Why “Light” is my Word of the Year

What F I R E S you up?

Stop. Take a second. Think about it.

What fires you up? What are those little things that fuel you to make what matters happen?

What F I R E S me up? creating pretty things | jamming to good music | color + patterns | supporting communities + causes + the world | giving gifts + writing love notes | family time | laughing with my tribe | talking with like minded people | brainstorming + strategy | yoga | getting words on paper (or a screen) | facilitating conversations

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These are the things that I want to build a life around, they are what make me feel like I have stepped into the truest version of myself, my light. Rebecca Campbell explains “light” in her book Light is the New BlackWe each have a light within us waiting to guide us home. Our soul purpose is to shine this unique light in a way that only we can. In doing so, we spark something in another and inspire them to do the same.” 

To me, Rebecca is showing us that the things that fire us up and make up our light are gifts. They are our gifts that are meant to be shared with others. So that list, it’s my guiding foundation for the year ahead, I want to focus on cultivating opportunities to use my gifts, growing, and honoring them.

When it came time for me to chose a single word that would exemplify my year, I had three words in mind. Honor, growth, and light. My goal is to honor the person I am, be comfortable and ambitious in my growth, and to follow my truest light.

Honor | High respect | esteem |  integrity | worth | reliability

Growth | developing | maturing | expansion | progress | blooming

Light | Stimulates sight | ignite | make something start burning | illumination | bright

When it all gets filtered down into one word, light is what I’m working toward in 2019. 2019 is for stimulating sight, igniting, illumination, and brightness. 2019 is for L I G H T.

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So, did you take the time?

Did you think about what fires you up and how you can use your gifts in 2019? Because you have them, and they are there to be used. In an effort to sound like your resident hippie guru – follow your light, my friend, follow your light.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Home.

Home is a lot of things. It’s more than a series of walls and rooms. Home is where you are safe, loved, and comfortable. As I went through my PowerSheets prep work for 2019, one of the common threads that I was able to identify, were things that reminded me of home.

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The Big Picture: I am intentional with maintaining our home.

This matters, because: When this house becomes ours I want to be able to take pride in the home we’ve built. Home is about more than just relaxing, but also about being accountable to more than just ourselves. As we come closer purchasing the house that we live in, Justin and I keep building a list of things we want to do to improve the house and make it our own. I want to ensure, that we also focus on taking pride in this building as our home.

Some Action Steps: Working with Winnie on listening and responding to commands, creating a weekly cleaning routine + schedule, clean dishes every night before bed, maintain yard through each season, create a household budget, grocery shop + limit eating out, increase + monitor our credit, simplify by getting rid of what we don’t use, ultimately apply for a mortgage.

I am looking forward to the continued comfort that this house provides us and to growing as we build our home.

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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8 Lessons I Learned in 2018

The last 364 days threw a lot of different things, people, emotions, situations, and issues at me. Some great, some initially perceived great, and some… just plain ugly. Looking back on year I realized just how even at the age of 33 there are lessons to be learned.

1. Not everything needs a social media picture or caption. Social media is so consuming that I have started forming habits where whatever I do, I think about how I could caption it if I posted it on Instagram. It isn’t pretty, but it’s reality. I am working toward adopting the philosophy that: “yes, if something happens and it wasn’t posted to social media that it was real.”

2. Money demands responsibility. Not respecting the value and necessity of money is immaturity at its finest. The thought that having spending money for whatever you want and remaining ignorant of the impact it has on your budget, credit, and ability to succeed is irresponsible. Which brings me to…

3. Things + food don’t satisfy emotional needs. Buying crap you don’t need or eating food your body doesn’t need do nothing positive for your emotional stability. Instead it creates an illusion that you can rely on these external things to be happy or content. Instead, imagine how much more satisfied you’d be with a body fueled by healthy foods and regular exercise and a bank account that allows you to pay your bills and go on vacation.

4. Some relationships aren’t meant to last forever. About halfway through the year a few of my relationships took an unexpected turn. At the time it bordered on devastating, I was hurt, obsessing about what I had done wrong, and lonely. It took me several months to realize that not all relationships, no matter how crucial they were at one time, are meant to last forever. I created my own version of closure.

5. Negativity is toxic and contagious. Constant negativity is not only toxic to yourself, but also those around you. It sucks the life out of a room and infects everyone around you. Why waste the effort on trying to not be positive? Don’t be a soul sucker.

6. My marriage is worth honoring with time, effort, and energy. Being married for eight years, going through the accelerated lifestyle that Justin and I have had to endure has certainly taken its toll. As our lives became less chaotic it became apparent that we also had to get out of our role of patient and caregiver. Our marriage is a partnership that deserves our time, effort, and energy. Our partnership deserves to be honored.

7. It’s okay to still not know “what I want to do when I grow up”. People are constantly growing, learning new things, and discovering new passions. The 40-year career with the same company is no longer the standard, and that’s okay. Instead of trying to force a single job title, I’m choosing to grow and utilize my gifts in my career.

8. I don’t have to be everything. I want to, oh do I want to be everything. But I can’t. It’s impossible and, quite frankly, exhausting. I don’t have to be everything; I just have to be me.

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Self Care + The Winter Causebox

It’s 2018, (well, for 3 more days) so we all know the importance of self care. It’s the oxygen mask theory – you must put your mask on first before helping anyone else with theirs. Self care is about taking care of your mind, body, and soul – everyday. Not just when you find a couple extra minutes. It is not selfish and it is not a secondary priority.

One of the reasons I decided to subscribe to Causebox is because, while all of the products they included in their seasonal packages are from charitable, sustainable companies, they are also great self care tools. Here’s how I’m using my Winter Causebox to take care of myself.

First and Foremost the Jade Facial Roller from Luna Nectar. I was very skeptical of rollers, until I started using one. I keep this at my desk, which is where most of my facial tension builds as I am sitting at my computer. I roll over my jaw line all the way up to my temples with the larger end. The smaller roller I reserve for under my eyes and around my nose. I feel an immediate tension release and as far as I’m concerned that is well worth the price of the entire box.

While we’re speaking of the face, the Klei Detox Facial Steam smells like heaven! I love the idea of using a sprinkle of the spearmint + floral mix with some hot water while hiding under a towel for a few minutes. It’s a natural sauna for your face, opening up your pores and giving your skin time to release what’s trapped inside.

The LSTN Marble Crescent Bluetooth Earbuds are more than gorgeous, and will be a great tool as I start working out on a more regular basis. Because of the loud nature of my house I have thought about using them while practicing yoga at home, just to block out the noise of the world around me.

The Winter Causebox also includes:

  • A Siizu Poncho made specifically for Causebox. While ponchos aren’t really my style, I keep my cream, gray, and pink striped poncho on my desk chair to keep me warm as I work. It’s incredibly soft and cozy, sometimes it makes not cuddling up for a nap…well…difficult.
  • A stunning Idlewild Co. 2019 Planner. As a planner snob, I can officially declare this thing absolutely gorgeous and well formatted. It has both weekly and monthly layouts, stickers, and note pages.
  • Each Causebox also included either Matr Boomie Vitana Earrings or necklace. I have the earrings and can’t wait to find an outfit and occasion to wear them out and about.

—> For a link to Causebox to subscribe, go to my Products + Causes page.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Me.

I am a self proclaimed “pseudo hippie”. I believe in the universe, light, energy, and other witchy type of things. BUT I am also a logical person that doubts my own hippie ways. It’s a constant push and pull, but there’s no denying that as I sat down to write this post the universe was setting me up for success.

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I was scrolling Instagram stories just to clear my mind and my favorite hippies had a livevideo from last night that popped up – this supplied me with an hour of company as I type, gorgeous crystals to peek at, and good energy.

I pulled an affirmation card from the Louise Hay “How to Love Yourself” card deck that read: “With every breath I take, I’m getting healthier and healthier.” the back says: “My body is a mirror of my inner thoughts and beliefs. I nourish it with good food and healthy exercise.”

That, my friends, is not a coincidence. That is the universe setting up my soul to sit and write. I’m grateful for that opening.

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While going through my PowerSheets prep work, I kept coming back to, well, me. Which, I know sounds not-so-profound and expected, but it was eye opening for me. It was one of the first times in my life that I made the connection between my health and the functioning of my body with the rest of my life. My health, both mental and physical must come first in order for the rest to come into place. In order for me to work on my home, community, career, creativity, and marriage goals, I MUST work on my mind, body, and soul. The ultimate form of self-care.

The big picture: I am living in a way that prioritizes my physical health and mental wellness.

This matters, because: nothing else matters if my body cannot function properly.

Some Action Steps: Maintain gluten-free lifestyle, read “Womancode” by Alisa Vitti to better understand hormones, moving daily, daily water intake tracking, meditation, yoga, social media detoxing, journaling, rest, grocery shopping, meal prepping, trying new exercise routines and classes, daily reflection, vitamins, regular check-ins with my primary care physicians.

When prompted to think about what success will look like after a year of focusing on this aspect of my life, I wasn’t thinking about how, inevitably, I will physically LOOK different. I keep thinking about how I will feel different, lighter in a sense that I will no longer be carrying around the metaphorical weight that being unhealthy places on you. The mental burden of living that life is heavy, and that weight is harder to live with than the physical one.

I look forward to that clarity that will come with physical and mental health.

—> For more in my goal setting series, go to the original post here.

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How to Survive the Comparison and Hustle Trap

I’m not sure when it happened, but sometime in the last couple of years there has been an influx of pro-hustle boss babes circulating the internet and social media. These babes are passionate, loud, and charismatic. While that energy can be encouraging, especially when you’re losing motivation for your dreams, it can also be toxic. The idea that, in order to be successful, a 24/7 hustle is required, can be poisonous to your mental health (and your productivity). Guess what, most of us will not be rich and famous for our passion projects. But listen to me now:

THAT DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT!

The highlight reel that is social media does not provide you with the insight of the struggles of those that have managed in order to turn their passions into a reality. Social media cons you into thinking that everyone has figured it out except for you. Here’s another truth bomb for you, those perfect social media feeds…they are fake. They are made up. The people that are successful are working hard, in their yoga pants, with pimple cream covering up their acne, while the laundry piles up behind them. It’s not pretty, but pretty is what engages people on social media. DO NOT compare yourself to the highlight reel.

You are an independent, strong, gifted, and passionate individual. Honor that by:

Taking a break. As much as I love my Rachel Hollis and Jenna Kutcher, there comes a point where you  just need to stop listening to outside sources. It’s really okay if you don’t wake up at 4AM just so you can be productive in the morning. IT IS OKAY TO SLEEP. As a matter of fact, it’s imperative that you sleep. The beauty of Instagram is that you can “mute” anyone you feel like you need to take a break from. It’s 30 days where you don’t see their posts, just long enough to maybe miss their spunk and energy.

Putting yourself first. It’s okay to have 18 hour work days, shit, sometimes it’s fun to have that much focus on something you love to do, but GIRL, take care of yourself. Eat good foods, sleep when you need sleep, get up and move around, and allow your brain to rest. One of my 2019 goals is to take time to reflect and recharge everyday. No screens allowed. But yoga, meditation, journaling, reading, or pampering are encouraged. Every. Damn. Day.

Be grateful. Start your day with an attitude of gratitude, track the things that you’re grateful for in a place that you can peek at throughout the day. Each month, I use the notes pages of my planner to track 100 things I’m grateful for. Some days I write one thing, and some days I write 30 things. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in life, there is always something to be grateful for. When you need a little mood recharge, take a look at your gratitude list. Soak in the gratitude.

Using your gifts. You are blessed with many gifts, use them. There will always be someone that is better, richer, more famous – that does not impact how blessed you are. Use your skills and passion for your own wellbeing, or share them with others, but don’t, under any circumstances, hide them because someone else out there is also gifted. There’s enough room for both of you.

Encourage Others. Share the reality of your life with others. Instead of contributing to the hustle and comparison trap, help keep others out of it. If you’re struggling, be open about it, celebrate your progress and your challenges. People will be encouraged by your willingness to be transparent. Genuine engagement far exceeds fake social media profiles.

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Coffee Chats + Yoga Pants

Fridays are my favorite.

In that spirit, today I’ll be writing about all of things that I would tell you if we were hanging out, in our comfiest yoga pants, chatting about our week. Grab a warm cup of coffee and let’s chat!

Speaking of coffee. I have been obsessed with holiday coffee lately. I’m not sure what it is, because in reality, they’re not THAT different than any other coffee that I drink everyday. My favorites are Trader Joe’s Wintery Blend + Starbucks Holiday Blend.

This was the first year that I sent out Christmas cards. It seems like a dying art, but I am hoping to be more present in celebration in the coming year. One of the things I realized as I was putting together the cards was that I have NO ONES address, while I’m grateful for whitepages.com, it was incredibly tedious to look up everyone. My 2019 goal to purchase and complete an address book and birthday list was born out of this frustration. I ended up purchasing the Rifle Paper Co. Raven Address book. It’s on the pricier side, but I loved the design and it had exactly what I wanted. It now sits in my desk organizer and is also a place to keep my stamps!

I completed quite a few things on my Christmas Break Bucket List this week! I was able to wrap all of my presents, had a dinner and hot tub night with my mom and sister, I made greens for the first time, went to the eye doctor, and took Winnie to the vet. It was a productive week, for sure!

Speaking of making greens. Here’s my Instagram post where I shared my amazeballs dinner of Chicken Thighs and Bacon Greens. YUMMMM!

I’ve been missing my yoga practice lately, and while I’m waiting to purchase my membership to my favorite studio, I want to make a space at home that has the appropriate energy to use for yoga and maybe some meditation. I’m thinking part of my office will be transformed over break!

Justin and I have been on a Christmas movie watching binge lately. We’ve watched: Home Alone + Home Alone 2, Christmas Chronicles, The Santa Clause + The Santa Clause 2 (we’ve watched both of these TWICE), The Polar Express, and most of Christmas Vacation.

Thanks for hanging with me! Happy Friday!

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The Paff Zoo

There are days when this house feels like a three (or eight) ring circus. We have dogs that bark at everything, play by snorting at each other, and ring in circles around the house. There are also cats that demand food 24-7, knock things off of every surface imaginable, and like to make paper turn into confetti. Most days I want to lock myself in my bedroom and just give them run of the house. Also on most days: I want to snuggle the shit out of them.

“My goal in life is to be as good of a person as my dog thinks I am.” — Author Unknown

enhanceGus Gus, named after the mouse in Cinderella was our first pet. We adopted him after our honeymoon from a shelter that was showing at PetSmart. He was a tiny little guy,  named PhanTOM. Hated the name, LOVED the little fur ball. He is my little Tony Soprano, a giant (22lb) that runs this house silently from his safe little corner. He is scared of just about everything, but loves his people and tolerates the rest of the animals. He loves to hang out in high places where the dogs can’t bother him – the cat tree, kitchen counter, dining room chair, or any ledge he can find. His favorite thing is getting brushed by Justin and scratches on his head.

27709866_10104626449789634_2518932883472809262_oAllie was adopted in a rather interesting way. She was a test animal for the veterinarian technician school my sister was attending – she even has her ID number tattooed in her ears. At the end of the semester she was the last one left for adoption, if she didn’t find a home should would have been put down – we picked her up the next day. With of all of her experience with humans she was so friendly and sat comfortably in my arms on day one. Allie is the welcoming committee for the Paff house – always the first at the door to demand  greet visitors for some scratches and pets. She is the one that wakes me up every morning around 4AM to eat, and will knock over everything we own to do so. I consider her Gus Gus’s enforcer – she has no problem batting the dogs in the face when they want to play or standing next to them to look out the window.

IMG_2090Bruno is my first dog. Quite frankly, I had very little desire to have a dog until we adopted Bruno. Justin grew up always having a dog, so I knew it was important that one day we welcomed one as part of family. When my cousin had adopted a dog that they couldn’t keep, we jumped at the chance to bring him home. His past is a mystery, but as soon as I saw him I fell in love. Bruno is the sweetest soul I’ve ever met – as I type this he is laying next to me, with his head resting on my knee. He helped comfort Justin and I as we went through our most difficult phase of life and can melt both of us with a single head tilt, wag of his tail, or command executed. If Justin is my human soulmate then Bruno is, most definitely, my animal soulmate.

IMG_2601Winnie (the bish) was named after my favorite character on the show New Girl. She is quite a character herself. She was found on a cold November morning, chained to a fence in a park when a coworker’s husband was walking his dog. After waiting an hour or so he brought her home and took her to the vet to see if she was microchipped. After a day of trying to find her owners Justin and I decided that we would bring her home. She was tiny, malnourished, skittish, and attached to her new humans. I compare her to the Sour Patch commercials where the giant candy goes from sour to sweet and the human falls in love with them all over again – that’s everyday with Winnie Girl. She definitely challenges us more than any other animal we have, but she is making progress. She jumps when we ask her not to, she eats our privacy fence to see her friends next door, she has eaten numerous Christmas ornaments, and has left proof of her house-training process all over our living room carpet. But she snuggles like a champ, gives the best kisses, and picks up on commands quickly.

This house is full of craziness, animal fur, dog toys, and furniture that has been worn in faster than necessary. But this house is also full of love. A lot of love.

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2019 Goal Setting Series: Reflection

Reflection is a powerful thing.

As individuals we have the ability to make significant changes to how we life our daily lives, but I believe, in order to make progress reflection is necessary. It’s not an easy process, reflection brings up the good, the bad, and the ugly, and in order for reflection to be successful you have to be brutally honest with yourself. That takes guts.

This December was the third year in a row that I used the Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets Intentional Goal Planner to reflect and plan for the year ahead. As I started this year’s reflection process I was coming out of a relatively negative space, personally. The path that the PowerSheets “prep work” takes you through requires you to actually sit down and identify (and ultimately, fight) your demons. This was the first time in three years that my demons were of my own making. I wasn’t planning for or recovering from a year that would be associated with my husband’s bone marrow transplant.

2017 was all about preparing for and getting through his bone marrow transplant.

2018 was all about recovering, dealing with trauma, and getting back to “normal”.

2019 will be about me.

Ultimately, the last couple of months have been about really figuring out who I am without my trauma branded on my forehead. Going through the prep work made me realize how in 2018 I was doing anything I could to cover up my true self. It will take me more than a couple of weeks to figure out the root of that, but I have a theory:

Blending in and getting other people’s approval is easier than figuring out who you actually are and following your light. Fitting in is easier than being an individual.

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In 2019 I am saying NO to:
COMPARISON, not prioritizing my health, blaming others for my feelings, gluten (LOL), trying to be someone else, gossip and fake relationships, sharing only the “highlights” on social media, making excuses for laziness, and buying shit I don’t need.

In 2019 I am saying YES to: Hobbies (whether or not they turn into a business), volunteering, positivity, loving my people well, reflection, writing, growth, listening to my body, social media detoxing, pushing myself, time with family, honoring who I am, self care (and self love), trying new things, saving money, spending time outdoors, creative projects, honoring and celebrating my marriage, and celebrating people, occasions, and progress.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be sharing some of the themes and goals that were built out of the reflection and prep work process with my PowerSheets. I am hopeful that this will not only bring me a sense of accountability, but will also strengthen my passion for progress over perfection.

Upcoming Posts: Me, Home, Community, Career, Creativity, and Marriage

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