30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 27-30

“Life is an echo. What you send out, comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others, exists in you. Remember, life is an echo. It always gets back to you. So give goodness. ” ~ Unknown

Day 27: RAIN! So very thankful for some rain these last few days and being able to stay cozy inside the house for most of the day! We started a Harry Potter marathon and just soaked in our last day of vacation! 🙂

Day 28: Coming home to a house that smells like CHRISTMAS! We got our tree over the weekend and it just smells wonderful when you walk in the house. Later this week we will work on putting the ornaments on. For now, I will enjoy it’s delicious smell and our pretty lights. The holiday season is upon us!

Day 29: Today I’m very grateful for both of my parents. My mom and dad mean the world to me and I’m so lucky to have them as parents. They have not only made me into the person that I am today, but have loved and supported me unconditionally. I’m so thankful for all that they have provided for me over the years and for all their love. I love you mom and dad!

Day 30: Today I am thankful for long lasting friendships. We may be scattered all over CA and across the US, but I know we are always there for each other. THANK YOU to all of my girls (you know who you are) for being such wonderful friends and making my life all that much better!

Love you! ❤

“Let us rise up and be thankful,
for if we didn’t learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little,
and if we didn’t learn a little,
at least we didn’t get sick,
and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die;
so, let us all be thankful.”

~ Buddha

I really enjoyed doing another installment of 30 Days of Thankfulness. Thank you for joining me! I truly feel that we all have so much to be thankful and it’s important to take the time and really take stalk of what we have! I love keeping track of and writing down everything I am thankful for, not only for this yearly blog series, but throughout the entire year. If you haven’t kept a gratitude journal I highly recommend that you start one. Looking forward to doing this blog post again next year!

Happy Wednesday folks! Hope you have a great week.



30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 19-26

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~ Cicero

Day 19: Spending the weekend in Huntington Beach visiting with Chris’ mom. Saw an absolutely GORGEOUS sunset. This one just lit up the entire sky and made some of the clouds look like feathers. It was truly breathtaking!

Day 20: I have a few things for today that I am very thankful for:

Completing another 21 Day Meditation challenge! Meditation has become a huge part of my life and I am so very grateful and thankful for my practice. I am also so very thankful of my dear friend Cassie (who I’ve blogged a lot about before). She is the person who introduced me to this wonderful world of mindfulness and meditation. Thank you again Cassie for all of your inspiration, love and friendship! ❤ ❤


Also, grateful to have celebrated an early Thanksgiving with Chris and his mom. We cooked a turkey with all of the fixing’s and spent the evening relaxing and watching movies. So glad we got to spend some time with her! ❤

Day 21: Thankful for my mentors, especially some from UCSB. I’m so glad to still have these people in my life. It’s always wonderful catching up with them and having good conversations!

Also, Happy 5th Birthday to our sweet nephew Colton and to my sister-in-law Kristin!

Day 22: Feel truly blessed to work/know such wonderful students at SJSU. One of my students, Luna came by to visit me today. Over the summer she studied/traveled abroad and came by to drop off some travel goodies she got me while on her trip. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness. Totally wasn’t expecting any gifts. It was so wonderful catching up and hearing all about her travel adventures. I feel so lucky to know her. Thank you again Luna, you are one of a kind and I know will do fabulous things!

Day 23: Today I am thankful for Emma & Dash. I love these pups more than anything and they really make our family complete. I am so grateful to be their dog mommy and don’t know what I would do without them.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Roger Caras


“My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am.” Author Unknown

Also wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving Eve everyone! Hope you all enjoy yummy food, friends and family tomorrow. Enjoy the day! ❤ ❤

Day 24: happy-thanksgiving-images


Today I am thankful for so many things, but most importantly I am incredibly thankful for FAMILY. FAMILY is EVERYTHING! I’m looking forward to eating lots of yummy food, relaxing and just enjoying the day together. I love my family so much and don’t know what I would do without their love and support! Hope you all enjoy the day with loved ones. ❤ ❤



Day 25: Grateful for some post Thanksgiving wine tasting at our favorite winery, Bella. We absolutely LOVE going here and are even double club members! Dogs are allowed at the winery so that makes it even more fun. So glad to have a relaxing day, drinking wine and spending time with my little family! ❤


Day 26: Today I am thankful for brunching with my childhood best  friend Ann and her sweet little Olivia! We always have such a great time and Olivia is cuter than words.


Ann and I have been friends since we were babies and I’m so grateful that we’ve remained such close friends. She’s my oldest and dearest friend and I love her so much! Thanks for being such a great friend Ann!


Happy 3rd Birthday to our sweet twin nieces, Kendall and Madison! I can’t believe these little girls are already three years old…time is just flying by. Love then and can’t wait to see them soon!

“Make it a habit to tell people thank you.  To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return.  Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you.  Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” ~ Ralph Marston


30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 12-18

“Gratitude always comes into play; research shows that people are happier if they are grateful for the positive things in their lives, rather than worrying about what might be missing.” — Dan Buettner

Day 12: Thankful for new friends/couples! Met Jen and her finance Greg for wine tasting and a picnic at a potential wedding venue for them! We had such a great time drinking lots of wine and enjoying a relaxing and carefree day. So glad to have friends like them close by!  15027927_10105041502530347_541117310048162697_n

Day 13: Lazy Sunday! Sometimes you just have to do nothing and that’s totally OK!

Day 14: Thankful for co-workers that have turned into really great FRIENDS! I’m talking about you Lilly and Ashley! It’s always a good time when the McConnells/Gangais/Defensors get together! Love having people that Chris and I can hang out with outside of work. These two couples are one of a kind and I’m so glad they are in our life! ❤ ❤

Day 15: Happy 2nd Birthday Dash! This little guy is such a joy in our life and certainly keeps us on our toes! We love you so much buddy! ❤ ❤


Tonight we will celebrate with new toys and lots of playing! Doggy cupcakes will come tomorrow night!

Day 16: Dental care! Visited the dentist today and am very glad to have a clean bill of health for my teeth!

Day 17: My hubby. This guy is my best friend, partner in crime, love of my life and the one who makes me complete. I am so thankful for his continued support, encouragement, love and push to be the best version of myself! I love him more than words can describe and I don’t know where I would be without him! Thank you Chris (Tof) for all that you do and for loving me unconditionally. LOVE you Tof! ❤ ❤

“Troubles, they may come and go, but good times, they’re the gold.”

~ Dave Matthews Band

Day 18: TGIF! Looking forward to a long weekend in Huntington Beach…we will be visiting with Chris’ mom for an early Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to get down to SoCal. I miss the gorgeous fall sunsets and palm trees!

“None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.” — Fred De Witt Van Amburgh


P.S. Have a great weekend everyone!


Mindful U 2.0

One Wednesday, November 2 I had the pleasure of attending another one of Cassie’s wonderful seminars/retreat called Mindful U. I actually attended this retreat last year. I’m calling this years retreat Mindful U 2.0 because Cassie revamped this program and changed it up. We were back at the beautiful Stillpath Retreat Center in Woodside, CA. I feel very fortunate to have been to Stillpath so many times. 🙂 My very first retreat at Stillpath was in 2014 for Cassie’s Your Mindful Brain workshop. At this rate I seem to visit every year! I always LOVE spending the day with Cassie and soaking up all of her wisdom! Sometimes you just have to take a break from everything, unplug and do something good for your soul.

Stillpath is one of the most beautiful and magical places. Walking into the center and being among the redwood trees makes you feel relaxed automatically. While we were there it was an absolutely gorgeous day in the mountains! These pictures really can’t compare to the pure beauty that’s found in actually being at Stillpath.

Mindful U is a course/series Cassie developed last year. It’s now something that is being taught/used with corporate teams, for organizations evaluating mindfulness as an intervention for stress reduction, employee engagement, or leadership development. Mindful U is a highly interactive program where Cassie guides you through a variety of mindfulness techniques like breath awareness, mindful check-in, body scan, sitting meditation, walking meditation, and provides many simple tools to help heightened awareness in daily life.

Mindful U contains 6 progressive modules that are intended to help cultivate awareness in the hopes of achieving measurable improvements in all aspects of one’s life. The 6 modules include:

  1. Wake Up & Breathe
  2. Get in Your Body
  3. Come to Your Senses
  4. Board the Brain Train
  5. Sit with it All
  6. Plug in and Go!

Throughout the modules we had journal prompts, communication activities and reflection. We also received some take-away items! Yay! We got a lovely journal and a card deck that captures the highlight of each module. The deck of cards Cassie made are fabulous! I really love the idea of the cards and not just having to rely on my notes.

During the day we toggled between activity and rest. We did a siting mediation, body scan, mindful walk as well as other activities related to the modules. Around noon, a delicious lunch was provided. I have to be honest, this is one of my favorite parts about attending Cassie’s retreats. The food is always DELICIOUS! This year we had a make-your-own sandwich bar as well as a few delicious salads.

Aside from being in the beautiful redwoods, Stillpath has all of these gorgeous statues, pictures and fixtures throughout the building. These all add to the peaceful and relaxing environment. Here are some of my favorites!

Our entire day is spent in the Great Room which is stunning itself. They also have a saline pool which I really hope to use at some point. I mean who wouldn’t want to take a dip in this?! I really hope that someday I have the chance to stay on the property. It’s so peaceful, beautiful and relaxing. Such a great place to unwind, unplug and recharge. pool

Everything at Stillpath has some sort of meaning and fits perfectly in the space. I am always so glad to attend any retreat Cassie puts on because is just a wonderful human being. She is so full of wisdom, kindness and love. It’s truly wonderful being able to spend the day with her. I saw a few familiar faces and met so many other great people. So glad I took a mid-week break and was able to attend Mindful U. Already looking forward to what Cassie offers next…you know I’ll be there!

I just love the images above. I am always drawn to things like this now. I especially love the statement of “I am Powerful,” “I am Beautiful,” “I am Strong,” and “I am Enough.” This really speaks volumes to me. Those simple statements are true. I AM ENOUGH. I’ve probably said this a bunch of times, but meditation and mindfulness has done absolute wonders for me. My life has really transformed since starting my practice and from when I first met Cassie back in 2012. It’s because of Cassie that I discovered the wonderful world of meditation and have made it a part of my life. I can’t thank you enough Cassie!

Be sure to check out Cassie’s website to learn more about what she does and upcoming classes and retreats!



Happy 2nd Birthday Dash!🐾💕🎂

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY to our big boy Dash! 🐾💕🎂


You are such a joy in our life and certainly keeps us on our toes. We love you so much buddy!

Tonight we will celebrate with some new toys, lots of playing and maybe even some special treats! So thankful to have two amazing both pups in our life. They really make our family complete.



I’m Back! Conference Update

Happy Monday Everyone!

I returned from my conference last Tuesday (election night), stayed up way too late watching disappointing results, worked two days and then had a 3-day weekend (thank goodness)! Now I’m back in the routine of work …nothing like being back to reality haha.

Last year I attended the Annual NODA conference in Denver, CO and had an absolute blast! This year that conference was in Indianapolis, Indiana and was just as much fun! I flew out on Friday 11/4 so most of that first day was just traveling. On Saturday 11/5 my colleague from SJSU, Rigo went exploring in downtown Indy.

We started our downtown tour at Monument Circle which is considered the “true heart of Downtown Indianapolis” and is “truly a must-see for anyone visiting the Circle City!” Well lucky us! While walking around Monument Circle we decided to tour the Soldiers and Sailors Monument as well. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was designed by Bruno Schmitz and was dedicated in 1902 to Indiana’s heroes who died in wars before World War I. Erected as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the War for the Union (1861-65), it also commemorates the War with Mexico (1846-48), Indian and British Wars (1811-12), War of the Revolution and the capture of Vincennes from the British on February 25, 1779. Visitors can hike up to the observation level, located 330 steps up (yikes) or take the elevator (which I ended up doing) to step 290. Too many steps for me! Once at the observation deck you can see stunning views of downtown and even the capitol building in the distance. Great way to start out tourist day in Indy!

After, we headed towards the Capitol building and even got to join a tour group! Our first day was clearly all about Indiana HISTORY haha. While on the tour we discussed/visited all three branches of of the government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial; got to see Mike Pence’s office; take a seat in someones actual seat in the House of Representatives; and tour the Supreme Court Room. We learned so much about Indiana, it’s state capitol, the Indiana flag, etc., etc., etc. It really was a history day haha.

After our capitol tour and lunch we headed back to the hotel to hang out and change before the offical opening of the conference. I stayed at the JW Marriott and that’s also where the conference took place. The hotel was super snazzy and a perfect great place for a conference. To kick things off before the start of the conference we had regional meet ups and then a sit down dinner. Yum! So nice to be able to sit down and actual hear the speakers. Great way to start NODAC 2016!


The person in charge of social media for the conference created NODA snapchat filters so of course I had to try them out. Haha too funny! I don’t know how to do anything with snapchat except the filers.

After the first featured speaker on Day #1, I headed to the first education session where I was going to be PRESENTER!! This is the SECOND time I’ve presented at a national conference! Waahoooo. Checking off those professional bucket list items!


Our group presented about our OPI/NODA experience from last year and what to do with all that we learned. Attending a conference like NODA can be really overwhelming, so we thought our session would be helpful to new attendees and OPI grads. We had a pretty good turn out and even had a few OPI faculty members attend! Yay!

Presenting at a national conference has been something I have always wanted to do and I feel so excited and proud of myself for accomplishing this two years in a row! I hope to continue to attend NODA and to keep presenting! THANK YOU again to my co-presenters Natalie, Megan, Allison, Genna and Paige! You ladies were fabulous to work. Who knows, maybe we will be presenting again next year… 15056259_10105046099023937_4976138298608371360_n.jpg

During NODA I love being able to meet so many new people but also reconnecting with friends/colleagues! Here I am with my friend Heather who works that UC Riverside. We first met at UCSB and were on O-Staff together! It was great seeing/catching up with her again. Go Gauchos!


During the conference I always look forward to the featured speakers. Somehow NODA always gets truly phenomenal featured speakers. This year was no exception! We had unbelievable folks talking to us about topics that are so prominent and true on all of our campuses. One of my absolutle favorite speakers was Dr. Terrell L. Strayhorn. He was beyond AMAZING. He is probably one of the best speakers I have ever seen, incredibly inspiring and motivating. Dr. Terrell L. Strayhorn is a professor of Higher Education at The Ohio State University and also serves as the Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE). He gave a talk on what is belonging research shows and why NODA should care. At times, the audience was crying, sitting on the edge of their seat, tweeting in responses and standing up and singing! I have never felt so moved or empowered. THANK YOU Dr. Strayhorn for your incredible talk!







WOW is all I can say! This guy is AMAZING!


After Dr. Strayhorn’s talk we all went to the Eiteljorg Museum for a networking event called NODA Connect. The Eiteljorg Museum was a stunning place for a networking event. The entire museum was also open so we got to explore all the exhibits. Clearly Rigo and I had a blast hahaha. We even got to see a GEORGIA O’KEEFFE!!!

Another highlight for me during the conference was the Author’s Luncheon. Last year I had no idea what this was and didn’t participate. So glad I went this year because it was really fun and I got a bunch of FREE books! Who doesn’t love free books?! There were 5 different authors that shared a little about their works and then signed our books after. We heard from the following:

Margot Lee Shetterly – Hidden Figures

Ken Ilgunas – Trespassing Across America

Jennie Capo Crucet – Make your Home Among Strangers

Patrick Phillips – Blood at the Root, A Racial Cleansing in America

Michael Puett -The Path


I seriously can’t wait to start reading each of these books. Their stories all sound so interesting and it was grerat to meet the authors! In the future I plan to always attend the author’s luncheon. Can’t wait for next year!

The last featured speaker we had was Courtney O’Connell who talked about becoming innovative educators. She too was really inspiring and touched on so many important issues. I learned so much on how to become an innovative educator and even got a list of more books to read! #booknerd #ilovetoread book

When seeing these kinds of people speak, I get so inspired and often feel like I want to be just like them! I truly want to be someone in my field, not just another person working in an office. Sometimes I dream/wonder if some day I will be the person on a big stage speaking to an audience at a conference…do I have the power to motivate and inspire people? I sure hope so! That would be pretty cool…to sorta come full circle. #futuregoals

I love going to these types of conferences and getting inspired! Often I get back and truly feel like I can do anything! I know I can, but I just need to do it one step at a time…

For my last night in Indy, I spent it hanging out with my friend Heather and her co-worker Lizze. We explored more of Indy, had dinner at this great place called The Eagle, walked around Massachusetts Ave., did a little shopping and took a few more pictures of the capitol all lit up at night. Such a great way to spend our last night!

As the conference comes to a close I always get a little sad..I had such an amazing time and didn’t want to go leave. Over the last few days I loved being able to soak up so much knowledge, meet and talk with so many people and truly feel recharged. Although it’s sad to see NODAC 2016 come to a close, I’m already looking forward to next year! For 2017 the conference will take place in LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY! I’ve never been to Louisville, but it looks awesome!


During the conference I learned so much and realized this really is what I want to do with my career/life! It felt good to get reconnected to my profession if that makes sense. I also feel so thankful for the opportunity to have gone to another conference and to have presented for the second time in a row! Can’t wait unitl next year!

Hope your week is off to a great start!


30 Days of Thankfulness — Day 1-11

Welcome back friends! Glad you are joining us for another 30 Days of Thankfulness. I first started this blog series in 2013 and am very proud to have kept it going. Bring on year #4! You can check out previous post from 2013, 2014, and 2015.

In today’s world there is so much to be THANKFUL for in this life. It’s really important to take the time to count your blessing and just pay it forward. Thank you for letting me share with you!

Day 1: A new month and Day #2 of another meditation challenge Depak Chopra & Oprah. Check out their 21 Day Meditation Challenge and join me!

Day 2: Mindful U Retreat. Spent a wonderful day in the mountains soaking up all of Cassie’s wisdom and doing something good for my soul. (I will do a separate post all about this retreat).

Day 3: Having a short work week! Today is my Friday so that always feels good!

Day 4: Headed to Indianapolis, Indiana for the annual NODA conference! Last year I was incredibly lucky to have attended the conference as well as OPI (Orientation Professional Institute) prior to the conference. Feel very fortunate to attend again this year! Can’t wait to re-connect with old friends, meet/network with new colleagues and learn more about the field of Orientation, Retention and Transition! (Will also do a separate post about my conference).

Day 5: Thankful for the opportunity to explore a new city (ya for INDY) with my fellow colleague from SJSU. We had a blast getting to know each other more, having deep conversations and exploring a new city! Thanks for hanging out with me Rigo!

Day 6: Presenting for the 2nd time at a national conference! Since graduate school, my professional “bucket list” has had presenting at a national conference on it. Accomplished that goal last year and feel very grateful to have been able to present again this year! TWO years in a row baby!

Day 7: Attending a fabulous Author’s Luncheon during the NODA Conference! This was one of the highlights for me. It was incredible to be in a room hearing from these five authors on topics that are so true and relevant right now. I felt truly inspired by their works and can’t wait to read their stories.

Day 8: The ability and privilege to VOTE!   vote-counts1

Day 9: Thankful for a weeknight dinner and drinks date with my college bestie, Caitlin and our friend Jen (who also went to UCSB). It was so wonderful meeting these girls for dinner, talking about life and just spending time together. Cait lives in Davis, so we don’t see each other too often. I am so thankful for our friendship and love whenever I get to see her. My goal is to make a better effort to see her more often. Jen, recently moved from NYC to the San Jose area…no excuse now in not seeing her now! Glad to have such great women in my life!

Day 10: TRUE statement! Every day IS a NEW beginning and we always have the chance to start over! I love this quote and feel like it rings especially true with everything that has happened since the election… We need to unite together, continue to fight the good fight, keep our heads up high and remember to LOVE! Lets keep moving forward and start again!


 Day 11: Thank you to all our military personnel for the sacrifices you have made for our freedom! Today we HONOR YOU and THANK YOU!! HAPPY VETERANS DAYS!


Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” Melody Beattie