Tag Archives: dreams

Varenna- The Dream Part 2: An Italian Adventure

Varenna is a small community on Lake Como in the Northern part of Italy.  It looks like a picture and I couldn’t believe it as we got out of the car.  It was everything I dreamed Italy would be with colorful homes, historic hotels, stairs leading down to the water and locals everywhere. It was beautiful!


We left from Milan and as we drove through the tunnels to Lake Como each glimpse got more and more beautiful. We arrived on the afternoon of Thursday, September 29th for a two and half day stay and when we pulled up to the hotel I almost died!  It was perfect! We stayed at Villa Cipressi and when walking up it was clear that this place had been around for a very long time. It was a noble’s home built between 1400-1800 and turned hotel in the 1980’s or so. The key to our room was a regular old school key with a large gold weight with green fridge attached. The rooms were somewhat small but bigger than the rooms in Milan. There was a large window that overlooked the lake with amazing views. We left the hotel to explore a bit. About a 1 minute walk from the hotel was a small square. There were a few small restaurants and cafes. We sat down and ate cheese, meats, melon wrapped in proscuitto and had Italian beer. There were local Italian kids running around, laughing and playing. Afterwards we walked around for hours. This place was everything I thought it would be. The stairways led to peoples homes and up to main streets as well as down to the lake. We walked up and down so many of them and I took so many pictures. It was like art in every direction I turned. My dad and uncle grew out their hair just so they could get Italian haircuts.  There was a great little salon with a woman who had faded red hair and a very friendly smile. She didn’t speak much English but their haircuts came out great! It was such a cool experience.

We ate dinner at different places every night. The first night we had pasta and while everyone else had dessert I got a cheese plate!  I love cheese and when in Italy you eat cheese. We ate breakfast every morning in the breakfast room in the very downstairs of the hotel.  It had an old fireplace and looked like old serving quarters with huge steel doors where you entered and exited.  The hotel had a large botanical garden which overlooked the lake. We walked and ran through these gardens and found so many historic things. Statues, old gates with locks and chains, beautiful plants and little pathways all around the hotel and through the garden.

One of the days we took the ferry over to Bellagio, another small more famous community on the lake. We ate lunch on the lake and walked up and down the stairways there. It was bigger than Varenna and there were a lot more people. I was happy to get back to our side of the lake after a few hours.  We spent a lot of time wandering the streets of Varenna, eating gelato, embracing the Italian culture, drinking coffee in the afternoon and eating at little restaurants hidden in allies. It seemed like I could have stayed there forever.

One day we decided to do some laundry. We walked to a wash, dry and fold place just off the main street. The woman working didn’t speak any English but we managed to drop off the clothes and find out the pick up time. It cost about $15 American dollars to wash one load of clothes. It’s not cheap! My sister and I spent that afternoon by ourselves. We walked all over the place and had so much fun taking pictures and embracing the fact that we were there together.  That night we ate at a very small restaurant with mostly outdoor seating. Al Prato was the name and it was situated in the middle of beautiful Varenna homes on a street just off the main square. The food was good and the service was great! It was a dining experience we all loved and will never forget. It was dark and there was just a bit of lighting from a few lamp posts on the walkways. We had such a great time that night.

One afternoon we sat outside at a small cafe in the middle of the square. It was filled with locals. I think we were the only Americans there. It was so loud with all these people laughing and talking and smoking. It was a little surreal sitting there. It was like time stood still a little bit and we were in another universe. We drank espresso, enjoyed all the culture around us and watched the little local kids run around. It seemed so simple and slow. It wasn’t like anything I was used to.

Our last morning in Varenna we ate gelato for breakfast and took one last walk around this beautiful place. My sister and I both agreed that when we go back to Italy in a couple years, Varenna is where we will stay. In all the cities we stayed, Varenna holds the most memories. The meals, the walks, the exploring, the haircuts, the laundry, the locals at the cafe… It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Part 3 of our Italian Adventure is set in the place where our family started centuries ago. It was our favorite place in Italy.


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Dreams, Business and Reality


So many of us are dreamers. We grow up believing that we can do whatever we choose to do in this life. We’re taught that hard work, dedication and drive will get us to the next level. When we’re young we play games which involve us owning businesses. Games where we run the show and dictate our own lives. We go through school knowing that grades are important, connections will get us further and extracurriculars look good on applications. We go to sleep thinking about our adult lives and all the wonderful things we will conquer in our lifetime. As we get older, life presents obstacles. Sometimes ones we couldn’t have prepared for if we tried. We realize that the real world is hard and getting to the next level is not like getting an A or staying up all night to prepare for the big presentation. We change and grow with the ever-changing demands of society. We still hope for the same things as our young selves once did, but the route we take to get there is altered. Discouragement, hopelessness and anger are more prominent than before. Reality is a bit different than our dreams yet we still tend to dream big and push forward.

Success, financial stability, happiness and love are big components of the millennial lifestyle. We go to bed thinking about it, we wake up ready for it and we spend our lives reaching for it. We live in homes that reflect our situations. Our mirrors have seen smiles and tears. They’ve heard pep talks and threats of giving up. Our floors are worn from the constant moving around, moving up and falling down. Our walls are built with that same work ethic, dedication and drive we were taught about so long ago and still so many of us are struggling to figure it all out. So putting all bullshit aside… What does it take for dreams, business and reality to all live in the same house?

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Filed under Life's Work- Proud & Pretty in Pink

29 Years Of…

I’m turning 29 next week and I’ve been thinking a lot about what has happened in my 29 years of life.  I have seen some amazing things, felt some of the best feelings, experienced some of the worst tragedies and I’m fortunate enough to still be here and be happy.  My childhood was a great one, my teen years were pretty normal, my early twenties were hard and my late twenties were fantastic.

I was raised to be independent. I was told never to settle. I watched happy, hard working and loving parents raise two happy, healthy and adventurous little girls.  I was given a solid foundation to build whatever kind of life I wanted. I was encouraged to dream and chase those dreams until they became a reality. I was told I was worth it and I’ve never doubted that.

I have traveled in small doses but it has been enough to keep me content. I have witnessed beautiful love stories and I’ve experienced  tragic endings. Death has been something I’ve known too well but I’ve also watched many live life as if death would never catch them.

I’ve known heartache. I’ve seen betrayal. I’ve spent nights crying myself to sleep. I’ve let people go.

I’ve known love and I have been blessed to have found the true love of my life. I married a man who admires me, believes in me, pushes me, lives for me and knows that I am his equal partner in this life we are living together.

I’ve known phenomenal human beings and I continue to meet more that change the way I see myself, the world and humanity in general.

I have seen angels. I have felt God. I have wished for more knowledge and understanding. I’ve been taught that my mind will never be able to hold what my heart and soul already do.  I have had my faith tested and I still believe in miracles.

I have failed at many things but I’ve succeeded at many more. I still want children and I want to grow old with A.A Prince.  I want to watch my parents with their grandchildren and I want those children to learn the lessons I’ve learned.

I want to see more, do more and be more.  I guess the real point is that I have lived 29 years of real, passionate, meaningful life. My 29 years have been important and for that I am grateful and excited as I spend the last year of this decade admiring the ones that came before it and preparing for the ones to follow.  Here’s to 29… the last of the twenties, the prep for the thirties and the realization that a lot has happened and that there’s so much more to come.




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116 Days to 26.2: 3 miles, Nutrition and Sports Bras

I almost died on a 3 mile run, I really like oatmeal and I have the uncontrollable urge to take off my sports bra the second I’m back home from a run!  It’s been an interesting 3 weeks…

I am in week 4 of a 20 week training program.  So far the training has been pretty good.  I’ve been working to improve my pace which is getting better each week.  Last week I went out for one of my 3 mile runs.  I have to admit that I didn’t eat before running and I half-assed my stretching.  Well the run taught me a painful lessen.  I cramped pretty bad, I felt fatigued and the miles seemed to take forever to end.  But to my surprise I ran each mile under 9 minutes.  That seemed impossible to me as I was almost brought to tears multiple times during the 3 miles.  In my opinion, the best thing about running is the mental toughness it requires.  And on that day I felt like I could die. (Slight exaggeration but it was pretty bad.)

I have a couple great friends who are there with me on weekend runs.  I’ve known them since high school.  He plans to train with me until the marathon or until he can’t anymore and she just had a baby so walking and pushing the stroller is a great way to get in some exercise while supporting me at the same time.  I’m extremely grateful for them both. Most of my runs are done solo, so to get together at the end of each week is something I look forward to.

I’ve found that a pre-run meal of oatmeal, a banana and a glass of milk is what helps me feel best during the run.  I’m still working to improve my overall nutrition.  I’m still not eating enough because I’m finding it really hard to eat when I’m not hungry.  But common sense and my husband let me know that I’ve got to fuel my body the best way I can.  So it’s still a work in progress.

I haven’t been doing too well with cross-training either.  I hike on the weekends but this week is the first week that I’ve actually done some strength training.  I plan on incorporating swimming in the next week or so.

I’ve been taking off my shirt and sports bra right when I walk through the door after a run.  The sweat mixed with tight clothing irritates me so much.  I make my protein shake, stretch and then ice my knees and chins while topless and I’m pretty sure that I need to get over this because there will probably come a time where my surroundings don’t permit topless icing.  But until then, I’VE GOT TO BE FREE!

I’m still feeling encouraged and excited about the process.  5 miles is as far as I’ve gone and the next few weeks pick up quick. I am hopeful that I can stay injury free and fix my nutrition so that I can be the best runner I possibly can for this marathon in November!

To all the runners out there, as my amazing marathoner Uncle would say… RUN ON!




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My Current Running Faves:  C9 Seamless Sports Bra from Target, Asics Running Shoes, Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Towlettes, Vanilla Protein Powder/milk/frozen banana/ice, Belkin Arm Band.

Favorite running article I read this week:  http://greatist.com/fitness/ultimate-guide-running-lingo


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Body Changes:  I’ve decided to keep track of how my body changes through out the training process. I’m hoping to avoid weight loss and gain a little more muscle.  (This is at the start of week 4)




Filed under Healthy Living

What Saved Me This Time

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I’m sitting on my living room floor in front of a blank white page and a cursor blinking more quickly than normal it feels. I have a thousand thoughts running through my head.  I have been inspired by many things in my life and I really feel like the right things present themselves at precisely the right times.  I have never been a quitter but I am honest in saying sometimes it just gets really hard.

Today I started reading a book called I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones.  I’ve had the book since March but it wasn’t until today that I decided to dust it off and crack it open.  I didn’t start reading it today for any specific reason and I didn’t have any expectations.  I just wanted to see what the hype was all about.  I recently met two beautiful amazing women, Lindsey and Kate, who are involved in the “I Am That Girl” Movement.  I wanted to read it because I’ve only been around these two for a short time, yet I feel that I have a good sense of the kind of woman each of them is.  If they support this, then there must be something great about it.

So as I laid out by the pool in a desperate attempt to get some kind of color and escape my usual daily routine, I began reading this book.

For the past week, I have been talking to my husband about going back to school and getting my teaching credential.  I’ve given my business everything I have for the past 5 years and although it has progressed it is no where near where I thought it would be.  I’ve had great support but not enough success.  I was ready to put it on the back burner while I worked towards a “real job.”  “If I can’t run Proud & Pretty in Pink I guess I could be happy teaching,” is what I told my husband and myself.  But the truth is, I can’t teach the things I want to teach and I can’t teach them the way I want to teach them in a classroom setting.  My passion for body image, self-esteem and sex education goes beyond what is talked about in classrooms and on tv.  It comes from a place of pain and experience.  I can’t share those experiences in a regular classroom.  I can’t be as creative as I am under Proud & Pretty in Pink.  I can’t listen to and talk with the girls the way I do in our programs and in our workshops. This has been my life for 5 years and I was just about to put it aside for a little more money, validation and security.

I’m crying as I write this because I am disappointed in myself.  But once I am done writing this blog, I will let it go and once again move forward with what I set out to do years ago.  I’ve only read the first chapter of this book but already it has been so impactful.  I am a lover and a believer in words.  I feel strongly that they can change your life.  And I think a few of Alexis Jones’s words have brought me back to a place that I strayed from.  I could relate so much to these specific words, “After realizing my passion, I had so many temptations that could easily have taken me off course.  Whether it was other professions offering more money, security, prestige, or flat-out present an easier path, I had to choose to not give up on my passion.  It’s not easy to be driven by passion, it’s exhausting and at times feels hopeless.  There are days I wonder why I didn’t take the easy road, why I’m fighting so hard to make a difference in the world while others just get to clock in and collect a paycheck.”

These words describe the inner battle I have with myself too often.  I want to educate girls on the things that are affecting their lives yet so many are choosing to ignore. The things that every single girl will deal with at some point in their lives yet history, math and science come before these subjects. I want them to have a place and a family that they know is theirs forever, not just for a semester.  I want them to feel like they have a friend and a mentor.  Someone who has experienced many of the things they have or will experience.  Someone who can provide the right person to talk to for any of life’s tragedies.  That is what I want to do and what I’ve worked so hard to accomplish.  And I have found such satisfaction in what I have been able to do for the girls I have worked with up until now.  Many of these girls are a big part of my life and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.  From the ones I see monthly to the ones I interact with on social media, they all play a role in my life and in what Proud & Pretty in Pink is all about.

So I am happy to say that I’m back on track and I thank Alexis Jones and I Am That Girl for helping me back this time.  I had no problem finding my passion but there are weak moments when I think it’s just not enough.

Read this book or look for it in other places but find the motivation you need in order to continue to fight for your dreams.



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Filed under Inspiration/Motivation, Life's Work- Proud & Pretty in Pink

The Woman I Want To Be


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April 23, 2014 · 8:02 pm

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October 22, 2013 · 7:03 pm