Motivation Monday: Disheartening Disease

Aliana Fichera


This beautiful little 10-year-old and her courageously supportive family are a constant reminder to me of the importance positivity and unconditional love.

Flashback: A girl with a dream

I met Ali three summers ago at the pool I used to lifeguard at. She was a nervous little pipsqueak who could barely make it across the width of the pool without feeling out of breath. She came in each morning determined to pass the swim test so she could play with the “big kids” in the deep end, although we all knew she was not quite strong enough to keep herself afloat. Regardless of how tired she was or how defeated she felt, she tried her luck at the swim test every single day of the summer.

Flash forward: Finding her dream team

Three years later, her persistence has finally paid off. Aliana has not only passed the swim test (multiple times, might I add), but is now a confident (and super fast) swimmer. She has recently joined her town’s competitive swim team and has also been granted an incredible opportunity through Team Impact to be an honorary member of the Wesleyan college swim team. Did I mention she’s 10? Sufficiently impressed.

See, one thing I failed to mention is that Ali suffers from an exhausting immune disorder called common variable immunodeficiency, which impairs her immune system. Each month, she receives a daylong infusion which fills her little body with healthy human immunoglobulin cells. She has had to undergo 23 infusions on her journey thus far.

The diagnosis of a chronic disease is a terrifying nightmare for anyone, especially a child. But Ali is a spitfire who, with the help of her support system, is willing to brave it all. She won’t let anything, especially an immune disorder, get in the way of her dreams and ambitions. It’s children like Aliana that should inspire us to wake up every day and refuse to let fear drive our every move.

Be the change

I encourage you to let Aliana’s story have an impact on the way you go about your day. Share her story & consider donating to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the non-profit organization that keeps Aliana healthy and feeling like the world is always at her finger tips.

To read more about Team Impact and Aliana’s induction to the Wesleyan swim team, click here.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
– Plato


Blogs I love: Getting Inspired

Call me nerdy, but I choose to spend my lunch breaks (and a lot of my down time) discovering ways to get my creative juices flowing. As a Marketing professional with a niche for writing, I am always looking to other bloggers for new found inspiration for my design projects, recipes, and, of course, for my day-to-day life.

My weakness? Design and DIY blogs. I can’t get enough of them! It’s amazing how creative people can be. There are a few blogs I check daily (Cupcakes and Cashmere and Lauren Conrad being two of my favorites), but I’m always on the look out for new & interesting finds!

This week’s discoveries:

1. The Crafted Life (DIY, Crafts, Interior Design)


2. Essie Button (Beauty, DIY, Fashion, Food, Lifestyle)


3. Vintage Revivals (DIY, Crafts, Interior Design)

Vintage revival2

4. Protein Treats By Nicolette (Baking & Cooking)


5. Baked Bree (Baking & Cooking)


Maximize your down time this weekend by checking out these talented bloggers for yourself. Happy weekend.

Tea Time


With November in full swing and the temperatures slowly dropping, my tea tin is back in business. My big tea-drinking secret: Whenever I enjoy a cup of green or mint tea, I indulge in a mini York peppermint patty. It’s a 50 calorie candy kick I just cannot resist.

Benefits of tea

– Jump starts the metabolism
– Helps with hydration
– Provides a caffeine kick (unless, of course, you prefer de-caffeinated tea)

My favorites

Bigelow Peppermint Herb Tea
Lipton Green Tea
Tazo Chai
– Tazo Cocoa Mint Maté
– Tazo Zen

My tiny tip

To boost your energy levels for the day ahead, pour yourself a cup of green tea each morning right when you wake up. Your body and mind will reap the benefits.

The Fifteenth Amendment

The Fifteenth Amendment (Amendment XV) to the United States Constitution
prohibits the federal and  state governments from denying a citizen the right to
vote based on  that citizen’s “race,  color, or previous  condition of  servitude.”


In America, the first Tuesday of November grants us the opportunity to speak our minds through our power to vote. Whatever our opinions, whether democratic, republican, liberal, or something else, we deserve to be heard. The only way to project our voices is to get to the polls. It is especially important for us crazy millennials to do so, as our own future is in our hands.

Today, I challenge you make your opinions actionable during the 2014 Midterm Elections. Do your research, remain open-minded, and choose the candidates that will best represent our towns, states, and country as a whole. Take advantage of your freedom of speech and I promise you will be heard (and receive an awesome “I Voted Today” sticker). If decoding politics isn’t your thing, let me direct you to a few chicks who are really good at breaking it down: TheSkimm. They can help you understand the issues at hand and explain each party’s stance.

Oh, and don’t be afraid to show off your voter’s pride! That’s what those silly stickers are there for anyways, right? I shared my pride with a little American-inspired sketch in my Kate Spade New York Planner. (Side note: This planner was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. If you’re an organization freak like me, I highly encourage you to check out her agenda line here.)


The Power of a “Thank You”

“Thank you.”

Insignificant at first glance, but memorable to say the least.

An unexpected visitor stopped by my cubicle today: A fellow employee who is not only outside of my department, but who also works remotely. I’ve worked directly with her on projects here and there, but because we don’t interact on a daily basis, we haven’t really formed a personal relationship. In fact, I wasn’t even sure she knew I existed outside of my ‘phone voice.’

Well I was wrong. Not only does she know my name, recognize my face, and remember where I sit in the office, but she also values the work that my team & I do. And made it a point to stop by and tell us. It struck me because “thank you’s” in the work place are very far and few between. Not that any of us need a constant pat on the back every time we do something grand or worth mentioning, but it’s always nice to hear that your work has not gone unnoticed.

Give it a try. You’ll be surprised to discover that sometimes giving a “thank you” is even more gratifying than receiving one. Now get out there and make someone’s day!