Saturday, January 27, 2018

CliftonStrengths

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. 

XO

Sunday, January 21, 2018

GFC Beautiful "Found" Women's Conference 2018

Well friends, the GFC Beautiful Conference has come and gone but not without having left its impact on my life and others. This year's theme was "Found" - how we found God in the darkest hours of our lives or how God found us in the darkest hours of our lives. #Perspective


This conference was different for me compared to last year's Fearless conference. That conference was, no way best for me to put it other than "raw". It was a real awakening for me and I really felt God was bringing forth my purpose, my story, that had been dormant in my life for so long. Life and the hurt that it brought in my teens and early 20's caused me to create this lock box of my emotions and stories that I did not want others to know because of the shame I felt. But leading up to the Fearless conference, I felt a stirring in me that I couldn't quite figure out why until that conference. I left that conference a hot mess but with a renewed sense of purpose. A purpose that I am still working towards. Undoing what shame had done for ten plus years is not going to get fixed overnight.

This year's conference I wasn't sure what God was going to do in me but I was excited. A couple weeks leading up to it, I was asked by the women's ministry director to be part of a panel discussion that they were going to have on Friday morning. When I first saw the email I thought to myself, "I think she sent this to me on accident". I even told my husband that. Again, the shame and lack of self-worth is still a real struggle for me. When she responded to my email that "Yes!" she did want me on that panel was another sign, to me, from God that my story is part of my ministry and is to be shared. It made me even more excited about the conference!

Okay, so that was a lot of deep talk there. Go ahead and get you a cup of coffee, cozy up on your couch and let's get to the conference recap!

Day 1: Thursday PM

Prior to the service, they fed our tummies with some good ol' BBQ food from 4 Rivers. I sure do love me some pulled pork and baked beans y'all. After devouring that meal (very quickly I might add because it was outdoors and it was cold) we went to the main sanctuary. The evening consisted of: the lovely ladies from The Pew, Paige and Ashley, kicking off the event, a musical performance and worship.

The keynote speaker for the evening sessions was author and speaker, Lisa Harper. During the summer, we did a short bible study using her book, Believing Jesus. It was the first time I'd heard of her and her story of adopting her precious little girl, Missy, from Haiti. You can hear that story here. Prior to each session, we would watch a video clip where she shared about the chapter we had just read. Now, I remember thinking "This lady is hilarious!" but wasn't sure if that was because it was more scripted since it was a video. I am here to tell you that she is just as hilarious in person! How this lady can go from saying something so profound and moving then quickly end the thought with something that made you bust out laughing is a true gift.

After the evening service, we went out to the lobby to enjoy some hot cocoa (so appropriate for the weather), churros and flavored popcorn. With that second wind of energy, thanks to the sweet treats, we made our way back to the sanctuary to dance the calories away in the after party. Listen, your girl thought she was JLo on that dance floor with churros in one hand and a mini donut, that I happened to come across, in the other hand. I really do pride myself in my skills of double fisting desserts wherever I go. I broke a sweat like no other and almost broke a hip with some of the dance moves. Had to remind myself that I am not in college anymore. But it was so much fun just dancing the night away with all the ladies there!

Day 2: Friday AM

I stopped by Starbucks to wake up and caffeinate before heading to church. They did offer coffee at church but after all the dancing from the night before, I needed the real deal, yo.

The Pew ladies kicked off the morning followed by worship. The keynote speaker for the AM session was Sharon Tubbs, who was actually the morning speaker for last year's conference. Her message about not being ashamed of your story really spoke to me. Your story is meant to be shared. The events that happen in our lives, both good and bad, is material that God is allowing to be added to our story. Not sharing our story is wasting what God has given us to minister to others and further elevate His kingdom. Seriously, it was as though God was speaking directly at me because, as I've alluded to above, this is something that God has been dealing with me over the past year. I get it God. Noted. 

After that session, it was time for the panel discussion that I was participating in. The host, Chrissy Mayer, had some questions for us to discuss about the conference and what "found" means to us. It was like having life group on stage except with hundreds of ladies in the audience listening, the brightest lights in your face and seeing yourself on the big screen. No big deal. It was a forty minute session and it felt like five minutes. It flew! I could have continued on for another couple hours, no lie. It felt so good and so right. There was so much more that I wanted to share! This was just the beginning in my opinion.

Look at your girl on the big screen!


When that was done, it was lunch time. I think they knew that a lot of us ladies were still trying to make new year's resolutions happen with good eating and provided salad for lunch. Confession. I had a slice of pizza that I found backstage before eating my salad. Papa Johns. I couldn't resist. 🙍

Break Out Sessions

With full stomachs, we headed to the break out sessions portion of the conference. We could choose two of twelve sessions ranging in topics from parenting, cleaning/organizing, body image, marriage to prayer, healing, and rewriting your story. Not an easy decision to make choosing just two!


For the first session, I attended my girl Sanjie's session "Be Transformed" which was about understanding the season you are in and finding your identity in Christ. This is a message that one needs to hear on the daily because it can be so easy to fall into the bad habit of trying to be someone according to what the world tells you or what you see on Instagram. Can I get an amen? We, as Christians and daughters of the King of Kings, need to look to our heavenly Father for our identity through reading the bible and seeking His presence in prayer. #preach

For the second session I chose to attend the "When God Gives You a Makeover" session by Rossaue Hosein. So, if I'm to be honest, this was not where I was originally planning on going to because my friends were going to another session. While the other session didn't necessarily appeal to me, I was going to go so I didn't have to go to another session by myself. #introvertproblems However, the room that the other session was in was FREEZING which forced me to go to another session. But I really think it was God pushing me to go to the other session because He knew what I needed to hear. 

Rossaue shared her testimony of being healed of food allergies after having dealt with it for five years. She expressed how she, being a prayer warrior and believing for healing and miracles in others' lives, failed to believe that healing could happen in her own life. She came to the conclusion that she would always have these allergies but God proved her wrong. That resonated with me so much because I, myself, have fallen into that rut with my diabetes. I've stopped believing and claiming that healing in my own body. Her testimony inspired me and gave me a renewed hope to continue praying for my own healing.

Once the sessions were done, we went back to the sanctuary for a fun segment with the The Pew ladies including live band TrevLove and the Froots (get it???), giveaways, a schooling on organization, and a surprise 40th birthday celebration for Paige. 

After The Pew, it was dinner time and our last meal together with Carrabba's Chicken Marsala, Pasta, Ceasar Salad and Bread.

Friday PM Service

The final service kicked off with amazing worship and another musical performance. Then Lisa spoke sharing a personal story and the story of Job about how God is there with us even in our darkest hour when we think we are alone. Because of the words of others, those who we call friends/family, have made us feel shame and alone. He is there and He hears us.

The service ended off with women gathering together in prayer. Powerful.

Such a great experience and perfect way to start the new year. As a small token of this conference, we each received this bar necklace with the word "found" inscribed on it. Serve as a sweet reminder of this conference and that we are found in Christ.

XO

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Our weekend was uneventful as the Mr. had to do some work stuff so I had to make my own entertainment. Well, fortunately for me, Amazon Prime was offering the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel for free this weekend. If you don't know what that show is, here is a trailer for your viewing.

Warning: There are curse words in this trailer!


I've been told by several people that I would love this show. It was written and directed by Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also wrote and directed Gilmore Girls. If this is the first time you come across my blog, here is a little fun fact about yours truly, I LOVE Gilmore Girls. I've started a shrine in my playroom of all things Gilmore Girls and that is no lie.

So a couple thoughts about the show...

As I watched the first episode I couldn't help but think that Amy Sherman-Palladino has a "type" when it comes to the actresses she chooses for her characters. Brown hair, blue eyes.
Am I right or am I right? Like, I could totally see Alexis Bledel playing the part of Midge (have you seen her in Mad Men?) except for the occasional boob scenes.

Next, the language of the show. Good lawd. The f bombs were flying in every episode! I am not a big user of curse words and really don't care to hear them said every other word in a sentence, but it kinda made the show funnier.

Abe "papa" was probably my fave in that show.

Finally, let's talk about the costumes. I have never considered myself a fan of the 50's fashion but I was totally loving Midge's outfits. The dresses, hats and accessories were so pretty! It's funny. I have a director who has a very cute vintage style that I admire. She pulls it off so well! I recall her saying one time that 50's fashion was her fave and I totally see why now!

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?

XO

Friday, January 12, 2018

Friday Five | No. 23

Hello friends and happy Friday to you all! I'm just going to say it, today's Friday Five is going to be full of videos and really all over the place.

ONE | Times Up and Oprah


So this one is a little two fold. At the beginning of the year, I saw this influx of Times Up posts in social media from celebrity ladies that I follow on Instagram. If you haven't heard of it, Times Up Now is a movement against assault, sexual harassment or other form of mistreatment in the workplace. During the Golden Globes this year, celebrities wore all black as a sign of solidarity for this movement and Oprah, while receiving the Cecil B. de Mille Award, spoke to this movement in her acceptance speech in such an eloquent and profound way that if you haven't watched it, watch it now!

TWO | An Acquired Taste Podcast

(source)
A friend of mine recommended that I listen to An Acquired Taste podcast, which is a few gals who just talk about anything and everything. I listened to it for the first time this week (Episode One-Hundo) on my way to work and it was hilarious! Really made the drive in to work not so bad. I've already listened to several other episodes since then. If you enjoy listening to podcasts and want to hear something fun and lighthearted, I totally recommend!

THREE | Princess Charlotte first day of daycare

(Kensington Palace)
Again. How adorable are these royal babies?! Princess Charlotte is like a little doll going to preschool. Which btw, how is she already old enough to go to preschool?! Wasn't she born like yesterday?!

FOUR | This Is Me video


Okay, I have confessed my love of the movie, The Greatest Showman, before and how emotional it made me when I watched it. The MUSIC is just 💗😍. During the movie, when the song This is Me came on, FOR. GET. IT. I had the frog-in-my-throat-ugly-cry happening. I don't know. I guess it spoke to hurt feelings that I have experienced in the past of shame and not good enough and brought them out??? I don't know. But when I saw this video while doing my usual Facebook wandering, I got the goosebumps all over again. Seriously, if this video doesn't give you some type of feels, then I don't know what will.

FIVE | End Game music video


T. Swift came out with another music video at midnight. I watched it this morning and while I like the song, not sure I'm feeling the video. Thoughts??

XO

Monday, January 8, 2018

Meal Plan | Week 2 of 2018

Hello! Now that the detox is over, we are back to our usual schedule of meal planning. For several years now, we have meal planned and prepped on Sundays for the upcoming week. (I used to blog my meal plans and that kinda dropped off). It makes such a difference during the work week when meals are all prepped and just need to be heated up. Let's be honest, who wants to go home and deal with cooking after a long day of work. I most certainly don't. Yes, it eats up your Sunday, but I think it's worth it.

We prep three meals for the week. Typically these meals make enough food for us to have leftovers either for another dinner or lunches. This week, two of the three meals are new recipes from Fit Foodie Finds that I happened to see on Facebook.

Cilantro Lime Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

(Fit Foodie Finds)
So we are trying something new this week and that is incorporating "Meatless Mondays" to our meal plan. I know there are a lot of benefits of having a diet that is free of animal aproducts, but not sure that I am willing to completely give it up. Yet. Baby steps. For this week's Meatless Monday I chose this dish.

Cauliflower Tikka Masala with Brown Rice

(Fit Foodie Finds)
This last recipe we've made before and is a fave of mine. Granted it is a little spicy for me (not a huge fan of spice!). I'm typically sniffling my way through it. But still really good.

Honey Sriracha Meatballs with Brown Rice

(Eat Yourself Skinny)
In addition to these meals, I made some more chia pudding for breakfast and bought small mason jars from Target to put it in. This way it makes putting breakfast together easy peasy!

Also, we roasted some sweet potatoes and beets to have in salads for lunch.

I will let you know next week how the meals turned out!

XO

Saturday, January 6, 2018

TIU Five Day Detox

Yesterday I completed the TIU Five Day Detox and while I would love to write that it was "an amazing experience!" and "I am so happy I did it!", I would be straight up lying to you. I struggled and was not my chipper self by Day 3. 

So let me start off by saying that I was not doing this for weight loss purposes. I am happy with the weight situation. I wanted to do this really to do a reboot after over-indulging in goodies during the holiday season. When I say holiday season, I mean October through December, cause you know, Pumpkin Painting Party kicked off the season and goodies. 


Day 1 and Day 2 wasn't too bad. Was I enjoying my meals? No. But they were tolerable and perhaps I was in this state of mind that I was starting of the new year right. 

By Day 3, I began to crack. I was over roasted veggies, kale and chicken. My tastebuds were not having it. 

Then forget it, by Day 4 and 5, I was irritable and delirious. I regretted starting the detox and was hating life. Ha! Listen, this girl lives to eat. It's my favorite past time. I ain't ashamed of it. I own that ish. Plus, we started running out of food that we had prepped and our options were limited. 

We decided to end the detox after lunch on Friday because we knew we had nothing left to eat and really we were just over it. Our celebratory meal was at Panera. It crossed our minds to go big and do it up at a local Puerto Rican restaurant but knew that after a week of cleaning eating, gorging on greasy heavy food would probably not be ideal. I got a soup and sandwich at Panera and immediately started feeling like my old self.

Okay, so I know I've doing a lot of complaining about the detox however, yes there were some benefits. I definitely was less bloated and my sugar numbers were the best they've been in several months. I don't know if there was any change in weight as I have not weighed myself since last month. Did I feel energized? No. Like I said, I was falling apart by Day 4. 

Now that we are off the detox, we are returning to our good eating with cheat meals on the weekends, of course. Even got myself a fitness tracker journal which I will share with you all maybe sometime next week. 

XO

Monday, January 1, 2018

Hello 2018.

Happy New Year friends!


We rung in the new year over at a friend's house. A few couples and their kids. It was perfect. I hope you all were able to enjoy celebrating whether you were living it up a la fancy dress at a nightclub or a la PJs at home. :)


***


As I began to think about 2018 and what "goals" I want to set for myself, I wanted to align it with some goals I have set thanks to work. The firm really been encouraging everyone to take the time to do things that helps us be our best selves with a focus on four areas: Mental, Spiritual, Physical and Emotional.


I have every intention of printing this out and hanging it at my desk at work.

Eat lunch away from my desk at least once a week. 

I, along with many of my colleagues, have this horrible habit of eating my lunch at my desk while I work. This article explains it so well of the importance of stepping away from your desk (and work) for lunch. Of course, sometimes deliverables and deadlines make it not easy, I want to make more of an effort this year. I've already created a recurring calendar invite for my peers and I to do this!

Eat cleaner and do some form of physical activity 3-4 times a week. 

Well, this is a no brainer. I know what a difference of eating cleaner and exercising regularly does to my health, especially being diabetic. Confession, I've done really bad when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle these past few months. I've let my sweet tooth get the best of me and I really need to reel it back in. To kickstart the year, I signed up for the TIU 5 Day Detox Program and both the Mr and I will do it.

Make time to create and nurture more meaningful relationships both personally and professionally. 

Hi. My name is Vicky and I am introvert. While this has some great qualities, one of the downfalls is I enjoy being myself a little too much. When I look back at 2017 and years before that, I realize that I did not make time to spend with friends and family. I want to be better about that. Even if it takes me a little extra work to do so. The same goes for work. There is much value is building and nurturing strong relationships at work.

Take at least 30 minutes a day to have quiet time, reading the bible and journaling. 

For whatever reason, something so easy as taking 30 minutes for quiet time is so difficult to stick to and it shouldn't. Heck, I can even do it on my couch or in my bed! I have a bible and too many notebooks. It's time that I put all to good use.

There you have my goals for the year. These are realistic and achievable which I think is where sometimes, when we set goals, we tend to overstretch ourselves. If you have not set goals for yourselves for this year, even if it's one, I urge you to do so. If you need an accountability partner, I'm your girl! 🙋

XO