s CRAZY!!!!I get teary eyed even thinking about it.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t times where you need to own making mistakes or accept the invite to an argument you should attend… I’m not talking about those things. More than I believe in self-love and acceptance, I also believe in owning your crap and apologizing/ talking through difficult things with people who matter to you. So in these instances, I think it’s important to remember it could matter what people think of you and that it’s right to discuss what needs working through. I also think it’s important to remember when we’re projecting our own “stuff” onto others. We all do it. All of us. But being aware of it is the first step to not projecting onto others when we feel the need to.
The other piece of this is that it’s okay to feel the words and actions of others, even if they sting, but the important piece is to remind yourself that those words and actions may be more about them. Will I find myself dwelling on these things in the future, sure, but I feel more confident and feeling them and letting them go, rather than holding onto them like I used to.
All in all, friends, this feeling is amazing. And if I didn’t take the time to pause, think and talk through it all, I don’t think I’d be here. It’s only more validating when I hear close friends say they notice a lightness in me- if that’s not proof, I don’t know what is. If you feel like you’re going through something similar, don’t hesitate to send me a message. I’m happy to share more in detail about my path to help you maybe get on your own.
Ah, I feel free. Absolute FREEDOM from the exhausting and overwhelming feelings I’ve had. And most of all, I feel proud that I took the steps to arrive here.
“Keep Taking Time For Yourself Until You’re YouAgain”
Did this hit me like a ton of bricks or what? WARNING: Lots of honesty in this post. Over the last few months, I haven’t been feeling much like myself. And when I say like myself, I mean, the person whom I thought I was; the person people tell me I am: happy, cheerful, positive, go-getting, someone who starts each day with a bright perspective etc. I know I’ve talked about it here before, but I couldn’t 100% put my finger on what it was that felt different. All I knew for certain was that I wanted a change, because something just didn’t feel right. So these last few weeks, I began asking myself:
“When was the last time you felt most like you and what were the things in your life that were making you happy?”
I pulled out my handy note-book where I do my “brain dumps,” and began jotting things down. When I felt the most like me, I was:
Getting in some kind of physical activity multiple times a week (going for walks, going to the gym, karate etc).
Spending time each day talking to God and feeling a stronger connection with him.
Getting sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.My GOSH this is a big one!! My normal bedtime these days is anytime after 11:00pm. Even on school work nights! This is partially because I like spending time with my husband and catching up on our day, but it’s also partially because I have a hard time falling sleep.
Blogging regularly/connecting with readers.
Volunteering and giving back to my local community as often as I could
Eating/Drinking well. Less fast food, more fruits and veggies, less adult beverages, more Crystal Lite (hah, you expected me to say water?? NOPE)!
When I felt most like me I was Confident.
And lastly, spending time with people who inspire, motivate, challenge and excite me when I’m around them!
PHEW, what a list huh? Did any of those resonate with you too? I don’t feel like I have lost any of these completely, but they were all part of my normal routine and contributed to my overall happiness… my overall ME. So in the last few weeks, and especially this week, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting some of the old me back. It’s all of the above and making the time for them- not making excuses as to why they’re not a part of my life at the moment.
So I have to ask, when was the last time you felt like YOU? If the answer isn’t right now, I challenge you to have the courage to stop what you’re doing, and dig a little bit as to where you have been, and how to get yourself back.
My process began right before my last post, When You’re Tired, Rest. and is continuing each and every day. If there are things you need to pump the brakes on in your life to find you and your happiness again, do it. Break the plans, say “No” to things that get in the way of your path, have courage when thrusting yourself back into something that might no longer feel comfortable and r e l a x. It won’t all happen overnight, so remember to have patience with yourself. And if you need someone to help you figure out how, I’m only a few key strokes away.