When I first came to the United States I could have never imagined that I would never go back home to stay. I brought a calendar with me where I circled and bedazzled the date of my return ticket home. I never took that flight.. Somewhere between my arrival to the U.S. and before that scheduled return flight I found a dream that I had since I was a little girl. Growing up in harsh conditions of a tiny village even on the gloomiest of days I knew somewhere deep down that I would live abroad and that my future husband would have an exotic name, one that people did not really give to their newborn sons in formerly Soviet Ukraine. Sure, I understand that Carl is nothing special for a name here, but my family still gets a kick out of ‘Karlusik’ every now and again. So, exotically named husband – check ✔️!
Where am I going with this? Oh yeah – Power of Vision!
Every time I go back to visit that tiny village I am astounded at how content its people are living out their days in such an unwelcoming and poor environment. For as long as I remember myself I kinda knew that I was different in that without any doubt in my mind I believed that I belonged someplace important, someplace where the urban kids would not make fun of me because I was from a village, someplace like Washington, DC. Yesssss, this is it! Important? – you bettcha! No urban kids are making fun of me, thank goodness *laugh out loud* .. I could not have planned it any better, the only thing is that I didn’t. I didn’t plan to live in DC, in fact I did not know where that place would be from my childhood dreams. But I did have a Vision and it led me to where I am today, which is astoundingly further than most of my peers and co-villagers even can think to dream of.
“Because I like to do it this way!” – snarled my pimple-ridden 13 year old self in response to a group of middle-aged women making comments about how I was washing the dishes. They were congregating in our kitchen trying to split up the costs of divvied up pig that my parents had bought along with other 3 families to share for the winter. I hated doing dishes. No running water, let alone hot. Dirty pots were used as vessels for water transfer and heating, then served as a washing basins for the smaller dishes. Heating water again for the rinsing cycle, repeat the process.. The rags were always torn, dish soap never soapy enough, that is until we started splurging on Fairy – the dish soap sent from heaven for Ukrainian dishwashing practices.
“And just so that all of you know, I will own my own dishwasher when I have my home!” – I continued. Right as I said it, the ridiculousness of the statement surprised me. Who was I kidding? I had never been to a place that had a dishwasher, I only knew about it in theory, where was I gonna get a dishwasher from even if I did manage to somehow move out of my parents’ apartment one day. But there is was, I said it, no going back now. The laughter that erupted from the ladies further convinced me that I could not retract my statement and the only option was to stay true to that Vision.
And I did. Today I own a beautiful home and of course you guessed it – a dishwasher! For the reference, none of those ladies that were gathered that day in our khrushchovka style kitchenette own a dishwasher to this day, nearly 2 decades later. Nor do their children..
The dishwasher example is another one of those looking-back-and-realizing-something type of moments. I have plenty more of stories like that. I was blessed to be able to achieve pretty much anything I set forth to achieve and I gotta tell you it feels pretty darn incredible!! But all of the accomplishments, mine or someone else’s, always without exception start with a dream, a Vision!
Once you arrive at the same conclusion:
Vision has a tendency to materialize. If you can think it, the Universe knows a way to manifest it.
it is only a matter of time that you also understand that taking a moment and setting your Vision purposefully as opposed to waiting for it to emerge creates a faster path for its manifestation.
Enter Vision Board:
Creating a Vision Board is fun because at the minimum it has you thinking in the what-is-my-purpose-in-life trajectory, which is a great start, if you haven’t already done so. Setting your goals on a board in a place where you will constantly see it will serve as a visual reminder of where you want to be in life. However, it is equally as important to ‘work’ with the Vision Board, which will amplify the signal that your being sends out into the Universe and will deliver your goals without fail if you put your trust into it.
Working with the Vision Board
The more time you spend looking at the Board and actually seeing and feeling yourself as if all of the things on the board have already been achieved, the more effective it will be in helping you reach your Vision~
Thinking happy and positive thoughts while visualizing your goals will boost your journey to success~
Spend several minutes in the morning and evening going through your desired goals on the board and feel the awesomeness that achieving all of them will undoubtedly bring~
Take this dreamy board image with you in mind and keep it throughout the day until you look at it again at night~
How to make a Vision Board
Easy, start plastering your desired goal printouts with as much detail as possible all over the walls! Photoshop your face into the body building competition line-up, write a fake article singing accolades to your newly published book, write yourself a check for $1 million and put it up on the board. Anything goes, anything that you truly desire is just a Vision Board away. To purchase the Kit that I used for my Vision Board, visit the QOC Shop.
And don’t forget to send me a thank you card and a check when your dreams are achieved through the help of using Vision Board. Or just drop me a note, hearing success stories is my favorite thing to do *bear hugging*
As you might have already heard, mega pop star Beyoncé released her 6th music album, Lemonade, in an hour-long visual album, which aired on HBO on Saturday, April 23d.
If you had a chance to watch it or listen to any of the music from it, you would quickly pick up hints of infidelity, broken hearts, and a cheating husband. Now, is she really talking about her and Jay Z’s relationship, or simply using her new album as a PR stunt (she did release it exclusively on Tidal, which is owned by Jay Z !!)? I am afraid, that most of us will never truly find out what really inspired the lyrics in her thematically connected album nor is it any of our business. Having said that, the best we can do is speculate. So speculate we must.. as the album is truly incredible and she has done an outstanding work with the flow, vocals and assembly of the entire album, which occurs rather rarely even for some of the greatest artists of all time. Needless to say that anybody who appreciates her music and was touched by the Lemonade, wants to look deeper into the lyrics and understand how the artist came up with the title “Lemonade.”
So here it goes – regardless of the truth behind the lyrics, one picks up a lot of pain, followed by still very young and raw forgiveness and promise that there are going to be no more second chances (who in their right mind would do anything to hurt the relationship with Queen B????!!!????). So from the sound of it seems like a girl (B or not) got hurt by her partner, but she found strength within herself to learn how to forgive and move on (at least for now). This is all nice and dandy, but where did she get the #Lemonade from? This brings me to my conclusion that Lemonade is her way of saying “Do what you might, I will always make the best of it,” kinda playing off the all too familiar phrase that goes like this: “Life gives you lemons? Make lemonade!”
Assuming, the album does cover the true previously untold story of Beyoncè’s not so perfect relationship with Jay Z, here are a couple of points that support the above statement about the meaning behind the title of her album:
- Beyoncè ‘forgives’ Jay, but on one condition- she will humiliate him publicly and expose the lies and the cheating making it a theme for an entire album! That must have been one tough conversation to have and some pretty ruthless conditions to except for Jay, if everything in the album is indeed true..
- The album was released exclusively on Tidal, a music streaming service owned by Jay Z himself.. Cheat on your wife and then publicize her accusatory music on your own streaming service.. Yeah, Bey might have been hurt, but she is definitely scoring some awesome revenge points!
- In one of her songs she is very clear that this is Jay’s ‘final warning.’ She proceeds to claim “you know I give you life. If you try this s**t again, you’ll lose your wife.” So, her pride and image are somehow not hurt at all. Jay Z and “Becky with good hair” are the only two characters that suffer humiliation and Bey is on top. Those lemons really do taste good in her lemonade..
- This is a story about a woman who was betrayed and cheated on. What does she do? She turns it into a mega successful album, which is bound to make her millions and further engrave her as a major pop diva of XXI century! Way to go B!
- Lastly, the most idealistic way to make lemonade out of those lemons that you have been served is by truly forgiving from the bottom of your heart and I truly hope that, if alleged Jay Z’s infidelity is real, Beyoncè found the strength to put the past behind her and move on using true love as guidance. As singer’s own words suggest “true love is the greatest weapon.”
Best of luck to Jay and B and to all of you who can relate to this musical gem based on personal experience. Always find a way to make that lemonade, just like Queen B did!
Have you ever heard an expression that goes something like this: ‘Careful with your thoughts because they have a tendency to materialize into reality..’ ? One rendition or another of this concept is observed cross-culturally through layers and layers of history, age groups and social status. This article will talk about a very personal experience that I think has the potential to change EVERY- and ANY- thing around you that leaves for more to be desired in your life currently.. So here it goes..
I grew up knowing that, compared to my peers, I was viewed by many (including myself) as a bit of a hopeless optimist. I always saw the better side of things, bad people had to prove me wrong before I would start disliking them, every shut in my face door always meant bigger and greater opportunities would come my way, etc… It was not until about 4 years ago that I was able to link a lot of my successes in life to the way I was organizing my thoughts internally. I was doing it naturally without thinking twice about why I am the way I am, but since a monumental moment in my life when I accepted the idea of thoughts’ ability to turn into reality, my life has shot up with an unprecedented speed and an upward trajectory. I can go on and on about how important it is to ‘supervise’ your inner self to make sure that you always stay positive and what event caused me to ‘open my eyes’ so to speak, but that is topic for another time.
For this article’s purposes I will just say that keeping thoughts in a positive direction on a constant basis is VERY difficult even for the most optimistic optimists out there (anybody saying otherwise is not being completely honest 😜). But, assuming you buy into this whole keep-your-emotions-postive thing, and assuming that you have at least one positive thought that you would like to see become reality, here is a quick trick to intensify it- write about it, paint it, make it.. whatever it is that would help you further channel your positivity- do it!!
This brings us to this personal story that I allude to above:
My husband just recently got a promotion. He had to work really hard for it, and, once promoted, faced many challenges in order to keep the position. A couple of months ago he had a bit of work over the weekend, and, for the lack of anything better to do, I joined him in his guest chair and was trying to combat my boredom by looking around his office, wall art, and whatever else there was to entertain myself with.
I shook my head at the sight of an overflowing trashcan, that magically gets filled every day with scrapped paper, empty seltzer water cans, and other random things. My gaze shifted to the side chair standing by his desk holding all of his workout gear, including his shoes!!. Another silent head shake. He, typing something vigorously on his keyboard, was completely oblivious to the fact that his office was a bit of a mess.
I shifted my gaze at his college diploma that prominently hung on the wall directly in front of his desk. His grandparents were really nice and framed it in lamb skin for him when he first graduated from The Citadel. Even though, getting his BS was over 10 years ago and he had already finished his MS since then, this Citadel diploma was hanging on the wall by itself (mainly because it was the only one that was framed while his Graduate degree diploma was sitting somewhere still in the envelope that it had arrived in for almost 2 year now). To top things off, he used this lamb skin frame as a temporary-turned-into-permanent place holder for company photos with his previous teams and other random keepsakes from previous roles.
Something clicked right then, “Honey, have you ever thought about the fact that day in and day out all you see in front of you is your past?”- I asked casually. The typing stopped. He looked up at the diploma in front of him and mumbled, “I guess..” Sometime after that completely out of the blue my husband approached me and said that he really thought about what I had said that time and that he was going to paint his future (!!!!) to hang in place of the Citadel diploma currently hanging on the wall.
Another couple of weeks went by before he was able to zero in on the theme of the painting that he wanted to do and enter Ganesha. Here is a brief visual chart to track all the things that Ganesha represents and all of these are exactly what my husband and I are gunning for in our future
And below is what he has gotten so far. Now granted, this is not a finished version yet, but ever since he started working on the painting, things at work exploded in a very good way. To a point where it is almost scary how we control what actually happens in our daily lives..
The reason why I wanted to share this article is because in the little time that he invested into thoughts about what it is that he wants for the future a looooot of things have changed for the better and the atmosphere in and around his office is indescribable. I wish the same for all of you and simply want to remind you that you control your life. So go on, dream big, paint colorful, sing loudly, and be happy!
I am one of those people that used to think that I am not destined to have beautiful eyebrows because, despite me being a strong brunette, my brows are very thin and are not very full by nature. To top it off, I also have a scar on my left eyebrow that is a result of me being young and not realizing that if you get a cut anywhere on your face that is over an inch long, you should DEFINITELY go get some stitches.
I used to rock these ‘strings’ for brows for the longest time and actually thought that it was a solution for me and my brows that I would have to stick with for the rest of my life.. Until trends started changing and I would see all these beautiful women with thick big brows and would secretly wish I could pull off the same look with mine. Well, Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil made my dreams come true!
I was a bit hesitant to go with a pencil at first, because of failed attempts at experimenting with brow pencils in the past. What I did not realize is that you cannot skimp on your brow product, especially if your eyebrows are less than perfect. So, going to a drug store make-up isle did not make any miracles happen for me and/or my brows. I was becoming desperate, I grew my eyebrow line thicker (to go with the trend), but was having a hard time feeling confident about the look because my scar started coming in more prominently and the scarcity of the brow hairs was becoming more obvious. I would fill in the scar area with my eyeliner for the lack of a better solution and it did the job for a while, at least the scar was not as in-your-face anymore. But I knew that it was not a solution either. It would smudge, clump and fade towards the end of the day, so I set out to find me a brow miracle.
That is when I came across reviews on the Bobbi Brown Brow Pencil and after hesitating for a bit, talking to a make-up artist via their online chat and sending her a picture of my naked brows and expressing my fears based off of my previous experiments with brow pencils, I decided to go for it. Boy, am I happy that I did!! I absolutely love this product and will definitely be buying the same thing once this one runs out, totally worth the $42 that I was so hesitant to shell out the first time around:)
So, dear readers, if your eyebrows leave you desiring for more, definitely check out Bobbi Brown Perfectly Defined Long-Wear Brow Pencil, I do not think you will regret it. Conversely, if you have a brow product that you absolutely adore, please share, I would love to hear from you!
There has been some rumoring around the internet in the last couple of months that somewhere in the land of far far away there exists this magical mushroom that makes a woman “spontaneously orgasm” just by smelling it. Naturally, I had to investigate further! A possibility of never needing a man in your life was just too exiting not to!
The results that I found were all pointing in the direction of Phallus Indusiatus, a fungus belonging to the family of Phallaceae. It is a mushroom that looks as if it is wearing a crocheted skirt over its stem. It is considered to be edible and is widely used in Chinese cuisine as an ingredient in stir-fries and chicken soups. It is also known for its medicinal properties due to its richness in bioactive compounds, dietary fiber, carbohydrates, and protein which give it antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
All medicinal purposes aside, is it really as magical as the internet might have suggested? There definitely has been enough coverage on this on sites like Daily Mail, Reddit, Slant, and Maxim, just to name a few..
Turns out, this claim came as a result from a study that is not very well backed with data from a scientific perspective, making an orgasm inducing mushroom more of a folk tale than reality, according to Bec Crew from Science Alert. Looking deeper into the study itself, it was discovered that it was not well put together, with sample size being too small to realistically represent any scientific finding and not very well recorded findings. For example, out of the 16 women that were studied, 6 reported experiencing an orgasm, but nothing was done to actually verify the said orgasms other than simply relying on women’s accounts. The remaining 10 reported increased heart rate.. But to call it orgasmic, hmmm, I don’t think so. A woman needs waaaaay more than just an fast beating heart to experience an orgasm, if you know what I mean.
So, ladies, no miracles as of yet, but science is definitely trying ☺️.
Just from the title alone, we all know that this post is primarily written for women (and, of course, gentlemen who are trying to understand their women) as there is no such thing as a guy who would say ‘No’ to sex. If you are still reading, please be advised that this is an honest post about some of the realest feelings one would experience at one point or another in a long-standing relationship.
Being a woman is difficult as is. There is so much to worry about every day that my WordPress account’s memory would not be able to hold if I were to try writing it out. I mean, things ranging from having to pick out an outfit every morning to dealing with our monthly hormonal swings that only intensify with age until they turn into a full-blown hormonal crisis (otherwise known as menopause)! Another, less talked about, part of a challenge, called “being a woman,” is coming up with creative ways to deny our partners in sexual requests without hurting the relationship time and time again.
“Honey, I have a horrible headache.. Honey, I am just so tired! Baby, not tonight..” are all phrases that every woman knows and ‘practices’ fairly often.. At least I used to.., until I discovered a better alternative- just going with it! Choosing sex over yet another excuse why you do not want to get intimate has proven to bring mental and health benefits that I am blessed enough to have experienced on my own, and would like to share with the rest of you.
So, without further adieu, here are the 5 reasons why accepting sexual advances from your partner would benefit you, even at times when you are convinced that your body needs just the opposite:
The first reason being the most obvious one – a simple fact that everyone likes sex! Admit it! Say it our loud! ‘Feeeeeel’ the words as they are coming out of your mouth.. Sex is just as pleasant to us, women, as it is to the guys, arguably even more so! So, why would you want to reject something that has the potential to bring you up to the clouds and let you taste the paradise?!?
Sex leads to orgasm (at least good sex does, otherwise- ruuuuuun!!!) and orgasm is accompanied by the release of oxytocin, aka love hormone. This leads to raised levels of another substance, called CCK, which helps control your appetite. Now, who wouldn’t pick orgasm over a diet?
Orgasm helps you sleep better. A number of hormones that stimulate relaxation, sense of contentment and deepen the sleep are released when we orgasm. Got sleep problems? Sex more!
Some suggest that sex also helps women balance their hormonal imbalances. The magical oxytocin comes in handy in this process as well. Estrogen (goooood!) levels go up, cortisol (baaaad!- it is the main stress hormone) levels go down, bone density (gooood!, otherwise, arguably, we might end up with osteoporosis) increases.. And this is just to name a few..
Having sex once or twice a week can actually boost your immune system as well, which increases your chances of not falling ill and fight those colds off faster if you do. “There’s a study that proved people who have sex one to two times a week actually have an increase in their immune function,” ER physician Dr. Travis Stork says.
So if these reasons are not enough for you to go chase your man down right now for a quick intimate oxytocin booster, I really hope you would keep them in mind next time when making a decision on whether or not to accept your partner’s intimate advances;) Happy sexing!
Autumn is in full swing. The leaves are turning colors, the air is starting to smell like ‘that time of the year,’ the children are starting to count the days (more like weeks) until Christmas and all you can think about is freezing the morning time for at least a little bit as leaving your bed is becoming increasingly more difficult with one colder day after another. But you still get up, get ready for the day (while still fantasizing about your bed..) get the kids to school, get your daily coffee, and go about your day as usual, or at least try to.. Then you face the day with everything it might have in store for you, and, finally, you are home for the evening again. All day you have been surrounded by the people who either seem to be coughing, sneezing, or just simply look sick. Your shoulders are achy at the end of the day from having to carry around that extra weight of your wool sweater, fall jacket or blazer. Nothing is bringing you joy, you feel heavy and *sniffle* “What was that?!? I can’t get sick! Not now! I am in the middle of the biggest project of the year and it needs to turned in first thing Monday morning!!!”
Sound all too familiar? If so, read on to find out about the 5 best ingredients the nature has gifted us with that will help you stay energized, boost your immune system and help you avoid the trip to the doctor’s all while enjoying the best this season has to offer.
- Olive leaf extract: the magical component of a Mediterranean diet is now available in capsules. My personal favorite brand is available here. With modern advances in technology scientists were able to zero in on the ingredient found in olive tree leaves that makes it extremely beneficial for human health from an array of perspectives – oleuropein. Some of the valuable characteristics of the olive leaf extract are: lowering blood pressure, improving arterial health, controlling diabetes, reducing the risk of cancer, neuroprotection, elevating the pains of arthritis. Life Extension magazine published a great article on this which contains a lot of useful info along with cited sources to back up the information provided. For those of us who literally feeeeeel the cold in our bones, the arthritis-tackling characteristics of the olive leaf extract can really come in handy during this chilly season.
- Ginger – another ingredient that nature has gifted us with that has an array of healing characteristics. Traditionally, ginger was widely used as an aid in fighting gastrointestinal discomfort. It was not until relatively recently that some other medicinal attributes of ginger have been discovered, such as its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as ginger’s certain types of cancer-fighting abilities. With its distinctive taste, ginger is perfect in tea on a cold rainy day, salad dressing for dinner or simply as a refreshing beverage a.k.a. ginger lemonade.
- Cinnamon is known for its savory taste & aroma combination equally as much as it is known for its healing properties. Not only will cinnamon help you get over the fall blues but it will also make it taste delicious. Cinnamon is full of antioxidants, bacteria-fighting compounds, and is also known as an excellent diabetes-preventing measure. My personal favorite way to digest cinnamon is in a cocktail 😉 But there are a number of other ways to integrate it with your fall diet, some of the possibilities can be found here.
- Now I am going to list an item that most of you are probably wondering why I haven’t included in this list yet – Garlic. Its potent medicinal properties make it a perfect natural antibiotic. Garlic is known for being effective in ridding an organism of bacteria, strengthening the bones, boosting immune system and stabilizing the blood pressure, to name just a few of its magical wholesome properties. A study conducted in 2011 on 146 individuals found that a daily garlic supplement over the course of 12 weeks reduced the number of colds by 63% compared with people who were taking placebo supplements and reduced the duration of the sickness by 70% in those who did fall ill. So go on, include that extra garlic in your spaghetti sauce, soup stock or salad, just remember to make sure that your partner eats some of it, if you know what I mean 🙂
- Last but DEFINITELY not least – Fruits and vegetables high in Vitamin C and antioxidants! To be quite frank, ‘knowing your fruits and veggies’ is probably the best piece of knowledge you can put inside your head that will keep on giving for years to come. Below is a visual representation that lists some of the best fruits and veggies, so if you ever catch yourself in a supermarket this fall wondering which vegetable to get for dinner, keeping these in mind can really come in handy to help you and your family stay away from the doctor’s office. Please click on the image below to find detailed information in an item-by-item fashion done for BodyBuilding.com.
I would love to hear some of your favorite recipes using one (or all) ingredients above and the stories about how you could see the improvements in your overall well-being and the ability to cope with the fall depression-anxiety-sniffles combination that most of us experience annually right about this time of the year!
Thanks for reading and Stay H-ealthy/appy!!
A couple of days ago I came across an article on CNN that absolutely blew my mind. The article highlighted some of the favorite watch selections that the top 1% of population in the U.S. (or even the world) are wearing today. I flipped through the first couple of featured items with fascination, wondering when would be the time when I can spend 15K on a watch without succumbing to a heart attack. Until I noticed prices on some of those watches and my hair stood up on my head.. Like Richard Mile RM 69 Erotic Tourbillon retails for a little over half a million dollars! That is 5 with 5 zeros after it!! Yeah, I get it- it is always nice to hear hot provoking messages directed at you, but by a watch?? And there are only about 169 of the pre-installed messages that the watch will know how to say.. I mean seriously? Pay 10 years worth of average American’s salary for a watch that knows how to say provocative things in 169 ways, impressive.. not.
So here is my advice of the day: use the 500K to invest into your future, buy yourself a house and a nice car and, chances are, you will be able to reel in a good looking live female to send you those erotic messages in real time and then even be able to act upon them when you get home after a long day at work, if you know what I mean. Having said all of this, also remember to buy yourself a pair of new shoes, Tom Ford has just the right selection here. To understand why the new shoes are probably the most valuable of your investments out of everything mentioned above, click here and Paolo Nutini will explain it better than I can ever possibly hope to 😛
Have you come across anything lately that just simply did not compute in your head based on the price-usefullness-functionality disproportion? Please share below, I would love to hear from you!
Becoming a blogger turned out to be much harder than originally anticipated:) One actually has to put his/her thoughts down in writing, edit them and publish, which requires a lot of motivation, will power and desire to do, considering that I am a busy individual, like most of us are, juggling things like work, school, and family, just to name a few.. As a result, I wrote nothing for almost a month.
While it is easy to get upset and discouraged with yourself when things do not work out the way we hope they would, the most important rule that one can follow to stay on the path to happiness is remembering to look for the good in everything that is going on around us. Despite what people think, there is something positive in every seemingly negative event or occurrence in our lives. The trick is to keep your mind open so that we are able to pick that positivity up when the opportunity presents itself. And when there is literally nothing good in a given situation, it is up to us to create good from scratch.
This is exactly the route I chose to take on a day when nothing else was working out my way. The boss at work was having a bad day, which always translates into a tense work environment, I got some not-so-good news from a doctor, and found out that my car needed some serious fixing all on the same day. Needless to say, I was struggling to follow my own rule of focusing on the good, mainly because not much good was taking place that day. So I turned to create-your-own-happiness rule. I headed to a DSW store for my lunch break and found a pair of shoes that I would probably not buy under normal circumstances. They were pink, springy, and made me feel good about myself.
It helped me take my mind off the worries; there was nothing I could do about what was causing them anyways and I absolutely love my new shoes!
So, go ahead, tell your worries to wait and go buy yourself some cool new shoes!
Tuesday, Apr 14th, started out like any other April 2015 day — gloomy, cold, and not at all spring-like.. On that day, coming back from a meeting in DC, sitting in the back seat of a cab, I discovered something within myself that I decided to share with the rest of the world. I discovered the need to be happy and I want to share it with those who are struggling to find their balance in life. Today marks the beginning of my blogging career. I will be posting little bits and pieces on how I choose to be happy and I invite you to join me on this exciting journey!