I’m a true believer that all you need is love. Sometimes I actually have to remind myself that I need a little money and some amenities to survive in this world. Love is what fuels me buts it’s also the reward. I remind myself daily to focus on these aspects of love.
Love for Someone
Love for Something
Love for Yourself
Love for Someone
Whether you’re married or single is not important. Loving someone is the key. Anyone. A friend, a parent, a sibling. Not the kind of love that brings you together a few times a year or gets you a birthday text. The kind of love that you put work into. The love that is above and beyond a text or Facebook post. Love that they can feel no matter where they are or who they’re with. That’s how you love someone. Real commitment and dedication. The kind of love that’s an action, that’s hard to give to a lot of people at once. So choose your people. Who do you love? Who needs your love? My people right now are my daughters and of course my husband. My mother too. I’ve always believed that loving someone was not the difficult part. Making sure they feel loved is the challenge. So, challenge yourself.
Love for something
My thing is the steelpan. My instrument. An instrument I played since I was a child. Recently, a student asked at an assembly “why do I feel a warm breeze like I’m at the beach or somewhere nice when I hear you play?” She had never heard a steelpan at the beach so I told her that feeling was called joy and if you enjoy being at the beach then you’re relating this sound to a happy memory. That’s what the instrument does.
I’ve never witnessed anything else in my lifetime that makes so many people so happy. Well, maybe…s’mores. I’ve also never witnessed anything that brings together so many different types of people. Because of this love, I’ve become extremely dedicated to teaching about the steelpan and preserving the legacy of one of its pioneers, my father.
Love for yourself
I’ve always been a big advocate for loving yourself. Thinking you’re beautiful, knowing your worth and having pride in your story. I believe that I was blessed with self-esteem and pride. Growing up in America in the 80’s as a poor, immigrant, dark-skinned girl is not for the faint of heart, but somehow when I looked in the mirror, I loved what I saw… a pretty, strong, smart, talented and a very hard-working girl with big goals and a giving spirit. I knew these things about myself then and years later I still believe them to be true even if at times it’s wavered.
Growing up, I saw that women who looked like me were not perceived or portrayed as having those qualities. So not only did I have the challenge of continuing to believe that about myself, but I was also faced with the challenge of defending why I believed that about myself, especially from those with opposing views based on what they were taught.
Still today, I encounter people who are offended by my self-esteem and confidence. It’s challenged, as if I don’t deserve it or it somehow makes them lesser than. I recognize that their behavior stems from how they in turn feel about themselves or the biases of that individual. Biases they sometimes don’t even recognize they have. However, I’m raising young girls who are even more confident than I was. Their strength is what pushes me to continue to not only be a great example but to always overcome.
All in All
Give your love, make sure it’s felt.
Find a passion and nourish your soul.
When you love yourself, you are better able to love others.
Happy Valentine’s Day xoxo
It’s Inauguration Day. I feel so incredibly sad today. More sad than I anticipated. This morning I hugged my daughters extra tight before they went to school and my husband came upstairs three times to give me extra hugs and kisses. I guess he knew I’d need it today.
Thinking back to last year. There are so many things that bewildered me throughout the election. I kept waiting for that thing to happen, you know that one thing that would finally make people say “no, that’s it, he cannot be president, we are better than this,” but that moment never happened. Instead, we elected someone who is mediocre, ignorant and delusional. Instead of elevating the standards, we accepted way less than we deserved. Maybe we had no choice.
America’s 45th President represents the type of American I have spent most of my life trying to avoid but being unable to; the ignorant, what about me, better than everyone else, step on you to get ahead, I should get just because, loud, ill mannered…etc. etc. etc.
What’s to Come?
I believe there will come a time when we will collectively expect more for ourselves and our country. Where we will seek great men and women to lead us and they will have the be the very best; decent and responsible with strong values, high intellect and compassion.
What Changes For Me?
Nothing. I have always worked hard. Maybe, I’ll be working a little harder. I give my time and money to causes that support children. I advocate for diversity and inclusion. I support entrepreneurs and small businesses owners, the people who work the hardest and have built our country. I support women and minorities and those who have to work harder to achieve. I am kind and confident and treat others well. I am surrounded by diverse people with varying backgrounds and learn from their knowledge and experiences. I give to those who ask and listen to those who need to be heard. I am a woman of strong faith which gives me the strength and power I need to overcome.
It’s Inauguration Day.
I’ve seen so much hate, contempt and disrespect lately. Over the last two weeks I’ve cried and questioned everything and everyone. What I’ve come to realize (what i think I’ve always known) is that I can and will do more. I’m demanding that the high standards I have for myself will have to be upheld by those around me and I’m positive that love and kindness is the greatest way overcome hate and indifference. While I could spend the rest of my life reciting what I’m thankful for, right now, in these times it’s who I am and what I believe in that I’m truly thankful for. I’m blessed to have these traits…
- I am thankful that I know in my heart that I do not judge or have prejudices against other people.
- I am thankful that I see good in others until they show me otherwise.
- I am thankful to be a lifelong learner. Not too proud to improve my knowledge and understanding of the things I don’t know.
- I am thankful that I can give to others without hesitation.
- I am thankful I am empathetic and compassionate.
- I am thankful for my dedication to manners and proper etiquette.
- I am thankful that I can see pain through the behavior of others and treat them accordingly.
- I am thankful that I want to hear the stories of others, expanding my understanding of the people throughout the world.
- I am thankful that I can work hard. For myself, for my family and for others.
- I am thankful I can see greatest in others.
- I am thankful that I feel best being kind, generous and supportive.
- I am thankful for my dedication to children and young people, understanding that they are the most important.
- I am thankful for my sense of pride for who I am and where I’m from.
- I am thankful that I have an overwhelming need to give, receive and surround myself with love.
- I am thankful that I know how blessed I am. Especially to have my family, my husband David and my daughters.
It’s moments like these that we see how strong we are and the impact we can have. We are powerful. And in the words of my favorite Marvel Superheroe’s Uncle…”with great power comes great responsibility”
I can’t even believe it’s Friday?! The last three weeks have been nonstop! Work, travel, family obligations. Truly nonstop. I can’t really complain though, there’s always so much to celebrate. My girls are doing well. David and I are healthy and happy and new opportunities are coming along. I’ll be blogging for Visit Pittsburgh announced this week and Barrels to Beethoven received its first grant from the PA Council on the Arts. There’s no break in site! Both in a good way and a way that makes me a little nervous. Luckily we have an exciting weekend ahead.
I’ll spend the morning and early afternoon finishing up my first popup with UpTo. We’ve spent the last week assisting business owners in Sharpsburg. A cute town outside of the city that has quickly become my favorite place. Next week we’ll head to Homewood. But I’ll definitely be back, Sharpsburg!
Friday afternoon I head to my space to practice and pack up the instruments for the evening.
Friday night I’m heading to Mr. Smalls Funhouse for a CD release party for Brett Staggs. Rhythm ‘n’ Steel drummer/bandmate just happens to be an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and musician. Barrels to Beethoven will open the night by teaching guests to play the steelpan. We’ve got some cool songs in store to teach. I’m so excited for this event and so very happy for Brett. I’m grateful to know a musician like him. Talented, dedicated, light hearted. Funny guy. And not to mention my daughters’ new favorite singer. They know every word of every song.
Saturday morning I’ll wake up early to do some laundry, clean up and finish some work. After a meeting for the upcoming Maker Faire, David and I will head to Sewickley for an event with Congressman John Lewis. A living legend and known activist and leader of the civil rights movement. I’m so excited to hear him speak. There’s so much ignorance being spread, this is the sort of rhetoric my mind and heart needs right now.
Sunday will be the best day of the weekend. I’m really looking forward to my niece, Gianna’s confirmation mass. I’m so honored she asked me to be her sponsor and I hope I can be a guiding light in her life. She is just the sweetest girl. The kind of girl that makes you smile. This summer we got to spend more time together. She helped my mother in law babysit the girls, which was so comforting to me to know she was there with Sofia to help. She also attended my Pan Camp. She not only assisted with the younger students but learned to play the steelpan and was so good! She’s a blessing to this world I can’t wait to see what kind of young woman she grows up to be. I pray I can play a positive role in that. After mass we’ll all gather at my mother in laws for brunch. With hopefully some relaxation to follow.
All in All
It’s been an incredible last few weeks, few months, year. Ups and downs for sure but clear signs that hard work, prayer and positivity will allow me to achieve my goals and bring my family lots of joy. The temperatures are changing but my season is changing as well. I am working toward change and feeling the shift. I have goals in mind but also praying for guidance. I’ve learned that when you feel it’s time for a change you have to move with it. Don’t fight to keep things the same. It’s a strange feeling to be moving through your days like a raft in the river working hard, getting things done but feeling like you don’t fully have control. That’s when you literally just go with the flow and wait to see what comes next. I’m waiting. I’m praying. I’m excited.
What happened to summer?! My oldest daughter started school last week. My younger two started school today. Back to school this year was quite bitter sweet for so many reasons. Although summers for me as a mother and entrepreneur are rough to say the least. A constant juggle between taking good care of my girls, having fun and getting my work done. The constant scheduling and focus on time management is truly worth it because our family time is precious. Not just to me and my husband, but to our my girls too. We truly love to be together. I thank God everyday and will do everything I can do make it happen and ensure that lasts.
However school time is great too! Stella, entering third grade was the most excited of all of my girls to go back. Sofia, who is a gift of a child, also happens to be teenager, so there’s that. And my little Cece who seemed excited to go back and see her friends, held my leg for a few seconds too long this morning. Long enough to indicate she was scared and long enough for tears to produce…in my eyes, not hers. She was okay a few minutes later, giving me a big hug and a tap on the nose and cheeks (that’s what I do to her) before I left.
For the most part I’m happy to start the school year. I know, well I hope, I’m sending my girls with the tools they need to succeed and I’m excited for all of the new experiences they’re going to have.
This summer we talked a lot about being kind and working hard. Empathy and Motivation. I think you’ll go very far in life if you have those characteristics.
I try to set a good example for my children not just tell them, but show them. I think that’s the best way to teach. They see me setting goals and accomplishing them. This summer even my youngest mentioned that I had set goals like new clients for Straightforward Consulting and pan camp for Barrels to Beethoven and accomplished both. There’s nothing like hearing “I’m proud of you mommy” from your kids. That alone is a great motivator. #FanClub
They also see me constantly helping others. I tell them even if you have nothing at all, you can still give someone your time. When I see them excited to do something kind for a family member, friend, or stranger, it really warms my heart. It’s such a blessing to see your child being kind and helping others. I hope that quality stays with them, always.
So I’m sending my girls back to school with with confidence, empathy, determination to do well and pride. I’m praying they do their best, are treated well, treat others well and truly enjoy themselves. And, I’m taking a moment (literally just a moment) to change course, adjust to my new daily routine and make a plan to achieve my new goals.
Here’s to a great school year!
Sometimes it’s crazy to think about how much I do in a day, a week or a month. I know extremely busy people that tell me I’m busy. That scares me a little. What makes me calm is my ability to schedule and plan, sometimes to the minute. That may sound boring and binding but somehow I still feel free, open to change, and able to enjoy moments of spontaneity.
The last day of Pan Camp! What an incredible 3 weeks of steelpan I’ve had. From two weeks with amazing children at Sweetwater to hosting my own week long camp for the second straight year. How far Barrels to Beethoven has come since 2014!
This afternoon the students performed for parents, family, friends and some St. Edmunds staff. They did such a wonderful job! I’m often amazed by what my students can do, eventhough I fully believe in their abilities. That wraps up a summer full of steelpan education programs. #SummerOfSteel
Friday evening is prep for an action packed Saturday. Everybody’s hair will get done and outfits pressed in preparation for my inlaws 50th anniversary party on Saturday.
Before we can get into party mode I have an afternoon gig with my band at the Carnegie Library of Homestead. Short and sweet (and for kids and families) just the way I like it!
After that I’ll head home to get the girls and myself ready for the party. Of course we’ll enjoy ourselves that night but because my mother in law has such a talented son and extremely talented daughter in law, we are also the entertainment for the evening! And we’re happy to do it! Sometimes the best contribution is sharing what you love to do. That always makes me feel good. I’m so grateful to my bandmates for joining me.
We also have a special surprise for my inlaws which I think they’ll absolutely LOVE!
Lose this number! We’ve had a crazy, jammed packed summer and the last three weeks were seriously like WHOA! I can’t today. I won’t today. The only person I’ll leave my house for is my sister in law Marisa. She’ll be here visiting from California. We don’t see her often and the girls definitely need some quality time. ❤️
All in All
With this party approaching its hard not to think about my own marriage. 50 years?! That’s incredible. There may have been times I wasn’t sure David and I would make it to 50 years. Nowadays, I’m more than sure. My only prayer is that we both live long enough to see and celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, together. Besides it being a blessing for my inlaws to reach this incredible milestone, I also find them extremely lucky. Many make it but so many don’t, for so many reasons.
Loving my husband has never been hard. I don’t think love is the hard part. Love, through life, that’s the hard part.
Love through growth, change, adversity…that’s hard. Especially for 50 years of your life?! Can you imagine how much things change in 50 years? Through so much growth, so much change, children, marriages, divorces and sadly, death. Adversity at its best. But, somehow, Maria and Joe did it. They’re cute. They go dancing every Saturday. They help so many people, myself included. They gave me my wonderful husband. They love my girls. Plus, neither of them look like they would be old enough to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. A half century of marriage. Truly remarkable.
My wish for them is that they’re able to reflect on their life and enjoy their accomplishments. My prayer for them (and all of us) is that each day going forward, is not be taken for granted and be truly recognized as a gift from God.
Today is going to be a great day… I hope! Crazy, but great. I have some work to finish in the morning but for the most part I’m trying to take it easy.
At noon the girls and I head to Sewickley for our last day with the Creative Summer Experience camp kids. It’s been a wonderful 2 weeks with amazing kids. But that drive! Ugh, I can’t.
Today is the end of camp showcase where the students will show the art they’ve created and the music they learned on the steelpan. I’m so excited for them because they have done such a wonderful job and because they get to perform with my band mate, Brett, on drums. They are going to rock it!
After the show we pack up all of instruments and head over to Squirrel Hill to set up for our own Pan Camp next week.
Friday night I’ll spend putting the finishing touches on bridal shower centerpieces for my dear friend Emily. It’s incredible that we’ve known each other for so long. We lost touch (I wish Facebook was around 15 years ago) and luckily reconnected. I’m so happy for her, so proud of her and excited to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. I haven’t been able to be there for every special moment but I am so happy to contribute to her shower and celebrate with her.
Saturday’s are for showers. Yay Emily!
Saturday evening believe it or not we have no plans. Wait do we? That doesn’t feel right at all. If I’m supposed to be somewhere, please let me know.
Sunday morning we are definitely heading to mass. We need to reconnect as a family. Sunday afternoon we’ll have brunch as a family. Then it’s time to wrap up any loose ends for Pan Camp. I’m looking forward to hosting our own camp. We have worked so hard the last few years building Barrels to Beethoven. It’s a blessing to see our work reach so many in such a positive and impactful way.
All in All
I have to say, I’m so proud of myself. I am actually impressed by my own perseverance. Starting a business then shortly after launching Barrels to Beethoven has not been easy, not for one moment. We have sacrificed so much and worked so hard. We’ve missed out on a lot.
However, strangely in the last two days, I’ve been told randomly that I was a great mother. Those words from people that I respect dearly are so powerful, yet somewhat hard to hear. Sometimes I think I’m a great mother because of the children I’ve raised this far. They are truly wonderful. But I fear I’m not a good mother for the people they may turn out to be. Is that weird? Either way with all of the mixed feelings, strife and worry of motherhood, those compliments really made me feel good.
Being a good parent takes lots of sacrifice, we all know this. So I sacrifice a lot. In turn, have get a lot a whole lot. I get love, because I give them love. I get admiration because they see my work, and how hard I work. I get support because I support them in everything they do. And I get the occasional dance party in the kitchen. Well, I mean you know. I can dance.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Not that I haven’t been writing over the lasts few months, I’ve written a ton. With all that’s happening in our country and around the world, writing is all I could do. Not for others but for myself. It’s the best way for me to release and makes sense of what I experience.
However, this morning before my husband left for work he kissed me and asked “are you ready for a great weekend?” I am, and I want to share it.
Today started out kind of relaxing. Breakfast with the girls, a little cleaning but I’m taking it easy. My idea of easy may be a little twisted but I’ll take it.
This morning I’ll be checking off my to do list in preparation for our event tonight. My Makers and Music event is in partnership with Style Week Pittsburgh and Social Status Boutique. We’re gathering to celebrate some of our city’s most creative people. It started with a photoshoot and a great group of people. The incredible photographer Juan Carlos Silva, made everyone feel great and look great. Now we get to see the images, celebrate the group and learn more about what they do.
After the happy hour event and clean up, 😩 I’m going to head over to Tako for a margarita and a song. David is spinning there until 1am. I might stay for a late night taco too.
No Saturday morning commitments = big (Belgium) waffles, bacon and maybe a mimosa. AKA…My favorite breakfast. David makes the most amazing waffles with help from Stella and Cece, while I prepare the mixed berries and Sofia sets a “fancy” table as she calls it. I love these mornings with my family.
Saturday afternoon we are back to our weekly historic landmark search. Stella’s idea has become one of our favorite activities this summer. We’ve had so much fun and the girls (and their parents) have learned a lot about Pittsburgh. We know…#NerdAlert
Saturday evening another great event! My band Rhyhm ‘n’ Steel will be performing at Musicalidades, David will also DJ the event. A fundraising event hosted by Our Rhythm a project by my new friends Gabriel, Lucas and Cat. Our Rhythm will be a documentary film telling the stories of 7 musicians around the world. I am happy to support such a wonderful project but even happier to support such great people.
We are definitely sleeping in on Sunday. Mass at noon will be a great way to reflect on the past week and prepare for the week ahead. Although my faith is not based on just going to church. I like the gathering, singing in unison, listening to our priest and thinking about ways I can do and be better.
All in All
We’re going to have a typical Pugliano Family weekend action packed and fun. I have always been stuck between being afraid of all that’s bad in the world and how it impacts my family and creating an amazing life for my girls, free of the worry and the sadness I feel. It’s so difficult but I look at them and I know I’m doing well. It’s more important for them to feel loved than anything else. And they do. Not to sound corny but love is the key. First self love. Knowing yourself, loving yourself, taking care of yourself and improving yourself. Then loving others. Being empathetic, supportive and kind, to all. That will go such a long way. Try and see.