Resolutions That Don't Make Me Cringe

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This year, my resolution is to make resolutions that don't scare me. 

Feel me?

I feel the need to stop making resolutions for myself that imply that something is wrong with me.

Like losing weight, or eating healthier, or working harder, keeping a cleaner house, or whatever. Most resolutions imply that we aren't doing something well enough, and we need to be BETTER at something that we seem to be failing at.

To be honest, I don't really want to be better at anything. I just want to be a better person. For myself, for my family, for God. So instead of making resolutions that make me feel less than any of that, I am making resolutions that actually make me happy. Things that are totally doable, will make me happy while doing them, and better my life in itty bitty little ways.

Without further ado:

  1. Take care of my skin and stop going to bed with my makeup on.
  2. Wash my hair more than twice a month.
  3. Watch Friends another time all the way through.
  4. Be graceful.
  5. Wear bright clothes.
  6. Play more cards.

Listen. It’s possible to work on the internal, deeper meaning stuff, all day every day. Maybe not all day, but a lot. And in the midst of that work, you forget, or regret, to do other things. Like wash your face.

The same as when you get so caught up in your skin care routine that you forget to pray. It goes both ways.

I think that resolutions should be more about concrete, personal goals, rather than businessy stuff. I can share my business goals another time, but for today, let’s talk about (what apparently is a problem I have) personal hygiene.

Skin care. I have been literally washing my face in the morning, if that, applying my makeup, and going about my day. You guys, that is it. No joke. Under eye circles, eh, I’m a mom. Smeared eyeliner from yesterday, eh, nobody got time to remove that. Mascara from three days ago, well, my eyelashes seem to get longer that way.

No. Just, no. I’ve got blackheads that could stay with me until I die if I don’t do something soon, and my poor nose area is so dry that it has to work really hard to produce enough skin cells every day.

Nope. This year, I am washing my face at night. Exfoliating twice a week. Applying eye cream and moisturizer, and dare I say it, SUNSCREEN. I do live in California, mind you. It is always sunny here.

And for the hair washing thing? Well, I had a nightmare that my dry shampoo made all my hair fall out. And then I googled it and apparently that happens. I’ve got to wash my hair more often.

But my favorite hair day is day 9. This could pose a major problem.

FRIENDS. Here is something I truly believe. Every time I watch Friends, Netflix adds a deleted scene. I promise, it has not been played before. Just today, I watched as Ross told Phoebe something, I swear, he had never said before. There’s no way I missed it 25 other times. This can’t be true.

So I’m vowing to watch it again. And again. In an effort to catch all the scenes Netflix deems needed.

As far as being graceful? This is running in tangent with my 2017 resolution of offering more grace. Not only do I want to offer it this year, I’d like to have some. Attract it, enact it, example it and enforce it. This one dives a little deeper into the deeper meaning stuff. But I'm not putting too much weight on that. I more just want to keep going with my 2017 resolution. So far, so good.

Have you seen my closet sales lately, on my IG stories? You’ll find that most of what I’m ditching is neutral. Why you might ask? Well, I saw some photos of me this last year, and all the ones I like, I’m wearing something bright. Not neutral.

So to the closet I will go and major purge will ensue. And then to the thrift store and Nordstrom sales I will go and purchase all things bright red and black and pink. Because, color. No more beige.

Last but not least, cards.

Once upon a time, mostly the years right after college, we played cards a lot. Mostly because we were broke as a freaking joke and had nothing better to do. But also because it was fun. And with jobs and babies and housekeeping, playing cards has gone out the window. My goal this year is to gather my tribe around my table more often and pour more wine and play more cards. If you’d like to join, please come. It’s quite fun.

Motherhood & Co.

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Currently, sitting in the recliner in the living room, watching a rerun of The Voice, looking down to find a piece of half chewed cheese quesadilla stuck to the back of my hand.

You see, I just finished picking up said half chewed pieces of cheese quesadilla off the floor while Adam put a very cranky and moody and teething, allergy induced, pink eyed Joey to bed.

So it makes total sense that there is a piece of it stuck to the back of my hand while I type this.

By the way, it’s still there. It’s safer on the back of my hand than it is on the floor where I might step on it, or on the arm of the chair where Adam will put his hand later and yell at me for leaving it there.

I also just trapped my husband in a not-so-kind conversation and totally set him up to fail.

I also have pink eye. In both eyes.

Earlier today, I let Joey chase and crawl all over Rudy the Roomba, which is not a rare occurrence, fully aware that it is not good for said Roomba, as Joey is quite strong and very capable of breaking it in two. And frankly, as of that moment, I’d rather pay for a new Roomba than get up from my seat to move Joey to a new location with a new toy, knowing full well he will be back to the Roomba in a minute flat.

Also, yesterday, I watched as Joey pulled the dining room chair over on himself. Seriously, stood there, frozen in my tracks, like a statue. It was like I knew that I couldn’t help him, but even if I could, I didn’t know how to. So I just watched, let it all fall, and then picked him after, hoping to God that he was not suffering from a concussion which I think I may have, might have been able to, avoid. If I had just moved.

Joey has a bruise on his eyebrow as well, from falling down on the edge of the coffee table.

Yep, I’m that mom right now.

See, we are all the same. Every night we put the babies down to bed and know that if we kept all the humans, animals, Rudy the Roomba and most of the plants in the yard alive, it’s a win.

But there are some things that are a little bit different, I’m realizing. And putting all moms into the same category as the “organized chaos” type really, actually leaves out so many of us.

Because yes, my life is complete organized chaos. And on most days, I feel like a hot mess. A blessed hot mess, but a hot mess nonetheless. But also on most days, my role as a mom is not the only role I play. And it’s important to know, though I am a mom, this is not my entire identity. And for so many other woman, it isn’t theirs either.

Many of the things we do fall into the cliches, however they roll. Such as the top knot, wine drinking, yoga pant wearing blogger. Yep, I am that mom.

I also am part of a Mommy and Me group, but instead of talking about our baby’s teething situations while sipping too much caffeine, we wear our babies and aren’t afraid to lift really heavy things.

I am a business owner, but I’m rarely ever a business owner and a mom at the same time.

I drive a mommy car, but it’s a badass mommy car, and I take the top off, a lot.

I read books to my baby, but they are things like “People Over Profit” or “Rising Strong” or the latest Nic Sparks book, because he doesn’t care what the book is about. As long as he gets to hear my voice.

Here is my point: you do not have to be ordinary, even as a mom.

This idea that moms “can’t do it all” is very true. It’s also incredibly false.

You see, we actually can. We can do all things. We can do all things well. And we can do all things THAT WE WANT TO DO.

We are all just winging it. Seriously. Nobody knows how to actually do this parenting thing. But the thing is, though there are millions of things to read and “experts” to talk to, it doesn’t seem like anyone is really sharing the ins and outs of HOW they did it.

We can keep using generalities, or we can talk specifics. And if you really want help with this mommy business, generalities don’t help any of us.

A friend told me, when Joey was a mere two months old, that I was doing it. I was doing what all moms wanted to do, but couldn’t. I was working on my businesses, I was working on projects for my clients, working on my body, my marriage, my faith, my cooking skills, my breastfeeding form, to name just a few.

I remember feeling like that was completely ridiculous. I was just trying to survive. Make it through the day without losing complete control of all I held dear. Turns out, those things I held dear? They held me together, too.

I get questions all the time:

How do you balance mommyhood and your businesses?
What tools did you use to combat your postpartum depression?
How are you able to cook dinner most nights and still get Joey to bed on time?
How did you get your body back so fast?
How do you justify using or paying for daycare?
What do you mean Joey sleeps all night long? How?! (that’s a fun one…)
Or my favorite, “How do you find time for it all?”

It’s time we got specific. It’s time us moms come together and actually outline how to do this thing. How to be a mom. AND all the other things we want to be.

Not one piece of our life that we find important is negotiable. And just because being a mom comes first does not mean that we need to have a numbered priority list, and start from the top and work our way down. All those things matter.

And so, since we all in this together, let’s talk about it together. I’d love to hear some of your really specific questions. About any, all, some, of these things we do in our lives. I want to help, or find some help, and make motherhood not so scary, for all of us.

Something is in the works for this, I promise, and with your help, we can put all the tools together, and have a very real, very candid conversation. Together.

PLEASE SEND ME YOUR QUESTIONS!

I truthfully, honestly, want to hear

xoxo

Name *
Name

Why God Invented Wine

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Hey you.

Ya, you. Feeling a little down?

What is it with this season? Every entrepreneur I know is major struggling right now. Like, we need to have a major vent sesh over some wine. Preferably on a patio, with twinkly lights and no babies and where the wine is free. Because, to be totally honest, we are all feeling broke as a joke. And no, this is not a joke.

Here’s the thing: we get the ebb and flow of business ownership. Highs are super high, and awesome, and usually really productive and most often turn a nice little profitable paycheck at the end. But then we hit that low… when we feel like we’ve officially run out of ideas, energy and money.

You at a low? Ya, me too. So are my friends.

Rach said today, “Let’s just build a compound where we can self-sustain and create things, together!” I agree. But it’s not feasible. We know that, you know that, and God didn’t teach us to run away and hide from our problems.

Though to be honest, I’m totally down for a neighborhood full of my best friends and where we could all walk to a collaborative studio right down the street and our kids could all play in the court and we’d have intellectual conversations over cheese plates on the front porch.

#tangent. Whatevs. It’s a nice daydream.

There is no answer. I would love to be able to write a blog post that has all the answers, that contained enough motivational words of wisdom to pull us all out of this funk and prove to us that we were MADE to do this.

There is no proof, either. We are trusting God, the universe or whatever higher power you believe in that what we are doing is the path that was laid for us. Our prayer today is simply “Isn’t it time for some proof?”

We haven’t earned anything. There is no magic equation that equals “you did this, so you get this as a reward.” Everyone goes down their own path, has their own journey. Some are similar, some feel parallel, and some feel so different from one another that we wonder if there is a possibility that we aren’t both human.

My only tidbit of knowledge is this today: you are not alone. There is no need to sit on your kitchen floor eating mac and cheese and drinking wine, alone. Worst case, at least call me so I can do that with you. Best case, remember that there is someone else out there (eh hem!) doing the exact same thing.

Oh, one more tip. Some great advice that was once given me. Don’t quit when you feel like giving up. You know the saying, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going.” You will make a much more rational, educated and clear headed decision later. It’s ok to quit (or so I’m told, it’s a hard concept for me), just do it with a clear head on your shoulders. Not crying on the couch while watching Chip and Joanna wishing you could be them.

And also (see, I wasn’t done), don’t be afraid to seek help. Don’t be embarrassed, don’t feel like a fraud. Trust us, our doctors, therapists, mom’s cell phone and now this tribe all know us well. Your bank account balance is not a representation of your success, and neither is your current email inbox.

Wine?

Nicole & Co. | A Rising Story

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Let’s be real about this.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a past. Everyone has a struggle, a strife, an inspirational experience that is worth sharing.

Everyone has risen up from the rubble.

Not too long ago, I realized that some people fall well, and some people rise well. Some of us prefer to find motivation while we are falling. Like the saying, “An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds wings on the way down.” Or, on the contrary, some of us (like myself) fall off of said cliff, hit the dirt, and then decide to build a barrier so it doesn’t happen to someone else.

I am not quick witted. I am not really very funny. In fact, my husband would “quick wittedly” tell you that I am actually kind of non-observant and aloof. It takes me a long time to understand jokes, and I often Google things that were talked about over dinner later in the car on the way home. This makes it somewhat hard to “fall well.” I am not nearly quick enough to think about how to save myself from falling. With that said, I coincidentally tend to fall hard. I easily get caught up in the moment, and things tend to hit me all at once. My body likes to get sick when I have been working too hard; I get anxiety attacks more than I’d like to admit; crying is part of the most-everyday routine. I have been told that I feel too much, or that I’m oversensitive. This all may be true, but I like to consider this instead : I just don’t fall well.

Face down in the dirt is not my favorite place. Not that I think it’s anyone’s “favorite” place, but I really, really, really despise it. When I’m down, I almost always just break down. I cry, I kick and scream (or in mommy terms, I throw a tantrum), I reach blindly for help up, and worst of all, I am just straight up pissed off that I got my clothes dirty.

Most of all, I hate the feeling that I know I will be there soon. I can recognize when I’m falling almost immediately. And instead of trying to figure out how to stop falling, I always, always start thinking about how to get up.

I fall hard. But here’s the thing : I rise really well.

I am a strategic risk taker. I don’t mind falling if I have a plan to get back up.

Example : once (okay, wayyy more than once), I was riding a young horse who I knew was eventually going to buck. It’s usually on cold, foggy mornings after a few weeks of time off, and he’s fresh and giddy and has some energy he needs to burn. When I feel this horse hump up, I ALWAYS look for the safest place to land. The muddy puddle is usually a safe bet, soft landing and he probably won’t run over me. I strategically don’t go uphill, as I know downhill means speed which means energy which in turn, usually means bucking. You get my gist. I know I’m going to fall and instead of preventing the fall, I’m just working on how to get back up.

I do this all the time. With everything. A lot of it probably has to do with experience. A lot has happened in these last 28 years.

Which leads me to this. So many stories are told about the fall. Most of the story time is taken up with blind anticipation of an exciting incident. It’s funny how little time it takes to fall, but how much time is spent talking about it. It’s even more peculiar how it takes so much time to rise up, but so little time is spent talking about that part.

It’s time to tell my rising story.

Sure, I’ll have to spend some time on the fall, but that’s not the helpful part.

Experiences teach you things. But more importantly, what you do with those experiences MAKES you who you are. You can choose how to react to situations, and you can learn from your own, and from others’.

If you’re one that falls well but has trouble rising, I’d like to help. If you’re one that falls badly but rises well, well, call me. We should drink wine together.

So what does this mean? Ya, I’ve totally rambled on for way too long. There’s a point, I promise. Well, a few points, actually.

  • This year, I’m proud to announce that I will be writing and publishing my first book. It will be the first glimpse into my rising strong story (thanks, Brene Brown – you have officially coined the coolest term ever). My goal is to have it written by early fall and in the publishing spectrum before the end of the year.
  • But further than that, I am launching a lifestyle brand. This business will be focused on helping others rise – in life, in business, in God, on purpose. Nicole & Co. will be socially focused, reaching an audience through blogs, social media platforms and speaking engagements.
  • Finally, Nicole & Co. will be spending much more time on sharing what I know. Be looking for a fun little online shop, casual and quirky Insta stories and blog posts, behind-the-scenes of my days and oh-so-many collaborations with my favorite people.  

I hope you’ll follow along, share and engage with me. My goal is to be a small part of your life, and for you to be a big part of mine.

More details to follow. Rise well, my friends.

“And in the morning, when I rise, give me Jesus.”

 

Don't Lean Too Far

Let’s talk this out.

Owning a business is effing hard. Like, so hard. I watch my sweet sweet ladyboss friends out there, working their little cute butts off, and they are kicking some serious booty. And me too, but it’s hard to be objective about your own life. Frankly, I’m not sure if I’m kicking booty or not, and I’m definitely not sure where my butt stands on the cute scale at the moment (5 months postpartum makes you seriously hesitant about looking at your backside).

Sometimes it’s easy to be honest, usually when things are going great and you feel like a badass and your bank account is flush and the work keeps coming and time goes a little slower. And then there are the days when time goes so fast that you can literally hear it whiz by your ear like a bee. Your bank account looks about like the number on the scale, which is too high on the scale but too low in the account. Sheez. It’s hard to catch a break sometimes.

Other times it’s hard to be real. When asked, “How’s your business going?”, you actually have the instinct to throw a punch. What nerve?! But really, you have to evaluate whether that person really wants to know or not, and then decide whether you give an authentic answer or not, and then finally be able to articulate your answer either way. Seriously, sometimes just simple conversation seems like you’re riding into battle with your hands tied behind your back.

I love it when my friends are honest. This is a real emotional roller coaster, owning a business. It feels elating all the while feeling like a burden. And we’ve all been on the fence, leaning strongly to one side (the “get a real job” side), when someone suddenly jumps up and grabs your pinky finger and somehow pulls you back the other way. I always seem to land face first, nose in the dirt, and then quickly pop up, hoping that nobody saw my embarrassing tumble.

You guys, I’m leanin’ hard. Someone grab my pinky finger. I’ll gladly land face first today, and then maybe I’ll linger there for a bit, because the sweet smell of fresh dirt is better than the stale smell of a stuffy office job.

I know this. I know I’ll land on the right side. I know that I’ll rise again, and sprint towards the other side of the pasture where all the cool kids are. Maybe it’s the risk that gets me… the leaning so far that you feel like you might fall but know you won’t. Like roller coasters; how far sideways can we go before you flip over?

My son’s greatest challenge right now is learning how to sit up straight without falling backwards. He always falls, and on a big comfy cushy blanket, and then he laughs. One day soon, he won’t fall, and instead stay up straight and the risk of falling will be mitigated.

But how do we mitigate our risk of falling?

Answer: I don’t think we can. Risk is part of the game. It’s the David and Goliath of the real world. Risk is big, but bravery is mighty. You can do a lot with a little strategy, a little faith and a whole lot of bravery.

Pep talk, over.

Meanwhile, I’m going to sit on the bed with Joey tonight and practice sitting up straight. And when he falls backwards, I will too. Because it’s soft and cushy and the risk has been totally mitigated.

 

KINDRED SPIRITS

This morning, on my way to work, I had the sweetest most magical moment.

As you may know, I've been trying to be more intentional with my time, and with that, more intentional with my relationships. I've been challenging myself to reach out to those who I am thinking about, praying about and dwelling about and let them know I am doing so. I'm finding that doing this has brought so much joy to so many hearts, including mine. Simply sending the "I am praying about you today!" text not only provides the words of affirmation to the receiver, but it also brings me comfort knowing that they know they are loved!

So, this morning, I called a colleague of mine, a reputable professional in our community, just to simply tell him that I was sorry our conversation got cut short the last time we connected and that I was grateful to know him.

He initially seemed surprised that I would call just to say this, but then promptly initiated a conversation about a common interest of ours. During this brief but important conversation, he mentioned "kindred spirits" and how he has been praying about someone I love.

It was casual, calm, but so meaningful. This gentleman, whom I profoundly respect and admire, used two phrases that rarely seep out of a professional's vocabulary. KINDRED SPIRIT. And PRAY.

This interaction later got me thinking about how our society so quickly anticipates that to be professional, you mustn't be spiritual. It was profoundly refreshing to have this conversation this morning, and quickly got me considering my own vocabulary I use.

I will strive to no longer filter my feelings through a "professional" mask. If God is filling me with empathy and compassion, I will show it. Say it. Deliver it. Disciple it.

I'm so incredibly thankful for this morning, and this conversation.

So, today, I challenge you to use personal, spiritual and loving vocabulary in your professional life. It might spark change. Good, profound change.