Product Reviews

20TIMinutes

20TIMinutes was founded, and is hosted by my friend, Tim McCarthy, and is a podcast that focuses on mental health with a sense or humor. 🧠😄

It airs every Tuesday on all major podcasting apps. 🗣

Each week, Tim has a different person do his introduction. A few weeks back, he asked if I would be interested, and I obviously say, “yes!”

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise, that Braylon was also interested in being involved. You can check out just some of the outtakes below.

Battling to be the center of attention.

I was going through old photos on my phone, and I stumbled upon this one from December 2014. 🗓

Randall and I had flew up to Boston from Charlotte for a long weekend, and we had met up with Tim, and his awesome wife, Lindsay. 🍻

Lindsay, Randall, Me & Tim
  • I miss nights out with friends.
  • If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out his podcast.
  • Take a lesson from my buddy Tim, and don’t forget to tell people how you much love them. He often references that on his podcast, as he signs off with “I love you guys”
  • On the other hand, if you don’t actually love someone, don’t tell them that you love them… especially if there’s like a proposal involved. Things could get weird. 🥴
  • Back on a serious note… far too often people that you think might be receiving praise, gratitude and support, and just overall “doing well”, often aren’t, and you never know how powerful your small act of kindness just might be. 🤗

Bye for now.

I love you all.

*quickly checks my 4 followers to make sure that’s accurate 😬

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Weight of the World

I hit a wall yesterday. 💥

The day before, I was non-stop from 6am-10pm, which isn’t uncommon for me, but guess it finally caught up. 😴

I always feel guilty about complaining because I know there’s SO many people that have it so much worse. I’m not necessarily referring to their situations with work, partners, children and society… but, what’s going on in their head – the sometimes dangerous expectations they set for themselves, accompanied by all the thoughts that they have. 🧠

I read an article this morning from Jeff Valdivia entitled Don’t Carry the Weight of the World of Your Shoulders, Just the Weight of the Moment. Spoiler alert, it concluded with:

“So, stop killing yourself by trying to carry the weight of the world. Instead, carry the weight of the present moment. All it demands is we be brave, be honest, be compassionate, and be kind. And these actions are always available to us. If you can do them in each moment, you have won, not just a better life, but a better world.” 🌎

On a lighter note, “A good conversation always involves a certain amount of complaining. I like to bond over mutual hatreds and petty grievances.” – Lisa Kleypas 🤣🥂

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It is Twenty Twenty One

Comfortable with being uncomfortable.

And there we have it. The first week of 2021. 🙄

Last year, I tried to find ways to slow down when I felt like I was going 100mph. To find piece of mind amidst all of the things that were out of my control. To lean on my people when I felt like falling apart. Learning how to ask for help rather than convince myself I could do it all myself. Trying to find patience as I realized I brought a mini version of myself into this world, and he’s already learned how to push me to my limits.

Perhaps, most importantly, becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable. Asking more questions, having difficult conversations and taking it upon myself to educate myself in new ways. Knowing the work is never done, and that the power lies in my own hands to stay informed and make a change.

Recognizing my privilege, specifically my white privilege, and rethinking everything that I was ever taught or told.

Once again, as I find myself rambling, knowing I won’t quite get it just right, the scale tips more towards saying something rather than remaining silent.

By not saying anything, you often say a whole lot.

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We Need One Another

I’ve spent a little extra time thinking and overthinking over the past 9 months.  

One thought, and it’s a big one, that I keep coming back to, is the fact that everyone has varying measure points for everything.  Seems pretty obvious, but let me elaborate.

What one individual perceives to be a hard worker, could be entirely different than another’s idea.  While neither perception is right or wrong, how each individual will measure their own work, as well as others, can be drastically different. 

Similarly, we all learn differently — different styles, different speeds — and with that, retain information differently. 

What makes one person upset, may or may not phase another.  

What causes one person pain, physically and / or mentally, may barely be felt by another. 

What one individual has experienced as the worst thing ever in his or her life, often times would be on an entirely different level of what another individual would have experienced.  For the individual who may have experienced something that would be considered by others to be trivial in comparison to what some other individuals have encountered, should still be able to sit with their emotions, move through the stages of grief and not feel guilty for doing so.  Being empathetic is important, but so is taking care of your own mental health and well-being.

It can be a tricky balance of focusing on yourself, while being empathetic and putting yourself in another’s shoes.  I’ve found the best thing that I can do, is to stop assuming.  Rather than spending so much time imagining what another person is going through and feeling, let them tell you.  I am getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable.  I have by no means perfected this, and still have a lot of ways that I can improve on this, but I am truly trying to keep this more top of mind.

I just reread this post, What’s On Your Mind, Danielle? that I wrote on April 6th. I never thought that when I wrote it, almost eight months ago, that we would be where we are right now.  

But, we are. And we can either embrace it, fight for what we want and continue to show up day in and day out for ourselves and those that need us or we can give up, back down and let this crazy beautiful life just pass us by. 

Hang in there, friends.  

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I Bet You Think This Post is about Ice Cream

A cinnamon bubble waffle with cookie butter ice cream, hazelnut drizzle, toasted fluff, and a biscoff cookie.

There are more days than not where I feel like I’m going to snap. And for most of those moments, I can almost always look back, and admit that it wasn’t that serious. Then, come the feelings of guilt, knowing how grateful I should be (and am) and telling myself that next time will be different. 🥴

And here I am. An hour or so ago, I quickly got Braylon out of the house (only after ordering curbside pickup of ice cream – I even got a second one “to go” for tomorrow), hopped in the car and immediately put on the remainder of the most recent “Unlocking Us” episode that I hadn’t finished yet. 🍦🔐

I (and for many people I talk to, especially women) have GOT to find the time to reset. For everyone whose home became their work, and you spend all sleeping and most waking hours there… yikes. I had already been working from home, but there’s obviously something quite different about this version, with the heightened stress, uncertainty and continued regulations for the “outside world” 🏡

Speaking of outside. Being outside has become such an outlet, even if it’s in my own backyard or walking around the neighborhood. As the colder weather approaches, I know I can’t let that go, especially with there being no end in sight for being able to have in person time look anything even slightly like what it used to. ☃️🎉

So, eat the ice cream. Listen to the podcast that makes you laugh until you cry, then makes you actually cry. Move your body. Get outside. Scream… or do nothing at all, and just breathe.💥🧘🏻

Do what works for you. When you can. How you can. Where you can. 🗓

And most importantly, remember your why…and what keeps you going. 💞

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I Need a Hug

I have so many amazing takeaways from the recent episode of Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us podcast where she has both Emily and Amelia Nagoski on to discuss Burnout and How To Complete the Stress Cycle. 🔓🔥

I can not recommend it enough (PS – Brene Brown’s brand new podcast, Daring to Lead, launched yesterday — I can not get enough of this woman!) 🦸🏼‍♀️

For some reason when they were talking about the power of hugging, it was as if I had never heard it before. 🤷🏻‍♀️

That led me to reading an article on Healthline “What Are the Benefits of Hugging?” 🤗

  • Hugs reduce stress by showing your support
  • Hugs may protect you against illness
  • Hugs may boost your heart health
  • Hugs can make you happier
  • Hugs help reduce your fears
  • Hugs may help reduce your pain
  • Hugs help you communicate with others

Of course, the article details scientific evidence to back each of these, and I highly suggest you check it out!

What blew me away, was a quote from family therapist Virginia Satir who said, ““We need four hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.” 😮

The article was written in 2018 and notes that, “most Western people today — especially people in the United States — are touch-deprived. Many people live solitary or busy lives with reduced social interaction and touching.” 💯

WOW. This could not be more true to what so many people have encountered over the past 6 months or so. 🏡🔒

It got me thinking about how many hugs (and general contact) that I have with this little guy.  While I may be lacking in the sleep department over the past two and half years (with no end in sight), my oxytocin levels sure must be surging. 💞

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Trapped

Do you ever feel trapped, mentally and / or physically? 🙋🏻‍♀️

Maybe it’s in a physical space, a job, a relationship, thoughts in your head or emotions and feelings in your heart 🧠💞

Sometimes I spend so much time overthinking and running possible scenarios through my head that I become uncertain of what has actually even happened. 🤯

How do you sort through all of the noise from the information that’s thrown at you just about everywhere you look? 🗣👀

How do you find the balance of filling the yearning to stay connected (with minimal physical options available) and embrace all the positivity and promise that still exists and block out the rest? ⚖️🙅🏻‍♀️

If you’re still reading these ramblings, that most likely do not make complete sense… know that on days when you’re feeling all of the things or maybe nothing at all that that is exactly where you need to be – where you are meant to be. ✨💫

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Summer Has Come and Passed

Actual photos of me all day today. All day? Who am I kidding, this is me more days than not. ⚖️

Feeling all the feelings, thinking all the things and maxing out with all of the “over”s. 🙂☹️🙃🤪

Overwhelmed. Overworked. Overreacting. Overachiever. Overprotective. Over-thinker. 🤬

But, also… Overjoyed. 💞

Dancing along the fine line of acceptance and guilt, patience and losing my cool, and always saying yes until I’m finally forced to say no. 🛑

Being ok with not always being ok. It’s ok to feel and be real. *wait, is it?!*🧍🏻‍♀️

While I (and maybe you) may feel more disconnected than ever before, in some ways it’s allowed for a new type of connection, a different appreciation and some really real conversations. 📱💻

Every time we leave the house, we’re surrounded by people in masks. Yet, we’ve been surrounded by people with masks, and many different ones at that, for far longer than just the spring of this year. 😷

I’m learning a lot about myself. I’m learning a lot about others. I’m learning more about the person I want to be, the kind of mother, wife, daughter, friend and coworker I want to be. 🦸🏻‍♀️

It’s a process. It’s a journey. And one that I am beyond grateful to have so many amazing people, both near and far, a part of. 🌎

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My Privilege

Continuing to try to accept that I can’t do all of the things all of the time and can’t be everything for everybody. 🤹🏻‍♀️

I want to change the world and have a positive impact on as many people as possible in all that I do. 🌍👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

When you set your expectations too high, you may be more likely to be disappointed, but I’m willing to take the risk. 💫

I’m tired, but there are far too many others that have been tired, in a way that I can not even fathom, for as long as they can remember. 💤

We talk about going back to normal. For too many people normal is injustice, discrimination and living in a country where they have never been given the same opportunities or have been continuously deprived of basic human rights. We can not go back to that.

As a white heterosexual female, I have spent more time than ever diving into what this privilege truly means. More importantly, how I can use this to be a part of what the world needs to help use my resources, use my voice and refuse to be silent. 🗣

We need to be ok with asking questions, having uncomfortable conversations and accepting that even small steps and little changes are still moving things in the right direction. We must make it a part of our lives each and every day. ☀️🌙

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I Will Never Be Satisfied

More often times than not, I can not seem to get my thoughts on paper and even more-so, articulate exactly what I want to say. So much so, that I often just hold most of it inside, settle with a watered down version or continue to overthink what is on my mind.

In an attempt to hold myself accountable, become comfortable with things feeling imperfect and knowing that the timing will never be just right… here I am.

After listening to the latest episode of Michelle Obama’s podcast this evening, I found myself listening to the Hamilton Mixtape. Yes, again. I have REALLY overplayed Andra Day’s Burn, and I am still determined to dream about the perfect choreography for a dance to Andra’s out of this world vocals and mind-blowing rendition. Then there’s Sia, Miguel and Queen Latifah on Satisfied, and I can’t decide which artist I want to commit to, so I find myself taking all three. “and she is helpleeeeeess” “doesn’t mean I want him any less

“You will never be satisfied
(I will never be satisfied)
(I will never be satisfied)”

And then, I paused. You will never be satisfied. 

Unsatisfied Dani in her early days.

So many times, I am the one that has set the unrealistic expectations for myself for all of the various roles that I carry. No matter how much I do, I always always feel like I could have done more or have done better. While that is great to always strive to improve, grow and move forward, there should also be a balance where grace is given, accomplishments are celebrated and that I am not so hard on myself. 

I know that I, along with many people that I know, especially women, rarely put ourselves first.

While 2020 has not been the year that I planned for, it gave me a much needed reminder to take a step back, but also a closer look at so many areas in my life, both personally and professionally. While all aspects are still a major work in progress, day by day (some more than others), I am beginning to see and feel small (and sometimes big!) changes. Too often though, I am still focusing on where I fall short, and completely overlooking the positive impact that I may have had on making steps forward in the right direction. 

“When you are deciding on next steps, next jobs, next careers, further education, you should rather find purpose than a job or a career,” he said at the time. “Purpose crosses disciplines. Purpose is an essential element of you. It is the reason you are on the planet at this particular time in history.” – Chadwick Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020)

If you have not yet watched the full video from the Commencement Speech Chadwick gave at Howard University in 2018. I highly recommend you check it out here.

Almost six years ago, on October 20, 2014, I had shared a “note” on Facebook which included the following:

“I remember being at a networking event about a year ago and had someone ask me, “What is your passion?”  I had just met this individual and found myself without an immediate response.  When meeting people I’ve gotten so used to being asked “What do you?” or “Where are you from?” but had never been asked “What is your passion?” I had plenty of things that I was passionATE about, but what was MY passion? The more I started to think about it I realized that my passion was to be able to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.  I am so grateful that I have been able to combine my passion with my job.”

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an article from INC Magazine, “To be Successful, Chase Your Purpose Not Your Passion“. For some reason, maybe because it was 11:50pm, it left me feeling more confused. 

Which then led me to stumbling upon (gosh, the Internet is truly something) The Difference Between Purpose and Passion where the author writes:

“Passion and purpose are distinct. Passion is about emotions, the motivation and what makes us feel good, i.e. “do what you love”. Purpose is the reason, or the why behind what we do, primarily for others, i.e, “do what contributes”. Where passion can be all over the place, wild and exciting, purpose is much more focused.  Passions can also come and go, whereas purpose tends to be longer term. Finally, passions are inwardly focused whereas purpose is outwardly focused on the greater impact you have on others and on your surroundings.”

Then, what caught my attention even more:

“Passions seem relatively easy to identify, but how does one find their purpose? Similar to Dweck’s research on passion, John Coleman, author of Passion & Purpose, says that you don’t find purpose, you build it. It is an evolutionary process of reflecting on your gifts, your values and what you want to contribute. The four reflecting questions I’ve found the most helpful are:

  1. How will the world be better off, thanks to you having been on this earth?
  2. What are your unique gifts and superpowers?
  3. Who have you been when you’ve been at your best?
  4. Who must you fearlessly become?

I look forward to truly reflecting all four of these questions (hopefully not at midnight) and really diving in. 

One thing is for certain, I know that I will be a part of the beyond overdue changes that will take place in our country to break down barriers, amplify voices and ensure every single aspect of our society has the appropriate representation. There is still so much work to be done, but I want and need to continue to be a part of it. 

More to come.