The Meaning Behind “No”

When you say YES to others

saying no

On most days, I am the “YES woman” – hardly ever would you hear me say NO to anyone in my family, especially my kids, or my friends, or my co-workers. But in recent weeks, I have been feeling overextended and run down. At times, I have this FOMO thing (Fear Of Missing Out) when it comes to anything having to do with my kids. Today, my Hubby offered to take our 5 year old and her older sister to the Bridgit Mendler concert, when it was me originally. His intentions are good – he wanted me to rest after surviving the JB concert a few days prior. I have to accept these offers like they’re gifts, and know that sometimes I need to say no and take care of myself, regroup, refocus and just rest.


Dedicated to Aubreigh

Those who know me know that music is my therapy. When I run out of ways and words to express myself, I end up putting on my headphones to tune out the world and fill my head with music. Many times, I would hear the perfect song with the perfect lyrics, that express how I was feeling at that very moment in time.

I am a huge Corinne Bailey Rae fan – I dedicate her song “Butterfly” to my eldest daughter who I love very much. When I heard this song, the lyrics were so sweet and so touching, that I almost started crying at my desk (I know, hot mess). I pray that one day she can listen to this song and be reminded of her Dad and me, and how much we love her. She recently graduated from high school so it’s been a very emotional time, and I’ve been thinking about her a lot. This one is for you, Nini <3


I am so grateful to have the same 3 wonderful friends who have been there with me through teenage years to adult years, heartaches, happiness, uncertainty, career changes, marriage, and motherhood. They are amazing women and every time we get together we relive our memories, listen to each other’s stories, and support each other through whatever stressors are in our life at the moment. Today, I was reminded of just how special these ladies are to me and my family. The enormous amount of support, love and understanding I felt from them today filled my heart. I am lucky and I do not take these friendships for granted. I only pray and hope that each of my kids will be blessed with the same gift of love, loyalty and friendship. <3


I’m grateful for the time I spent with my family today – we walked to the nearby shops, picked up a refreshing drink, and ate a delicious homemade steak and egg salad dinner together at home (also named ‘Aly’s Favorite Salad’). I am also grateful that my 5 year old is interested in cooking – she helped me assemble the salads with great enthusiasm and even ate the greens! :)

I am also grateful that I had the strength to deal with some very stressful situations the last three days – so many times I just wanted to throw in the towel, but I have managed to stay strong, hopeful, move forward and be present for the people I love. Not always an easy thing for me to do. The quote below sums up how I feel – I’ve learned a lot and have been hurt too much, and this is why I am making changes.

“People change for two reasons: Either they’ve learned a lot or they’ve been hurt too much.”

36 Things to Do Before I Turn 37

So…I started compiling this list and before posting, was able to cross off one thing. :) Some of these items are ‘rollovers’ from past lists but as you can see, if they make it to the next one, it’s obvious that it’s something I really want to do. Here it is!

  1. Take my parents on a vacation.
  2. Do a run/walk.
  3. Get down to wedding weight.
  4. Go to a concert. (watched Maoli and Katchafire on 5/24)
  5. Try a new, complicated or a copycat recipe.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal – post at least one positive thing on my blog as frequently as I can.
  7. Teach my kids how to cook a favorite dish.
  8. Visit the museums…or a museum.
  9. Watch a musical.
  10. Paint a utility box with friends and family.
  11. Take family pictures with Phoebe :)
  12. Take a day off from work and do whatever I want.
  13. Be a tourist in our own city (San Diego).
  14. Go on a food adventure.
  15. Go strawberry or apple picking.
  16. Travel to a new place with the Hubby.
  17. Take my kids to a live show.
  18. Go to church more often.
  19. Exercise regularly…I.CAN.DO.IT.
  20. Pamper myself more.
  21. Be more honest about who I want to be a part of my life and give my time to them.
  22. Splurge on something I usually don’t splurge on even if it’s ridiculous!
  23. Have afternoon tea with the older girls and perhaps make it a tradition.
  24. Watch the sunset with my Hubby and have a romantic picnic.
  25. Go on a hike with the family.
  26. Plan a vow renewal for our 7 year anniversary.
  27. Have a picnic in the park with all of the kids and the hubby.
  28. Host a fun themed party.
  29. De-clutter regularly.
  30. Do a 1:1 with each kid.
  31. So what if it didn’t get done – work on not being so hard on myself.
  32. Be better at ‘leaving work at work’ and just being present for my family when I get home.
  33. Start photo books for the littles.
  34. Get involved with Ella’s school.
  35. Exhale more and let it go…especially if you had nothing to do with it and aren’t in a position to change ‘it’.
  36. Start that children’s book.

Here are some notes on why I chose some of the things on this year’s list:

31. So what if it didn’t get done…
I think it’s completely true what they say – “you are your own worst critic”. Yep, that can be me. But lately, I’ve been giving myself a pass…sometimes several passes. I’m a creature of habit, lists and routine. I’m kind of addicted to order. So imagine me when I can’t get things done when they’re ‘supposed’ to get done. Nowadays, I’m working on giving myself some extra time to breathe and ‘getting to it when I can’. I’ve realized that I am doing my very best every day, and sometimes I need to realize that my best is good enough.

34. Get involved with Ella’s school.
This was something I missed out on when I was a kid. My Mom and Dad weren’t involved really – yeah, it’s a bummer. But I want to give my kids what I missed growing up. I think it’s very important that kids see their parents involved and interested in their school activities. Every opportunity I had to volunteer for Ella’s pre-k class, I was there! This coming school year, I have ‘unofficially’ been named the Family Nights Coordinator for the PTA, a position that is so fitting for me. :)

35. Exhale more and let it go…
If anyone has walked a day – even a few hours – in my shoes, then maybe they’d understand the level of stress, pressure and anxiety I can feel at times. I have been better, however, at letting things that are out of my hands, just go. This is a challenge in my life. By nature, I am a worry-wart and can be emotional, even outspoken if I feel passionate about it. Guess that means I just care too much and am extremely protective of people I love. But what I learned about myself last year was that I need to show myself some love and take care of myself more. Unnecessary stress is just that. Unnecessary. I’m trying to spend more time focusing on things that make me happy and finding ways to just relax.

Words to Live By

“Not everyone should have a front row seat in our lives. There are some people in your life that need to be loved from a distance. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you let go of or at least minimize your time with draining, negative, incompatible, not-going-anywhere relationships. Observe the relationships around you. Pay attention. Which ones lift and which ones lean? Which ones encourage and which ones discourage? Which ones are on a path of growth uphill and which ones are going downhill? When you leave certain people do you feel better or feel worse? Which ones always have drama or don’t really understand, know, or appreciate you? The more you seek quality, respect, growth, peace of mind, love and truth around you, the easier it will become for you to decide who gets to
sit in the front row and who should be moved to the balcony of your life.” -Adam Malone

Ready to Let Go…Are You?

“You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”

I read this quote by Jan Glidewell and thought it was extremely fitting for some of the changes that are happening in my life. Time to let go and embrace the beautiful things in front of me.

Feel Good Friday

A friend of mine posted this on her Facebook wall and I had to share this with all of you. More than an ad, it’s a heartwarming story about the circle of life and the pursuit of happiness. Enjoy and be touched.

“Go find what makes you happy. Time flies by so quickly. Don’t waste it on nonsense.”

Happiness is Your Birthright

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest

This weekend, I was finally able to watch Beats Rhymes & Life – a documentary following the past and present career of my all-time favorite hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Back in the day (on the boulevard of Linden), my crew and I would use their music as a backdrop to our lyrics. They were truly instrumental in my life and especially in my adoration for music today. Hip-hop has not been the same – although the styles are appreciated on its own level, nobody has been placed on that same pedestal that holds my favorite group. They are always the point of reference and comparison for me, anyway, especially when music is the topic of conversation with my kids.

I loved this documentary – it illustrates the trials and tribulations of a group of young friends with different backgrounds and similar threads; the rise to fame; the challenges of friendship in the music business; and loyalty.

A true must-see for any ATCQ fan out there!