Thank you, Veterans!

Thank You, Veterans!-1

On this day, November 11, 2015, we salute the veterans! As a woman, I feel very blessed to live in a country where I can own a business, create my own opportunities, and travel independently around the world!

Take a minute to say thanks to anyone who has served, and for the freedoms we are lucky to have!

The Other Far Worse F Word

To my joy and delight, my article, ‘The Other Far Worse F Word” was published in Elephant Journal, an online publication with over 14 million monthly views. The content on Elephant Journal is dedicated to living a mindful, authentic life. I’m a huge fan of the content so when I took a bold chance and submitted my work, I was thrilled when they said yes!

As of today (May 13, 2015), the article has had over 16,000 views and was moved to the front page of the site within 3 hours of being posted. I’m humbled by the response for my article.

The original article can be found at: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/05/the-other-far-worse-f-word/ but a short cut is below!

Apathy

The Other Far Worse F Word

To the chagrin of my mother, I like (no, love) the f-word.

I realize that it isn’t Namaste appropriate and I probably make my third eye angry when I blurt it out loud, but at times there really is no better word to fill in the blank, to express an emotion, or to tell someone where to go. I do my best to not drop the infamous f-bomb in social settings where I am required to wear a name tag, but I can’t promise that I do not think it or secretly direct it at some idiot on a regular basis.

With no filter between my brain and my mouth, the f-word and I have created many memories together. When I recently turned 40, I decided I was old enough to no longer apologize for dropping my favorite adjective and noun at the drop of the hat. With what my heart endured in the last decade, embracing the f-word without abandon seems like a free gift with purchase.

There is another f-word that I believe does more damage than the f’er I have constantly on the tip of my tongue. The word that excites me as much as a wet noodle is “fine.” Even when it rolls out of my mouth, I start to gag. Have you noticed that nothing good ever comes from the word fine?

How do I look in this dress? You look fine.

Are you mad at me? No, I’m fine.

How are you? I’m fine, thanks.

Ironically, the definition of “fine” can vary between “high quality” (adjective) or “pleasing manner, very well” (adverb). If fine is the mistress of positive, how did it become the word that yields a response as exciting as chips with no guacamole? Fine is now the filler word we use when we don’t really have anything else to say. When our emotions are dragging on the floor, it’s all we can muster.

I hate fine; I hate everything the modern generation has allowed it to become. I strongly dislike when I feel fine because that means I am content. At the ripe old age of 40-ish, content is like making the B-team instead of being selected as an all-star. Content and her cousin, fine, are the bridesmaids—never the bride.

Being fine equates to getting sucked into the Alanis Morisette song, Ironic; “It’s like a black fly in your chardonnay.” It’s still fine to drink, but you lose interest because Jeff Goldblum took a diver in your glass. (Will the younger generation understand the movie reference I made there?)

So in an attempt to turn my frown upside down, I’m campaigning to rid the world of fine. If you are living in a life that you didn’t design, going to a job every day that doesn’t fill your soul and/or in a relationship that feels like you are wearing a heavy coat full of burden, you are a fully paid up member of the Fine Club. In case you need a smack in the f’ing face, you are bordering between the neighborhoods of content and just getting by. Believe me, I was the mayor of this town for a long time! I realize I can’t point my finger at you without pointing three back at me.

In spite of every great intention, when I rounded into my 30’s, I found myself in a very high profile job in corporate America; I regretted it on the third day yet I stayed five years. I landed in a relationship that started as a casual friendship yet became emotional abusive; it lasted two years and 11 months longer than it ever should have. And I found myself existing in a world that went from colorful to dark gray because the architect of my life apparently took a hiatus. It should come as no surprise that I look back at my 30’s and can’t help but think, “f*ck off!”

It’s easy to point fingers at my ability to choose the wrong job, the painfully wrong man or the wrong life; being the victim allows for so many excuses. The honest reason my life fell off the rails is because I let it. I didn’t allow the inner voice that spoke loudly, on the third day at my fancy corporate job, to completely derail the American dream of having a consistent paycheck every two weeks.

Regrettably, I closed my ears when my intuition raised its hand and started campaigning for the end of my relationship the first time he used the c-word. As my life imploded, exhausted from being in a place of crisis of management versus thriving, I shut down completely. The only answer I could muster up when asked how I was doing was always the infamous “fine.” Life was winning against an opponent that was no longer in the game.

They say time heals all wounds, and as much as I believe that, I have come to learn that giving yourself permission to live the life you want really is the best remedy. When you start to view your life through a selfish lens, you can no longer live with the rose-colored glasses of fine.

I realize that the use of the word selfish may shock some but it’s really the crux of the solution. I’m not giving you permission to be selfish so you can have the biggest piece of cake (in your 40’s, your metabolism slows to molasses so, believe me, leave the cake alone!) Instead, selfish is meant to be a rallying cry so that you put yourself first. There is a reason the airlines tell us to put our oxygen mask on first before we help others. When we do not allow our heart to explore the vocation our life intended, we experience turbulence. And this turbulence doesn’t come with complimentary peanuts.

The next time you utter the word fine, I implore you to do a gut check. If fine starts to pepper your daily language, it’s time to call in the architect of your own life and start to make plans for a major overhaul. Scary, sure; doable, absolutely! Please don’t ever get to a position where your job, relationship or view on life is just “fine.” Take it from someone who lived far too long in that space; life is winning when you get to that point.

With self-initiated permission to design the life you want to live, I promise there is a whole lot of “f*ck yeah” ahead!

~

Author: Nicole Matthews

Editor: Caroline Beaton

Photo: Flickr
About Nicole Matthews

Nicole Matthews is an entrepreneur, author, speaker and champion for living your best life. As a global event, travel and lifestyle concierge, she helps clients to enjoy the playground of life. Her new book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live is available on Amazon. Nicole craves humor and storytelling, as much as the perfect accessory to accentuate an outfit. Deep down, she believes her days performing, at the age of 9, as a showgirl in Las Vegas, have prepared her for when Dancing With the Stars calls.

Exploring the Streets of Old San Juan

Our first full day in Puerto Rico, we trekked into Old San Juan from our hotel in the neighborhood of Carolina. Carolina is home to many hotels, a beautiful beach and easy access to the airport. The Ritz Carlton, the Intercontinental and El San Juan Resort all have beach front properties in Carolina. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Resort and Casino, which was just a quick walk to the beach.

To get to Old San Juan, we took public transportation, which required us to travel via city bus. For only 75 cents, we were able to get from Carolina to Old San Juan on one bus. The buses are clean, air-conditioned and move quickly through the city. TRAVEL NOTE: The buses in Puerto Rico only take exact change so you cannot pay with dollars; coins only. The journey from Carolina to Old San Juan took about 45 minutes, and led us through diverse neighborhoods like Condado (home to many of the luxury stores like Gucci and Tiffany’s.) We were able to get quite a flavor of the extended city through the bus route.

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Upon arriving at Old San Juan, we immediately hopped on to the free shuttle, which took us into the heart of the town. This shuttle leaves from the bus terminal. With 20 stops throughout the colonial section of Old San Juan, visitors are able to easily get around the cobblestone streets and hills on this trolley. We jumped off after a few minutes to start exploring. Although the streets within the colonial section of Old San Juan can be quite steep, it’s certainly worth getting your feet to the ground to start walking. You can appreciate the culture, stores and restaurants of the area much better by walking.

After a quick stop at the Coach store to make a purchase (hey- the purse was 80% off!) , we took a tour of The Cathedral, which houses Ponce De Leon’s remains. Directly across the street from The Cathedral, sits the El Convento Hotel, which was once a convent. In July 1651, the convent was inaugurated as the Monastery of Our Lady Carmen of San José — and was situated across the street from San Juan Cathedral, the Western Hemisphere’s oldest cathedral. This historic property represents the best of colonial architecture. It’s beautiful mustard color walls, contrast beautifully with the blue cobble stone streets found in this neighborhood.

While wondering through the streets of Old San Juan, it’s easy to see the blend of historic influence from the Spanish, the lively colors of the Caribbean and the Latin influence of culture. A must-see in Old San Juan are the forts: Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th century fortress that was named after King Phillip II of Spain and Fort San Cristóbal, known as the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean,” is located on the eastern side of Old San Juan.

Old San Juan offers the best in shopping, restaurants and historic landmarks. It’s a must-see if you visit Puerto Rico! The only negative is that the streets can get crowded when the cruise ships arrive so be prepared to share the experience with the cruisers.

Have you been to Puerto Rico? What did you love?

What He Really Wants For Valentine’s Day

heart

Being a singleton at the moment means I’m not really all that excited that the dreaded day of hearts and cupids is shortly going to be upon us. But I do know for those that are paired up, shopping for the man in your life can be a challenge. I remember the stress shopping for the perfect gift caused when I was in previous relationships. You want to give a token of love without coming across too strong that you are expecting a diamond ring (or maybe you are??)

My research for Valentine’s Day gifts yielded this great list by the husband of blogger, The Humbled Homemaker. Why not go directly to the source (a man) and get the real scoop.

http://thehumbledhomemaker.com/2015/01/valentines-day-gift-ideas-for-men.html#comment-1154873

Hope this makes your shopping easier!

What else would you add to this list? What gift did your man love?

TSE 2015 – Where All The Event Planners Go!

If you were looking for anyone in the event industry last week, more than likely they were in Anaheim, California at TSE 2015 – The Special Event Conference and Trade Show; the largest industry conference for event planners, vendors and suppliers. I was very fortunate to have been selected to speak all three days. TSE is an annual tradition for the event industry. We attend for education, networking and inspiration. The trade show floor is a visual cornucopia of the latest and greatest decor, furniture and must-have products we can implement in our events. It’s also a great chance for us to network with friends old and new.

This year was particularly special because in addition to speaking all 3 days, I was also able to offer my new book, Permission: Stop Competing & Start Creating the Life You Want to Live at the Conference Bookstore. What a thrill to be asked to do a book signing during the conference, along side my dear friend, Marley Majcher – The Party Goddess!

My presentations included:

Meet Henley Co. 2015:

 

The new year offers the perfect lens to review, revise and reengage our company philosophy.   Share your philosophy with us by leaving a comment below!

 

Meet Henley Co. 2015:

 

 

The Henley Company is a concierge firm specializing in event, travel and lifestyle experiences.

Our philosophy…

 

WE…

Love to play

Exercise our imaginations as much as our bodies

Know lipstick, a blow out and lashes can change everything

Live with wanderlust

Crave experiences worth talking about

Travel to feed our souls

Design events that create stories

Share the awesome people, places, and things on the planet

Believe laughter should be a food group

Cultivate relationships as much as our reputation

Understand lifestyle is not a luxury, but a choice

Love when hanging upside down feels right side up

Cherish creating memories with our families

Champion eating well, drinking often, and being infinitely merry

Know a small but mighty group of friends is our lifeblood

Give ourselves daily permission to design the life we want to live

Life is a Playground – Go Experience It!

Day #2: Living the Good Life – 30 Day Challenge (Get Air)

Day # 2 of my challenge had me getting air! The trampoline park craze seems to be taking over the kids birthday party circuit. I wanted to get in on the action even though I wasn’t there celebrating a 6 year old’s birthday!

My niece, Elyse, happens to have a Staff Development Day today so I took her with me to Get Air in Poway so she could show me the ropes of bouncing high! I was the giant amongst a sea of toddlers that were gingerly bouncing, and no where in the league of the next America’s Ninja Warrior, who took every chance he could get to show me his flips. When I complimented his skill, he told me he takes karate and he pointed to his rising sun headband. I bowed in reverence to a great karate master.

Elyse took off with a blast, bouncing high and low, where as I needed to get my trampoline legs underneath me. We tried everything from the foam pit, to the basketball hoop, and raced our way with high knees from one side of the field to the other. We laughed uncontrollably when my attempt at bouncing on my stomach to flip back up to my feet looked more like a whale beaching itself. We then took part in a fierce game of dodge ball, which again labeled me the giant in the cage. Sorry to the future Mary Lou Retton, who back flips like it’s an art; the doge ball game was on and you took a red ball to the side of the head! How’s it feel to watch from the sidelines, Mary Lou?

Our hour-long bounce pass felt like we were there for 3 days thanks to the exhausting workout, but we had a blast together. It was a really fun little field trip, and I got to take an hour out of my otherwise serious day to play with my niece.  #Blessing!

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