D: Dubai

Dubai: oh what a magical, life-altering experience. I am forever grateful for this trip. It was a reminder of everything that I am, exposed me to everything that I am not, and helped me to embrace and love every bit of myself. I had a face-to-face, one-on-one, meet and greet with what real anxiety feels like. Driving there was an up close and personal look as to why this country is at the top of the charts for car accident fatalities. There are so many things I could say went wrong with the trip, so many things I could focus on aside from the fact that it was amazing, but this crash course in gratitude says that positive energy must be the main focus. Throughout the rest of this week, we’ll spend letters E through H on Dubai, and I’ll be sharing photos and stories of the wacky things we got ourselves into out there.

Until then…!



C: Challenges

The last six months of my life have been an intense roller coaster. I’ve experienced some of the most “grown-up” scenarios of my adult life, made a few life-changing decisions, and reached a fewย huge milestones along the way. Through these trials, I’ve learned to be my biggest cheerleader. If I don’t have faith in me, who else will? I thought to myself. In these last few weeks, I have learned to be grateful for the challenges life has thrown at me.

Yep, you heard me right. Me, not-so-bright-side Sam, has been learning how to look at the bright side. All. The. Time. Soo many people when I say that this doesn’t come second nature to me. I promise you, just trust me on this one. This part of the gratitude journey has been my biggest hurdle. I slip up every single day. Seriously. The whole day will go by with me prospering. And then…

SMH. Yes. Just like that. Boom. Something happens–smacks me right in the face and I become the world’s best amateur break-dancer. Lol. But every day, I remind myself that even though I trip up, I can still make the choice to keep moving. I can refine my moves, practicing every day until my muscles remember what to do. Gratitude, like life, is a marathon, not a sprint. Some days are easier than others, but nothing lasts forever. I’m learning to dance it out like my favorite Grey’s Anatomy characters and love all parts of myself, well-behaved or not. ๐Ÿ™‚

B: Books

Words were my first love. I lost myself in books from the time I was two years old until now. When all else fails, I find myself sitting front row, first class, VIP and all that jazz to all the action–all the good stuff. It’s like a secret sweet escape as I flip through pages and soak up the sounds and sights as the author describes them. It’s like a movie in my head.

Like I said, self help books? Never been my cup of tea.. and I don’t even like tea. Or coffee. Hot chocolate only.. but I digress. Today, I am grateful for the books that have helped me in my most recent part of my life journey.

  1. The Bible
  2. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
  3. The Gratitude Diaries by Janice Kaplan

Each has helped me in its own way, the Bible being the most influential and powerful in my life. The other two are more recent acquisitions that helped me to remember that being the human that I am is quite okay. I’m grateful for words and books that spread positive messages like wildfire.

Fan the flames ๐Ÿ™‚

A: Attitude

HAPPY APRIL 1st!!!!!! We made it!!! It’s time for the A to Z Blog Challenge and I’m so excited to be taking part for the 3rd year in a row. Yesterday, I revealed the theme of this year’s challenge: Gratitude. It’s been an interesting journey thus far and I’m happy that I can share this with you guys.

Some of you have probably been thinking:

There’s little and much to tell where the “dilly” is concerned, lol, but I’ll keep it brief. In the past year I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Spanish, worked 2 full-time jobs, and started my own company after a few friends brought our brain-child to life. Stressed? Understatement of the century. Yeah, the money was amazing, but my lack of sleep, headaches, and overall decline in well-being wasn’t much motivation to get up in the morning after carrying on that way for over four months.

Prior to entering this journey of gratitude, I picked up Shonda Rhimes’s book The Year of Yes, and it was like relating to the characters in all of her shows that I binge watch. Literally. 11 seasons of Grey’s in 3 weeks. I’m disgusting. I know. This book had helped me to even open up to the possibility of thinking grateful thoughts (We’ll have Shonda talk a little further on this month). Let’s be honest, when you’re already down, it’s that much easier to nag, frown, and stay sad, than to go through the effort of uplifting yourself sometimes.

I knew, though I wasn’t particularly pleased about it, that my attitude would need a whole new level of adjustment for this experiment to yield any decent results. I got my last few shrugs, sighs, and eye rolls in before I exhaled and picked up what is now my gratitude diary. The more I purposely thought positively, the more natural it became. Don’t get me wrong, I have a looooooooooong way to go, but I think I’m off in the right direction.

Stay tuned!

Three:Thirty Thursdays | Episode Twenty Seven – It’s That Time Again

It’s 3:30pm. On a Thursday. ‘Nuff said. (Just casually dismiss my 1 year hiatus, thankyouplease). LOL. As you may or may not know, the April A to Z Challenge will officially kick off this Friday, April 1, 2016, and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.ย  It’s time to get our topics and pre-posting schedules in order, time to put those keys to work, and spill our guts for the blogger world to see.

ย For this year’s A to Z challenge, I’ve decided to write about my journey towards living a more grateful life. Too often, it’s easy to forget about what we have and focus on what we think might be missing… I can admit that I would do it more times than not. I went to happy hour with a friend that I hadn’t seen in months back in January, and after washing ourselves in nostalgia and airing out a few issues, we got to talking about life and all its bullcrap. Now if you know me, you know that pessimism, awkwardness, and I have tea parties on a daily basis.

I remember saying to her, “I’m awkward. I know I’m awkward. That’s why I’m not a people person–because they make me feel even more awkward than I already do. People that allow me to be awkward in my own space without making me feel any more awkward are awesome, like you. You’re awesome.” LOL ๐Ÿ™‚

And it’s true, I am awkward. Usually, when I say that to people, they look at me strange for a second or two, think about it, and then something clicks. The “Ah-ha!” moment appears. They suddenly get it, and I appreciate their friendship even more. Because I can be awkward. And it’s okay.

But for this friend of mine, it wasn’t okay. “Bullshit,” she said. “I call bullshit. There’s not an awkward bone in your body.” I laughed. Of course I’m not that awkward on the outside, I’d feel even more awkward about how I felt on the inside because of everyone’s awkward reaction to my awkwardness. What can I say?

We went back and forth for a little while, and after listening to me, she stopped and smiled. “I know what you need,” she said. She told me a story about a woman she had met while sitting at a bar. She was in her early 20s with tattoos everywhere. She started telling my friend about her life, how she used to be an addict, how she cleaned up and started over and is working hard to be better. My friend was shocked. She never would have guessed that this young woman’s past would be so dark. The person sitting before her seemed so polar opposite.

“What changed?” she asked. The girl looked at her and simply said, “Gratitude.”

Now, if you know me, I know what you’re thinking: Self help book? You? I’m more of the vampire, fairy, dungeons and dragons, Game of Thrones, alien type when it comes to my lit selection. But I decided, what the hayyyy! I had a Dubai trip coming up in a few weeks, and that life-changing trip could taste pretty yummy with a life-changing journey, recipe provided by Janice Kaplan in The Gratitude Diaries. So immediately after our conversation, I clicked onto my Kindle app and downloaded this bad boy. My expectations were very low, but I’ve been surprised so far. This A to Z Challenge, I’ll fill you guys in on what’s been happening in the past year, my own gratitude diary, our epic Dubai trip, and all the other adventures I’ve found myself on while on this path towards living a more grateful life. See you tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜‰