Thursday, February 15, 2018

Andrea Bocelli Concert

Last night we went to see Andrea Bocelli perform live. It was amazing. No surprise.

We had dinner at Jackson's super early because, well, it was Valentine's day and reservations were limited even booking weeks in advance.

The dessert special in honor of Valentine's Day was delicioussss. Anything with chocolate covered strawberries is a win in my book.

After dinner, we had like two hours to kill. Fortunately, the weather was absolutely perfect outside and downtown Tampa has a great area to walk and sit on benches along the river. We walked closer to the location of the concert and sat on one of the benches and waited for concert time. It was very relaxing which I really needed because it's been a long work week.

The concert was, as I said, amazing. The man can sing yo. They had a no picture/video rule, so I have no evidence of how good it was. Just take my word for it. Haha.

There were special guests including Kristin Chenowith  and I just love that lady. So spunky! They sang one of my fave songs, The Prayer, which gives my goosebumps every time. We had the pianist at our wedding play this songs during the unity sand portion of the ceremony. Love love love.

If you don't know the song, here is a duet of Andrea Bocelli and Tori Kelly.



Wednesday, February 14, 2018

GALentine's Day Fun

Happy Valentine's Day friends!! I know many people think that holidays are silly and just propaganda that stores created to get people to buy stuff. But you know what? I don't care. I'm one of those people that loves celebrating anything and will purchase all the things.

If you didn't know, yesterday was "Galentine's Day". It's a made up holiday that I celebrate. It's a holiday that Amy Poehler's character, Leslie Knope, in Parks and Recreations made up.

Over the weekend I hosted my second Annual Galentine's Day Party with my gal pals. What better way to celebrate than with wine and chocolate fondue? Now, last year when I attempted making chocolate fondue, it was a bust because I used the wrong kind of chocolate. Who knew? You can read more about it here. Well, lesson learned, I got the right kind this go around.

I had a fun little scratch off game and whom ever won the scratch off won the "Perfect Man" and a giftcard to Target.

Also, this year I added an activity - Valentine's Day card craft and photo booth area. Everything you see for decorations was purchased at Tar-jay.

As I was preparing for the festivities and sending out invites, I thought about my BFFs that are out of state that obviously couldn't join. I thought it would be fun to send them a little Galentine's Day surprise via snail mail. I found the CUTEST cards at Marshalls! Y'all. If you're ever in need of a card for any occasion, go to Marshalls/TJ Maxx first. The prettiest cards for like a third of the cost you would pay in other stores like Target. The friends also have daughters to which I got them these adorable Valentine's Day pop up cards and little treats. I mean. I don't about y'all but I am 😍 over here with all this cuteness!

As for Valentine's Day plans with bae, we are going to have dinner right after work and then go see Andrea Bocelli perform. I have been a big fan of Andrea Bocelli for years now and have been wanting to see him in concert. I am really excited to finally be able to see him!


Saturday, January 27, 2018


My team at work recently completed the CliftonStrengths Assessment and had a off site session to further analyze our results. If you have not heard of this, it's basically an online assessment that you take and based on the results, it determine what your top five of thirty four strengths are. This is primarily used in the workplace but honestly, I can see it being helpful at home and any other place where you are working/interacting with other people. But there is a cost to this which is why it's typically done at work because work pays for it (in most cases). I've heard about this before from others who took it with their teams and was really excited when I heard that we would be doing it as well. 

After taking the online assessment, I learned that my top five strengths were: deliberative, discipline, consistency, individualization, and relator. Now, if I am to be completely honest, when I first saw the top five, I was a little disappointed and a bit in denial. I felt like these words made me sound like I have no heart! I mean, other people had "positivity" and "woo", here I have "deliberative" and "discipline". But after reading further what each strength meant, I realized how me it is. Whether I appreciated it or not. 

Deliberative: You are careful. You are vigilant. You are a private person. You know that the world is an unpredictable place. Everything may seem in order, but beneath the surface you sense the many
risks. Rather than denying these risks, you draw each one out into the open. Then each risk can be
identified, assessed, and ultimately reduced. Thus, you are a fairly serious person who approaches
life with a certain reserve. For example, you like to plan ahead so as to anticipate what might go
wrong. You select your friends cautiously and keep your own counsel when the conversation turns to
personal matters. You are careful not to give too much praise and recognition, lest it be misconstrued.
If some people don’t like you because you are not as effusive as others, then so be it. For you, life is
not a popularity contest. Life is something of a minefield. Others can run through it recklessly if they
so choose, but you take a different approach. You identify the dangers, weigh their relative impact,
and then place your feet deliberately. You walk with care.

Discipline: Your world needs to be predictable. It needs to be ordered and planned. So you instinctively impose structure on your world. You set up routines. You focus on timelines and deadlines. You break long-term projects into a series of specific short-term plans, and you work through each plan diligently. You are not necessarily neat and clean, but you do need precision. Faced with the inherent messiness of life, you want to feel in control. The routines, the timelines, the structure, all of these help create this feeling of control. Lacking this theme of Discipline, others may sometimes resent your need for order, but there need not be conflict. You must understand that not everyone feels your urge for predictability; they have other ways of getting things done. Likewise, you can help them understand and even appreciate your need for structure. Your dislike of surprises, your impatience with errors, your routines, and your detail orientation don’t need to be misinterpreted as controlling behaviors that box people in. Rather, these behaviors can be understood as your instinctive method for maintaining your progress and your productivity in the face of life’s many distractions.

Consistency: Balance is important to you. You are keenly aware of the need to treat people the same, no matter what their station in life, so you do not want to see the scales tipped too far in any one person’s favor. In your view this leads to selfishness and individualism. It leads to a world where some people gain an unfair advantage because of their connections or their background or their greasing of the wheels. This is truly offensive to you. You see yourself as a guardian against it. In direct contrast to this world of special favors, you believe that people function best in a consistent environment where the rules are clear and are applied to everyone equally. This is an environment where people know what is expected. It is predictable and evenhanded. It is fair. Here each person has an even chance to show his or her worth.

Individualization: Your Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person. You are impatient with generalizations or “types” because you don’t want to obscure what is special and distinct about each person. Instead, you focus on the differences between individuals. You instinctively observe each person’s style, each person’s motivation, how each thinks, and how each builds relationships. You hear the one-of-a-kind stories in each person’s life. This theme explains why you pick your friends just the right birthday gift, why you know that one person prefers praise in public and another detests it, and why you tailor your teaching style to accommodate one person’s need to be shown and another’s desire to “figure it out as I go.” Because you are such a keen observer of other people’s strengths, you can draw out the best in each person. This Individualization theme also helps you build productive teams. While some search around for the perfect team “structure” or “process,” you know instinctively that the secret to great teams is casting by individual strengths so that everyone can do a lot of what they do well.

Relator: Relator describes your attitude toward your relationships. In simple terms, the Relator theme pulls you toward people you already know. You do not necessarily shy away from meeting new people—in fact, you may have other themes that cause you to enjoy the thrill of turning strangers into friends—but you do derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around your close friends. You are comfortable with intimacy. Once the initial connection has been made, you deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship. You want to understand their feelings, their goals, their fears, and their dreams; and you want them to understand yours. You know that this kind of closeness implies a certain amount of risk—you might be taken advantage of—but you are willing to accept that risk. For you a relationship has value only if it is genuine. And the only way to know that is to entrust yourself to the other person. The more you share with each other, the more you risk together. The more you risk together, the more each of you proves your caring is genuine. These are your steps toward real friendship, and you take them willingly.

I mean, if you took the time to read through this or skim it, this ish is freakishly accurate. As I read through it, there were points that I would think to my head "yep, got that from my mom" and "yep, got that from my dad". I could walk you through each one of these points and give you my thoughts but I won't bore you with all that. I think, for me, the important takeaway is to understand what my strengths are and learn how I can position myself to be in a space that plays to my strengths. Honestly, the role that I am in now is perfect for my strengths, which explains why I am so happy in the role. 

Also important to consider the blind spots that these strengths could cause and how to navigate around those which is where the off-site session that we had was helpful because as a team we were able to really discuss and brainstorm ways. Any time we can get free food and be out of the office building, I'm game for! 

If you have the opportunity to take this, I highly encourage that you do! It really is enlightening and helps you self reflect on yourself, the strengths that you have and how to make the most of them.