THRIVE: AND KEEP DANCING

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Our hearts are natural composers. It starts with a simple beat until it has created a symphony of things to beat for. Your dreams, a lover, a friend, a child, coffee, warm laundry... There are so many things that pile up to create a song. But sometimes the record scratches. Just one halt in the atmosphere and the music stops playing. A door closes on a dream, a loved one dies, a lover tells you there is someone else and suddenly you have no idea what the hell this song is that's playing.

You hear yourself saying, "I didn't create this fucking song! This isn't what I requested. Um, Mr DJ? Can you go back? I wan't done listening to that."

But there is no going back. You have to re-write. You have to create new pulses, discover a new rhythm. There is room for new melodies and I promise they are just as beautiful. Don't hold on to that fear of what if. You can and you will and it will turn your bones into steal that can pull off one hell of a dance. I promise.

- Raquel Franco

A Tip on Bad Ass Bitchery

Social Media has given us a platform to scream but if everyone is screaming... will you ever be heard? The Future is Female they say and women are coming into their own and claiming their voices. Its a proud time to be a woman but I want to caution you to be careful how you take hold of your vocal chords.  A bad ass bitch never needs to announce that she is one. Let your walk talk the talk for you. Be the girl who's loyalty, accomplishments, passion and love speak for her. We don't need an Instagram quote to tell us how strong you are. Beyoncé doesn't tell us how fierce she is. She doesn't even caption her damn Instagram photos! She just is. 

This post is just a short, sweet reminder for you to be the break in the noise don't join in. 

Life Lessons: Going back to the days of a babe

Pain is inevitable but we all fear one weapon in particular that penetrates the deepest. For me it's the weapon that forms against my character. Not just anyone can cut me there. Most people just slice the air but when the person coming at me is one that I love... it cuts to the bone.

This week I got stabbed. Not literally, people. A friendship that I hold dear to my heart had recently come to a halt and when we finally got together to hash it out, I got hashed. She let me know that I had not been giving anything to the relationship. I lost my words. My body was kidnapped and refused to fight or flight. My purpose for living is to give and to be told I was failing, crushed me.

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Days later, I got to thinking. One, in my attempt to give I end up giving myself toward too many things. As a result I ultimately have nothing left of me to give. Women suffer from this often. We are crowned with so many roles: mother, caregiver, homemaker, girl boss, friend, daughter, partner/wife. I realize men carry these roles as well but women are natural thinkers. We are also naturally sensitive. Although these qualities are beautiful they also add weight to everything we are trying to accomplish. It gets tough to be the best you can be on a daily (or minute by minute) basis. I realize I need to slow my steps. Find a new pace so I can give the best of myself to everyone around me.

Two, I need to remember the basics of human practice. We are taught at a young age that we are to share, take turns, pick up after ourselves and to say please and thank you. In the struggle of "adulting" we forget the simplest life lessons. When you make a mess, clean up after yourself. As an adult these messes are greater than milk spilt on the kitchen floor but clean it up! We tell children they have to clean it up NOW! Don't let it sit their till it's molded and your friend is crying in your face telling you that you're a horrible friend. Kids don't get breaks from their mistakes and neither should we. Humanity has also forgotten how to share and care and to ask and appreciate what has been given. I am guilty as well but we all need reminding. We are not owed anything. Everyday is a precious gift. Everything you own and every person in your life is a gift. Show your gratitude. Let's be five again.

I am reminded of a scripture that tells us to "change and be like children". Always be learning, always be discovering and always remember the lessons you were taught. Wait your turn, clean up your mess and be thankful today. And if you have been ignoring a nasty spill on the bathroom floor, go clean it up. Call them! Make a plan to get the stains out. Life was not meant to be ugly. It can beautiful, if you let it.

P.S. Thank you to my dear friend who had the courage to tell me where I was failing. You can't fix what you don't know is broken.

 

Finding Inspiration in Chicago

This past weekend I went to Chicago for the Tone It Up fitness festival. I am a die hard TIU fan but we'll dive into that later. My plans were to visit my sister, who resides in the windy city, meet some members of the #FitFam and have some fun. Little did I know I would unveil more inspiration and creativity than I could ever imagine. Chicago became my muse, yolk cracked open for me to feast.

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Since having my daughter earlier this year I have turned into a more of a "Netflix and Chill" kind of girl... along side a bottle of wine. My sister, being used to party girl, had all these plans to get dressed and venture downtown. Sadly, I had no desire. So, she took me around her side of the city in Bucktown and Logan Square.  It was phenomenal. The food (omg the food), especially the brunch, had my taste buds break dancing. The street art, the hipsters, the diversity of the crowds... I was reminded that, yes, there is a whole 'nother world out there. It has been some time since I have traveled alone and without kids. It was a breath of fresh air and it allowed my mind to wander. My passion for art expanded in my lungs. The city and all it has to offer sprouted my need for more. I even allowed my sister to dress me up. I am the girl that wears pink and it was a blast to rock some braids and be another side of me for a night.

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My soul was also encouraged by all the amazing women I met at the Tone It Up tour. I arrived solo, as none of my friends have any interest in my TIU obsession. Within in three seconds I met my first friend. She was the sweetest and my nerves instantly evaporated. We got in line together at Soldier Field and met the next girl we would spend the day with. She was 5'11 and gorgeous. They all were. I've never seen so many toned and gorgeous women. I am not sure why I expected anything less but I guess no one expects to be surrounded by thousands of models. I am 5'0 by the way... on a good day. Needless to say she was also super sweet. Everyone was. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by so much inner and outer beauty. There was not an ounce of cattiness. The only anger that ever rose was when Jillian Michaels was screaming at us to get off our fucking ass. I love that woman. She helped me lose over 40 pounds when I first started my fitness journey. I almost cried when she came out screaming. 

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Then, there was Karena and Katrina, the heads of the Tone It Up Empire. I knew they were beautiful but they were real, live Glamazons. I never knew they were so tall! And all that positivity and light they spread on social media is real! Katrina took the stage and exclaimed, "Everyone asks us how we do it and that we should be so tired. We're not fucking tired! You are the reason we get up everyday. You are the reason we are here..." The community they have built is so empowering and it gave me the fire I needed to keep going, to keep inspiring and to keep being the best that I can be. 

This blog and website is a result of my weekend and all the inspiration I soaked in. I am on a mission and I can't wait to forge ahead! Look out for more exciting things to come.

Subscribe to my newsletter and you'll get my list of tips to find inspiration while traveling. Go! Now! Love you!

- XOXO Raquel