Hey there!

Nice to see you here — and thank you for your patience as I study for school, cook healthy meals, work my day job, try to be a good mom and wife, see friends, exercise, visit my parents, work on my novel, vacuum up the incessant dog hair, try to get a decent amount of sleep but stay up way too late reading The Twelve anyway… and then squeeze in a blog post.

I bet you’ve been even busier, probably getting less sleep, trying to shoehorn more into your days and nights. And you’re probably trying to make it all happen while dealing with that cold that has been circulating around.

How did we all get so busy?

Remember what it was like when we were teenagers? We were soooooooooo bored. Nothing to do, nowhere to be. Do people even have time to be bored anymore? Sounds like it might be kind of nice from time to time.

I haven’t done a Happies post in awhile, so I thought I would check in on that front:

#1. Dance dance dance dance. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Zumba choreography workshop with Meli Mastroeni-Kirkwood. I’ve been licensed for awhile now, and am still looking for a cool space to teach classes. In the meantime, I love working on new choreos. And workshops are a blast — a bass-thumpin, high-octane, 3-hour dance workout. Heaven!

zumba - jam session

#2 My alma mater’s football program doesn’t suck anymore. I’m kind of a secret Notre Dame alum, or “Domer.” I don’t know why. Maybe I don’t talk about it much because I live all the way out here on the West Coast, and I haven’t been back to campus in years. Or maybe it’s because when people find out where I went to school, they often feel obligated to tell me how much they hate ND. Or maybe it’s because our football team hasn’t, shall we say, lived up to expectation in recent years? Well, I’m pleased to note that the Irish are (finally!) doing quite well. Hooray — I can hold my head high among all of Duck and Beaver and Michigan fans around me. Go Irish!

notre dame - leprechaun

#3. My plant-strong parents. My parents recently made an impressive transition to a mostly plant-powered, Forks-Over-Knives, Dr. Joel-Fuhrman-inspired diet. As a result, my Dad has been able to resolve his blood pressure and cholesterol issues through nutrition, ditch the meds, lose some extra weight, and power through his 10-mile walks with tons of energy. This wasn’t an easy transition — my Dad loves chicken wings and steak more than anybody out there — but my parents were committed to make, as Hippocrates once famously said, food their medicine. I’m so proud of them for changing their lives in such a dramatic and positive way. Take a look at their dinner: a plate full of raw and steamed vegetables, fresh fruit, beans, a drizzle of homemade dressing. And the best part is hearing about how great they both feel. Good work, Mom and Dad!


#4. One step closer. I passed the second of my nutrition school exams this week. This makes me officially mid-certification, which means I can now start seeing clients. More on that later… in the meantime, I’m excited to start my wellness coaching practice, and am already planning a series of workshops: Sugar Blues, Juicing for Newbies and Smoothie Alchemy. Stay tuned!

nutrition books

#5. My bro. Today is Erik‘s birthday, and although I would much rather wish him a happy birthday in person, it’s a little challenging to make spontaneous trips down to Miami. So, I’m sending my birthday wishes and love from afar, and am thankful for having my fun, funny and kind brother in my life. I’m so proud of him — being there to see him lead the HEAT to the NBA title in June was amazing, of course. And I’m excited he earned an early birthday present, when the HEAT beat the Celtics in their home opener Tuesday night.

Erik Spoelstra

But I’m even more proud of him for being such a great son, brother and friend. He is also an incredible “Tio Erik” to Alonzo, in spite of the fact that we live on opposite ends of the country.

Happy birthday, Erik!

erik and monica in chicago

Those are Happies — what are yours?

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14 Responses to “Happies”

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  1. maria says:

    My Happies today was watching the last of my kids trick or treat last night..All those years of cute little costumes and school parades. Precious memories!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Love that — especially since we experienced our first school parade yesterday. Precious memories indeed!

  2. leolaninyc says:

    My happy today is the blessing of health, life and love amidst the devastation that Hurricane Sandy has left behind here in New York City. Compared to many throughout the Tri-State area, I am blessed to have a home, electricity and running water.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      So true. I can’t believe the photos and footage of the storm’s aftermath, and it’s even harder to imagine experiencing it firsthand. So many left without homes, power and water — a reminder to all of us to be grateful for having access to the essentials. Glad you are safe and sound!

  3. Gretel C says:

    My happies for today are making it to my Zumba class even after having the longest day at work, reading your blog
    (cool picture of you and Erik, btw)….and of course the Heat beating the Celtics.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Nice job on making it to the gym after a long day at the office — those are the hardest workouts to make, but I bet you felt a lot better afterwards. Go HEAT :)

  4. Deborah Reed says:

    Seeing that photo of you and Erik as kids just added to my Happies today. As did reading about the way you continue to pursue so many interests and talents of yours. It’s inspiring, Monica.

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks Deborah! As you know, I often feel I should do some culling on these creative loves of mine, but what fun would that be? Thanks for indulging me, and continuing to encourage my dream of fiction writing, in spite of how little time it may seem to get these days. You are a true friend!

  5. Judy G-C says:

    Congrats on passing your exams! My happy of the week was for one of my patients, and also has an NBA theme. He is 19 yrs old with end-stage Cystic Fibrosis…always needing tons of IV antibiotics. He’s also an LA native, and a huge Lakers fan. I gave him 2 tickets to the Lakers-Blazers opener which was on Halloween. He cried when I gave him the tickets (he took his Dad to the game), as it was his first Lakers game ever. Happiness all around!!!

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Oh my goodness — your Happy ROCKS, and it’s a great reminder that our best Happies are often when create happiness for others. Thanks for posting Judy!

  6. Kris says:

    Hi Monica — congratulations on passing your exam and being halfway to your certification! I am excitedly sharing in your 2nd happy – have a cousin (in-law) who is a Notre Dame alum, also have a good friend whose daughter is attending there now. And of course, we in Hawaii are beaming over the most talked-about member of the football team this year, Manti Te’o. It is awesome to see the Irish doing so well. A belated happy birthday to your brother Erik, what an adorable picture of the two of you. From the way you’ve described him in your posts, it is quite appropriate that he was born on All Saints Day. My other happy is an ongoing one, I share it with you, the simple joy that comes from being surrounded by a loving network of family and friends scattered all over the planet… take care and God bless!


    • grantustheluxury says:

      Thanks, Kris… love that we share an ND connection… and that the Irish continue to win! Your ongoing Happy reminds me of a quote that’s popping up in my world lately, ““If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” All best to you — thanks for checking in!

  7. ERNA says:

    Love the pic of you and your brother as little kids…adorable! By the way, Belated Happy Birthday Coach Spo ;) Your happies this week are truly inspiring especially the one about your parents changing their way of eating and you being a superwoman with all that you do in addition to being a wife and mom. AWESOME!
    My happies this week include surviving 5 classes of bikram yoga, the birth of my best friend’s 4 child (it’s a girl!) and that I got a chance to watch the Miami Heat receive their championship rings on TV during the ring ceremony (thank God for DVR!). This must’ve been a very proud moment for you and your family and is well deserved by Coach Spo!
    Looking forward to your next happies post! Until then…have a wonderful week :)

    • grantustheluxury says:

      Great list, Erna — lots of wonderful stuff happening for you! Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment!

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