Category: Coffee & Conversation

Current State

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“I like coffee exceedingly…” ― H.P. Lovecraft 

My love of coffee knows no particular place, but I lust after and linger with it most at coffee houses. There’s something to be said about the lost art of creative, eclectic, and independent coffee houses. You can’t replicate vibes and the very best cafes produce them effortlessly and consistently. Today I’m at Sweet_ness 7 Cafe in Buffalo, New York. I believe I’ve discovered and tasted heaven on earth. Copious amounts of charm live within the walls, words are flowing freely, and my lavender latte has given me a new purpose in life. Seriously, it’s that good.

I like to talk and write in coffee houses, and usually, I prefer the company of strangers. The majority of my passion projects are centered on exchanges with people I’m unacquainted with or I’ve been interested in meeting. There’s something to be said about connection and discovery. Unearthing is enlivening.

For the people closest to me or most familiar with me, this fika thing is a mystery. Sure, we fika. Pausing with the ones I love is forever a favorite past time. But there’s a curiosity about the greater vision within my fikas that remain unclear to them. Truthfully, I like it this way.

I am knee deep in collecting and curating stories. I am grateful for the power of connection and the undeniable value within a good cup of coffee.

This is my current state…just in case you’re wondering.

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Scales

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I often refer to myself as a parking lot therapy session. For whatever reason, I choose to emotionally unravel while parked next to a minivan. In the spirit of reciprocity, some people share their soul with me as we lean into a Honda CRV. I guess in true mom mode the comings and goings of my life determine the setting. And lately, it’s parking lot pandemonium.

As evidenced by the title of this blog, I like to talk. And I see a real need for people to create and contribute to exchanges. But there’s something a lot of people don’t like to discuss or delve into, which is the weight we carry.

To begin, this isn’t solely about the physical weight, but since it’s the most obvious association I suppose it’s important to initiate the topic.  Talking or writing about weight is uncomfortable. It’s not easy to admit or decipher how five pounds turned into ten, twenty, or thirty. And while we’ve come so far in terms of body positivity, the stigmas attached to one’s physicality are real, heavy, and long-lasting.

This world is fast-paced and forever forward thinking. What’s next or where to are common attitudes in all things. But herein lies the problem for me as the client or consumer. I need to get to a place where I acknowledge where I’ve been while celebrating where I am. This is almost more important than where I’m going. For me, carpe diem is more than a saying. It’s a parking place for purpose and promises. It’s where I need to be in order to go anywhere.

I have a scale in my bathroom. I used to weigh myself every morning and evening. Not surprisingly, there was never a noticeable difference. The act itself was disingenuous because unless I weighed in less than yesterday, it meant nothing to me. I only liked weighing in if the number showed me what I wanted to be and not who I was.

My trainers recently instructed me to surrender the scale. The numbers didn’t help me park my positivity. In a world forever on the go, centered on driving if you will, we rarely park.

I was speeding through this process and while rushing to get it all done nothing was getting done right. I wasn’t shedding weight, I wasn’t writing well, and I wasn’t enjoying anything.

The scale wasn’t going to help me. Because the scale doesn’t showcase how I feel, the muscles I’m gaining, and the fear I’m eliminating. The scale is not gauging the growth so pivotal for all evolutions. And it’s definitely not pausing to ponder.

Just as important as anyone’s physical weight is the emotional aspect of any said measurement. Knowing what we can carry, understanding and respecting the weight of different duties, and feeling strong in creating spaces and stories allows for some solid parallel parking.

But enough with the analogies and descriptions. I’m feeling like a woman who did some serious kettlebell swings and burpees today. There’s something to be said about finding the right space. Park, ponder, and plank. No scale can measure my joy.

Letters

 

dana-marin-152965-unsplash“How wonderful it is to be able to write someone a letter! To feel like conveying your thoughts to a person, to sit at your desk and pick up a pen, to put your thoughts into words like this is truly marvelous.” ― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

One of my biggest passion projects this year is based upon and determined entirely through letter writing. I’m writing people letters and asking them to fika. And while the request might seem simple, it’s actually quite complicated for many. These letters are the essence of vulnerability and an invitation to partake in intimate and soulful conversations.

Why so deep?

Have you ever wanted to ask someone a question that seems invasive but imperatively linked to understanding them better? Or upon reflection, do you know the history of your friends or connections? I believe that talking to others about their lives and/or mutual connections equips and empowers us to think differently and more carefully. Moreover, there’s nothing more special and sacred than a conversation over coffee if it’s done right.

But it all starts with a letter. Snail mail has my heart forever. I have some people who need to know things about their influence on me. I have more people who I want to hear from. Paper. Pen. Stamps. Mailbox. Magic.

When’s the last time you wrote someone a letter? Consider the time. Revel in the impact.

As always, thank you for reading. May your week be filled with fikas.

 

Exercise: It’s MEaningful

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“Things that you are unlikely to regret: exercise, eating healthily, challenging yourself, making a plan, being kind.” ― Freequill

This past Wednesday I woke up at 5:30  a.m. so that I could get a workout in before the hustle and bustle of the day began. I walked into the gym cautiously, craving caffeine, and uncertain about the choice in general.

I used to workout at 5 a.m. I had an established routine and there were people who kept me accountable and excited about exercise. But then the whole two kids, working from home, trying to build a life thing happened and everyone and everything else became a priority. I let my own needs wander and was left to wonder, “how do I get back to where I was?”

On Wednesday, sometime between my sumo squats and single leg deadlifts, I realized I was never going back to the good old days. Yes, they were indeed good and to be cherished, but they were in the past.  And what I need, and what so many women need, is to look at and love ourselves now. Then, and only then,  can we move forward.  If those days were good, imagine the possibilities. Within this space is the realization and recognition of the power of presence.

I’m in a community of strong-minded and muscle motivated women at FitFabMoms and I’m discovering I’m capable of so much more.

Before you think I’ve gone Gandhi during group workouts, let me explain that I’ve always felt called to go deeper than the surface. As much as I want to look good, I’m forever centered on feeling good. You know the drill, it’s the beauty from within belief system.

It’s a freaking struggle to make things happen these days. But I never regret this investment in myself. I’ve never once come home from exercise thinking it was a bad idea. And every day that I exercise I’m a better wife, mom, sister, friend, and writer. Because doing good for myself allows me to be better for others. It’s truly that simple.

My motivation is not for who I want to be. It’s good to chase that girl for certain things, but not when it comes to self-love. I am proud of what I’m doing now. I love me for trying, early rising, and through every med ball slam.

I’m pretty pumped to love myself more. It’s true that exercise endorphins are real. I’m seeing me become more meaningful. For this, and even for burpees, I am grateful.

This week I’m tackling food prep, organized chaos, and the mind game that is scale obsession. Stay with me.

 

Customer Service

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Believe in your heart that you’re meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic, and miracles.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart

Thank God for words. Read above. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

After the Academy Awards, I usually feel inspired. There’s nothing quite like watching someone pour passion into their work and be recognized for it within their community. But this year the Shoprite in Chatham, New Jersey and I had a thing that sort of coincided and overshadowed the Oscars. To repeat the Shoprite in Chatham, New Jersey overshadowed the Academy Awards for me.

The story can get complicated so I’m going to use simple sentences for the synopsis.

I ordered a cake. There was an issue. I felt dissatisfied. I experienced the bitter end of apathy. My mama bear mode was activated. I wasn’t nice. Then I cried. I legit cried over a cake. I called customer service. I spoke to people. People were nice. I was nice too. People made the situation better. People asked me for genuine insight. I connected with people. I got another cake. The cake was amazing. The end.

I get that this might not feel like a big deal, especially in simple summation form, but it really was significant for a variety of reasons.

I often find people lack inspiration. There’s a lack of focus or a sense of pride within their work.

From someone who craves connection, it’s challenging to witness. As a customer, it’s difficult to digest. What happened to customer service? Did it disappear? Or are we part of the problem as well?

I don’t pretend to think these questions can appropriately be addressed in one blog post, but it’s a start to a fika that needs some feistiness and genuine attention. No matter our position or title, there has to be a heartfelt investment in our work. And as consumers or customers, we need to model our expectations. If the customer is always right per traditional expression, shouldn’t we be right and nice? Because I’d hate to live in a world where aggression and apathy are the roadways to right.

I get that it’s not always easy. But why does it have to be so difficult?

No matter what we do, who we work for, where we’re headed, etc., we need Roy Bennett’s words (see above). I’m rooted in a life full of passion, purpose, magic, and miracles.  Here’s to looking for lessons and finding stories in unexpected places and through unexpected people. And here’s to Shoprite in Chatham for making Oscar Sunday discerningly different. I am inspired.