What my 26 year old self would say to me in 2016

I recently saw an article about Selena Gomez and her new documentary My Mind and Me. Though I have yet to see the documentary and really connect with the actress and producer, I’ve always had some sort of connection with her since Wizards of Waverly Place premiered in 2007. As the Disney Channel started to not align with me anymore I still heard and read about Selena Gomez in fan magazines and on E!. She became mostly known as “Justin Bieber’s girlfriend” to me, which, looking back on it, is a terrible thing to associate her with (no offense to Justin Bieber). It’s mainly terrible because no woman, any female-identifying individual should be primarily known as “so-and-so’s girlfriend/wife.”

Another example is Giselle Bundchen, Tom Brady’s now-ex-wife. When I broke out into the modeling industry at 14 years old, (fun fact, I was a model and starved myself in the process), my mom told me about Giselle’s “discovery story.” She was discovered in her hometown in Brazil when she was selling ice cream. She was mainly known to the media, nonetheless the public eye, as “Victoria’s Secret Model who married Tom Brady.”

Now, what do these high-profile celebrities have to do with me in 2016? In 2016, I got out of a terrible relationship that was insidiously controlling. I remember when the guy and I were dating, someone had asked me at a college party, “are you so-and-so’s girlfriend?” But that’s just an addendum to the story. In the last few months into that relationship, I felt more or less like a beard that just had to be maintained, until I was thankfully and metaphorically “shaved off.” I would give that 20-year-old a huge hug and tell her the following:

“Listen, you really do have your entire life in front of you. Use it to every part of your advantage. You’re only at the beginning of the golden decade. And believe me when I say that MS was not the ‘love of your life.’ In fact, you’ll meet him when you’re 25. As far as who you are, you’re a writer. Own it. You’re blog is internationally known, and according to high-profile recruiters, you exude confidence. You are more confident than you ever have been, or least tricked yourself into thinking. One day, you will be done with being the reporter, and be on the other side of an interview. And who knows? One of your books might just be turned into a movie!”

I’d be lying if I said that this post did not make me muster up a ton of courage and even make me shed two tears. However, it’s like The Wizard of Oz. Each one member of that quad, the lion, the scarecrow, the tin man, and Dorothy all had their powers all along. In fact, Dorothy was given those ruby slippers just to make her feel confident.

20-year-old April, and for any 20-year-old reading this, this one is for you. Enjoy this song, an oldie but a goodie.

Happy six years of this blog. 🥳

xoxox,

April 💕

Mastering Productivity

Productivity is like visiting another country, or at least mastering a new language. You must read up, know the “hacks” for easy traveling, and the “hacks” to having a beneficial experience, even if you’re in another country for just a few days. I remember when I visited Southern France; I got pointed and laughed at by a clique of French natives because I was trying to explain to the food vendor that I wanted a pizza and not a panini. It did not help that I did not know a word of French. Talk about an “Emily in Paris” moment!

Though I am not fluent in French (yet), I strive to learn at least 6-7 languages like my new accountability advisor, best-selling author Alejandra Marques. Also, I want to focus more on my writing because, well, I’m a writer! As far as nutrition school went, it was more of an “oops” than a “what if I didn’t try?” I tried to keep my Spanish double major when I transferred to RWU, but it just did not work out because I went a semester without speaking the language. That was more of a “what if?” However, I have my entire life to learn languages. Languages are beautiful and they are stunning, more importantly, they are fun.

Adaptability and intelligence are amazing concepts of the brain. You need them both to master a language and to master productivity. I could write a whole list down of all the things I would just die to do, besides worry about my diabetes. I’m not going to spend three months being sick, physically and mentally. I’m not going to worry about what my A1C could possibly be on a daily basis. Diabetes is NOT a hobby. Diabetes does NOT define me. Let’s be real, I’ll sure as hell have more energy than being bogged down by limiting beliefs because I’m considered “ill.”

Kings, queens, and those in-between, today is the day I no longer make diabetes a full-time job.

What would you do if you had mastered productivity? Don’t forget to reward yourself each week if not every day.

Don’t spend the rest of 2022 in a state of “what if?”

xoxo,

April 💕

10 Dorothy Day Quotes For Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

I know I’ve been MIA on the blog recently and I am sorrrryyyy. But I have been working and doing some rearrangements and rebranding to my business, “Brownies For Breakfast.” I’ve come to the realization that I love a good cup of coffee and, of course, writing. I used to think of writing as something that made me sad. But in fact, storytelling is my favorite thing to do, especially on social media. Why not combine the two!? It’s a sad fact of life when you’ve painted over a perfectly carved statue in the raw. Feel free to quote me on that.

I came across an Instagram post that had the caption of a Dorothy Day quote. I remember when I tried to start a “Dorothy Day Collective” on my former alma mater’s campus. Years later, after I transferred, I talked to someone and she said “perhaps people didn’t understand what it was you were doing.” Oddly enough, Dorothy Day had the same experience when she founded the Catholic Worker Movement.

With my business and writing on the brain recently, nonetheless Dorothy Day, I compiled a list of Dorothy Day quotes that hopefully will inspire my fellow entrepreneurs to keep going.

  1. “The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?”
  2. “We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”
  3. “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.”
  4. “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”
  5. “There is plenty to do, for each one of us, working on our own hearts, changing our own attitudes, in our own neighborhoods.”
  6. “I do not know how to love God except by loving the poor. I do not know how to serve God except by serving the poor…. Here, within this great city of nine million people, we must, in this neighborhood, on this street, in this parish, regain a sense of community which is the basis for peace in the world.”
  7. “Turn off your radio. Put away your daily paper. Read one review of events a week and spend some time reading good books. They tell too of days of striving and of strife. They are of other centuries and also of our own. They make us realize that all times are perilous, that men live in a dangerous world, in peril constantly of losing or maiming soul and body. We get some sense of perspective reading such books. Renewed courage and faith and even joy to live.”
  8. “The biggest mistake sometimes is to play things very safe in this life and end up being moral failures.”
  9. “You can spend your time agonizing or organizing.”
  10. “You will know your vocation by the joy that it brings you. You will know. You will know when it’s right.”

Unpacking the box and taking out the itchy, fuzzy blanket of childhood

Today is the day I started to write regularly in a journal that has zero to do with manifestation. I came across a YouTube video about how one girl successfully did Virginia Woolf’s journaling routine for a month. Something I found, as professional writer, is that writing pen-to-paper is not only more aesthetically pleasing to the eye but to the brain. With that, I asked my mother to give me three words: 1) itchy 2) fuzzy and 3) blanket. She says to me, “that’s easy!” Yet, she doesn’t know what I’m going to do with these words.

I take off my blue light blockers because I’m not in front of a screen for what I challenged myself to do for an hour — maybe more. Although at the time, I was itching to to get my laptop to type, as Bartleby the Scrivener said, “I prefer not to.” Apparently, a “thing” about my head feeling “fuzzy” is that I am a lot of the times, in front of a screen. Funny how social media became a blanket of comfort to millennials and generations after.

I began to think about this Sex and the City episode where Samantha does PR for Jenny Briar’s bat mitzvah party. What I found appalling was that she– maybe it was the fact her fictional father was a famous restauranteur, or she was just assertive– buys Samantha, Carrie, and Miranda champagne. Champagne. She (Jenny Briar) looked and dressed just as I did in 7th grade. I was 13 in 7th grade, and my dad had a catering business in Massachusetts back when brochures were the way of getting people’s attention. That is, until he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, just a couple of weeks shy before Christmas.

The whole premise of that episode was to just be grateful you have/had a childhood. My childhood consisted of clothes from Limited Too, shopping sprees at the mall (not online), and video games on a GameBoy, then the Nintendo DS, and finally I remember the day my brother came home with a Wii. That was a good day because that same day, I had my friends over for what we used to call “playdates.”

Those devices haven’t been used since I would just randomly pick up a Wii remote out of boredom of not studying, or watching Pretty Little Liars, or a track meet, all in high school; or at least my sophomore year.

Towards the end of the episode, Samantha had to be the adult and intervene Jenny and her friends’ “adult talk” about the guys from NSYNC. They quite literally said “I’m going to ‘screw’ that NYSNC guy!” Except, they did not say the word “screw.”

As I uncover the blanket of what was underneath my childhood, I realize something important: you do not have to worry so much about growing up when you are 12 or 13. However when you’re 14, I highly recommend you mature before someone has the chutzpah to slap you.

I realize something else: when I was working at Dollar Tree at the beginning of the pandemic, and my manager asked me what I liked to do for fun, it dawned on me, “damn, after 4-5 years of college, I forgot what I actually like to do!”

Although my eyes are not “fuzzy” anymore after the first day of this challenge, I cleared the dust bunnies that were on top of box: my childhood. The best thing is, I needn’t rehearse this in my head for a YouTube video.

xoxo,

April 💕

The Truth About ‘Overnight Success’ | How To Be

I opened up an email from renowned fitness trainer Jill Coleman today, and it was my personal dose of tough love. The quote I’m about to share with you should be, too.

“A life spent looking for shortcuts is a long road to nowhere.” –Naval

Picture this: you’re young and at the park, and you’re on the monkey bars. You jump down halfway through because your hands hurt. Then you just walk to to the other side of the obstacle. 

I don’t blame your hands for hurting, but this is the thing about all areas of life, including your health and well-being (and even manifestation!): you have to build the calluses on your hands and on the trauma you’ve experienced. You can ruminate on what you could’ve done differently all you want, but you can’t change who you were yesterday. 

View the whole Instagram post here.

There is another quote I’d like to share that Natalie Portman quoted in this video (a speech she gave to Harvard graduates); “To be or not to be is not the question; the vital question is how to be,” said by Abraham Joshua Heschel. This will certainly question your thoughts and what you’ve learned about Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is why I LOVE to question things that mildly brought me to tears (and not in a good way) (LOL). I love questioning the world around me in general, which is why I will forever be a lifelong learner.

I don’t just learn from books and podcasts, I learn from my past mistakes and I learn from the people around me — digitally or via in-person connections. That’s the beauty of the digital world, specifically social media and the ever-growing metaverse.

Let us think about how to be, shall we?

We’re taught from a young age about how to live our lives, mainly from our parents and the environment we grow up in. Let’s take Liz Murray for example. I’m continuously fascinated by her story. She is the brave young woman in the famous not-so-overnight-success-story “Homeless To Harvard.”

As a young girl, Murray lives with her sister Lisa, their drug-addicted, schizophrenic mother Jean, who has AIDS and their father Peter, also a drug addict but also has AIDS, lacks social skills, and is not conscientious. She is removed from the home and put into the care system as her father cannot take care of her.

At 15 she moves in with her mother, sister and grandfather who sexually abused her mother and her aunt. After a fight with her grandfather who resultantly hit Liz, she runs away with a girl from school named Chris who is also being abused at home.

After Jean dies of AIDS, Liz gets a ‘slap in the face’ by her mother’s death and begins her work to finish high school, which she amazingly completed in just two years. She becomes a star student and earns a scholarship to Harvard University through an essay contest sponsored by The New York Times.

In a nutshell, we can succumb to our environments as real-life victims of naturalism, or we can live our best lives. But we must put in the work to do so. It’s about building the calluses around who we used to be and the trauma we experienced and making things better for ourselves.

This, my friends, is strength and courage. I said this before and I’ll say it again, Elle Woods was right when she said, “passion is the key ingredient to the practice […] of life.”

This is also why people call me the #QuoteQueen. 👑

xoxo,

April 💕

RELATED ARTICLES: The Truth About Feeling Guilty | What Can We Do About It?, The Truth About Self-Esteem, The truth about second-guessing yourself | End of my first year of grad school reflection, The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose, An Abridged Guide On What To Do If You Just Simply Don’t Know What To Do

The Secret To Manifesting With An Abundance Mindset

BREAKING NEWS: If it’s possible for them, it’s certainly possible for you.

I was on a mini-coaching call with someone I befriended on Instagram (hi Samantha!). Samantha is a money mindset coach. I must tell you that I broke through my limiting beliefs surrounding money and finances, no matter how broke I am right now. I know that financial abundance is coming my way, and I manifest that it comes to me with ease, as we speak and as I write.

Here’s some tips I can give you right now to manifest anything that you want with an abundance mindset:

  1. Decide how you WANT to feel around [insert desire here]. Do you feel blissful? Do you feel relaxed and at ease?
  2. Replace your old belief. For example, mine surrounding money was “other people are more well off than I am,” which I switched to “I am better off than I used to be.”
  3. Always look for evidence of your new beliefs.

The new belief that Samantha and I came up with is: If it’s possible for others, it is possible for me. For example, I see every day in the Facebook groups that I’m a part of and on Instagram about coaches who make 6-figures. I had to ask myself, what’s stopping me from thinking I deserve that, too? This is why you continuously see people coming out with autobiographies about how they went from nothing to something bigger than they could’ve imagined at such-and-such an age when they were struggling.

All I know, for real, is to acknowledge the resistance in my brain surrounding the fact that I can and will make 6-figures one day. I forgive that for ever happening, especially the tension it was producing in my head. I’ve been told all my life, that I could do anything I set my mind to. And guess what? So can you, my dear. 😊

Also, if you have an hour, I recommend listening to this discussion with Dr. Joe Dispenza.

Remember, you’re amazing and full of unlimited potential! ✨

xoxo,

April 💕

Ways That We Can Slow Our Brains Down In A Fast-Paced Society | The Process

Mindfulness is key, and it’s been prevalent for quite some time now that the world has succumbed to basically the speed of light. We are always looking at social media right when we wake up, just in case we missed the latest gossip on people we don’t even know personally (e.g., celebrities). It’s so easy to then go from one thing to the next. Although it’s been proven that we have over a billion thoughts a day, it’s important to think about ourselves — what do we need to live and be throughout the day? Notice how I did not use the word “survive.”

Slow mornings are very important, even for our gut health. It’s like I keep telling you guys on YouTube and the podcast, your gut is second to the brain. (Also there’s exciting news I’m going to share with you folx very, very soon and I’m stoked!) I will admit, and I’m using myself as an example here, that I got a little too excited about this news, and my brain just went from “ooh!” to “what if I did this!?” to “I can’t wait to see the results of this!”

It’s perfectly okay to get excited about something, just as long as you’re taking the time to enjoy the process. I remember in eighth grade, there was this game that was quite literally called “the game.” (You’re probably thinking, “damn it, April! You made me lose the game!”) Now that I’m older and more mindful and intuitive, I kind of compare “the game” to “the process.”

According to Merriam-Webster, one definition of “process” is as follows:  a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result.

We often see on motivational social media posts (as opposed to memes), that say “trust the process.” I’ve been seeing those so much recently, which I think is my own personal sign to not think about the process and how fast you’re going to get from point A to Z. You will have a set masterplan, (refer to my last blog post for my 4 C’s Methodology) and you will co-create and trust the universe and/or God to do the rest. This is the process.

Moreover, here are a couple of ways to slow down your mind:

1) journal

2) EFT tapping

3) affirm to yourself “there’s no need to rush.”

4) drink some tea or lemon water

5) make a list

6) exercise (yoga especially helps)

7) read a book that isn’t educational (and not from Audible — as much as I love it!!)

8) deep breathing

9) meditation

10) do something artsy

xoxo,

April 💕

A Conversation With My Future Self | Perfecting Your Self-Image

I listened recently to Tonya Leigh’s latest podcast episode about having a conversation with “your future self,” and I have to say, I’m feeling more motivated than ever to produce content and to just live. I tapped into my 90-year-old self (I’m only 26, but you can still do this), and I asked her “what can I do to live life with no regrets?” She responded, “you can go after everything you ever wanted because you can do anything you set your mind to.” And then she said, “right now, at 7:00 a.m., you can write a blog post that will inspire others because you haven’t written a post since last week.”

She said also, “one day you are going to save the world from diabetes and diabetic keto acidosis, and you’re going to have your own practice to show for it. You’ll be on the cover(s) of magazine(s) and you’ll be the one to be on the other side of the interview as opposed to conducting the interviews. Not to mention, you’ll be an NYT best-selling author.”

This goes into my new 4 C’s Methodology: Contemplate, Create, Consistency, Clarity.

💭Contemplate: What kind of life do you WANT to lead? Even with a diabetes diagnosis? This is possible, even when you’re on insulin.

🎨Create: Create a masterplan of how exactly you are going to achieve this attainable lifestyle.

🏃🏼‍♀️Consistency: After you develop your brilliant plan, be consistent with allll the good habits. (e.g., working out, eating healthy, and self care)

💡Clarity: The result? A new, developed, aspect on life. 

So, I invite you to ask yourself the following questions:

1.) What can I do to improve my life now? (There’s always room for improvement.)

2.) What do I need to do to take action?

3.) What do I need to ask my future self, regardless of age?

I invite you to also script your thoughts on these questions and go allll out. If your future self is no longer an alcoholic, then script that. If your future self reversed diabetes, write that down. If your future self is somewhere in the Pacific or living on the beach in Maine, create that for yourself.

Another secret here is to trust the process and it will all unfold for you.

Also, enjoy this YouTube video of me talking to my fourteen-year-old self. This also goes to show that regardless of the trauma you’ve been through, you’re worthy of a fantastic life beyond your wildest dreams. Make those dreams a reality. For example, I had a dream I won an Academy Award wearing a green dress. I’m going to do that today (probably not with a heavy statue in my hand, but stranger things have happened) but I will wear that exact green dress.

Let me know in the comments what your future self said to you! I’m curious!

xoxo,

April 💕

CHRONIC DIARIES: Dealing With Trauma

I hold a lot of trauma, and it stems from past romantic relationships, toxic friendships, family members, bullies, and even public school teachers.

Trauma can often make you wonder if you were made to live a good life. Spoiler alert: you are made to live a good life, regardless of what you’ve been through. I was on a coaching call with my friend Katarina this morning, and I had basically summed up my entire life story, which at this point if it were a memoir, it’d be titled 180 Degrees because of how many “180’s” I’ve taken in my 26 years of life. She told me I was a fantastic storyteller and I believed her. I am a good storyteller, and I know I can write one, too.

An example of a “180” is transferring colleges. I knew I was unhappy at my previous college for the longest time and I stayed for my friends and my best friend. That is, until I went through what I wrote in my most popular blog post. Some of the trauma I went through there was 1) my ex boyfriend, who made me lose my ability to trust men altogether. 2) I was constantly being talked down to by adults, except for the ones who actually believed in me. I felt like I couldn’t be me.

Another example of a “180” that barely talk about is me transferring high schools. I transferred high schools because I was severely mocked and bullied. Don’t even get me started on my volleyball “team.” Then I got the miraculous call on January 3, 2012, that I’d be starting at my private high school on January 19. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t produce fear-induced tears the night before. But I did because I was scared I was in to be bullied relentlessly once again. There were times where I felt/was mocked, but I said to myself, “this behavior was at [insert town here]. I know how to handle it now.”

It’s a matter of saying, “this isn’t working, I’m going after what I deserve.”

I’m not here to rant, I only provided examples without going into the nitty-gritty details of what exactly I went through. And yes, I will put this all into a memoir someday. In fact, I might just put some of it into my podcast. #PodcastTuesdays

As I write this, I can’t help but wonder, “what/who can you actually make peace with?” I remember writing Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review. I realize now that post barely covered the bare minimum of what I went through in a single decade. But as I wrote that sentence, I can’t help but realize now, being hard on yourself is a trauma response. But here’s the thing: I’m already taking steps to a better life, and I have been since I was 15. So, I’m continuing to do it, and I will do it to the better of my ability.

There is no shame in being vulnerable. And there is certainly no shame in being honest. I allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me, rather than terrify me. This was something I had written the day I had started this blog and I’m still in awe of how much it’s grown.

RELATED BLOG POSTS: CHRONIC DIARIES: How I Manage My Anxiety Day-to-Day; Confessions of a Diabetic: Healthcare Is A Human Right; Confessions Of A Diabetic: I’m Happier Than I’ve Ever Been Since My Diagnosis