A letter to my younger self….

A letter to my younger self….

Hey Loves,

Happy Hump Day!  I really do hope you all are enjoying the amazing weather we have been having the last couple of weeks.  Even though people are never happy though right.

It’s too hot! It’s too cold! We’ve had too much snow!  We’ve had too much rain! not enough rain! Too humid! and on and on!  For me, I love it. Our summers are way too short as it is so I will take each and every hot, humid, mosquito ridden, dehydrated day with love and grace!

Anyway, I didn’t jump on here to talk about the weather. I came on because I recently watched Michelle Obama read her letter to her younger self  https://youtu.be/IgP7Ss2qlBE (if you haven’t watched please drop everything – After reading my blog of course and go watch).  Anyway, I was compelled to write one to myself. I thought it was such a great way to self reflect on my life up until now. A little anyways.

So today I decided to write a letter to my younger self, my 16 year old self. Not sure why I chose 16 except that I was going through a lot of emotional turmoil at the time (as most teens)- mostly self inflicted but turmoil none the less.

So…here goes.

img_7241
You – just turned 16! Couldn’t find a pic of me at 16 LOL This was closest.

Dear Jenny,

I am writing this letter to you because I am compelled to give you a little bit of insight into what your future holds up until now.  I know how much you have been fighting against, let’s say, “the ties that bind.”  Your mom, our mom, being a single immigrant Catholic mom raising three kids and caring for her mom in a foreign country is beset by what seems a most obsessive need to protect you.

Your dad will be MIA because of his struggles with addiction but eventually he gets it together.  I promise and you will adore him and he will adore you.

For a long time it will seem that you are not being allowed to live your life or allowed to do any of the things your friends are doing remember these two very important things:

  1. Most of your friends are probably embellishing (lying) about the things they are allowed to do (like go to movies, stay out late, have boyfriends).
  2. Your mom, our mom, was doing the best she could with what she knew at the time. Primarily trying to protect you.

At 16, you are a sophomore in high school.  You have not been able to participate in any extracurricular activities, you are not allowed to date, you can’t wear makeup, you can’t go to the movies or mall.

You went to one high school dance, because your best friend at the time and her mom begged your mom to let you go.  Your uncle walked you there and waited for you outside.  Embarrassing much?  After that you never asked again.

By your senior year you begged your mom to let you go to boarding school- a christian boarding school – because you followed your brother into a Christian faith.  Not because you were religious but because you were looking for a place of belonging AND a place away from home.

You will have your first crush who will break your heart and you will have your first fight.  BUT here in this place you do gain some sense of independence.

You are going to begin to express your teen angst through poetry.  You love it and it is an outlet though at times you may be a little dramatic.  Books will be a huge escape for you as you love to live in a fantasy world and this is about the time you begin to experience some depression and anxiety but those are words not familiar to an immigrant Dominican parent.

At 18, finally,  you will begin to rebel and try to spread your wings and your mother’s words to you after a few months is “I hope you got this out of your system.” Ha! If she only knew.

Not knowing much about dating and relationships you get your heart broken several times because you wear your heart on your sleeves. But these too shall pass.

By 23, you will get pregnant and get married and though it won’t work out, you chose wisely.  You chose a man who loved you to no end and he will give you two beautiful baby girls who he will parent and protect well.

Yes, you will experience a divorce and also a long period of dating, searching for love yet giving yourself to men who will only use you.  You will spend a lot of time looking for love and finding it very difficult to find. Often sending you into spirals of depression and sadness. Again not something you even knew how to discuss.

And then you find school. At 30 you will meet an employer who ‘believes in you’ and you will embark on, OMG, like 10 years of schooling.  Getting two masters and various certificates in education, all in the search of self worth and recognition.

You will struggle.  But baby girl, you will always, always figure things out because grow12
you are more resilient than you know.

Just when you think your heart can not be broken any worse, someone will come along who will smash your heart to smithereens. Smithereens I tell you!

And guess what? You will surpass that too! It will take some time, but you will. Because like I’ve said before you have built an arsenal of self protection that is hard to penetrate.  Some time a good thing, some times not;.

Men will find you difficult to love because of your wanderlust spirit.  They will want to love you and control you, but will not and can not understand you and what grow10drives you.

And that’s okay.  Not everyone is meant to be understood and you are too strong and intelligent and beautiful for many. Men say they want strong independent women, but often hate what they wish for.

The good news is that none of this will break you.  Each and every time you come out a little stronger, even if just for a little while.

The best part of you will be having two beautiful kids and later two even more beautiful grandchildren who will fill you with so much love and light that it makes the darkness so hard to get in, though it slips in at times.

You will become a professional in education and you will do well in it, until of course that restlessness finds you again.

You will start to narrow down your circle because you will finally begin to learn that its about quality not quantity.

And guess what- after all this- you make it to your 50s!!! Yay!

Your late 40s and 50s will be a time of renewal.  You will continue on your personal growth journey.  You will know yourself more and you will be closer to coming into your own.

Your resilience gets stronger and you will find that though you will continue to stumble and fail in relationships, parenting, finances, and your career- it will get easier to get back up and start and try again. Over and over again. growing3

That is life.  You, however, are not a quitter.  By far.

You will have a family who adores you, friends who value you, jobs which at times are fulfilling – getting you closer to your calling.

Always remember that you are worthy of everything  good in this world.  And things will get easier.

My advice to you is stick to your guns, stick to your goals, become more consistent and never settle.  Ever.

Your 50s will be off to a great start and things will only get better.

To you I say this keep going.  Keep getting to know yourself.  Keep evolving.  Keep trying.  Keep going. Keep growing.

Because at 50 the best is yet to come.  Believe that girl! Believe it with your heart and soul.

Know you are loved and valued.  I have high hopes for you and I am your BIGGEST cheerleader.

I can’t wait to see what the next 50 years brings for you!!!

Love always,

Your 50 year old self.

champagne2
You today!

Thank you for stopping by!  Remember to like, comment, share and maybe write a letter to your younger self as well!

LolaUncorked♥

 

 

 

Image

What I’ve learned my first year out of the classroom!

teachers9

Hi, My Loves∼

Hope your summer is off to a great start!!!

As you all know I left the classroom last November, as a teacher, but returned as a literacy coach working primarily with teachers in the classroom side by side focusing on everything literacy.  Not that I am an expert as I am still learning.

Most of my work involved having conversations with teachers and administrators to find areas in which teachers wanted to continue growing. With the hope that students would benefit academically.

Research shows that if we can get children on or above reading level in the early years before 3rd grade, their chances of success across the board increases.  We also know that reading – as cliche as it sounds – is FUNDAMENTAL.

“We know that children who are not kindergarten ready are half as likely to read well by third grade, and research has shown that quality pre-K has lasting positive impacts on children’s health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes,” said CLI CEO Joel Zarrow. “We are grateful for the opportunity to support teachers in implementing effective early literacy practices and fostering student growth so that more children enter kindergarten fully prepared. While CLI has been supporting pre-K instruction for over 15 years, RFA’s evaluation will help us to continue refining and improving our Blueprint curriculum and professional development so that we continue to see even better outcomes for students and teachers.” Children’s Literacy Initiative

Anyway with all that said I went into the classrooms armed with research and some best practice models to support teachers. Hopefully.

Now I have to say I was a little worried and maybe slightly intimidated, after all who was I to tell anyone that it could be done better.  My experience as a teacher reminded me that as  teachers we are very possessive of our classrooms and our students.

We already have plenty of folks telling us what we are doing wrong, so I wanted to make sure that I celebrated my teachers for all their accomplishments first and recognized the amazing work they were already doing.  I entered the classroom with a different approach – educators are always learning and growing.

Now I have to say that being on the outside looking in, I don’t really know how I lasted as long as I did.

Teaching has to be the most unappreciated profession out there.  Like literally at the bottom of the career totem pole.

It’s a wonder we even have people who still want to teach.

Talk about the pressures!!!  My teachers never knew from one day to the next what to expect.  They were bombarded daily with data, data, data.  They were bombarded with daily mandates to try this and or that,  never giving one thing a chance to see if it worked.  They were bombarded with daily walkthroughs by individuals – groups of individuals – who are so far removed from the realities that occur in the classrooms telling them “students are failing because you’re failing”.

Imagine going to work everyday knowing that others already thought you failed?!?!

I found myself clearly being able to empathize as I was fresh out of the classroom.

I would walk into classrooms to find my teachers rushing to meet deadlines, testing deadlines, bulletin board deadlines, pressure to increase reading scores with no regard to all it entails to be prepared to enter classrooms and teach all with a smile and hunched shoulders. Sad.

Let me explain to you all that is required to go into a classroom to teach your children.

Lesson plans so detailed that it takes hours and hours to prepare without a curriculum to fall back on or use as a resource.  Analyzing of data to see where they failed and what needs to be done to do better.  Testing on a weekly sometimes daily basis.  Differentiation of independent work time to 20 students sometimes more because a teacher is out for weeks sometimes months without a substitute.  Missed preps (planning time) that are crucial planning for teachers so they have less to take home.  Going into grade level meetings where you are not asked for your input but rather told what to do by people who do not know your kids.  Leveling libraries, posting student work monthly with constructive feedback students can’t understand.  Literally squeezing every minute, every second of everyday with so much “stuff” it’s too much to list.

My head spins just thinking about it.

All of this without one word of appreciation from ANYONE, sometimes parents included because they’ve been sucked into this culture of you need to pressure your kids to do more more more- some of which is not even developmentally appropriate.

And FYI, this is at the primary level, Kindergarten to 2nd grade, let’s not even talk about the upper grades.

Listen at the end of the day we all want our children to strive in schools.  To feel loved and cared for.  But isn’t it time to just stop and let teachers teach?  I thought if the goal is to get our students to love reading, why not let them read? Why not let them manipulate books? Why not let children develop a love of reading so they can desire reading? Why not allow teachers to model what reading is? Holding a book in a quiet corner of the classroom while everyone interacts with books.

Why is a 1st grader expected to think critically about books instead of enjoying them?

Anyway, I am getting off on a tangent, but you get the drift, right? I hope.

I don’t know if this is the end all, be all for me, however, I did learn that teachers really need a cheerleader in their corner and I hope I was that for the teachers I met and worked with. teacher7

They were one of the most caring, dedicated, and professional bunch I’ve ever worked with and I give them KUDOS for the work they do- day in, day out.

Teaching is not an easy task, it requires a person to really love it, to do it well.

So the next time you think about your child and teachers and schools remember this:

Teachers are not only educators, they are nurses, social workers, psychologists, and even parents to your children who you have entrusted to them for nearly 8 hours a day if you count before school and after care. teachers6

Teachers don’t need accolades.  I didn’t.  I just wanted someone to believe in me and that I was doing my best work, out of love.

So thank a teacher next time you go for a parent teacher conference, or an event a school or even merely seeing your child’s teacher out at Target or something.

I learned a lot this year and know I have so much more to grow and learn to do my best work.

One of my favorite quotes is from the Bible, 1 Corinthians 16:14, “Do everything in love.”

I know I try every time I walk into my school building and I know the teachers I worked with definitely do!

Thanks my loves for stopping by and reading.  Happy Summer!

teacher3.jpg

♥LolaUncorked

 

 

 

 

Image

What an a-Maine-zing trip should look like….

Hi My Loves∼

Back from my road trip to Maine and let me tell you I am exhausted! To say the least.  I have never laughed so hard (IN MY LIFE) as I did on this road trip.

onthe road
On the road

Now remember I am the person who told you to go travel solo because of the spiritual experience that could be.  (Check out my blog post on that).  But on the flip side,  if you get the right mix of travelers, a trip with friends can be just as rewarding and quite therapeutic.

Just imagine five of us in a Land Rover on the road behaving like we were teenagers.  What a blast!!  Even some road trip karaoke went down.

img_4406
Our AirBnB

 

Our Airbnb was cute, charming and quaint.   Carolyn, our host greeted us, gave us a quick tour, and stocked our fridge with some local beer and wine.

She also gave us a very clear warning to not make a right out of the Airbnb when exploring (there is a homeless shelter surrounded by addicts and beggars). Clearly she didn’t know we are from P-town!

First thing we did the next morning – Make a Right!  Thanks to our tour guide Carol. LOL.

org_dsc02193
The beginning of the end…. LOL (L to R – Anita, Me, Mio, Carol… my besties minus one)

 

We spent most of Saturday exploring downtown or Old Port.  Our first stop though was a neighborhood bar called “Fore Play”.  Yes! “Fore Play”.  Here we met an amazing bartender named…. I can’t remember….and some locals who embraced us and $1 jello shots…the beginning of the end.

With a little buzz we headed for a walk, laughing, talking over each other, and fighting about where to eat.

I am not going to go into all the gory details but I will list the spots we visited which were a hit for us.

  1. Fore Play Sports Bar – $1 jello shots.
    img_4254
    Calling for help after one too many jello shots at Fore Play!
  2. High Roller Lobster Company – this place had a Johnny Rockets feel, good grub and an extensive selection of beer. Yum! www.highrollerlobster.com. We had some drinks and snacks here because we were really craving a good ole burger.
  3. We headed over to Black Cow Burgers and Fries www.blackcowburgers.com  right down the street. The food in this place was amazing.  I can’t say enough.  And the ambiance was pretty awesome too.  I didn’t say this, but we got really really lucky with the weather as prior to this Anita, our weather woman, kept predicting really cold temperatures and rain.  However look at these pics, nothing but sun for our girl’s trip!
  4. And finally I had my lobster at Jay’s Oyster www.ysoysterportland.com. 
    img_4387
    Nom. Nom.
  5. volunteered to drive (someone else’s car…LOL) and I wanted lobster from Maine.  Let me tell you the lobster has to be by far the best I’ve had (even better than the one I had in Playa del Carmen some time ago). Yes! and the lobster bisque soup I heard was also pretty tasty.  Everything was delicious.

Now I have a confession for you: By the time we got to Jay’s, we were all pretty lit after all our day drinking so dinner was just a riot.  Seriously.  I have a video of it all, but unfortunately was experiencing technical difficulties uploading.  Sorry.

As our night rounded out we walked to a bar/lounge- but I was pretty done and three of us headed back to our apartment while the other two lit up the town.

Sunday consisted of sleeping in, packing and getting ready to hit the road.  And then we realized it was CINCO DE MAYO!!!!  I think you can see how that went.

crossing street
Love me a cobble stone street.

Anyway, why travel in a pack?  I’ve known most of these women for over 20 years, so we could say they are the longest running friendships I have. Clearly we share a lot in common, but we are all so different.  

Jennie is the comedian, like Jim Carey in The Mask funny face comedian.  Anita is a sports mom with 10 bebe’s kids, jk, but comedian too and drives like a maniac!

Carol is in a period rediscovering herself and we are watching as she evolves into this better version of herself.

Mio we found out is a damn cry baby!  This is the chick who is so unbothered by anything and everything I always say she would never die of a heart attack.

And then there’s me, I mean, sensitive, emotional, non-confrontational, upside-twerking-against-a-wall because it’s the only way I know how to do it.

The five of us together = never a dull moment!

img_4264
The best friends a girl could ask for!

I know what I learned from this trip is that I love and respect these women and what each of them bring to the table.  I love how each love me unconditionally without judgement.  I love how much we can laugh together and I love how easily I can cry in front of them.  I love our journey as we have become comfortable in our own skin.

I foresee many more road trips ahead.  Many more good times, many more laughs and many more cries and many more adventures.  I wish you all a friendship like this.

Next road trip—————–> Stay tuned!

door
See you on the road.

Thank you for stopping by!

LolaUncorked ♥

 

 

 

Image

Cabos was everything…..

Happy Friday My Loves ∼

(Note: This blog was started last Friday but was having difficult time deciding which pics to edit and post so it’s a little late, but still cloudy! And Maine already happened – that blog next!  Enjoy!!)

So I just wanted to jump on here real quick to talk about my most recent trip to Cabo!  I figured why not today as I sit under these cloudy skies.

travelready
Travel ready!

Cabo San Lucas was everything!  I mean I think any place I travel to is everything, but I have to say that I really loved Cabo San Lucas.

After a slight glitch in plans and three alarms not going off, missed flight, I made it to Cabo.  My travel partner was already there waiting for me since she was smart and went to bed early and made it to airport on time.

I don’t know.  I just love breaking night when traveling!  It’s like I am a kid on Christmas Eve.

Anyway, the benefit of missing the flight? They put me on a direct one rather than the original connecting flight.  Also, because it was delayed, they gave me free wine.  Who could ask for anything more?!?! Right.

The downside of missing original flight? I missed my shuttle to the hotel. When I arrived in Cabo, solo, at night with no shuttle I was a little nervous.  Luckily, they had a shared shuttle which I took for $17 without too many stops.

quietpool2
The quiet pool

We stayed at the Riu Hotel Palace Cabo San Lucas www.riu.com. We began our booking through  www.travelzoo.com but our package ultimately was a deal on www.vacationexpress.com.   I have to say I was skeptical because we got such a great deal (I thought) and kept waiting for some hidden fees.  But it was kosher – we paid approximately $1000 per person for airfare, hotel (all inclusive) and transfers from and to the airport.

I chose the Riu because I’ve stayed in their hotel in Puerto Plata.  I have to say though that the Riu in Cabo was above and beyond my expectations.

The hotel houses over 600 rooms, spa, fitness center, Mexican, Japanese and Indian cuisine, incredible buffets, steakhouse and grill by the pool. Oh! and in case you’re wondering the hotel has seven bars.  Winning!!!

piscina-3-hotel-riu-palace-cabo-san-lucas_tcm55-169380 (1)
Swim up bar and infinity pool! Just lovely! PC|www.riu.com

This hotel was huge and we spent a lot of time walking, like I literally lost 6 pounds even with all the drinking, eating and lazying around.

There were a few downsides to my trip:

  1. This is their winter so the mornings and evenings were pretty cool.  I’d recommend some light sweaters.  Once the sun got going we were good.  Their warmer months are from July to October.
  2. It was spring break. Need I say more?? Unfortunately it was the best package we could find, so we did have to deal with them for a couple days.  The great thing is that this hotel is so immense that there were various pools and swim up bars to get away from them all.  We did that on our
    sportsbaryuck
    This was the hotel sports bar….terrible! LOL

    second day and decided to hang by the “quiet” pool- way too quiet. LOL!

  3. The sports bar – UGH! Because I arrived late I had to go to the sports bar to get a “snack”. Snack meaning chips and cheese sauce and hot dogs.  First of all, this place did not even look like a bar. Super well lit! Huge open space! Lots of teeny boppers.  Felt more like a run down arcade.  Hated it!

The food was great, the daily buffets pretty expansive and generous.  Facilities were clean and our room was always serviced nice and early.  Nothing like coming back to your room for a midday siesta and having it still be in a shambles.  Eek!

We took a ride into town to do some shopping and drinking and ended up at the cutest

kruda bar
Bar Kruda 101

watering hole Bar Kruda 101 where Miguel whipped up some delicious libations and then back at night to do a little partying.  Such a different feel from Cancun.  I loved it.  It just felt less hectic, but still lots of fun.

 

My favorite part of my visit were the landscapes.  Every morning I would head to pool early and just breathe in the beach with the mountains as a backdrop! Breathtaking!!

Overall, I would definitely recommend a visit to Cabo San Lucas and definitely check out the Riu Hotel Palace. It was definitely worth the trip and the second of my trips in my 50s!

whitepartyfinished
We were done and ready to come home!

Bucket list item √√√

Next stop ——————–> Maine! Road Trip with the girls for some lobster! Stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by!

mountainsand beach
Look at this mountains!!!

LolaUncorked♥

 

Image

We have the power to create a positive life…

Hi, My Loves ∼

Happy Wednesday!

I’ve been wanting to jump on here to talk about a great conversation I had this weekend about positive energy and visualization and law of attraction and all those buzz words about creating a better life.

I read a lot of personal growth books and listen to so many podcasts.  Recently, I’ve been listening to Eckhart Tolle and Oprah dissect A New Earth chapter by chapter.  For those of you who are familiar with A New Earth, it’s exactly about that- creating a new spiritual earth through our thoughts and actions. But more importantly this idea of letting go of the ego and staying in the present.

Anyway, I was asked this weekend if I really believed in this idea of being positive and 300848-Once-You-Replace-Negative-Thoughts-With-Positive-Ones-You-ll-Start-Having-Positive-Resultscreating positive energy. and law of attraction.  And how all that works out for me in my life.

The first thing that I want to say and said this weekend is that any type of spiritual practice requires daily and intentional focus in order for it create change.  We are human beings and we are prone to falling off the wagon- often.  Many times we give up and we say that’s it, but really what we should be doing is resetting and hopping back on the wagon.

At the beginning of this year I made a commitment to keep getting back on the spiritual wagon no matter how many times I fell off or how long I stayed off.

And this is what I’ve noticed.

Typically the beginning of the year is always a hard time for me financially.  It’s after the holidays, a time I overspent.  Sometimes I am backed up in my bills so I am playing a lot of catch up until income tax time.  Then income tax refund comes and I can’t really enjoy the refund because I am still playing catch up.  I spend a lot of the new year stressed out and worried about money.

This year has been a very different experience.  I’ve been blessed and abundant in so many ways and I know it has a lot to do with staying positive and letting go of the things I can not control.

  1. Stress is useless.  Really.  Stress is created when we worry about the things we can NOT control. The past nor the future. Listen I am not saying you shouldn’t give a crap if your past due on bills or making ends meet.  Try this exercise the next time you open a bill that you are like “Shit, I can’t pay this.”
    • Sit looking at the bill.  You can’t pay it right? So then what?  Does stress help you pay it? Probably not.  Does money appear from anywhere the longer you look at it?  No.  If you go to bed crying, can you pay it? No.

   What if you shifted your focus from the bill to what you already have –  your                     health, your cute little grandson, a job, etc.?  How does that feel the moment you            start being grateful for what you have?  There should be a shift in your energy                  because now you are focused on what is, not what could have been or will be                    because at the end of the day we have no control over those things.

2. Second is that the only person that can control my mood is me.  How often have you heard someone say “Ugh, he just totally pissed me off.”  Why?  The reason you’re still pissed off over someone’s actions is because you can’t control it.  And the reality is who cares?  I mean, why do we give people so much power over our emotions?

Let it Go.
Let. It. Go.

One of my favorite quotes is “People do the best they can with what they know.”  When I have an interaction with someone that has the potential of putting me in a bad mood, I repeat that quote over and over again until it doesn’t even matter anymore.  Does this make sense?  I hope so.

3. Lastly, I am the only person that can set the tone for my day.  If I say  I am going to have a great day, I pretty much always do by just making that statement.  Really, it’s true.  Because once I make that statement I pretty subconsciously take steps to make it happen.  I dress nicer.  I might put on a bright lipstick.  I play happy music on the way to work.  I post positive quotes on my social media.  I greet people with a smile, kind word and make eye contact. I mean I could go and on.

So going a back to my conversation this weekend, yes I believe that we create our own positive energy and that we can attract it.  Our minds are so much more powerful than we think.

I believe that if we staying the present moment and focusing on what is right here right now, we change the shift in our attitudes and moods.  Take every opportunity you can to give thank, for every little thing good or bad in your life. Because it all matters and serves a purpose.

Most importantly, remember it’s not how many times you start or try, it’s that you keep on that counts. Inspirational-Quotes-About-Being-Positive-And-Being-Negative

So with that all said, I challenge you today and for the rest of the week to get up each day, regardless of how terrible things may seem (because that’s an illusion) and commit to having a great day and being positive and grateful.  Then come in a week and tell me how it went.

See you soon!

LolaUncorked♥