You know those moments when just the right thing comes along at just the right time? It’s as if it was planned that way on purpose, like a little special hug from the Universe. It usually sneaks up on you during one of those “off days,” rough patches or time of grieving. All of the sudden, a little pick-me-up sort of falls into your lap out of no where.
To be honest with you, I’m still feeling a bit off in coping with Monday’s events, and have been having a hard time writing let alone feeling myself. I just keep replaying the day over and over again up to the moment of the attack, thinking “What if it were me?” However, I’ve certainly been finding love & joy in everything around me to not only help myself cope, but also those around me. To help our city heal.
You see, when you look for love it’s everywhere, really. You can find love in things as small as your morning cappuccino or as large as an entire community coming together to pray & heal.
Love is in the eyes of your barista, your lover, the stranger on the street. In that couldn’t-have-been-a-better-time email, note card, text, voicemail or phone call. It’s even in that most perfect fortune attached to your yogi tea.
Love & light is in you, and me and the entire Universe (something I was reminded yet again during the final minute of my yoga class last night).
Just keep your eyes and your heart open and you too will find love. This week, I have found love in…
*The overwhelming number of calls, texts, emails (from some people whom I haven’t spoken to in years) I received to ensure my safety
*The surprise visit from my mom, who came up from CT to take me on a lunch date, followed by some shopping & strolling in Harvard Square to cheer me up
*The warm rays of sunshine on my face
*My delicious mug of French Roast coffee
*The home-made meal The Boy whipped up the other night to put a smile on my face
*The adorable Buddha card my friend Jen sent from Toronto, pouring her love & admiration for me. It seriously couldn’t have arrived at a more perfect time.
*Hugs from friends who I adore
*Goodnight kisses & cuddle seshes that felt especially consoling this week
*The restorative yoga class I took last night, with the most beautiful “Om” at the end. The teacher even sang to us during Shavasana. It was absolutely beautiful & perfect.
It was just what I needed….exactly at the right time.
I want to know, when’s a time where you were sent some love at just. the. right. time? Share your stories below! Much love to you all…
This was the one photo I snapped during yesterday’s Boston Marathon.
It’s one of my favorite days in the city, a day that makes me proud to be a Bostonian, a day that makes me contemplate to run a Marathon one day myself. And for the past 4 years, I have gathered with friends and loved ones to watch at my go-to spot: the Finish Line. This year was extra-special as one of my friends was running her very first 26.2.
The Finish Line is a place you see strength, love, dedication, power, and victory. A place where families and loved ones come together to celebrate. A place where runners have their moment. A place where I always find myself tearing up seeing the faces of pure accomplishment.
Unfortunately, yesterday’s tears were tears of sadness, not joy; hugs of fear not celebration. As you can see in the above photo, I was right at mile 26 when the first bomb went off. Like most, I was startled at first but thought it may be a cannon or a celebratory gun shot. When the second bomb went off less than a block from where I was standing, I knew I had to get out…fast. I just had a terrible feeling take over me…I knew it wasn’t good. What if we’re next?
As I stood there shaking in complete shock, I completely lost it. As those around me were screaming, running or consoling loved ones, I tried to make a phone call to my parents and boyfriend. I truly thought that was it for me, a feeling I just can’t describe. I turned around and realized that I had lost my two friends who were with me. Officers kept telling us to get as far away as we could, urging us to get off the streets, and so I ran. I ran for my life…all the way home to my Cambridge apartment…in flip-flops.
When I got home, I prayed. I thanked God that I was alive, that I was now safe. And I prayed for those who weren’t as lucky. While I am still pretty shaken up, as you can imagine, I am feeling an unbelievable sense of gratitude and love.
I feel gratitude for:
-The fact that my two good friends were there with me during the aftermath
-Making it out of there alive
-That all of my friends and loved ones in the area are safe & sound
-That I was able to contact my boyfriend about an hour later, knowing he too was safe
-For the moment I was finally connected with my parents and sister, who were extremely worried for me
-Standing right where I was, instead of seeking a closer view
-Everything I have…life is certainly precious
I feel Love for:
-All of those who don’t feel safe
-Those who were injured & killed
-Those separated from their families
-Brave spectators who rushed toward the explosions in order to treat victims (some even removed clothing or ran straight to donate blood)
-The runners who ran, finished and weren’t able to finish
-The city of Boston. My city.
I am forever grateful. Much love & prayers go out to those who weren’t as lucky as me…
Good evening ladies! Hope you all had a nice day. I’m feeling real good as I just got home from a sweaty spin class/ meeting with the ever-so-energetic Ali Balsassare at Equinox. I’m beginning to love evening exercises more than I thought, though I’m still a morning person at heart.
Alright, let’s get to it; it’s time for another week of Healthy Chicks in the Community. Remember how last week I mentioned that Jess had an equally awesome twin sister? Well, I thought it’d be fitting to feature her amazing twin (in fact, they are actually triplets) on the blog this week. I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Jolene, whose writing literally gives me chills, or makes me tear up every. single. time. By the way, she truly has one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever witnessed. I’ll let Jo take it from here…
NAME/AGE: Jolene Bonina, age: 33
CURRENT CITY: Andover, Mass.
PHOTO TAKEN: This is one of my favorite pics with M (it’s a toss up, location takes the cake on this one!), in our favorite town in Sonoma County – Healdsburg. It’s at one of our favorite wineries, Thumbprint, as we practice our faux ‘wine snob’ faces. I think we do a pretty good job here, no?
WHAT YOU DO FOR WORK: By day, I manage PR and social media for a tech company in Southern California, working from home, which I’ve realized is my ideal way of working. I get so much done, stay out of the office politics and have the flexibility do my passion…as by night (and early morning!), I teach barre classes at barre n9ne studio in Andover and love, love, love it. Every single class is just an amazing experience, helping clients reach their fitness goals and really challenge them, and just seeing sweaty, happy faces, makes me equally as happy!
NUMBER ONE PASSION: Honestly? barre n9ne. It is such a ‘homegrown’ unique and original community of clients that are just fiercely dedicated, devoted, and determined to reach their fitness goals. Whether it be a 60 day challenge, a ‘moms bounce back’ program for new moms, or the everyday client who just wants to tone up and feel better about themselves, these clients – this family – is seriously amazing and I am so proud to be a part of it, and a walking ‘example’ of how this approach just works.
I FEEL MY HEALTHIEST SELF WHEN I AM: I feel my healthiest self every single day. No joke. I live by the mantra ‘smarter, not harder’ with my workouts, staying active daily, teaching at the studio, and fitting in runs or an occasional spin, when my schedule allows, and eating in a wholesome ‘real foods’ way. No food is off-limits, but I know my limits. I know what fuels me, and what satisfies me, and what does not, and it feels like the ‘magic bullet’ to happy and healthiness.
BUT I AM ALSO A REAL GIRL & SOMETIMES: I love my wine. Really and truly. I enjoy every glass, and I definitely have it several times a week, no apologies there. And it’s good for your heart, so it’s truly a win/win, isn’t it?
TOP THREE KITCHEN STAPLES: kabocha!! My latest obsession. I.love.that.squash. coffee. Oatmeal. Not necessarily in that order
NUMBER ONE GUILTY PLEASURE: wine. or pizza. Or both, together, for the ultimate combination!
EXERCISE THAT MAKES YOU SHINE: this is a tough one. It is a toss up between a super sweaty and intense barre class or a super sweaty and intense run. But the run must be outdoors for it to truly feel amazing. There is nothing better!
FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD: cheese. I LOVE cheese.
MESSAGE YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER HEALTHY CHICKS: For me, the last two years have been such a journey about intuitiveness and mindfulness and learning what my body needs to stay satisfied physically but also mentally. You truly need both to be able to live and sustain a healthy, fit, and happy lifestyle, in my opinion. It shouldn’t be work, but it takes work to get there, to get to that point where you trust yourself and your body, but know that once you do? It’s totally worth it. Because there’s no sense living a life where you can’t eat the food you like, or live up to an image of ‘perfection’ on tv. There is no such thing. Strive for excellence, and not perfection…it’s a much happier life!
The L word has been flowing around everywhere lately…maybe it’s the Valentine’s Day season or something in the air but I’m telling you it’s EVERYWHERE. And unfortunately, lots of these L Bombs have been dropped on accident. EEK! Take the girl on the Bachelor the other night for example – I think her name is Chantal – who said “Everything you do just makes me love you even more…I mean like..er…oops.” AWKWARD.
Then there was my roommate who recently said “I love you poopsie” to the guy she just started dating after he took care of her while throwing up. That was another one of those “oops” moments. Luckily he told her to shut up and go back to bed (phew). I have another roommate in college who used to throw it out there to anyone and everyone, even the mailman or strange studdy buddy from her German class. Sometimes it just comes out. So take this lesson with open ears, and try to stick with “I like you a lottttt” until you really mean it.
The other day, I was complaining about being Color Blind to the boy I am dating. It’s extremely rare for a girl to be Color Blind, but I unfortunately got the bad gene – something about dominant traits in my dad mixed with my mom’s carrier trait turned into Rachel being Color Blind. I complain like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not like I can’t see color. Whenever I tell people, they ask me “What color is the sky?” “What color is the grass?” Yellow and purple, duh! Seriously, people. Along with my lovely Color Blind trait, I also got the brown hair and the brown (sometimes green, so I guess hazel) eyes, while my sister is blonde with crystal blue eyes. C’mon gene pool, why me?
But as much as I complain, I realize all my traits (weird, bad, ugly and good) come from my family, and that makes me love everything about myself all over again – even if that means calling a friend over every time I need to find the “green” in Word and not being a blonde, blue-eyed babe. In fact, I actually love the fact that I’m naturally brunette- it matches my skin and eyes perfectly. I’ll also accept the fact that I got the curvy genes with the tiny waist, big butt and thighs. It makes wearing an LBD so much more fun!
But it’s not just the exterior traits that come from my fam. It’s everything about me. Since my parents are from Connecticut, I’m lucky enough to get to see them a few times a month to catch up and share some good laughs. Yesterday, they came up to spend some time with their lovely daughter and to meet….dun dun dun…the boy she’s dating, and it only reminded me how much I freakin’ love my family…just the way they are. My dad’s one of those outgoing guys who knows everyone and can work his way into anything, and would do absolutely anything for his daughters, and my mom’s his adorable little sidekick who says the most hilarious things when she’s not even trying to be funny. We may laugh at her a little more than we should, but we love her nonetheless! (ha, hi mom!) Then there’s my beautiful sister who is my other half; we balance each other perfectly.
Anyway, after spending some time with my parents yesterday I realized I get all my quirky little traits from them. I’m silly and sometimes ditzy like my mom, I talk too much like my dad, I pick at my food (and everyone else’s food) like my mom, I can take back tequila like my dad, I am sensitive and caring like my mom, I have a sense of humor like my dad, I like to write letters and homemade cards for my friends like my mom, I like going out and talking to anyone and everyone like my dad, I laugh at myself like both of my parents, and can sometimes think I am always right like…both my parents. I love to go shopping and cook like my mom, but learned to run and attempt to like sports like my dad. I am me because of both of them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So Color Blind or not, I love living in the genes I was given.
Are you more like your mom or your dad? What are some of your unique traits?
Ok, confession: While you probably already know from my last post, I'm kind of already in Christmas mode...that is, in full-fledged Christmas mode. You can't really blame a girl though. The malls have been dressed up in pretty lights for ages, holiday stuff is all over the place, and tomorrow is Faneuil Hall's tree lighting- Santa's even gonna be there and they light up the tallest tree in New England. OK, you get it, I'm over-the-top excited for the holiday season.
And to get even more into the mood, my roommate and I are having a holiday movie marathon tonight with homemade cute snacks and all our favorite holiday classics including Elf, The Holiday and my all-time favorite: Love Actually. I’ve already watched it once this season, but this is one movie I can watch again and again and again. I absolutely love the message it sends out, and if anyone knows me, I am a hopeless romantic so this movie gets me every time.
I especially like one of the first lines in the movie, and want to touch upon it in my post today: “If you look for it , I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” And this year especially I couldn’t agree more. I have to admit, sometimes I get a little sad around the holidays because it draws attention to my single-ness and lack there of boyfriend as you see all the couples prancing around galavanting under the mistletoe…kissing in their matching outfits.
But, I realized that’s not really what the holidays are all about, and love doesn’t necessarily mean being in a relationship or having the perfect life. I guess it doesn’t hurt that my dating life is going pretty good right now, but I realized that love means many things. Love means having a family that cares about you and makes you feel at home. Love means having those few great friends you can tell absolutely anything to, and who are always there for you. Love means loving yourself and your body, inside and out. Love means having a good heart, and sharing that with the world.
And when you think of it that way, love really is all around. You can see it on the train on your commute to work, you can see it in the eyes of families walking down the street, you can see it in the couple kissing in the park. There is no one definition of love; it’s everywhere. At least that’s how I see it this year! So go ahead, and open yourself up to love this season. Share your love with friends/family/your significant other and most importantly yourself.
What do you love about this time of year? What brings love into your life? And lastly, what are your favorite holiday movies to watch?
Warning: I apologize ahead of time if I go on some kind of rant
While I may be a healthy chick and am 99% of the time a happy chick, I am also…dun dun dun…a single chick. Now many of my in-a-relationship friends root me on, and tell me that “being single is fun.” “You are so young.” “The right guy will come along some day.” Well, 23 years have gone by and he still hasn’t. OK OK, I understand that yes, I am young and yes, I probably will meet “that guy” some day and everything will all work out. But it doesn’t make that in-between, waiting around, what’s going to happen phase any easier.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that as much as I’m trying to stay positive about being a single chick, sometimes it gets to me, and this week it’s gotten to me a lot more than usual. I try to be all strong. “I’m OK by myself.” “I don’t need a guy.” And that’s true. I know I don’t neeeeed one, but it doesn’t mean that every once in a while the thought can’t pop into my mind that’d be nice to have one.
Many of my relationship friends also like to tell me, “When you stop looking it’ll come.” Honestly, I’ve heard that since 7th grade. I’m not looking, am I? It’s not as though I go crawling around town checking out men like an aisle in Forever 21. Cute. Not Cute. Yep, he’ll be a keeper. No, I don’t do that. Sometime’s at coffee shops I’ll smile at the cute guy across the table, and at bars I look around to see what’s out there and go up to the occasional guy to chat, but that’s just because I’m a social gal and I love meeting new people. I wouldn’t call that looking or hunting them out by any means.
Anyway, this past year I tried to let my singledom not get to me as much. After all, I moved into a new city (the lovely city of Boston) and realized it was a time to focus solely on me. And that I did. I got myself a job (or three), started cooking anything and everything (creating many of my own unique recipes) finally learned to manage my budget, made some amazing friends, learned the importance of strength training for women and began lifting weights, explored the city’s adorable coffee shops, bookstores and hidden gems, went to New Zealand with my family, went brunette, quit my job (or two), learned to embrace my body, began running (and love it) and am finally focused on my writing career. Those were all things for me I’d say. Not for you, not for my family and definitely not for men.
So I guess the whole “why am I still single” thing is especially getting to me now, because I AM happy, I HAVE focused on “me” and I DON’T think about it all the time. I guess what I’m trying to say is I feel it’s finally time I get a little taste of what a relationship is like. College I understand; No, college I was not ready for one. I barely had my act together, I was not happy with my weight or my body or my appearance and I wasn’t focusing on “me.” However, now it’s all different.
I guess in a way I am proud of myself. I finally got to that place I’ve been trying to get for years, a place where I am happy with what I am doing, content with my body, at a weight I feel comfortable with and at an overall “happy place.” So for now, I suppose I will concentrate on all that I’ve overcome in the past couple of years, however once in a while it’s hard not to let the single-bug get to me. Then again, if that’s the biggest of my worries, I’ve come a long way and am pretty damn lucky.
Single gals: Do you ever let being single get to you? What do you do to push out that negative noise and just “be”?