Friday, June 29, 2012

5 Ways to Realistically Be Happy: Or, Weeding Through the Bullshit

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The whole idea of positive thinking is wonderful. Duh. I have no real issues with it, whatsoever, aside from the fact that I think sometimes "mentors" or "gurus" promote this notion that if you click your heels and think happy thoughts, all will be well in your world.

Having dealt with my owns up and downs, traveling to hell and back and making it out alive (and kickin!) I have some things I want to share. Happiness is a journey, littered with mistakes, epiphanies, horrific meltdowns, empowering moments that make you feel like you've reached nirvana, and a flurry of other emotions that will keep you on your toes.

As a life coach, I kind of cringe a little when I see people promoting this idea of "perfect happiness." Blogs awash with glossy, uplifting quotes and images of dandelion fields that never talk about REAL life. No mention of the epic meltdowns you might have while trying to figure your shit out. No mention of the mortifying missteps you may take even if you really are generally in a good place. 

Some coaches, gurus, teachers -- whatever you want to call them -- are adamant about never talking about your own fuck-ups. I couldn't disagree more. I think we relate to each other more based on our imperfections than we do on anything else. And I for one would never, ever want to send a message that I have it all figured out, because I sure as hell do not. What I do share are my experiences; my triumphs, my failures, my wounds, my dreams, my wins. It's full disclosure at all times. 

There is no such thing as perfect. Nobody is more enlightened than the next. We are a team of people, put here in this universe to help each other. Nobody dictates excellence. We're all growing and learning and if you're not, then you're stunting yourself. I just so happen to be one of those people that can wrap my words up in a bow and put them out there for people to read and vibe on. And I have a compelling desire to share what I've learned with other women and egg them on to achieve their own version of greatness. 

So while I'll never preach perfection, I can give you a few tips that will help you achieve realistic happiness, sans bullshit:

1. Sometimes love just ain't enough - Love is a fucked up thing, for a lack of a better term. Realizing that just because you love someone doesn't mean you belong with them will save you loads of heartache. We're not all compatible, even if we are in love.

2. You don't have to live your passion 24/7 - You know I'm all about following your passions. Without heart, life is pointless. But don't be bummed if you can't do what you love for a living right now. I sure as hell don't. We have responsibilities; bills, mortgages, marriages, children. While you can't throw caution to the wind and run off to Barcelona to stitch handmade blankets, you can definitely incorporate your passions into your every day life. Every bit counts.

3. Nobody is responsible for your happiness but you - I'm over the victim bullshit. Your dad, your mom, your ex, your best friend - done. You are the keeper of your happiness. You control your emotions. Don't give up the power to anyone else. It's yours to own.

4. Bad days are okay - I'm definitely hard on myself when I get into a funk. "But I was so happy last week!" We're human. We have emotions. It can't all be roses. Expect and accept. The good days will be that much sweeter.

5.Stop trying to control everything - because you never, ever will. Set the bar high for yourself, but when it comes to others, let them be. People don't learn by being controlled. Do them a favor and allow them to grow on their own.



Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Good To Be Loved

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On days like today, it's really good to know you're loved.



I'd like to think I'm pretty financially responsible. I make good money (I can't tell you how much because I work for a major corporation that makes us take privacy & confidentiality tests online), but let's just say I am very comfortable. My husband was out of work for the past six months until recently, but that was neither here nor there because technically if we were budget-conscious DINK's we'd have a juicy savings account and an accordion file of coupons that we used regularly.

Neither of the two are true.

With that said, it pains me to look at my checking account on the eve of pay-day. Like it really, really pains me. Mainly because there is usually somewhere around $2.08 left in it. Apparently us DINK's never really adjusted to the fact that the "D" in our title changed to an "S" and we kept going out to dinner upwards of three times a week and have yet to curb our cocktail habit. Plus I like really expensive shampoo.

But the one thing that has truly saved me through this wretched time is the fact that I have champagne sponsors. Yes, I am aware of how horrific that sentence sounds. But really, it's a nice perk that has saved me from going to the liquor store with a bucket of change  to buy a bottle of Yellowtail Merlot just to get my rocks off. 

I don't make any money off this blog, and I truly pour my heart and soul into it. I'm not complaining at all - I choose to do this and the thrill I get from connecting with all of you is enough pay to last me a lifetime (honestly), but it is nice to know that I get free booze sent to me on the regular. And no, it's not booze in exchange for editorial reviews, because that would be really wrong and dishonest. It's pretty organic; I "meet" a champagne brand online, usually by way of Twitter or Facebook, we click, and the rest is history. They send me some samples, and if I like it, I post about it. And the best part - I get to build relationships with really awesome people who like what I'm doing and vice versa. So a huge thank you to all of the sponsors who've kept me buzzed over the past few months. Specifically, Bel-Air Bellini and Le Grande Courtage. Your contributions are priceless.

I'm well aware that I am probably a few levels away from a homeless person who hands out flyers on the street in exchange for a tallboy of Budweiser, but I'd like to think it goes a little bit deeper than that. Maybe? Either way, on nights like tonight, it's good to be loved.

Even though cash is low, my glass is definitely half full.



Happy Birthday, Boyfriend!

Pin It Now! Sending love and hugs to my one and only...


Friday, June 22, 2012

Pinterest is Making Me Poor

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If you're a fan on Facebook, then you're probably no stranger to my Pinterest obsession. It all started innocently enough, after a friend suggested I join to help spread the word about The Champagne Diaries. "It's the hot new trend," she told me. Fine. So I created a board called "Bubbly Beauties" and posted some hot photos of Marilyn Monroe and a few pretty glasses of champagne. Simple enough, right?

Then, one particularly slow Tuesday at work, I began exploring other people's boards. I just so happened to be in the midst of one of my many apartment reinventions (these happen every 2-3 weeks), and I noticed someone's super posh living room on a board called "Rooms to Die For." I pinned a picture of a couch. Then, I pinned a rug. Next, some lamps. Fast forward to the weekend and I'm 3 glasses of Chardonnay deep, applying for a Z Gallerie credit card. "Congratulations! You've been approved!" 

Great.

Over the course of the next few weeks, my home-office began to look more like a Fed Ex shipment center, as pillows, chandeliers, and extravagant bedding engulfed my once productive woman-cave. Soon I would discover the "fashionista" boards (who knew mint green nails were so tres chic?) and the next thing I knew I was buying peel-and-stick nail art circa Tokyo 1997.

My life has quickly become a flurry of vibrant home furnishings, experimental hairdos and a fierce lipstick collection that rivals even the draggiest of drag queens. So where does this leave me? I don't know, but my bank account has reached new lows, my eyes are bleeding from consuming so many photos of tuck-away braids, and I'm feeling sassier than ever. So in my book, things are just pintastic.

Friday, June 8, 2012

What's a Coach Got to Do, Got to Do With It...

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 Hello lovelies! 

As most of you know, I've officially launched my life and wellness coaching business! I am so excited and I cannot wait to start teaming up with some very amazing women to help them transform themselves and their lives. A lot of people are unclear about what a life coach is, so I thought I'd write a quick post to explain it a bit more. 

Let's start backwards...

What Life Coaching is NOT

I can't even begin to tell you how many people have said to me, "I'm a hot mess, can you fix me?" Life coaching is not about "fixing" anything. Life coaching is not therapy. It's not about uncovering your deep, dark issues and traveling back into your childhood to figure out why your father cheated on your mother. It's not about reliving past relationships to understand what went wrong. 

All that stuff is fine and dandy, but that's not what we're here to do...

What Life Coaching IS

I'll put it simply: life coaching is about the here and now. It's about assessing your current "state of affairs," figuring out where you want to go, and committing to a solid action plan to get you there. Whether you want to start taking charge of your health, your life, your career, your passions, or your relationship -- hiring a life coach is for those who want to get shit done. Maybe you're feeling stuck, unable to move forward with a project, or unable to get into a healthy routine. Maybe you're craving balance in your life but have no idea where to start? Maybe you are ready to take your passion to the next level and start living your dream? That is where a life coach comes in. We listen to what's really going on in your pretty little head and we help you devise a plan to make it happen.

I'll be the first to admit, a coach isn't for everyone. When you make the decision to commit to a coaching program, you commit to doing work. It's an investment in every sense of the word -- emotionally, financially, time-wise. But the pay-off will truly rock your whole world. Your universe will open up in ways you never thought possible. You'll be asked questions nobody has ever asked you. You'll have a cheerleader, a guru, a mentor and a best friend by your side as you set out to kick some major ass. And the best part -- you'll have someone to keep you accountable for all those things. Talk is cheap, ladies. A coach ensures that you turn those words into reality.

With that said, I've decided that while my official coaching site is under construction (woohoo!), I'm going to offer a special that will run through the end of this month. If you're interested, please feel free to reach out to me at CaraAlwill@gmail.com, and we can set up a complimentary 30 minute session.

Cheers to your success, health and happiness!

XOXO
Cara

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

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I'm still in recovery mode from my girl's trip to Montauk this past weekend. We had a blast and made memories -- some of which I will share in this post, some of which will be locked away forever in the backs of our minds, and in our text message logs.

We left on Friday, our hearts set on the surf and sand that awaited us at the Eastern most tip of Long Island. The LIRR became our own personal lounge as we spread out and enjoyed our 3 hour ride with hot pink cans of Champagne and girl talk.

If you've never been to Montauk, then you are truly missing out. It's a magical, sleepy beach town filled with some of the most pleasant people you'll ever encounter. Everything is in slow motion, and you can appreciate things like a beautiful sunrise or a cool breeze without choking on diesel truck fumes or listening to the brain-numbing sound of piercing ambulances that the city so generously provides.

But I digress.

As soon as we arrived, we made a bee-line for Gurney's to enjoy some lunch and cocktails on the outdoor deck that overlooks the ocean. We dined on lobster salad and soaked in the sun. We admired a table of women in their 70's, laughing and clinking glasses and toasting to themselves, and hoped that would be us someday. 

We slowed down, shut our brains off, and just lived in the moment for 3 days. You'd think an extended weekend of doing nothing wouldn't be much to ask for, but it was quite a feat to get five friends together - especially in our 30's. There are minor things like -- oh ya know, jobs, husbands and kids that take away the sense of freedom we totally took for granted ten years ago. You really learn to appreciate moments like the ones we shared this weekend when they are few and far between.

I've been out to Montauk quite a few times, and each time I have to leave I'm overwhelmed with a sense of sadness. I've been out there with my mom, my husband, and now my closest friends. Each trip was a unique experience, with different highlights for each, but one thing remains -- Montauk always feels right.

I'm usually thrilled to head back into JFK, or in this case, Penn Station, and take on the craziness of New York City after a trip. But something about being away from it all has really made me feel like I need to revamp a few things. I'm craving peace and quiet. I'm craving calm. Maybe it was the unlimited bloody mary's, or the smell of the salt water, but whatever has happened to me, I'm just not into city life...and I don't know if I ever will be again.