Tag: career

Life lessons from baseball

Life lessons from baseball

Welcome back to my blog everyone, and happy autumn season here in the northern hemisphere. As baseball season is transitioning from its regular season into playoffs; I thought this was the perfect time to highlight how great of a sport it is! And of course, {read more}

The school of life

The school of life

Book recommendations, as if to home school yourself as an adult going through life.

Half-Year Check-In

Half-Year Check-In

For my readers in the United States, Happy Independence Day! For those elsewhere, Happy Monday! To all, welcome to today’s blog. More importantly, welcome to the official second half of 2022. We’ve made it this far. It’s time to assess where we are by doing a half year check-in. Perhaps this year is going swimmingly for you, and perhaps it is time to readjust and get back on the wagon.

If you are interested in my own journey, go to the end of the exercise, where you will find some very open and honest reflections of my own first half 2022.


Revisiting goals for the year


Step 1: Word and Vision for 2022

It is time to go back to your original vision for 2022. Bring to mind your word of the year, and the associated focus areas and goals.

Many things, unexpected or otherwise can happen in 6 months! Does your word still fit you? Has anything drastically changed this year where you need to update your focus areas? Are there parts of your life you neglected to include from the beginning, which you’d like to add in now?


Step 2: Focus area deep dive

Now that you’ve determined, at a high-level if your word of the year still fits, and if your focus areas are aligned. It is time to go deeper into each area. If you could rank them, what would you say would be the top area, which you feel the best about? And, of course in rank order, all the way to the one that isn’t progressing as well. Once you’ve done this, would you choose to start putting your energy into a different one, or are you happy of what is coming out number one? Do you need to rebalance any of the areas?


Step 3: Reevaluate your Intentions and Goals

Once you have completed your focus area rank order, now it is time to go into your intentions and goals. Perhaps for 2022 you set the intention toward making your body healthier, and the associated goal is to cook at home 4 times a week. Are the goals you’ve set getting you to the intention behind it? Are there goals you need to re-create or start fresh because they just aren’t getting you to where you need to be?

How do you feel about the intentions you originally set? Are they aligning well with you you want to become before the ball drops on midnight January 1, 2023? Are your goals and intentions even realistic?


Step 4: Daily Habits

In 2021, I made a post about daily habit tracking. I am happy to report the habit of habit tracking really serves me well. I hope you’ve at least written down the daily habits you’d like to incorporate into your year, so that you can meet your goals and therefore make progress on your intentions and focus areas. If you aren’t tracking your daily habits because you are scared of all the 0’s that will add up, please adjust your habits to something manageable.

These can be as simple as ‘stay hydrated’, or ‘read for 10 minutes’. The more simple, straight forward and manageable they are, the more likely you will do them.

And, I assure you, if you start the daily habits TODAY of the person you want to become in even 2 months, you WILL feel better about yourself. I talk more about my struggles earlier in the year with this in my personal half year assessment below. I encourage you to start tracking your habits today!

If you already have been tracking your habits – awesome! I hope you can see your 1% improvement in the areas on your tracker, and thus see yourself transforming into the person you wanted to become this year right before your eyes! Give yourself credit!


My half-year assessment



This word has been a challenge for me. Over the years I had become a shell of myself for many reasons. Mostly, I liked the quieter, less intense version of myself; however I knew there was room for growth. There were areas in my life, especially in my day-job where I had lost sight of my own value. When I selected my word for 2022, I did so thoughtfully and carefully. I didn’t want something ‘easy’. Instead, I wanted to look myself in the eyes and conquer the limiting beliefs I had let take over. Those limiting beliefs specifically surrounded my self-worth, my ability, my intelligence and my experience.

This is hard to admit, and as I edit this post, it is hard to read back. Over the years, I had let these limiting beliefs grow in my mind like a chia pet. Looking back, I see how unhealthy my thoughts were, and worse, how I was operating out of fear and so easily manipulated. It saddens me to this day.

Funny… not funny though, how something new, and empowering can come from so much destruction, self imposed or otherwise. As I was reflecting in December 2021, I knew I had to make big changes in my life. And this is where the selection of the word ‘BOLD’ was born.

The changes I knew I had to make surrounded my inner self-talk. My showing up for myself everyday through self-encouragement, healthy habits, self-discipline and self-appreciation. I knew I had to shine a light into the dark parts of my mind and start pulling out the things I knew were inside me; but hiding out of fear.





If you read my original post about my word of the year, you will know that I added a 5th focus area for 2022, “Relationships”. I did this because 2020 and 2021 were harsh with long periods of isolation, and only the very beginnings of reunions. Not only that, but I wanted to be much more intentional about connecting with people, regardless if I’d be seeing them in person or not. I am so glad I added this, especially because it opened my world up to getting to know people I’d known only in a professional capacity much better. In addition, I intentionally prioritized getting to know people on a deeper level over other things. It, so far, has made my life much richer and more enjoyable.

Let’s go through each focus area with a bit more detail, also I’ve force ranked them, as I’ve instructed you to do in the steps above.


The deets

  1. Career & Side Hustle
    • Career: The first 6 months of 2022 have proven to have brought with it changes galore with my day-job. After 7 years, I finally had an amazing manager who was supportive and caring. Someone who I could look up to and easily talk to. Although this was the case, many factors lead to me needing to make a change. A BOLD change. After all those years, I knew I had sacrificed WAY too much of myself, my own needs, even my health at times. This was a lesson that took me much too long to learn. I am thankful I finally did and that I made a change for the better.
    • Side Hustle: As you may have noticed, I took a different approach with my blog this year. I did some studying at the very beginning of the year and approached this as more of a business instead of just a hobby. I don’t want to speak too too soon, because I’d like a full year under my belt before I claim success, but so far so good!
  2. Relationships: As I discussed a bit above, I am so thankful I added this to my focus areas list! It has led to much deeper connections, specifically me being more open. And much more fun. In addition, I’ve learned so much about people who I’d known for many years. Not to mention making previous acquaintances into life long friends and more. Previous to 2022, I was very good at meeting new people, and building my network, but those connections weren’t overly deep aside from close friends near by in NC, internet friends I’ve never met and the occasional work person turned confidant. Now, I can say my relationships are more like a flourishing garden, with lots of warm breezes, giggles and deep conversations.
  3. Healthy Body: Welp, I debated whether to put this as number 3 or number 4. This year started off rough for me, being sick for almost two full weeks straight but testing negative for COVID. My step count went from an average of 12,000 to 5,000 really quick. I kept up with some other activities but had to slow down considerably right off the bat. Once I was well again, I of course started traveling for work which greatly distracts from this goal. I did however, continue to eat extremely healthy, and move my body. When Spring came around I started getting outside a ton more and actually getting in proper shape again! Therefore I listed this at number 3.
  4. Mindfulness & Personal Growth: So, I almost took this off my list because it isn’t really fair to force rank it. I want to be honest with you all. Whilst these two topics are the literal inspiration behind this blog, I struggle. However, I always, always get right back to it. There is a particular day I remember in January where I couldn’t get my mind to stop wondering. I went back and read one of my own blog posts and it helped me. Eventually I know my mental chatter will calm down and align with my visions for the future, until then I will consciously manage it!
  5. Activities & Hobbies: Going into the year, I had so many hopes for activities and hobbies. Some of which I’ve accomplished and many more I’d like to enjoy. I ranked this last because in general, I was prioritizing my health and career over the extra stuff. Instead of doing something everyday to work toward my singing goals, or even practicing dance, I often found myself working on self-development or more career related activities. Something I’d like to change on the back half of the year.


Below is the list of my intentions for 2022. While I am hitting on all of these, I’d say some of them are shaping up to be different than originally intended. For example, ‘learning new things’. This year I learned ballroom dance, but I also learned a lot about balancing the known and unknown and making a leap. So, the original meanings may have shifted or now include something more, but still my intentions are very much in line. At the end of this year, I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and be happy with the life I lived from January to December 2022.

  • Live a balanced life
  • Be present in every moment
  • Continuously work on myself
  • Give myself grace
  • Enjoy life everyday
  • Learning new things


My daily habits are so important to me. In January because of being ill, there were many 0’s instead of check marks because I simply wasn’t making progress on hobbies or working out. I did not let this discourage me, but I was honest in my tracker. Knowing I’d be here now looking back at the other moments and see progress was made! This goes to one of my intentions to give myself grace.  As February came and went and travel starting picking back up again, my daily habits became even more important. 

The one’s I consistently include month to month are typically:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • 8 hours of sleep
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Moving the body (yoga, walking, lifting)
  • Enjoying life
  • Activity or Hobby (1/day)
  • Connection

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Affirmations are such a great way to get on track and start out your day.  They can directly help with self-encouragement and replacing any negative thoughts or limiting beliefs with better thoughts.  On my YouTube channel, I have posted a few affirmation tracks, along with meditations which can help in this area.  

Goal Check-in

Goal Check-in

Look at us, nearing the end of the year. How fast or slow did this year go for you? I can hardly believe it is coming to and end. It has been awhile since I’ve done a goal check-in. Since we’ve still got 8 weeks {read more}

Day in the life of

Day in the life of

You asked for it! So here it is. Below is a typical ‘day in the life’ of me 🙂 Most days I try and mix things up, but the activities contained in my day are usually the same. The theme of the pandemic and being {read more}

Meal Planning

Meal Planning


Whoa! Today is NOT a Monday ;-p. Why are we posting on Sunday?!  Two reasons:
(1) This post is about meal prepping for the upcoming week and I want ya’ll to be able to participate (if you so choose).
(2) I’d like to know if my audience would rather a Sunday post versus a Monday post!

Also! Happy Spring Forward day for those in the states. The season change from Winter to Spring is one of my favorites. Second favorite is Summer to Fall.



This week post includes links to the recipes I’ll be making this week. Here is the TLDR, I just want the recipes link which will take you to the that section of today’s blog.


Practicing what I preach (this time)

The last post was about being prepared. One of the types of preparations I offered up was to determine how many meals were going to be cooked at home. As well as, what complexity level of meal prep your schedule might allow for.

Even if you do something like Home Chef, you might want to supplement. Therefore, I’m going to share a version of my schedule (just the highlights, not the details) AND the corresponding meals I’ll do along with it. After, you will find a grocery list if you’d like to make these meals.

If you decide to make some of these meals (or all), please share via social media! If you are an anti-food poster on social media, at least put a comment below on what was your favorite, or your families favorite!


The schedule

It’s probably been said a handful of times, but I start my weeks on Monday’s. For the purposes of this exercise, we will focus on the work week only. My scheduled times consist of my early morning routine, going to the gym at least 3-4 week days, my day job and my blog. Of course taking care of Bianca and sometimes social activities are included.

During these days of work from home 100%, my schedule is packed with lots of meetings and talking during the day. Sometimes I have meetings through my lunch, where I turn off my camera but still need to talk. On those days, I eat a more simple lunch. Other days I go to the gym in the evening and would rather something not so heavy. In general, the time needed to cook, prepare or simply consume is what determines my meal.


March 15
March 16
March 17
March 18
March 19
Early Morning Gym Morning routine Up early Gym Up early
Work Day Semi-Busy
Free @ lunch
Busy day
Easy lunch
Back-to-back meetings
(through lunch)
Easy lunch
Heavy work day
Easy lunch
Regular work day
Easy lunch
Evening Cook dinner
Walk outside
Light dinner
Finish Thur Blog
Easy dinner
Dinner out Gym
Light dinner

Selecting Meals


The top priority when select meals for me is nutrition. In close second is tastiness. Another factor, which has only recently come into the equation is variety. While I can eat spinach salads with no toppings everyday, I’d prefer to switch it up a bit. Now that I am going back to the gym, the sheer volume of food I eat is increasing.  Plus protein is ever more important. 


Intermittent Fasting

Oh! One thing you may have noticed but I just remembered is: NO BREAKFAST! For many years I have been an intermittent faster. Meaning, I eat within a 5-6 hour window and, as of right now only two meals a day. When I am not actively going to the gym, sometimes I go down to a single meal a day – but still ensure I am getting calories (no worries there!)  More on intermittent fasting at Doctor Berg’s YouTube Channel (here).


Healthy but Fast

Referring back to the schedule, it looks like I will need easy, quick to heat up and eat lunches. And this week, mostly lighter dinners. Monday evening I will have time to cook and Thursday I will be going out to dinner. Two evenings I might just have a protein shake before going to the gym, which means I will need more calories on those lunch days.


A few other details

Typically, I use the crockpot each week for one meal. In addition, I cook mostly on Sundays. And, as much as possible I store my food in single meal portions. I am a huge fan of raw spinach and cooked swiss chard. Two of my favorites are included below (the soup and the nachos).  Nutrition Facts of Spinach.

This week’s recipes

Now we get to the fun part!

Grocery List

  • Avocado (1)
  • Blueberries (one package)
  • Carrots (2)
  • Celery (2 bunches)
  • Garlic (2)
  • Parsley
  • Parsnip (1)
  • Spinach (1 package)
  • Swiss Chard (2 bunches)
  • Green Onion (1 bunch)
  • Yellow Onion (1)
  • Red Potatoes (5)
  • Cheese (Mexican Mix, Shredded, one package)
  • Parmesan Cheese 
  • Goat Cheese Crumbles (one package)
  • Sour Cream
  • Northern Beans (two cans)
  • Black Beans (one can)
  • Tortilla Chips (one package)
  • Guinness Stout (1)
  • Olive Oil
  • Vegetable Stock (1 package)
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Basil (dried)
  • Cornstarch
  • Garlic Powder
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Thyme
  • Eggs
  • Beef (stewing – 1 lbs)
  • Chicken (2 lbs)
  • Ground Turkey (2 lbs)


A friend of mine used this tool is for shredding meat. After seeing it work, I went home and bought one. I use it at least once a week, and it is dishwasher friendly!

Two supplemental or meal replacements (These aren’t recipes, instead just links to the products on Amazon.)

  • Protein Waffle Mix
  • Protein Shakes

Although I stick to my intermittent fasting and do not ‘snack’ between meals.  Sometimes, I do like something extra to during meal time.  Two of my favorites are here:

  • Belvitta
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches
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Connect & Share

Share on Instagram and tag @brighteyedsmiles

Can’t wait to see what you make!

Mirror, Mirror…

Mirror, Mirror…

Squirrel A lesson in self-realization and the need to embrace perceived flaws. There is only one person in my life whom, I can heartily say, can be as easily distracted as me. The realization of my distracted tendency came only after I met this person.  They {read more}

How you doin’?

How you doin’?

As we end January 2021, it seemed fitting to make a late 90’s “Friends” Reference… But seriously, let’s check in! How are you doing? Many of us started the year off with so much hopeful anticipation, it is hard to believe we the first full {read more}

Intention Setting

Intention Setting

Intention setting provides a deliberate aim going into any day, meeting, phone call and especially workouts!

As we go into a new week: the second full week of 2021, let’s keep the momentum of goal creation and dreaming big going!

Throughout life you may have been told slow-down to speed up with the classic tortoise and hare race.  Today we are going to make this concept come even more to life, using “Intention Setting”.  Deliberately planning and adjusting our energy to the activities of our days and lives. 

Slow and steady

My understanding of this fable is that there are two competitors, one slow and steady, and the other full of zeal and naturally fast.  

Each approach the race in their own way:

The tortoise continuously moves ahead, slow and steady.  Seemingly not worried about winning, just making progress.  Meanwhile his competitor speeds up, takes the lead but stops to sleep; each time he awakens to find the tortoise has passed him.

There are multiple lessons that could be taught using this story – for today’s purposes, we are going to go with the: slow and steady wins the race.

In case you have never heard of the Aesop’s Fables classics – I found a link on Amazon that seemed to be the ‘truest’ version.  There were lots of cute, newly illustrated versions too!  Please note this is an affiliate link.


Intention, defined as: “An aim or plan.” by Oxford (aka Google’s dictionary).  How often do you go about your day with a particular target in mind?  I have found that the more routine an activity has become, the greater chance my aim is forgotten.  


Mundane or Meaningful?


A silly but useful example is something like showering – okay perhaps this is no longer the habit it was pre-pandemic, but it still (hopefully) is a daily…? occurrence.  Most likely we are not declaring, “I AIM TO BE CLEAN!” before we jump on in to the shower.  More likely we go through the motions half asleep and be singing to ourselves the entire time! Therefore, setting an intent for this type of activity might not be necessary.  


Annual Review

On the opposite end of the spectrum let us consider the annual review with your leader at work.  In most cases, this type of formal conversation is THE chance to highlight your strengths and improvement areas.  Typically in hopes of receiving feedback, recognition and even a promotion.  This example shows the importance of being prepared and confident at the very least! Setting a specific intent for this type of an appointment is a game-changer!  Going to your annual review with specific intents empowers you to stay focused, confident and prepared!

Example Intentions 

1. Build a relationship with my leader  

2. Identify two areas of opportunity  

3. Learn which of my abilities my leader thinks is my  biggest strength


In between these two extremes, there are the ever changing activities of our day and specific goal- related tasks.  As easy as it could be to complete our day to day activities, checking them off the list; being deliberately intentional about getting the most out of each activity leads to a more fulfilling day (and therefore life!).  It is my personal experience that setting intentions by appointment or to-do allows me to give my full attention to each activity.  It raises my energy level, allowing me to go from one activity or meeting to the next confidently.


Activities with set intentions have greater meaning and thus better outcomes than those that do not.  


Let us use our previous example of the Annual Review; below are listed four more intentions that might apply better to your situation:

  • Compare notes of self-evaluation and organization’s evaluation.  
  • Gain alignment on growth opportunities and strengths.
  • Highlight the results accomplished and aim for a promotion.
  • Ask for a recommendation to start applying for positions outside the company. 

With each of these intentions comes the need for individual preparation, potentially differing time requirements and will result in different outcomes.  


Weekly Planner

Intention Setting


  • Recommended to complete weekly
  • Time to complete: Approx. 20 minutes


  • Weekly Planner
  • Appointments 
  • Must-Dos 
  • Want-To-Dos
  • Vision Board & Yearly Theme/Word
  • Focus Areas, Goals & Purpose

Once you have your calendar, appointments, to-do list in front of you and  have your inspirational tools nearby or front of mind:  Next to each appointment, write the intent you have in mind.  The intentions should line up with your overall vision for your week, the goals you are working toward and the other people and personalities specific to the appointment. 

For example:

Monday, January 11, 2021








Appointments & To-Dos

Project Status Update

Train Account Managers

Compile Notes & Send

Lunch & Walk Bianca

Whiteboard Session

Focus Time

Team Meeting



Provide meaningful update & #s

Educate and answer questions

Stay organized & communicate

Be healthy and enjoy dog time

Ideate, collaborate & progress

Give attention to priorities

Inform, Listen & Plan


Other considerations:

  • Within my personal intention setting, I include any phone calls and specific people I want to text or call (i.e. To Do: Call KS Intent: Show support on recent promotion and setup a time to meet in person).
  • Practice so that intention setting becomes natural and something start to look forward to completing.
  • As you implement setting deliberate intentions, notice the benefits.  At a high level  I’ve noticed an increase in my own preparedness, a much better use of time and a greater focus during the day. 
  • Many of my colleagues have benefited from this exercise, due to its forward looking, planned approach – often meetings become emails, or at the very least shortened with more time for relationship building.  
  • The first time you complete this, I would recommend just doing it for one day instead of the entire week.  See how it works for you and get a feel for it and then complete the remainder of the week. 


Expected results

  1. Feeling prepared and thus more confident
  2. Increased energy and more productivity
  3. Calm & collected thoughts
  4. Focused & improved interactions
  5. General ease when going from one meeting to the next

I would love to hear your experiences with this concept, especially if you are trying it for the first time! 

Please comment below.

Intention Setting
Goal Setting

Goal Setting

Over the years, goal setting has become the one habit that has brought the most deliberate success. One of these days we will dive a bit deeper into why goal setting did not originally come natural to me and how I have cultivated my mind {read more}