The Melancholy of Happy Giuliana...

Giuliana did not stop smiling the entire 7 hours I was with her.

She was older than me, but had a bright, young spirit.

We are both solo female travelers so we had a bit in common, but I met her in her hometown.

We exchanged laughs, travel stories, tips, information, and deeply listened to each other’s travel stories while vicariously living through the words.

Many times she pause… to reflect on the story she was telling me… with a sense of melancholy.

But I get it… there are times I leave a city or leave a place and I am so damn sad. A good sad… But when you spend time in a place that gives you great experiences, great times, great stories… You have a sense of sadness. A good sadness. It’s something you feel in your heart and something you cannot quite put into words.

Giuliana is Italian so her affection is not hidden in any sense. Immediately embracing me, holding my hand, putting her hands to my cheeks like she was looking at me like a younger version of herself. I met Giuliana because I wanted to make some homemade pasta! I think one of the best things the internet has given us is AIRBNB EXPERIENCES. Seriously, there are some passionate people on this website simply doing what they love and inviting, and welcoming, others into their space to experience their craft, their love, and their passions.

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Over dinner, Giuliana and I talked about about her most recent travels.

It was one of her biggest adventures… literally and figuratively. So big that she was had to get a nice amount of vaccinations but also pushed her limits, staying in places that would require her to be completely out of her comfort zone… and definitely out of mine or yours. No wifi, no lights. Completely remote… the trip was dedicated to simply living.

After the experience was over, Giuliana, like the angel she is, drove me back home because there were no more buses running. Before getting into the car, I thought about the incredible, authentic, raw, once in a life time experience I had with her, her mother, and the four other people who participated in this day. The whole day focused on real food, real people, and real interactions. Real laughter, real manual work, real desire.

Not to mention I picked FRESH chicken eggs from the coop for the pasta, I picked the spices from the gardens, I drank the homemade wine, and completely submerged myself in this experience. The home was nothing like I’ve ever seen. If you are thinking about going to Siena, you have to stop thinking and you must just go.

Anyway,

On the drive home Giuliana’s mood seemed to switch a bit.

Prior to getting in the car, over dinner she told us guests about her Fibromyalgia (long-term condition that causes pain all over the body… Basically the deterioration of your muscles and the fibers in your nervous system for reasons that are unknown.)

In the car she told me that she had been crying all morning and now she is exhausted. She told me about how she doesn’t recognize herself in the morning because she wakes up angry… “like a devil,” she said, because of the pain. At one time, she would leap out of bed in the morning, happy… she now wakes up in misery.

She told me after her last trip, she came back home and 3 months later she was in chronic pain, every day. 5 months later, after tests, and tests, and tests, she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.

She told me about how one time she was a traveler. And then something bad happened in her life that made her so anxious all the time that she did not travel anymore. She went to groups and classes and finally found the freedom to fly again.

Specifically she told me about the time she was walking on the beach in Senegal listening to a Coldplay song along the water and feeling released and free of anything, or anyone, holding her back.

I felt freedom… I was free. I was able to travel again.”

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From that point Giuliana never took traveling for granted again and spent the next five years of her life working and traveling.

Until, like mentioned above, she developed Fibromyalgia after her last trip.

She told me how this morning she woke up to go on a walk and the first song that came on her phone was the same Coldplay song that she listened to on the beach in Senegal.

“How unfair is it now that I am not free again? I finally was free again and then… not anymore. I cannot stand for too long. I cannot sit in the same position. It feels like there are a million rats biting the me from the inside. I used to do yoga… I used to do handstands… I was always fit. I never complained and I was always going out and being fun. Now I have lost so many friends, I have gained weight, I cannot do yoga. So many doors have shut. I am so full of love inside and now… I feel like I have no where to put it, no where to share it, no where to go…”

I listened to Giuliana. Of course I could never completely understand her pain… but I felt so much empathy for you.

***

You are reading this blog post because you like the messages I convey. You know almost every damn day I tell you, at the bare fucking minimum, to be so grateful to have your BODY.

I urge you to be active and live a healthy, happy lifestyle because without our health, we will never have anything more.

I started to tell Giuliana about my appreciation for my body and how I always think about without my legs, without my feet, without my eyes… I wouldn’t be able to do anything. Nothing. Niente.

I started to tell her:

“This morning I woke up and went on a run through the hills of Siena…”

“OH!” She began to cry….

I could tell she wished she could run through the hills of Siena like I’m sure she did for years prior.

In less than 5 months Giuliana’s completely changed. She told me she is still in complete denial. She doesn’t know how to live this life. For over 45 years she was a different person. Who is she now?

She had to quit her job that she was at for 18 years. She no longer travels.

I wish I could give some of my “life” to Giuliana. If you want to know a little bit about what goes on in my mind: I constantly think about when I will grow older and I won’t be able to be as active as I am now. I love my body so much. I am so grateful for it. Grateful for this life… grateful to be able to spend hours and hours and hours walking around completely aimlessly.

My aimless walking… my aimless travels… have brought me some of the most incredible experiences here in Italy. I have stumbled upon people who have made important impressions in my heart, I have stumbled upon the most perfect little shops, and I have eaten some great food. All of which I can attribute to simply having a working body.

I always think about how I could fucking die tomorrow. I think about how life is just too damn short to live your life chasing money and worrying about money or worrying about people who make you feel ANYTHING BUT HAPPY.

Seriously, think about this “person” for a bit. How do they make you feel? Good.. good. Keep them. Do they make you feel discouraged about your passions, do they make you feel unsupported, overwhelmed, unwelcomed? UMMMMMM NEXT!!!!! Bye!!! There’s so many fucking people in the world you do not need ANYONE who makes you feel LESS THAN.

I wanted to write about Giuliana because my time with her was something incredibly special. Her spirit could shine light on all the hills of Tuscany. Her story resonates with me and my heart was bleeding for her when she was confessing her words, emotions, and feelings to me.

This is why I tell you guys to, at the bare minimum, be grateful for your body. This is why I tell you to practice a happy, active lifestyle. This is why I will spend hours writing and talking photos and curating a blog or instagram post to share with the world while neglecting other things that might make me some “real” money. THIS is what is important. THIS is real.

I simply want to advocate to take a moment EVERY SINGLE DAY to appreciate life… to appreciate your body, your brain, your eyes, your feet, your hands, your voice, your fingers, your heart… And then, do your best to let your body know you love it and appreciate it by treating it right. Take a walk… use food as fuel… and LOVE it. Your body and your mind are connected… If you brain releases love chemicals… your body will feel it. And your body will love you back. And then, you will live a life of love… and what more can we really ask for?

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If you would like to book this Airbnb experience, please send me a message. You will have the best time in Siena with this experience. You will meet amazing people and you will eat AMAZING food. You will truly “live” and take life slow and relaxed… I cannot recommend this enough.

Continue to scroll for some photos of the experience:

I Lunedì Sono Bene Giornate! - EverydayVictoria, Milano, Bologna, Firezne.

Ciao ragazzi :) Happy Monday from Italia!

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We’ll cover a couple things in today’s newsletter:

We’ve rebranded, again! Are you keeping up? 😋

My instagram and blog/brand will now be called “Everyday Victoria”

“Perchè?” You ask. Well, as much as my instagram focused on “style” and me, Victoria, there was something missing in the handle. Every day on my instagram and my blog I connect with you guys… I chat with you and together we ponder life, explore new experiences, and grow. On Mondays I send you #MondaysAreGoodDays blogs, on Wednesdays I send you “Midweek Motivation” and eventually I would love to send you #gRAINfood on Tuesdays, #ThreeSongsForTheWeekend on Thursdays, #PhotosOnFriday, and #SelfCareOnSundays (I’ve got lots of ideas for you! 🙂) So, we see the theme here… something EVERYDAY from me.

So with all of this… and with the fact that these ideas have been written down in my journal for months now… the name change will be the first jump in the next stages of my blog, brand, business thing that I do…

I find that this name is much more accurate with what I want to do here: be a friend, be a casual conversation starter, just.. you know… chat with you guys every day and show you what I’m up to every day… I’m really just a normal person that does “everyday” things.

Inherently I have this pull to share my story, share my voice, share my life with those around me… so here we are.

Anyway, let’s move on… :)

As you may, or may not, know… I am on a solo trip through Europe (Italy and Portugal)  I landed in Milano and since I have traveled to Monza, Bologna, and I am now writing this post to you in a Firenze cafe :)  I wanted to go on a solo trip because I needed some real excitement, change and uncomfortable experiences. I thought, being just outside NYC, and traveling alone  a lot  I’d be fine and confident like I normally am.  Hmmm…. I really underestimated that one. Not that I was unhappy… but being a new country with a new culture, new language, etc. can absolutely make you “check yourself” and really intimidate you. Think of Milano as Italy’s New York City. There is a hustle & a bustle here and people on a mission. And then there’s me… unable to simply commit to a restaurant I want to eat at… not knowing if I should pay first, then eat… or eat then pay… why do they keep asking me if I want my cafe (espresso) “normale” … isn’t “un cafe” supposed to just mean “an espresso” ?!  Anyway… I was definitely uncomfortable. But that’s what I came here for, no? Yes.  None of this was a bad experience though, if anything my first week in Italy (Milano and Bologna) humbled me immensely.  Here I am thinking that being someone who typically identifies as being from New York City, I’ll be gooooooood. NYC is intense and will eat you up and spit you out… but everything changes once you “parlare un po’ italiano” (speak little italian)  Anywayyyyy… Milano was a cool city and while I can see why most people skip it on their Italy trips, I met some amazing people.   TIP!:  FACEBOOK TRAVEL GROUPS. Man, this saved me. I met an amazing girl from a female solo travel group who showed me around Milano, got apertivio with me (aperitivo is this amazing Italian custom where you spend about 8 Euro on a drink and get food for FREE… brilliant), and even invited me to a gallery opening/exhibition which resulted in my extending my stay in Milano. I would say Milano is great when you have a friend and while you should never be discouraged from traveling solo to ANYWHERE… this place can be a bit intimidating (in the best way). Public transportation is incredibly easy and Milano is very, very safe. I have plans to write a post on how to prepare for a solo trip with all my best tips and tricks for ya. while no one seems to really use facebook anymore, there are many communities and groups on facebook that will allow you to feel like you belong and help you out along the way.  I stayed at the Queen Hostel in milano and I met some great people here too. I met friends that wanted to go on random bike rides at 11pm, go get pizza at random hours, and sat and chatted with me in the hostel lobby.  Thank you Milano… off to Bologna!

As you may, or may not, know… I am on a solo trip through Europe (Italy and Portugal)

I landed in Milano and since I have traveled to Monza, Bologna, and I am now writing this post to you in a Firenze cafe :)

I wanted to go on a solo trip because I needed some real excitement, change and uncomfortable experiences. I thought, being just outside NYC, and traveling alone a lot I’d be fine and confident like I normally am.

Hmmm…. I really underestimated that one. Not that I was unhappy… but being a new country with a new culture, new language, etc. can absolutely make you “check yourself” and really intimidate you. Think of Milano as Italy’s New York City. There is a hustle & a bustle here and people on a mission. And then there’s me… unable to simply commit to a restaurant I want to eat at… not knowing if I should pay first, then eat… or eat then pay… why do they keep asking me if I want my cafe (espresso) “normale” … isn’t “un cafe” supposed to just mean “an espresso” ?!

Anyway… I was definitely uncomfortable. But that’s what I came here for, no? Yes.

None of this was a bad experience though, if anything my first week in Italy (Milano and Bologna) humbled me immensely.

Here I am thinking that being someone who typically identifies as being from New York City, I’ll be gooooooood. NYC is intense and will eat you up and spit you out… but everything changes once you “parlare un po’ italiano” (speak little italian)

Anywayyyyy… Milano was a cool city and while I can see why most people skip it on their Italy trips, I met some amazing people.

TIP!: FACEBOOK TRAVEL GROUPS. Man, this saved me. I met an amazing girl from a female solo travel group who showed me around Milano, got apertivio with me (aperitivo is this amazing Italian custom where you spend about 8 Euro on a drink and get food for FREE… brilliant), and even invited me to a gallery opening/exhibition which resulted in my extending my stay in Milano. I would say Milano is great when you have a friend and while you should never be discouraged from traveling solo to ANYWHERE… this place can be a bit intimidating (in the best way). Public transportation is incredibly easy and Milano is very, very safe. I have plans to write a post on how to prepare for a solo trip with all my best tips and tricks for ya. while no one seems to really use facebook anymore, there are many communities and groups on facebook that will allow you to feel like you belong and help you out along the way.

I stayed at the Queen Hostel in milano and I met some great people here too. I met friends that wanted to go on random bike rides at 11pm, go get pizza at random hours, and sat and chatted with me in the hostel lobby.

Thank you Milano… off to Bologna!

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I mean, come on. Look at this place.

Bologna is a mid-evil city filled with these portici or passages. Every single street, corner, passageway, alley is absolutely gorgeous and since Bologna is a university town… there is a liveliness and indescribable spirit to it. You will find, I would say, 95% italian locals. I highly recommend taking a day trip or two to Bologna. The city is stunning and the people are very friendly. There are less english speaking people than Milano, but you will be able to communicate. Always start with “Ciao, Buongiorno.” And once they start rambling off in italian, simply respond “Mi dispiace. Non ho capito. Parli inglese?” I’m sorry, I do not understand. Do you speak English?”

More to come about Bologna… but I stayed at the Dopa Hostel which was an absolute gem. I also really appreciate Bologna because while very intimidated in Milano and still kind of intimidated here too (in the sense that I could not commit to where I wanted to eat, could not get myself to go into restaurants, etc) … ((and let’s understand that it’s not people or the atmosphere that are intimidating… this was all simply internal… to the point where I would talk to myself saying “what the HELL is wrong with you. GO IN. JUST PICK A PLACE”)) … anyway, what was I saying?

Yes… I really appreciated Bologna because the town really helped me to get out of the “writers/creative block” I’ve been in for quite some time. I sat in the portici and people watched and drafted so many instagram posts and blog posts. The city is amazing, truly. The color of the city vibrates with energy and enthusiasm of every single italian I passed by or spoke with made me feel very happy.

And now… off to Firenze :)

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Okay… I get it. I get why people love this place. From the moment I started walking to my (really, really great hostel) this city was fascinating. The food scene is amazing, the atmosphere (not in the tourist section) is charming, and more people speak english (LOL… I’m determined to learn italian because I would really like to rely less on people speaking English… but that’s another story… anyway)

Only a couple hours into biking around Firenze…

TIP!: Whenever I am in a new country, city, etc. the first thing I do, every time, is rent a bike. It’s the perfect way to blend in like a local, the perfect way to browse through the city, and the perfect way to give your feet a rest. From Milano where I felt a bit upset because it did not evoke any creative energy in me… to Bologna where I felt a happier spirit and started writing a bit more… to now Firenze where I am writing this blog post and my #MondaysAreGoodDays newsletter…. this city is quite the place.

Ok, so… only a couple hours into biking around I stopped into a little, little local “bar” where I felt invited by the owner who helped me craft my perfect panino… and then a few seconds later this wonderful Australian couple sat next to me, started up some conversation, 30 minutes later I’m splitting a Tagliere (charcuterie board) and a bottle of amazing red wine.

Time passed and I had to get my bike rental back on time… for dinner I ate alone but the owner of the restaurant was so kind and introduced me to another American. We chatted, standing up at the bar after my dinner and I ended up learning some incredible information about… something… that I will try to pursue. More details to come :)

Today, this morning, I have bounced around to some of the best coffee shops in Firenze. A week of being alone and I finally feel that I am comfortable, slowly learning Italian, and am happy where I am. Firenze is a bit more expensive than Bologna and some places in Milano, but that all depends on where you go… and most of the time you can eat a croissant and have an espresso/coffee drink for under 3 euro… AMAZING.

I am learning to be patient with myself and my feelings. I was a bit frustrated with myself at the beginning of the trip because I had those feelings of intimidation mentioned before… and I knew that nothing was actually intimidating me… it was all in my head and everyone has been extremely nice and accommodating. Patience with yourself is the most important thing you can have. Patience on a trip…. patience with your projects… or even patience with yourself changing your instagram name LOL.

I encourage YOU ALL the take a trip. Always take atleast ONE trip each year. Get away from the known, get away from the comfortable, get away from the routine. GO OUTSIDE your comfort zone. We live in a digital time period that makes travel and meeting people the easiest it has ever been. UTILIZE THIS! Grow… grow grow grow. Keep moving forward.

My feet are fucking killing me… I’ve been wearing basically the same rotation of clothes for a week (mostly because I think if I open up my suitcase and dig through my clothes, I wont’t be able to close it back up (Mom, please come to Firenze and help me pack my suitcase hehe… I feel like when you need to have a child to be good at folding because I seriously suck at it.)

Thank you for reading, grazie :) And happy monday!

#gRAINFOOD (gut & brain food) - Good Morning Green Smoothie

gRAIN Food:

You probably won’t find a bigger #guthealth advocate than me. I truly believe in the mindset that #FoodisFuel and we must put good things into our bodies in order for us to be as clear, strong, and HAPPY as possible.

Try making this smoothie in the mornings. It is refreshing, light, delicious, and has an incredible amount of benefits for your gut and for your brain. #gRAINfood

If you have been a reader for a while, you know I have written about this before. But for my newbies, TRY THIS OUT! It’s my favoriteeeee.

healthy green morning smoothie bowl
  1. Handful of spinach, handful of frozen mangos and peaches, one frozen banana, Ginger kombucha tea (I recommend Healthade’s Lemon-Ginger), and half an AVOCADO

2. Blend it together

3. Top with cocoa nibs and cinnamon

First, let’s talk about SPINACH. You should eat spinach every single day. I swear by its benefits, both physically and mentally. I add spinach whenever I can. I add it to my avocado toast, I add it to my eggs, I add it to my sandwiches. It’s SO good for you.

Benefits of Spinach:

Iron. A lack of iron in the diet can affect how efficiently the body uses energy. ...

  • Calcium. Spinach contains approximately 250 mg of calcium per cup

  • Diabetes management

  • Cancer prevention

  • Asthma prevention

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Bone health

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Kombucha tea is KEY to sourcing the energy you have stored inside your body to give you a BOOST of life. Kombucha takes some time to acquire a taste to, but no worries, in this smoothie you will not feel overpowered by the “fizzy-ness.” Think of Kombucha tasting like a really healthy beer, sort of. Anyway, just add it to the smoothie! I promise it’s delicious and your stomach/body will be so grateful.

Bananas and mangos are filled with antioxidants and fight inflammation. These are two great fruits to have in mornings while blended with spinach and Kombucha. This combination creates an energizing SUPERFOOD smoothie to start your day. Feel free to add chia seeds, protein, flax, etc.

And, you might be wondering what “cocoa nibs” are.

Cocoa nibs are “chocolate” BEFORE it is mixed with sugar, milk and other ingredients. It is the most pure form of chocolate. Cocoa nibs (made from ground up chocolate beans) are said to have benefits to your health including helping brain function, reducing high blood pressure, and helping your mood.

Lastly, cinnamon is the super spice. After testing, there is evidence based benefits including: anti-inflammatory, decreasing the risk of heart disease, and it helps fight fungal infections.

If you are still hungry, I recommend eating this smoothie with a Go Macro bar. Stay tuned for next week’s email where I will talk about my favorite protein bar, Go Macro!

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#MondaysAreGoodDays - It's December!

#MondaysAreGoodDays - It's December!

MONDAY! WHAT’S UP?! 

alright so december really came out of NO WHERE and i am finding myself totally overwhelmed by due dates, deadlines, obligations, work, finding time to buy presents, dealing with personal things... shall i go on? *phew*

so when i find myself filled to the brim with responsibilities and i start feeling a little cloudy... i take to my journal.

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#MondaysAreGoodDays - October 1st, 2018.

#MondaysAreGoodDays - October 1st, 2018.

if you feel or see negativity coming at you from across that net, you set up your body language, you keep your feet moving, and you respond and return with POWER and POSITIVITY.

and throughout the week, you’ll be the server. make sure you are sending your positivity over that net. make sure you are sending out kindness and compassion to the world.

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one step in the right direction - #mondaysaregooddays - september 24th, 2018

one step in the right direction - #mondaysaregooddays - september 24th, 2018

the important lesson here is that if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the entire project, the entire workout, the entire whatever… just start. start at step 1.

it is not of much importance to focus on the “whole” of something when it simply will not get done UNLESS YOU START.

so just start. start with a walk. start with some steps. i promise, once you get the ball rolling…. the rest will come so, so easy. and you’ll be so happy that you started.

there has never been a person who regretted a workout, who regretted a run, who regretted taking the first steps to start a project, or who regretted taking the first steps to following their dreams.

go get ‘em!

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september 20th, 2018.

september 20th, 2018.

i encourage you to sit down with someone you have been meaning to chat with for awhile and just speak… just exchange stories. LISTEN when the other person is talking… fully committed to the language, emotions and context of their words.

and then i encourage you to SPEAK. explain it ALL, with every context, every detail, and every person who has touched and inspired your journey. there is no sense in undermining your accomplishments.

fate is 100% a thing, BUT i’d say about 80% of your life experiences happen because of the ONE step you took in a certain direction… because of ONE word you spoke… because of ONE email you typed up… because of ONE train ticket you booked.

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skincare for girls who sweat: review

skincare for girls who sweat: review

recently i was sent FRÈskincare’s 123FRÈ Skincare Resilience Set which is formulated for women who SWEAT 💦 FRÈ claims to be light, fast absorbing and creates bold and beautiful facial skin, both during and after you workout. this set uses Argania Active Complex as it's active ingredient to combat the majority of exercise and sweat-induced damage to facial skin without interfering with the beneficial cooling and cleansing process of sweating. (i like the sound of that!

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hey, come hang out... | room tour

hey, come hang out... | room tour

A quick room tour video. I've wanted to make this video for a while but I wanted the perfect tapestries before I filmed anything. I recorded parts of this video three different times throughout the same day and kind of threw it all together... and then threw in some music and some words at the end. Not sure what the real overall goal here was but I wanted to put something together. Enjoy 💛Let me know your thoughts down below.

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ways to enhance & embrace your own creativity and self expression

ways to enhance & embrace your own creativity and self expression

practicing and learning my own creative styles and embracing my own ways of self expression is the reason why i am at the stage in my life. self expression calls for self awareness, and self awareness calls for self reflection. self awareness cultivates confidence in one's self, creates a clear vision for one's desires and goals, and allows one to focus on the real. you can eliminate the sh** that doesn't matter because you have embraced and enhance your own self and your own style. keep reading if you want to learn how to enhance & embrace your own creativity and self expression and achieve new levels of self awareness and confidence. enjoy :)

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HOW I EDIT MY PHOTOS - EQUIPMENT, APPS & TECHNIQUES

HOW I EDIT MY PHOTOS - EQUIPMENT, APPS & TECHNIQUES

photography has become a huge part of my life over the past couple months and because of that, i wanted to share with you guys the equipment i use to take photos, the techniques i use to edit my photos and how i edit photos for instagram. i use a Sony a6300 as the body for my camera and the Sony FE 28mm F2 lens. i do all my editing in VSCO usually and if you guys want more help with aperture, shutter speed, exposure, composition, hit the comments and let me know. i hope you enjoy :)

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why i decided to rebrand my instagram

why i decided to rebrand my instagram

first, you guys must know that this was not an impulsive decision and the idea to change my instagram name started about 5 months ago. the "boostqueen" name is obviously dear to my heart as it is how i started, it is a name my friends call me, and it is a name that has been branded by me for about 9 months now (i started my instagram account at the beginning of march 2017).

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tips for public speaking

tips for public speaking

i want to write this because this past week i had a presentation and the days leading up were filled with nerves and anxiety. sometimes you cant control how you feel and i know feelings of anxiety and nerves are so real but the moment its time to speak, you have to put your my game face on and deliver.

here are some tips on how i prepare and calm my nerves:

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