Tag Archives: feel good 5 Friday

Feel Good 5 Friday

11 Jun

I found myself at the bottom of a Famous Amos Chocolate Chip bag.

It was the necessary and required amount of comfort needed.

Sometimes things go your way, and other times they just don’t. A job offer you were expecting to come in, comes back with, we decided to go in a different direction, a promotion you thought you were going to get goes to the nephew of the guy in charge, a test result you thought would be favorable comes back as a reality check, a grant you were hoping would help catapult your project into the next phase is instead welcomed with a letter that starts off with … unfortunately. There could be more scenarios out there causing a massive downers on everyone’s day.

You feel like crap and totally want to reach for another bag.

You sit there contemplating your next move, wondering what’s it going to be.

You feel like you just struck out at the bottom of the ninth, with runner in scoring position on a 3-2 count, or maybe like missing that crucial buzzer beater with your team down by one point.

So where do you go from there?

After going through the different stages of sadness and disappointment because I got to get them all out. I needed to put one foot in front of the other and find something … something that I was grateful for, some potential, some pint-size of positivity I could cling to during a not-so positive moment. It’s hard finding something you’re grateful for when you feel like you’re in a pretty crappy stage. But even if it’s small, like going for a swim, run, bike ride, or dance. Eating great food. Beach therapy day. Trying a new adventure. Reading a good story. A friend. A cool sunset.

Something positive is out there.

When I’m driving and I’ve got the bad news, the music is my savior. Changing the stations I end up listening to a tune I hadn’t heard in months, sometimes years. But just in case the radio doesn’t have it, I’ve got that go-to playlist. The one you listen to when you’re running and you want to feel powerful, or the one you listen to when you want to celebrate something good in your life, or the one you listen to while you’re driving, the one that gets you dancing at every stop light, or the ones where you just want to feel sad and the soulful sounds help you because someone has been where you are and feels what you fell.

Go-to songs have a way of turning the corner when you need something to push you in the right direction. That lift. You have some for different circumstances in your life.

I always got a couple that make it happen for me … but that one song … the one that makes me smile and just feel good is Katrina … Katrina and her Waves. That song just makes me smile and feel good. Makes the morning better. Makes the run stronger. Makes the care ride better. Walking on Sunshine is a feeling I’d like to take with me. It’s been on my Feel Good 5 Friday before and maybe even in my mixed-tape series. But that’s the song … that’s the one that does it for me. That and probably the Jefferson’s Theme Song. But since we’re not talking about theme songs, I’d have to go with my girl Katrina 🙂 Everyone has got one.

So I pressed play and tried to get the tunes to change the state of mind. For some reason if I’m outdoors or in the car it seems to work a lot better.

And so my journey began.

In the music I found gratitude bits and pieces and slowly started to get out of the funk. Feeling the rhythm and the beat. Singing at full volume in the car. Found parking and still left the music on, jamming and starting to feel different. And then I received a text message.

A friend of mine had won a Pulitzer.

Dude.

Duuuuuuuuuude.

Have you ever heard some spectacular news, I mean something that didn’t even have to do with you, but something for someone else, and it made you so happy. I mean genuinely happy.

I was so happy for them that I completely forgot about my own troubles, my own day and smiled because something good happened to a friend of mine. Hard worker, filled with determination and grit. I was proud to have known them. Good things happen to good people. They do. And that right there made me happy.

Buen Camino …

Walking on Sunshine — Katrina & The Waves

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Homegrown — Zac Brown Band

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No Tengo Dinero — Juan Gabriel

Livin’ on a Prayer — Jon Bon Jovi

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Never Know — Jack Johnson

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Feel Good 5 Friday… Jalapeño Cornbread and Timeouts

28 May

Jalapeño Corn Bread.

That right there did it for me.

The week of frustration, headaches, couple migraines, Friday looked good to me. Crossed that finish line.

There I was winding down the week high-fiving myself as I managed both a 4th and 7th grade curriculum. Distance learning done! And we move on! Kids were happy, I was happy. Feeling like the strut of a Bee Gees music video.

After all the Zoom Meetings, attendance records, and extra everything going on this year I was so glad to have conquered it.

Check.

That’s when the Jalapeño Corn Bread just came into my life and made for such an amazing feeling. You know when the food is so good, that you pause, you just close your eyes and take a breath. You’re about to take a knee it’s so good but then you just dance with your stank face on. Just bust a move. It’s in your spirt.

That was me and the warm, crumbly, soft Jalapeño Cornbread.

First time I’ve ever tasted it and guaranteed it won’t be the last. I am on it. This southern comfort food place in the neighborhood that I’d never tried and the cornbread made me a fan.

Nothing like sitting in the peace and quiet of your car, picking up the food and peeking in the bag just for a minute to discover a warm goodness in its steamy container. This is the moment that you remember… hey the airplane people always say put your mask on first and then … THEN … put your child’s mask on. That’s what they say and so I did.

I stayed in that parking lot and took some time. I smelled the sweet aroma, took a bite of that top edge and instantly knew this was gonna be a good evening. I sat back in the driver’s seat.

C’mon now, you better eat, girl. I turned up that Hall and Oates jam on the radio and the next six minutes of jams and tastiness made for an epic soundtrack of self-care. A timeout. Sometimes you just need a timeout, you need to tag someone in, but sometimes there is no someone, so you need a timeout, a brief moment to get back to Zen, to restore. Timeouts are important.

If you haven’t tried corn bread yet, jalapeño cornbread, I highly encourage it. Changes your good Friday into a great Friday! Reminds you to take a minute for yourself, a minute, and just enjoy something, you deserve it.

Buen Camino my friends!

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.Hall and Oates — You Make My Dreams

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Fania All Stars with Oscar De Leon, El Canario, Milly Quezada — Quitate Tu

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Chic — Good Times

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Billy Idol — Mony, Mony

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Glenn Frey — The Heat is On

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Feel Good 5 Friday … Playlist for The Climb

30 Apr

Something sets you off or picks you up and then there it is … the mood.

The mood for the week born. You wake up with positive vibes and one more chance, and you start the week right, thinking good vibrations and happy salutations. You’re thinking sunshine and waves.

And sometimes during the week the lightness of being lasts, other times the tornado of unexpected chaos and obstacles present themselves. Everyone has their moments.

This is why my mixed tapes, my Feel Good 5 Friday’s make sense. They record the vibe of the week with song, verse, rhythm and flow. I try to send the feeling out into the universe to whisper into the wind and land on someone who needs to time travel to a moment that makes their heart feel good.

This week is a bit different. The intention is different. My Dad.

This week was meant to carry on, to push, to motivate, to know I can make it, because there’s purpose.

11 years since his passing.

After two years of grieving his loss, I found a yearly cause to help continue honoring his life. This will be the ninth year that I lace up my Saucony’s and climb 1,393 steps in the Fight for Air Climb. It usually takes place in the second tallest building in the city, but it’s gone virtual this year because of the virus. And it makes sense, no need packing the indoor stairwells with hundreds of people huffing and puffing their way to the roof. So I’ve mapped out an alternate route of hidden staircases throughout the city that will take me over the top. But scaling the equivalent of 63+ stories is rough. My calves hate me afterward and the scent of BenGay travels with me days following the race.

But it’s worth it, my dad’s always been worth it. The Remote Control Master and MacGyver fixing extraordinaire. The guy who taught me how to change a tire and drive stick shift, to know what the Thomas Guide was for and how to use it. The guy that used to fill my college fridge and freezer with pounds and pounds of chicken because he was a butcher and he could. Plus he also thought Cup-O-Noodles was not a cool addition to my diet. So, chicken … individually wrapped packages meant he was still helping his youngest even when she was far away. The dad that called me and left messages on my answering machine just to say hi, at least three times a week.

Yup. My pops. These little snapshots of his life make him worth it. He’s worth 63 stories and then some.

What makes the climb a bit easier?

Knowing I’m scaling the heights in honor of my dad keeps me going when my muscles feel like stopping. There’s an extra gallon in the tank, the reserve, that fuels me. He’s definitely my driving force.

But music helps set the pace, the mood. A good playlist makes me feel like I can beat Rocky to the top of those stairs. You get the one song that pumps you up before conquering that mountain, the pre-game mindset hype and then the one you play as soon as you take the first step, get you started right. Then the one that needs to be played at full volume mid-race because you need that extra lightning. That jolt. And then the one where you can see the finish line and you’re on fumes, you might be cramping, you might be exhausted, but the beat drops, you hear those drums and your legs just pick up the pace and you remember that extra gear that was dormant, that Seven Nation Army brings it out.

Feel Good Race Playlist … Definitely needed. But today I only give you 5.

And so this week the playlist was not inspired by multiple events or thoughts of the week, just by one event happening this weekend. So if you’re ever in need of some pump-it-up jams to help you reach the finish line, hope a partial look at my mixed tape playlist helps to get your feet moving a bit faster.

Buen Camino, my friends!

House of Pain — Jump Around

J Belvin — Mi Gente

Avicii — Levels

Pitbull — Back in Time

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The White Stripes — Seven Nation Army

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Feel Good 5 Friday on a Saturday Night with Take-Out …

17 Apr

After 13 months of this new non-permanent way of living hit us all at varying degrees, life lessons from different angels surfaced. Some, brand new, others reminders of lessons that needed to be held front and center. 

There are people out there that you just want to punch in the face. No amount of Zen training with Phil Jackson can help you with a jerk of that size and nature. I mean I thought they were extinct, but they’re coming out from under their sheets on full display, no need to hide anymore. Apparently. 

Then there are those whose level of kindness and empathy make you think, that there is more good out there than bad. For a moment it makes you feel that way. Everyday people stepping up and helping, when those in power were supposed to lead but failed miserably because they were too busy traveling on vacation or embroiled in some other scandal. 

Everyday people. Women. Men. Girls. Boys. Everyone who didn’t need to step up did and that made for feel-good stories about Meals on Wheels, Lemonade Stands, Children’s Hospitals, Books for Foster Care, Carpool Caravan Graduations, Virtual Music Concerts, Chalk Art, Computers and Hotspots for those most in need. The little bits and pieces adding up from your local paper and coming to light. Everyone doing a little something for someone else just to make One day out of the 13 months better.

I thought about that last year and in January. When people are busy making plans and resolutions, taking stock of their life. Small businesses occurred to me. It takes a lot to run a small business. It takes a lot to be successful, to stay afloat, to start that dream. 

While shopping at grocery stores fully masked and socially distant, I knew a lot of small businesses, particularly restaurants were hurting. Nobody knew what this was and people were worried about eating out, so restaurants sold ingredients and cook-at-home meals just to stay open. Now I love to eat, it’s my favorite. Good food, really good, tasty, and savory food. That makes you close your eyes and think C’MON NOW. C’MON NOWWWW! And then you just start dancing because that food is so good, you become a professional back-up dancer that minute. That’s what really good food does, it fills your spirit with happy. Good music. Good friends. Good food. That’s an awesome combination. 

And so while everyone was doing something little or something big, just to help make someone else’s day better. I thought I could do more than just be an advocate for voting rights, provide books for foster care youth, a little something extra to help someone out once a month. Now I got my favorite hot spots around town that I love, my go-to’s that I’ve been ordering from when I’m too exhausted to cook, but I found that if I also add a new restaurant, a new small business I can help them out at least one day. 

So that’s what we’ve been doing, picking a new small business once a month and letting a couple friends in the neighborhood know about it too.  Most people, I guess do that all the time with pictures of their food on social media, but sometimes I think it’s more about them then the actual food and chef behind the amazingness. So I try not to do it that way.

Since we’re homebodies, we enjoy home-cooked meals. But trying to help your neighborhood, your community thrive is also important. Not many people can, with job loss and loss of hours, it’s been hard for some to manage financially for the last 13 months. But we try to help someone new once a month, and so far the meals and desserts have been savory and sweet, so much so that some of these places will become my new regulars. Pho. Bavarian Chocolate Pie, Sausage and Peppers. These have been welcomed with smiles. And we look forward to new diners, drive-ins, and dives.

So for the next eight months we’ll continue helping our regular spots, but also add a brand new place in hopes that we can help them a little. I encourage you to visit any small business and help make a positive impact on their day. Spreading the good vibes, helps everyone during difficult times. It’s like playing the right song, at just the right moment. Helps you time travel and get you to a place where smiling is easy for you, happiness, good-times-noodle-salad moments, sunshine, and waves. 

Feel good vibes, keeping it better. Paying it forward

Buen Camino …

Kano — I’m Ready

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Philip Bailey & Phil Collins — Easy Lover

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Chente — Volver, Volver

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Tina Turner — Shake a Tailfeather

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King Harvest — Dancing in the Moonlight

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Feel Good 5 Friday … What’s in Your Wallet?

26 Mar

I’ve been accused of having a Costanza wallet.

jason alexander wallet GIF

 

The kind, where you keep all the receipts … you know, just in case. The beefy kind of wallet where the flap doesn’t quite reach the button and it would never fit in your back pocket unless you’d want to be sitting lopsided. The kind of wallet where you still have baby and preschool pictures of your kid but he’s already going on off to college. The kind that still has your expired zoo membership card just in case.

That’s me.

I’m the keep-it-just-in-case person. I feel there are a lot of things you can tell about a person just from their wallet. Whether they have any pictures or not, says something. Pictures of your kids playing baseball, soccer, hockey, basketball. Spring, Summer, Winter Sports. Their changing faces each year and different uniforms, make you look at the pictures for an extra minute. Maybe the type of credit cards or gift cards to preferred stores. Hidden messages on post-it notes that inspire or push you in the right direction. . Business cards of favorite pastry shops or restaurants give you an insight as to whether they enjoyed pizza or Ramen on Saturday nights. All these little clues add up to pieces of who you are and who you’ve become.

Me. 

I’m the Costanza wallet keeper. I enjoy Pho on cloudy days, pizza thin crust from up the street with mushrooms on days I’m too tired to cook, Pad Prik King and Tom Yum on Friday nights when I want something savory, and fresh Sunday morning buttery flaky croissants from the French bakery down the street.

Restaurant business cards. 

Could drive people bananas, but when I reach in and get that 11th free hair cut card from Marlita, it feels good to have that just-in-case mentality set. And then there’s the coupons. CVS. It’s ridiculous.

I do clean the wallet out from time to time of course, when the receipts and paper seem to wanna bust out. I find an old lottery ticket and remember the story of the older secretary lady who was upset at her boss one day and was cleaning out her purse and found an old lottery ticket that was a Mega Million Jackpot. I think that could be you and this could be that ticket. But no. Never happens. So it eventually goes in the trash.

I find my Dad’s and Uncle Erick’s obituary. I gently unfold the wrinkled paper and look at their picture. I remember that face and that life and a twinge of pain hits my heart, electric static rises through my spine and makes its way to the top. I take a deep breath and stare at it for a minute, before neatly folding it back and tucking it back in its place.

And then I find the mini post-it notes I write to myself or the ones my kids wrote to me and a smile comes over my face. Sometimes you need that kind of advice or pick-me-up just to keep you going that day. I still have a small flyer given to me in 1995, 1996. A kid just passing out Christmas flyers for his church handed me one and it happen to be a day where I was struggling. A small cartoon of a kid and a Christmas tree, smiling. An invitation letting you know you weren’t alone this holiday season, even if you felt alone. The universe, God, Karma, the community, they were there. And so I read it, and it was a little less darker that day. Even though they might have printed hundreds, I felt the message was written especially for me.

I keep that in my Costanza wallet as a reminder. And it makes me feel good, as does the random music lists of songs piled in there. Feel good songs that take me back to tough childhood days of my youth that ended up proving to be some of the best memories. Feel good songs that made up the best mixed tapes. Feel good songs I turn up while doing chores or driving down the street in order to take me way back.

The Costanza Wallet.

Pieces of me and clues that add up to a good story.

So as they say, what’s in your wallet?

Buen Camino my friends …

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Genesis — Invisible Touch

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Cameo — Word Up

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Bando Machos — El Gato y El Raton

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David Bowie — Modern Love

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Nena — 99 Luftballoons

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