Tag Archives: balance

Simple kind of life

Every year I pick one word that serves as my guiding force.

In 2013, this word was a noun. I wanted to focus on something that seemed tangible. Something attainable. So I decided all my actions would lead to achieving an ultimate goal. And that goal was Balance. From an outside perspective, some may argue that I am far from living a Balanced lifestyle. I am constantly “on.” Always involved in some new project or adventure. Can’t relax. These are all facts, but the truth is that I make sure to spend my time doing things I truly enjoy. Feel challenged by life but relaxed enough to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it.

Balance? Check.

In 2014 I opted to take a different approach. Instead of picking a word that would serve as an end result, I wanted to close out my year with an ultimate definition of myself. A single adjective that could paint a picture of Emily Alvarez to any given stranger (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, I’d certainly be meeting a lot of strangers in the coming year). I decided my word would be Fearless. But one can’t just be Fearless. You have to earn the part. So I focused on doing things that made me slightly nervous. Or that scared me for reasons that were, in the grand scheme of things, unjustified. Like running a full marathon. Leaving a comfortable job that I knew deep down I wasn’t completely happy with. Packing up and moving cross-country to Los Angeles, where I knew almost no one and didn’t have work lined up. It sounded crazy to most people. And it felt crazy in the midst of the transition (and every moment leading up to it), but it was all for a bigger purpose.

Fearlessness? Check.

I closed out 2014 with some very personal decisions that only reinforce the Fearless factor. These decisions are the basis of the life I intend to lead in 2015. So what word will steer my path in the coming year? Something actionable. This year I will Simplify. I’ve come to the realization that I hold on to too many things that don’t add much value to my life. Why do I waste my time and energy on things I will not benefit from? I realize that may sound selfish but I encourage you to think about self-development for a minute. It’s something we should all strive for. If you have a limited amount of time and energy, you are limiting your opportunity to grow if you exhaust yourself on items that aren’t on your agenda for improvement. It’s time to let go. Reduce the noise and add some white space. Get rid of the negative and learn to say no to things that don’t matter. Get over the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out).  Free up some time for myself and enjoy the positive new opportunities that will present themselves as a result. But be careful not to overdo it (remember Balance!).

My best friend Gil, in all her wisdom, reminded me the other day that less is more.

“…spend your energy wisely and don’t overdo it. Otherwise you end up doing a bunch of things half assed.”

Simplicity? Added to the Checklist.

I read somewhere that it takes repeating an action three times before it becomes an official tradition. Year three. Word three. Cheers to new traditions.

Happy 2015.

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What SEXY really means

Let me preface this post with a brief explanation of SEXY Friday, for those of you who don’t already know. Almost two years ago I established Fridays as a day for women to celebrate themselves. This idea piggybacks off of “Handsome Friday,” established by my former trainer Ken Wawa and made popular among our group of friends and colleagues by our mutual (crazy) friend Joe Mazzella. I deemed my ban from their weekly man dates unfair and so came the birth of SEXY Friday.

I recently eavesdropped on a conversation between two women sitting at a bar discussing who they found attractive in the room. I took a good look around and (over)analyzed a few of the subjects at hand. I admit that I did have a few initial reactions but after a few minutes of close study I found it nearly impossible to decide who I was attracted to just based on physical appearance alone. I found myself instantly turned off by the vibes exuded from some of these people. I then started to question: What exactly is Sexy? Yes, physical attraction is extremely important (when it comes to intimate relationships). But beyond that it is a combination of the following things (in no particular order):

1. Emotional Security / Confidence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Confidence sans arrogance. There are tactful ways to display confidence in oneself without seeming egotistical. Anyone that can master this is definitely worth the time. Ditch the insecurities. It’s not a good look and will ultimately cause problems down the road. But don’t overdo it. No one wants to be around someone who thinks they are superior. As with most things, balance is key.

2. Compassion: Someone once told me to pay close attention to how a man treats his mother, for it is a reflection of how he will treat you. Generosity, kindness, love. Look for an open heart. (Ladies – this goes for you too). I don’t think anymore needs to be said here.

3. Sense of Humor: A good laugh can cure anything. I am such a sucker for someone who can appreciate sarcasm. If you can combat my wit, I commend you. A good sense of humor is nothing short of magnetic. Sex appeal at max volume.

4. Authenticity: There is no need for anyone to be anything other than themselves. Your experiences have molded you into the person you are. Don’t try to be someone you’re not regardless of your surroundings. Everyone will see through it. Be genuine and you will likely attract the people you want to be around.

5. Ambition: There is something so appealing about drive. A willingness and capacity to grow and learn and figure things out. An understanding and appreciation that change and transition are a part of life and human relationships, and the zeal to take things on regardless of fear. Be fearless. Remember that overachievers don’t exist. Always strive to be bigger and better. Reach one goal and transition straight into the next. Comfort with ones current state of being is a huge red flag.

There are, of course, other factors that contribute to overall “sexiness.” And these factors will, of course, differ depending on who you ask. I mean, someone who can appreciate a good tune and bust a decent dance move is always a plus in my book. But these other fun factors are just a part of the whole package: how we carry and treat ourselves, our loved ones, even strangers of the world are what really draw people into each other.

On this SEXY Friday focus less on what you look like in the mirror and more on how you carry yourself and treat others. Exude confidence. Practice compassion. Make someone smile. Take one step toward your ultimate goals. Be you. Be sexy.

Love,
Em

 

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Be grateful for everything, and anxious for nothing.

I’m a travelholic. I’ve told myself that every few years I would invest my time and money into some sort of big trip and fly somewhere where I don’t speak the native language (and if I don’t recognize the characters of their alphabet, even better).

This year I decided to journey to Indonesia. My trip was perfectly in-line with my mission for 2013: Balance. Epic sunrise volcano climbs, afternoons of surfing and monkey bite shenanigans juxtaposed with guru-guided yoga sessions and crystal-clear open water swims were the perfect recipe for mental rejuvenation. Another fascinating trip to a third-world country put my senses into overdrive and brought me back to the U.S. with the realization that as different as our worlds may seem, we are really all the same. Regardless of culture, we all have dreams for a better life for ourselves and our children.

Traveling emphasizes what’s really important and I definitely got my dose of perspective (something I think everyone seems to slowly lose without realization. Hell, I’m guilty). I returned to the Western world thinking about how much we have and how much we take for granted. Too many of us are so enthralled in things we want and lose sight of what we already have. We have forgotten to keep it simple and we have mastered the art of over-complicating. We have forgotten how to slow down, take a breather and enjoy the things and people that are important to us as individuals. I had a lot of time on planes to reflect not only on the differences in lifestyle of the people and places I visited, but on the things that matter to me most. Simply put, I am grateful. Grateful for my health, my freedom, my successes, the dreams I have managed to turn into realities at the ripe age of 26 and, above all, I am grateful for my friends and family. I am reminded that I worry too much about things that don’t matter. Reminded that being a good person has its rewards. Sometimes they are small rewards, but it’s often the little things that can make all the difference. So when you feel like being an asshole, don’t be. Stay grounded. It’ll payoff.

With that said, take a minute to think about what matters most to you. If it’s a person, tell them. If it’s an action, indulge in it. Relax, enjoy and remain grateful for everything and anxious for nothing.

Oh, and did I mention I got bit by a wild monkey? I leave you with a few Indo-stills:

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A little bit of this with a little bit of that

I came across this challenge just before the start of the new year. The idea is to pick one word that will serve as your driving force. A word that will serve as a constant reminder of your goals. I’m not really sure I believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think anytime is a good time for a fresh start. So what if it’s already May, right? But I thought this was a neat idea, so I decided that my word for 2013 is Balance.
The fact that I haven’t written anything in a while is testament to the fact that I don’t know how to relax. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to overwhelm myself. It’s just part of who I am. A can’t-sit-still-Cuban. But I’ve realized that I need to occasionally slow it down for my own damn sake. Take a chill pill, Em. Hell, take two! Indulge in the things that make you happy. After all, what’s life if you don’t enjoy it?
I take pride in my accomplishments and all the things I juggle. I don’t know how you do it (words I hear often from friends and family). Good time management? Perhaps. Wonder Woman? We already knew that. But on those rare occasions that I do step on the brakes and breathe, enjoy my own company or the company of friends, I realize that a break can be so nice. I don’t want to become a workaholic or so busy that I don’t have time for the people that are important to me. I need to learn to make more time for them. I need to make more time for me.

My ultimate goal: Feel challenged by life but relaxed enough to enjoy it. My reminder: Balance.

So far, so good.

Albert Einstein said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” I do believe that living a balanced life comes easier to you as you gain momentum. But listen, Einstein, sometimes you just need to stop moving so fast.

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