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A Brand New Beginning (2017)

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It is official, in just a couple of days it will be 2017! That being said, there will be a lot of people making resolutions for the new year, and it can be fun and daunting to make these resolutions and stick to them. But nevertheless, you will have someone there for you and supporting you and your resolution, whether it be a friend, coworker, coach, or even a relative that will help you and support you along the way in your resolution (s).

2017 is full of opportunities for everyone out there, and that is one of the most amazing things about it when it comes to welcoming a new year into our lives. This is a new chapter in each of our lives, and this gives us a chance to see how our own story is going to come out by the time 2018 comes around.

Just like everyone else out there, I make resolutions for myself and goals that I set for myself, it has been something that I have been really into since I graduated high school. Each year I pick the top 5 things that I am going to focus on for that year and to set out to make them happen. That is how I prioritize everything, I don’t know why, but it is just how I manage to do things. Here are my top 5 things that I will be focusing on for 2017.

1. Healthy Coaching Myself – I already coach a lot of you out there, and show you different recipes, different exercises, and also how to maintain your stress levels. However this new year, I need to focus on getting my own self back into better shape. Many of you didn’t know that I had broken my ankle back in 2015, primarily because I didn’t want to broadcast it at the time, and because of that I was on crutches or quite some time and gained the weight that I had lost. Finally I am off the crutches, and have the ability to run and do my Muay Thai, but I am going to focus on getting myself healthier and stronger. Signing up as a Beachbody Coach, it has given me the opportunity to incorporate specific exercises that I enjoy into my own workouts, and it will bring me back to my own healthier self.

2. Finish and Publish – Many of you have already realized that my third poetry book has just been released and available to the public. However, many of you do not know that I have been working on a novel for the past year and a half. And for 2017, I am wanting to finish this novel and get it published by the end of next year. I know that I am getting closer towards the end, but I will be making a trip really soon to get some inspiration to finish the novel.

3. Expand and Grow – Simple Life, Simple You is my baby. I started this company when I was just 23, and now at 25 it is still growing but ever so slowly. So at this point I am going to have to use my introverted self and start focusing on the internet aspect and put myself out there through the world wide web to help my company grow.

4. Nomad Soul – Ever since I was a child, I have always been unable to settle down into one spot and stay there. Primarily due to the fact that I have a nomadic soul. That being said, for 2017, I will be doing a lot more traveling and exploring the world even more. For I wish to visit specific places this coming year and will have the opportunity to do so.

5. Back to the Mat – I am an avid yogi, have been for years. Not only that, I am also an avid meditator on the mat. This year, my resolution is to stick to the mat more often to heal myself more, to open my chakras more, to guide myself and to also let the Universe guide me through the mat, through my limbs, and into my soul, heart, and mind. That being said, I plan on going to Yoga Retreats and Meditative Retreats this year to help me through, then I will be teaching you all what I have learned. Let’s be honest, you should always be learning something new. In fact, you should learn something new everyday.

These are my resolutions for 2017, what are your resolutions? Comment below and let’s have a fun conversation.

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On My Bookshelf

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If you have been following me for any period of time, you have begun to notice that I am what you would call a bookworm, however I refer to myself as a book dragon (I divulge the books and sear them into my memory). Give me a cup of good tea, comfy lounge pants and shirt, a comfortable place to sit in, and a pile of books, and right there you have my ideal heaven. My bookshelf is filled to brim with books, and it spills out onto the floor and in boxes. One might say that I have way too many books, however, I beg to differ. You can never have too many books in my opinion.

                                                                    MOST BELOVED :

                                                    (The books that I always have near)

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The ultimate spiritual book that I can refer to when I am having those moments of feeling lost.
  • Jane Austen: Complete Novel Series. These novels are a great stress reliever, and for me, when I am overly stressed, I turn to Jane Austen with a cup of tea and something to eat.
  • All things Edgar Allan Poe. This man has shaped me in so many ways, especially with my writing skills. No matter what time of the year it is, I always turn to Poe and enjoy his poems and short stories. Gothic Romance are the type of books that I can always turn to when my mind wishes to dive into a world of mystery.
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Jules Verne has always been high on my list of people that I enjoy reading all the time. In fact, for me, I cannot and will not put down any of his novels for they contain sea monsters, the ocean, and the world in general. He uses so many symbolic references in his novels, and in this novel, there are so many that you will try to decipher them the entire way through. Although I will say this, I could never really choose a favorite author or book, however if I were to choose, this book would be number one.
  • When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi. To describe why I love this book and hold it near and dear to me would be impossible. The way Nadia writes her stories is truly breathtaking, and with this novel, you cannot put it down, and if you have to you will ultimately fighting back the tears of not knowing of what is about to happen to the main character Fereiba.
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. The original story, not the Disney-fied version, is truly more captivating and more relatable in many ways. And with this novel always being a beloved novel to me, I can truly see through the eyes of Quasimodo and Esmeralda at the same time, and feel what they feel. Victor Hugo is one of the classic authors that cannot and will not be ignored, for his story is engrained into the minds of those who have read his novels.
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll. “I’m late, I’m late for a very important date!” This childhood story of mine has always been close to my heart, and as I had gotten older, that was when I realized the references were to being high as a kite, quite honestly it doesn’t bother me at all. Alice in Wonderland is one of the most influential stories of all time when it comes to giving books to our children, and when my mom introduced the book to me at a very young age, I was so thrilled, that I started the book right away.
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. I am going to be honest, I love all of Shakespeare’s works from Romeo and Juliet all the way to The Tempest. However, A Midsummer Night’s Dream has always been my number one favorite out of all of his works due to the fact that she shows love comes in all forms, and shows the mystical side of the mind. Shakespeare truly captivated my mind from an early age, and even though I remember more lines from Romeo and Juliet, the lines of Puck will always be seared into the back of my mind.

                                                                      Present Company:

                                                    (What I am currently reading and thinking about)

  •  The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb. This story is about a girl in search of her father who was last seen in Vietnam, and wishes to figure out the fate of his demise. For the relationship between her and her father had become estranged when he became separated from the girl’s mother. This story is extremely touching and it will certainly tug at the heart strings.
  • The Things We Cherished by Pam Jenoff. The story follows a woman by the name of Charlotte Gold, whose ex-fiancé comes back into her life and seeks help from her and the company she works for. The novel takes place during the time of Nazi Germany and follows the web of stories and lies that follow the characters. Quite honestly, this is a fantastic story and highly recommend it to everyone.
  • Once we were Brothers by Ronald Balson.  This is currently on my to be read pile. Not only that, I think that Mr. Balson is a fantastic author, so to have this book in my pile, I am absolutely thrilled and can’t wait to read soon.
  • All Things Beautiful and Bright by James Herriot. I have read other books by Mr. Herriot and to see that he has a book out that I haven’t read makes me a little sad, so I grabbed a copy and it is now waiting ever so patiently to be read.
  • Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet by Stephanie Cowell. Lets be honest here, who wouldn’t want to read a novel about one of the world’s most famous painters? I would in a heartbeat. Currently this lovely novel is in my novel to be read. And once I have begun to read it, I know that I will be sucked into the story and will not want to be taken out.

Now these are not all of the books that I contain, trust me, these are just the ones that I hold dear to my heart and ones that I cannot wait to dive into and explore the other worlds that are lurking between the black and white lines of the pages of these novels.

So, what is on your bookshelf? What are your most beloved novels? What the novels that are on your to be read list?

Photo Credit: Dree Harper

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In Mysterious Ways

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The world works in mysterious ways, this saying has been around for quite some time and in all honesty, it certainly does work in mysterious ways. There are so many different times in our lives that each and every one of us will encounter specific block roads in our lives and then see the other door, per se, of where we are meant to be next. This can happen in every aspect of our lives from career, to love, to our own spiritual growth. And for most, this can be terrifying, due to the reason that some of us are terrified of things either not going the way we want it to or terrified by the fact that the very thing we are wanting is actually happening.

There are signs that make there appearance in our lives, to show us what will be happening and where we will lead us (not always clear, but it does give us hints). For the most part, most people tend to not even realize that these are signs and they just wave them away thinking that they are just a nuisance. In reality, when you begin to see the signs appear over and over again, that is when you need to realize that this is what is going to happen. The Universe is trying to help you in so many ways, and for the most part, its way is usually pretty subtle. It could be various little hints such as interview positions in a specific location, or it could be that gut feeling that you keep having about a specific person, or it could even be the 11:11 sign that most people see on a daily basis. These hints are here to guide you and they are here to help you get back onto the path that has been laid out for you.

When it comes to someone receiving signs, it can happen in different ways for each person. One person might receive the sign as 11:11 over and over again, or they might the hints through what they have heard slip from someone’s mouth or even from the radio. Another person might get a sensation rushing through their entire being and a whiff of a flowery perfume-like aroma may fill the air around them, and that aroma may give them a hint as to what is about to change in their life. Everyone is different, just the like how the Universe is different for everyone when they are trying to communicate back and forth.

The Universe is truly a unique mysterious place that holds the magic to our lives and how it tries to help us through our every day lives. Don’t take it for granted when the Universe tries to help you through the various hints it gives you, for those hints can help you learn what you are supposed to learn, and make it through this lifetime safely.

 

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Sensation (Poem)

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A sensation has rushed over me,
Leaving my body in a state of shock,
Waiting for a justified reaction.
Heart pounding,
Soul has stepped higher,
Just as my mind tries to make sense of just what occurred.
Not a threatening sensation,
But an unknown one.
One that tells me that change is coming soon.

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Healing From the Core: Working out for the Bookworm

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As a bookworm (I refer to myself as a book dragon, but I digress), and a fitness enthusiast and coach, I try to make my workouts a lot of fun because I don’t want to make working out feel like a chore. And if it were a chore, I wouldn’t want to do it at all. That being said, I know a lot of bookworms out there who want to workout but don’t know how to go about it, because they are constantly wanting to read a book instead of working out (I used to be like this). After giving it some thought, I realized how to help other bookworms on how to incorporate books while working out and making it fun.

Running – While you are either running outdoors or indoors on a treadmill, grab your iPod, Mp3, or cell phone and download audible. Audible is a great sight for where you can get some amazing books as audio, you can listen to them while you run and still get into the story. Whenever I am running and don’t want to listen to music, I turn on my audible app and go to town with the running. I try to make it through at least five chapters of the story while I am running.

Wall sits- The exercise where you are pressing your back up against the wall with your legs bent and parallel with the floor is a great exercise as it is. Now grab your favorite book or any book in general, and begin the exercise. With the average novel, read at least two chapters and you will be done after that with that exercise.

Planks – When it comes to planking, you can go two different ways with this, you can either listen to an audio book or you can just read a normal hardback book. If you are going to use a hardback book, use a weight of some sort so when you are at a spot in the book where you need to keep the page kept down, it won’t keep flying up and making you lose your spot.

Bicep curls – Pictured above is a girl with her dumbbell and a book, which quite honestly is one of the coolest pictures I have yet to find. Holding the book in one hand and reading, while you do the curls with your other hand is easy yet hard at the same time. It is all about balance. Trying to steady the dumbbell with one hand, while you are trying to steady a large book takes a lot of balance, so keep that in mind when you are preparing yourself for this exercise.

There is a site roaming around on Google about workouts for bookworms according to their genre preference, and after looking at it and chuckling a little bit, I could definitely see that those specific workouts would be perfect for anyone who is into certain genres of the literary world. I will post the link down below to that site. Engaging a bookworm into exercise is a tricky thing, do to the fact that they already have amazing arms from carrying all those heavy books that they find at the bookstores (you should see how many books I will come home with at the end of the month when I go shopping for new books to read), however it will help them have a healthier body by engaging not only their mind, but the entire body as well. What will be pretty amazing is that when the bookworm is in their 80’s, reading a classic novel, and being able to knock out someone for trying to take their book (I do not condone violence, I just think that it would be funny).

Follow this link for exercises and bookworms: http://www.alexandrafranzen.com/2015/08/18/gym-rats-bookworms/

 

 

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Magic Between the Black and White Lines

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The ability to escape reality for just a few moments is very much real, for that is when an individual has their nose in a book and their mind is running rampant with the images the words portray to them. Nothing is more intoxicating than the words that lie behind the cover page, they are stories that all of us can relate to some extent at some point in our lives. And these stories let us escape far away from the cruel place we call reality.

Stories have been around for thousands and thousands of years, some are passed down through different families, while others are made up by an author and spread across the world, then it is told by others. And each story shapes us as individuals, making us grow in a sense of imagination and reality, a combination that carries us throughout life. Most people do not realize how powerful a book can be, they do not realize how the books help our imagination grow more and more, making us have a huge inner world that we escape to.

Ever since I was a child, I would always carry a book with me wherever I went, and would constantly be reading something new. This carried on into my high school years, college years, and now in my mid -20’s I still carry books with me wherever I go so I can have something to read. In fact, in my backpack right now, I have four different books, one that I am currently reading and the others that I will be reading right after it. Books are one of the most powerful things in this world, for the hold magic between each black and white line that runs through the pages. The magic of another world, the magic of being able to be a character from a novel for a short period of time. And currently I am the charater, Fereiba (you will learn about her next Sunday for bookclub). I get to be her in each chapter, and see what she is seeing through her eyes as I read each word, sentence, chapter. That is the magic that most people do not realize.

There is true magic in between those black and white lines that roam the pages of a novel, pick up a novel that you find fascinating and slip into the world.

 

Photo Credit: Ferdinando Scianna, 1997

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Music of the Forest (Poem)

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Saunter through the forest,
As you listen to the winds whisper a little prayer.
Watch the leaves dance,
As everything around you becomes a blur.
There is a but a moment of silence in this place,
In that moment,
All your hopes and dreams come alive.