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

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 💕

How To Activate Your Goddess Potential Part 2: Believing You Are Worthy

When I was a junior in high school and going through bouts of depression, my mom had sent me a quote by someone whom I cannot remember now. But the quote itself said, “My favorite Disney character? Daisy Duck. Because she goes after what she wants and deserves.”

I was on a call two days ago with a woman who was trying to recruit me for a coaching program. As she was asking me questions, she asked me what it is I wanted to do with these degrees I planned on getting in the future (masters and eventually doctorate). I told her straight up, “to get credibility in what I do.” That is actually the first time I was stopped to think that maybe I was going for them for the wrong reason — to have myself go into debt that was not smart, to have control over basically no outcome and to just work for someone else for the rest of my life. I knew I did not want that. Some people pursue an advanced degree because they want accelerate in their career, which is the right reason. The “science” behind the fact that I wanted to pursue something “science-y” just to prove to my freshman-year-of-college self that she CAN “do” science — not a good reason. Also, I convinced myself that my writing career was going nowhere — not true. I wouldn’t be continuing this blog and this series if I still believed it [my writing career] was going nowhere.

Yesterday I made the mistake of putting my size-8-foot in my mouth by announcing I was, in fact, going to [insert ivy league school here] to rekindle my master’s degree. That can’t happen for another year, unfortunately because I then realized, “there’s no way I can afford it right now.” However, if I didn’t believe that I was worthy of a possible degree at [insert ivy league school here] or any of them for that matter, would I have gone for it? I talked to a good friend of mine (hi Katarina!) and she told me that setbacks are good for redirection. Slowly but surely, I am reprogramming my mind to thinking that I am in fact worthy of any degree, even if I choose to go back to Emerson to pursue an MFA instead of finishing the MA. Katarina then asked me, “what are you hoping to gain?” And I told her, I gained this particular mindset.

So, my point is, if you’ve always wanted to do something but never believed you were worthy of it (e.g., a law degree, a PhD, or any advanced degree, anything at all!) Another fact is, you don’t necessarily need one degree on top of another just to feel worthy or credible. This woman who I spoke to two days ago made me realize that, and it almost brought me to tears because it took me God knows how long to realize that I am in fact, credible as is, as a coach, as a writer, as anything at all. I am worthy, and so are you, my dear, regardless of how you identify.

If you missed the previous blog post, read it here. And keep a lookout for a brand new podcast episode every Tuesday and Thursday!

xoxo,

April 💕

You’re Not A Failure, Everyone Starts Out As A Novice

I’ve never told anyone this because this is still roughly fresh in my mind, but I didn’t completely graduate with my masters degree… yet.

My diabetes diagnosis became a day job for me, as opposed to my schoolwork. I had to take three incomplete courses because of it and couldn’t handle any of them. I wound up withdrawing from Emerson.

ABBA sang it best, “Mamma Mia! Here I go again!” If you know me, you know I intend to go back and forth between what it is I want to do. This morning I felt so drained because I thought I wanted to go back to being a writer. Why do that when I committed to getting my MSAN – Dietetics at UNE? Emmett from “Legally Blonde” said it best to Elle when he said, “what if you’re trying to be someone you are? The hell with Callahan, stay.” And that’s what I say to myself: “the hell with imposter syndrome.”

Then Professor Stromwell said to Elle in the beauty salon, “if you’re going to let one stupid prick [in my case, imposter syndrome] ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were!”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t putting my all into this blog either, even after I monetized it. (After six years, I thought it was time.)

I must’ve said it a hundred times in the 150 blog posts that I’ve made, but imposter syndrome really is a huge b**ch. I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of it after “graduation.” But that amazing feeling you get after a really intense spinning class, or any workout, is the same feeling one gets after helping someone accomplish their goals. I became a nutrition coach, and am in the process of getting my nutritionist certificate and I get to have my OWN PRACTICE via Therapute! How amazing is that!?

Here’s the thing, and the overall message of this post: how are you going to help others if you don’t feel good about yourself? Think about it. Even my therapist seldom follows his own advice. Even when I first started my pharmacy technician job, I felt like a failure because I had this one pharmacist tell me I ostensibly “didn’t listen” when I hadn’t been trained in something.

When I withdrew from Emerson, I felt like the biggest failure. But why? I was doing something that was going to benefit me in the long run. Besides, I get my second chance at another master’s program in a month and I’m already so excited. 😆

I watched a Facebook live hosted by a friend from high school (hi Ali!) and she touched upon mindset around food, particularly carbs. Then she said, “imagine you’re trying to push a boulder up a really steep mountain.” Essentially, the message was that you could either give up because it’s “too hard” or “strategize.” I wish I could’ve given myself that pep talk when I was nearly failing the sciences freshman year of college.

Here’s the secret: it is with strength, mental endurance, and courage even when we don’t feel like our best selves that we carry on. Cry the tears if you must, just don’t let them drown you into a rabbit hole.

You’re not a failure. You’re a novice. Everyone starts out as a novice at first. Don’t listen to those stories about composers like Mozart who started playing a tune on the piano when he was just two years old. In a perfect world, that would be realistic. It’s not.

Never Let Anyone Tell You That You’re Not Good Enough

“Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.” — Viktor E. Frankl

It’s very, very rare that I end up in the hospital, until that fateful night, where my life changed forever, yet for the better. I’ve always been fascinated with science, and prior to my scary diagnosis, I even did research intermittent fasting and what it does to the body. It didn’t fully come to me until I was in a therapy session when I realized that my regret-free life… isn’t exactly regret-free.

Be prepared for a lot of quotes. #quotequeen

There’s this one quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” When I was in high school, I was indirectly told that I wouldn’t do well at an Ivy League institution because they’re “too stressful.” I found this out days ago. Since I found out, I was furious — with a passion in my heart to finish what I started in college.

It’s almost similar to how Elle Woods proved EVERYBODY wrong after Warner told her she wasn’t smart enough for law school. We all know that Warner was full of poop. Elle ALWAYS had it in her, it just took the right people realize it (e.g., Emmett, her professors, and eventually Vivian).

What I find even more infuriating is that I let the wrong people (person) distract me in my freshman year of college. I told said person, after I had chosen to go back to chemistry, that I wanted to minor in English and History and he said, “no.” What? Why? Probably because he either a.) wanted to be better than me and b.) didn’t think I could do it.

I felt, on some level that I took “the easy way out.” But did I? No. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today nor would I have the superb communication skills to master any job.

I told my boyfriend the other day, “it’s funny how a life-altering illness can make you do a complete 180.” He told me, “I love how you’re turning things around for yourself.” THAT is the support that every girl/everyone needs in a relationship, btw, regardless how you identify.

On the topic of turning my life around, I decided to go back into healthcare, which for some reason I was oddly scared to share publicly in fear of judgment. But here’s the thing: who really gives a crap, as long as you have faith in yourself? When I shared the news that I’m going to earn my second masters degree in Applied Nutrition – Dietetics (APN), I received a mixed bag of “reviews.”

“You’re not going into publishing?”

“Work and school is hard, though.”

“What about writing?”

My responses?

I’m working on a book right now.

I’ve worked throughout my coursework at Emerson.

Writing is a part of any profession.

Yes, I am still going to write like it’s nobody’s business. It’s like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary? […] Odd, but when it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?” But the truth is, I stopped caring about what people thought of my path, regardless of their “reviews.” It is like what I said in Girl Meets (Real) World, “a lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”

Bottom line and moral of the story: never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough.

I leave you with one last quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

Be well, my loves. 💕

xoxo,

April

Go Little Rockstar: It’s Ready, It’s Yours, You Did It

I tell this story a million times, or at least I think I do, but when I first published on The Odyssey Online, with my first two articles in the queue. Mind you, my boss at the time put all his trust in me and thought I- I was qualified to be Editor-in-Chief of my campus chapter. I took it because there wasn’t a chance I’d have that again… until now.

It’s been years since that breakthrough phone call. But as of recently, I broke through, out of my own personal “gate” to be my own boss. I remember vaguely, when I was eight years old, I told my mom I wanted to be a pop star and to perform in my very own concert. She said, “it takes a really long time.” It does. It does take a really long time. Some people wait a lifetime, like Van Gogh when he sold his first painting. I don’t know if anyone realizes, but I am a huge of Van Gogh and his background. I don’t know what led him to asylum, but I know that he and I both coped with art. Poetry for me, painting for him.

It took a really long time, but I found what I was meant to do. I rewatched Katy Bellotte’s “An Honest Video,” (again) only to be triggered by the same emotions that led me to my hospitalization in 2017. I’ll be honest when I say I nearly gave up on my purpose, due to anxiety. But it was only growth that was making my soul itch. Growth is notoriously uncomfortable.

So, little rockstar, what were you meant to do? I strongly believed I was put on this Earth for a purpose: to inspire. I’ve had publishers tell me that relentlessly. I believed them. As Katy says in the beginning of her video, “ignoring your passions is slow suicide.” She came to the conclusion in her Italian language class that she wanted to go into graphic design. She went from working at L’Oreal in social media to being her own boss at Katy Bellotte Designs.

It’s no secret that I’ve held countless jobs and internships this past year alone. I also believed that I had it all; I have a man who loves me (hi Mark!), family, friends, food to eat, and a roof over my head. I just wasn’t satisfied with my career. I knew a few years back that I was meant for more than journalism. I tried my hand at marketing– what a bust. I tried to run my own business, then COVID hit. Now, things are looking up. I’m so excited to reveal I became a trauma healing, spiritual health and wellness coach! That’s right, I chose courage over fear; faith over doubt; being present instead of brooding on the past.

I talked a bit in my last post about fearing the future. But now, I live by the mantra, “I needn’t worry about the future anymore. It’s bright, it’s here, it’s mine, I did it.”

My head has never been more clear. Go, little rockstar. Keep moving forward. 🚀

xoxo,

April 💖

Influencers Are Leaders

“When we deny our stories, they define us. When we own our stories, we get to write a brave new ending.”

– Brene Brown

Owning your story is probably the key to success. I write this post-panic attack about my fear of the future. I listen to Katy Bellotte’s podcast, “Thick & Thin,” which is literally about the thick and thins of her life that she brilliantly relates to her fans. Her latest episode was titled, “Am I on the right path?” Even though I have yet to finish it, I can say that I was put on this planet for a reason: to inspire and produce content. However, you are more than your career. I recently had a new friend text me saying that she saw my Instagram photo post-workout and she said she was got her butt out the door and hiked. I had people constantly tell me that I tend to “overshare” on social media (i.e., my mom), and this is the same person who jokingly called me a “walking HIPPA violation.” I do tend to wear my heart on my sleeve very much to the point where I am what Carrie Bradshaw calls “emotionally slutty.” I also write this as I watch the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie gets recruited to model for Dolce & Gabbana. At the end of that episode they play a song that’s meant to inspire people “to be real,” as the song goes. I haven’t a clue what the song is called.

I grappled with the term, “influencer” for a little bit of time. But the truth is, the term “influencer” has a lot more to deal with than promoting products and giving out codes to your followers. Since my diabetes diagnosis (I’m sorry that it’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room, but still), I used my platform to promote awareness of the chronic illness. I’ve also been promoting spirituality without going into toxic positivity. Speaking of which, I just got an email notification about affirmations for leadership. 😜 This now begs the question, are influencers leaders? Without being cocky, I have held plenty of leadership positions. To be a leader is to empower. And the more you empower, the more you inspire people to just do. No, I am not talking about buying products with a special code. I am talking about inspiring people like I inspired my friend, Kaylee.

I recently joined a challenge to become my own BUSINESS OWNER. And one of the challenges was to make a timeline of your life. Some years I try to block out more than others. Some years I don’t remember at all (i.e., my single-digit years). But I can say that it is three days until the 5-year anniversary of ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es). Like Brene Brown said, I wrote my very own happy ending by not letting trauma drama define me.

Consider this your “big sister” hug from me. I know that I could use one from time to time.

xoxo,

April 💖