Monday 5: “All in” & other things I’m excited about this week


Happy Monday! If you’re lucky, you’re like me and you have today off. If not, then you have something to look forward to tomorrow!

This weekend the Rodriguez siblings ventured to North Carolina to visit our dad for the long weekend. We’ve enjoyed spending time with him and other good people we know in the area. Yesterday we visited Raleigh, NC, the capital of North Carolina. Raleigh is a fun city, Nicholas and went there in March and enjoyed the places we went and walking around downtown. It has several good restaurants, coffee shops and boutiques. The downtown area itself is clean and has several squares with lots of green and pretty architecture. I hope to keep going back and checking out new places each time I return to NC.

Here is this week’s five, which doesn’t include the short work week but that is also super exciting!

Strawberry dessert

I made these cheesecake stuffed strawberries for the guests we had over this weekend and really loved it. I think it’s great to find sweets/snacks/decorations that are in theme with whatever holiday is going on and if they’re simple- that much better! This is definitely easy and requires only a few ingredients. Also, it only has a little bit of the cheesecake mixture so you don’t feel too guilty (even if you’re like me and eat five in a row).

Ben Shapiro podcast

Ben Shapiro has a podcast called the Daily Wire which I’ve found helpful for understanding what is going on in the political world today. It can get pretty confusing/frustrating for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy that scene to begin with. Ben Shapiro has a way of breaking things down that even the most uninformed person can get a grip of and come away feeling a little more aware of what’s going on in our political system. He also has a good sense of humor and good values…which help me stay tuned in even though I don’t love the subject matter.

Eye masks

This may seem like a silly thing to get excited about (I tend to get excited about pretty minor things) but for someone who struggles to sleep well, anything that helps is pretty darn exciting. I’ve started wearing an eye mask to sleep the past week or so and have slept really well since. I’ve still woken up several times but have managed to fall asleep quickly and return to sleep soon after waking up in the middle of the night. I’m not really sure what it is about the eye mask that helps, certainly it blocks out light which is useful, but I think there’s also a mental part of “it’s time to sleep” that comes with the eye mask since it does block out everything.

“All in”

At Clemson (where I went to undergrad), a big tagline was “All in.'” I struggled to relate to this and didn’t understand what it had to do with our school where the mascot was a tiger. A few years later, I think I know better what they were talking about. There’s always a temptation to keep a distance, to do things halfway, to not give something our everything. There can be different reasons for this: laziness, uncertainty or distraction being a few. I definitely didn’t go ‘all in’ during undergrad unless you count trying to get out of there as soon as possible. I understand now more the value of going as far as you can and giving something 100%, in other words being fully present to where you are, what you are doing and giving it your full effort. This is essential because the way we do things and how much heart we put into it will largely determine the outcome and how much satisfaction we get out of it. Even if we do fail or don’t get it quite right, we know we gave it our best; and that is something to stand by.

4th of July

Holidays are always something to get excited about. Time to spend with family and friends, good food and leisure activities remind us all the good things in life and why celebration is so important. The 4th of July has it’s own charm as we commemorate the great country we live in and enjoy all the summer things like cookouts, pool parties, beach time and barefoot-ness. Feels good to live in the USA.

Happy Monday!




Monday 5: Boundaries & other things I’m excited about


Woohoo it’s Monday!
I’m sure this is exactly what crossed your mind this morning when your alarm rudely interrupted your sleep.
It’s true that Monday’s are not fun; but I think a good attitude can change the most dire of situations…even a serious case of the Monday’s.

Monday’s are a #cleanslate. We start a new day, a new week with new opportunities to grow, change and accomplish our goals. It’s exciting!
I know that excitement can feel a little out of reach this morning…to help out I make a list of 5 things I genuinely feel enthusiastic about. Even though you and I may not be excited about the same things (although if you are, you’re like, really cool) this list may help bring to mind a few things you’re excited about!

  1. Boundaries.

    I love to give. Give my time, give my advice (whether others want it or not), give my energy and encouragement…however, recently I’ve been learning the importance of knowing my own limits: both physical and emotional. An important part of self-care is being aware of and respecting your own limits and working with them; not against or around them. Whether that means saying no to a friend when they want to get coffee so you can have some ‘me’ time, or refusing to let yourself get pulled into someone else’s pity party, or declining to eat cake even though your sweet grandmother is insisting on it…whatever the case may be, it is important to have some boundaries around yourself. You (and no one else) are responsible for taking care of you; and part of that is guarding yourself (your time, your energy, your emotions) from the demands of others. This book is helping me learn to do just that.

  2. These Jacks.

    This was another sweet buy during my shopping trip in Atlanta last weekend. This wonderful re-sale shop called Labels has 3 shops in the same block- one of which is just for shoes. I found these Jack Rodgers there and have absolutely loved them. Cute, comfy and completely versatile, these are definitely a new favorite.

  3. Chocolate banana bread

    My friend introduced me to this recipe for chocolate banana bread this weekend and I can’t wait to try it out. It was super delicious and only a little unhealthy. #yesplease.

  4. sky-gazing.

    We’ve all heard of star-gazing; and if you’re like me, it makes you think of a romantic scene like in Nicholas Spark’s ‘A Walk to Remember’ with a dreamy guy and hot chocolate to accompany the activity. However, a friend of mine introduced the idea (via Instagram) of ‘sky-gazing.’ As the term implies, this consists of  just laying on your back and looking up at the sky. This weekend I tried this at Mepkin Abbey (a monastery about an hour outside Charleston) and immediately was amazed at the therapeutic value of this. There is something miraculously healing about this; of remembering how small we really are and how temporary our problems, our feelings and our fears are. The truth is you are just one person, responsible for your life and no one else’s. Not your friend’s, not your parents’, not your boyfriend’s…just you. All you can do is your best (knowing sometimes we will fail even at this) and accept the high’s and low’s that make life the rich adventure that it is.

  5. Johnny Stecchino.

    One of my favorite parts about college was taking Italian for 4 semesters. I love learning about different cultures, and Italy certainly has a satisfyingly rich one to accompany it’s beautiful language. As part of the classes, the Italian department at Clemson (go Tigers) would put on Italian movies throughout the semester for us to watch and discuss. One of these was Johnny Stecchino. One of my absolute favorites, there are few things that have made me laugh as hard as this Robert Benigni film. Last night, after several months of pleading, my family watched it with me; definitely worth a watch if you haven’t already (just make sure you get a version with subtitles).

Hope these things help brighten up your Monday, or at least make you think of things that do. Here’s to a fresh start!