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Remembering Steve Jobs: “Find what you love”

7 Oct

I only own one Apple product – my iPod Shuffle. I’m afraid I’ve fallen behind on my technology. I don’t have an iPad or any of those hip toys. When I found out Steve Jobs passed away on Wednesday night, I felt a deep sense of sorrow. You didn’t have to own one of his products to know Mr. Jobs made a huge impact on the world.

As I read all of the many online articles reflecting on Jobs’ life and career, the one article that stood out most to me was his 2005 Stanford Commencement Address.

In his speech, Jobs spoke of his death years before it happened. He’s absolutely correct – no one wants to die. Thinking about your own demise seems so negative and depressing, but I think Jobs wanted to use death as a way to encourage us to live life. I especially loved his comments on finding what you love.

This is my favorite part of his entire speech:

Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.

What is it that you love doing? If you’re not doing what you love what would you prefer to be doing?

Thanks Steve for reminding me that good is the enemy of great!

Watch the full speech it here: 


Finding my own strength

22 Mar

Today was my second day in at the YMCA and I’ll admit I felt a little emotional. I know I’m overweight and I’m not where I want to be in life, but I think the trek from my job to the YMCA is like a journey of a thousand steps. When I joined the Y last week I told myself that I would be committed and that I would finally follow through on losing weight. I selected two classes that interested me and today was my second class – Sculpt and Abs. The class was all about strengthening my core, which is exactly what I need. Every time I go to exercise I think about how far I need to go and the challenges I’ll face. At least I’m honest about it! I walked into class today and told the instructor today is my first day, I’m out of shape and I have weak knees. My goal was to present all the barriers and then just work through them one at a time. Right now my barrier to working out and eating well is just doing it. I feel like I don’t know how to work out to get results or what to eat to improve my health. I don’t want to remain ignorant. I looked at myself in the mirror today doing the crunches and I saw a Maria I didn’t like. To get where I want to be I’m going to have to face who I am in the mirror then take steps to improve. All I know is, I’m ready to just do it.

My new addiction: Coupons!

9 Jan

Saving money for 2011

Last week I watched a show on TLC called Extreme Couponing and I was completely mesmerized. The show features people from across the country who have developed unique, even outrageous, strategies for saving money by using coupons at the grocery store.

One man, Nathan Engels, of Villa Hills, KY, purchased $5,743 worth of cereal, hand soap and toothbrushes. After  utilizing coupons he only spent $241. He and his wife were able to get out of debt based on smart spending.

While Nathan and others stock piled tons of products inside their garage (Nathan has  10,000 items in his garage) I was most impressed by Joyce House, of Philadelphia, PA.

Joyce  didn’t have thousands of items stocked up in her home, but instead she was a regular shopper, like me, who realized coupons were free money. Through using coupons Joyce has not  purchased a toothbrush, toothpaste or deodorant in 34 years! On the show her purchases originally cost $230.38, but after utilizing her coupons, Joyce only paid $6.32.

What I like most about Joyce on the show is her drive to teach others her secret for saving money. On the show, she stopping other shoppers to ask them if they were using coupons and if not, she provided coupons for items in their cart that was on sale – A woman after my own heart!

While I don’t see myself stock piling 10,000 items (I can’t believe anybody does that), I do, however, realize I’m wasting money by not having items I use regularly available at home. Whenever I run out of something I immediately go to the store. I have no strategy! If its on sale great, if not, I pay the posted price or seek a cheaper item.   I need to be more strategic in my shopping .

According to the extreme couponers on the TLC show, strategic shopping is about taking the buying power back from the stores and putting it back into your hands. One of my goals for 2011 is to be a good steward over my money. The biblical principle of  being “the lender and not the borrower”  is not a myth. I truly believe it’s God’s desire that I prosper and be in good health, even as my soul prospers. Afterall, it says so in 3 John 1:2 (check it out!). I’m happy to know that I serve a God who cares about all aspects of my life, even my wallet!

I just registered for – check it out! is a wonderful website, created by Stephanie Nelson, that not only provides printable coupons, but it also complies sales papers from retail and grocery stores in your area and matches their sales with the coupons from the Sunday paper and those online. You can even print off your grocery list based on the sales you select. Talk about time-saving!

I look forward to shopping this week. Harris Teeter is having their Super Double Coupons event from Jan 5 – Jan 11. They will double all coupons up to 1.98 (max 20 coupons per day). I’m itching to see what I can get for free.

Happy Shopping!

It’s Been Seven Years?!?

6 Jan

I did my own hair - a New Year's goal

I still can’t believe it’s been seven whole years since I’ve been physically active. When I said those words today to my personal trainer I laughed then thought quietly to myself as he scribbled down notes. Seven years ago I was in active in marching band and then that changed on December 2003. That month I came home to live with my mom and my sister and I sorta died. You would think graduating from college would be where life began, but it didn’t for me. Instead I worked at a job that I eventually didn’t love anymore and I fell into a boring routine that didn’t include exercise. I tried joining gyms and I even did a series of starts and stops as a member of Weight Watchers; all of which would have worked if I had one key element: motivation. I guess in some aspects I did have motivation. I wanted to be attractive and fit into smaller jeans. All of my life I’ve wanted things based on what other people had and today I’m 28 and I’m asking myself what do I really have to show for myself as a person? How have I really grown in the last decade from 2000 to 2010?

Sitting in front of my personal trainer, I had to face the reality of who I am. I am a lazy, unmotivated person who wants results but doesn’t put the work in to achieve them. I know this sounds harsh, but for me its the truth. And I want to change, but this time for me.  For as long as I can remember I’ve had so many issues with my looks and my weight and I simply haven’t been comfortable in my own skin.

Self-esteem, self-confidence and self-motivation all begin with the key ingredient for success – self! I realized today I don’t want my to spend the next decade of my life dealing with these issues. In seven or 10 years I want to be confident in who I am.

So, for the next year I will begin a journey of self-discovery. My first step on this road is to finally put the work in to lose weight. Here’s the plan my trainer and I developed for the next five months:

Two months – Lose 16-20 lbs.

Five months – 30-40 lbs.

Long term – 80 lbs.

Final target weight – 150 lbs.

I know these are pretty lofty goals, but my short term goal is to start going to my gym at least three times per week with a possible fourth on the weekends. I’ve already worked out twice just this week. Sure, I could only walk on the treadmill at 1.5 mph, but the point is I walked for 50 mins longer than I have for the past seven years. This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life and I’m looking forward to every moment of it. I’m already looking forward to my next training session on Thursday, Jan. 7th at 7 p.m.

My next step will be figuring out my work out schedule and figuring out fun and different ways to stretch my mind and my body outside of this seven-year snooze.

What are you going after in 2010?

20 Dec

Francesco Marino /

Post your advice on going after goals for the opportunity to win a $25 gift card from Target! Here are the contest rules.

For me, the days after Christmas are spent doing alot of writing and thinking.

My routine has been the same since I was a teenager:  I’d sit and write out everything I want to do for the year. Then I would post them around my room to stare at for the rest of the year. Only problem is these goals never came with steps, deadlines (if required) or milestone markers. Often the first time I wrote them would be the last time I even considered what my goals were. Even though they were right on my wall. I realize 365 days is a long time, but it goes by quickly.  Seems like every year around this time I think ‘where did the year go?’

I want to do something different for 2010. I don’t know about you but I’m just tired of same ol’ resolution thing with no results!  I love the quote “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”  It’s time to plan!

I look at 2009 and I’m excited about all of my accomplishments (relocating to DC, new job, new car, starting this blog…) One thing I realized is I need to go after more in 2010. Maybe you have goals you’d like to achieve but you don’t know how.

Knowing your goals is great, but what are the steps to achieving them? I look forward to receiving your advice (and announcing the winner) on ways to go after your dreams in 2010. Look for results on Dec. 24th!

By the way,  hope you like the new design!

Happy Holidays,



8 Nov

Wow has it really been July since I last made a post to my wonderful blog? Sheesh where has the time gone. Well, I apologize for the delay, but I do have great things to share:

  • My internship with Edelman ended in October 9th and I was hired full-time as a Account Coordinator with Equals Three Communications the same day!
  • I moved from a basement room in Upper Marlboro into a house in Washington, DC just last week.

My head is still spining from all the changes, but they’re much needed changes for my growth. Over the weekend I finally unpacked my boxes from the move and now my bedroom actually resembles a place of solitude and peace rather than a storage facility.

So life is good!

Can you believe its almost 2010?  What are your goals for the next year? E-mail me your goals at or leave your comments here. I’d love to feature them on Wednesday!