Personal Announcements 2021

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Hello! This week I’m going to try something new. I’m going to make a warm cup of tea and just sit here and chat with you guys about some things that have been going on in my life! I normally leave little tid-bits about my life salt and peppered throughout my food blog posts but so many things have happened I felt I had to share.

My Dad caught COVID and was not ok:

I was on a Thanksgiving trip and on my way home received a phone call that noone ever wants to receive.  My dad caught COVID while at work, where there were very unsafe working conditions. What was alarming was that my dad was a wrestler in his younger days before joining the military as an MP (Military Cop) for 14 years. After he retired from the military he has always remained active. He works out more than I do!! But that is the crazy thing with this virus, you just don’t know how it is going to affect someone. After finding out he had COVID, he soon was sent by ambulance to the nearest emergency room.

Then the next month, yes month, was so up and down. There were times where I just wasn’t sure what to do. I felt helpless. I was not able to talk to him or see him for the first two weeks. I think it’s the longest I’ve ever gone without speaking to him. Then we were told that he was going to make it, but he might have some long term effects, might have to have a lung transplant at some point and his recovery could take up to a year. It was devastating, I just wasn’t expecting any of this and neither was he. How would we move forward?

Well, by taking it day by day and celebrating each tiny moment and success along the way. My dad has always been a fighter and has always had this underdog mentality that he of course has passed down to me (we might be down but we are never out!). He has done the work every day since then and without giving you too much detail about his personal journey, I am happy to report that as of today. He is finally home. Although he still has much recovery left to do. He is walking again and looks forward to getting better and better each day with his own personal gym at home. I have never been prouder of him. We both have new plans for the future and he can’t wait to cuddle up with his two chihuahuas and start cooking on his smoker again this summer.

The Happiness Reset Challenge:

For those of you doing this challenge with me, I will still be updating challenges on the Facebook group finishing out the month. Don’t miss out next month we will be covering folate. I say this to announce that I will be suspending the newsletters for the next two weeks. My husband and I are taking this time off to do a bunch of things.

I turn 40!:

Yessir, this girl turns 40 next week and couldn’t be happier. Last year I was dreading 40, but towards the end of the year a light bulb went on and I decided to take 2020 back and prepare better for 2021. So far just a month and a half in, I’m already reaping the benefits! I have clear set goals and I am achieving them. I have a wonderful support system, a great career, this blog and am the happiest I’ve ever been. Which is funny because this year was the year my husband and I were supposed to go to Machu Picchu for my 40th. With COVID still happening though, that will have to wait. We have just hit a great groove at home and are just loving life despite all of the disruptions to our daily lives.

Important Things I’ve learned on the way to 40…

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others…not.a.single.person. There is noone on this planet that is the same. We are all unique and all have our own unique experiences. I mean most of us already know that our parents are uniquely ours and raised us in their image. So we’ve all started off already different, with different hardships, different schools, different knowledge. Also, your dreams are different from other’s dreams. For example, it was my dream to purchase my first house by the time I was 25. Why was this so important to me? My dad was in the military and we moved around so much and when he retired he didn’t own his first home until his late 40’s. I was not in the military and I wanted a place to stay put. This at the time was the most important thing in the world to me. Also, my parents were divorced and both remarried so nowhere really quite felt like home for me. So, although I did not achieve my goal of owning my first home at 25, I did purchase it at 27!! Such a proud moment for me. I saved every penny, I rented crappy apartments, I read loads of finance books, I worked three jobs before landing a really good opportunity at a bank. Most people my age at that time are just finishing college and either starting a career or heading off to grad school. And that was their dream or maybe they didn’t even have a dream yet. This was my dream and I saw the finish line. If you see someone that has something that you want, it just means they started their journey a smidge ahead of you…keep going! They have their reasons for pursing their goals and you have yours!
  2. Never stop reading. Ever! Besides the knowledge you can get from within these books, there are loads of benefits. Such as improving brain connectivity, increasing vocabulary, increases your empathy for others, helps with sleep, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, fights depression and prevents cognitive decline. Even though I love a good whodunnit novel, most of the books I read are on self-improvement or career based. I’m always interested in learning more about myself, or science based research on happiness, how to become a better and faster learner or new leadership techniques. I am always interested in how people do things, what has worked for them and what could work for me. You never know unless you try. I have tried many different things but only the things that have truly worked for me have stuck. If I had to recommend one book to you right now…Limitless by Jim Kwik. It’s a game changer and will change your life! Don’t forget about audible either, in the current day of podcasts, I still love listening to a good book while working out. It helps motivate me by giving me something to look forward to in the next workout. I mostly use audible for my career type books.
  3. Be Kind! For some reason in our society, people attach aggressive behavior with confidence and competitiveness. New studies are finding this will only gets you so far in life. But that happier, healthier, kinder people think better, have a better outlook, and are better problem solvers. So practice being kind. The next time someone shares good news, be genuinely happy for them. Give people compliments. Help others achieve their goals.
  4. Try everything! I was going to say gain new skills here but trying everything sounded closer to my point. Gaining new skills is important but so is checking out potential new hobbies. Udemy for example offers introductory courses on new languages, yoga, nutrition, art, excel, coding. Literally everything. If you are searching to be stronger in your career this may help or if you are just looking for a new pastime, this is a great way to find out what you like and what you don’t like! Invest in yourself, you are worth it.
  5. Self care. Self care. Self care. Many of us are walking around with guilt, shame, anger or many of the other hurtful things we carry with us. Learn to love yourself more. Seriously, it’s allowed! This is your journey to discover, there are many ways to practice self care. My favorites are anything on my Calm app (guided meditation) and journaling. I’ve been journaling for a little over a year now and it helps me sleep better, it helps sort out frustration and find direction. It was crazy slow at first and then bam out of nowhere, I started journaling longer and longer and really working through not just problems but what I want from life!
  6. It’s great to set goals but learn to pivot. I think it’s in our nature to set goals and try to achieve them. When you reach those goals you feel accomplished, your confidence peaks and it’s truly a great feeling. But while you were on your journey to attain your goals, did you factor in life as a main variable? I was great at setting and attaining goals. Until one day in life I set a goal of getting pregnant by a certain age. Well, what I didn’t count on was having issues becoming pregnant. After two and half years of failed IVF attempts, I literally felt like I failed at life. I sunk into a deep hole that I wasn’t sure I would ever get out of. Then the most wonderful thing happened… I learned to pivot! Ok, so everything I had planned and worked toward during my entire life didn’t happen exactly the way I had imagined. The personal journey it created for me and the true grit, thick skin, and letting go of my fear of failure is something that will never go away and something I will always remember. Which brings me to my next thing…

We’re Adopting!!!!

Ben and I just shared this with close family and friends this Christmas. The entire process took about a year and was a challenge of ones patience and nerves. It has been such a long road, but everything is in, we are approved and are now just waiting for a mother to choose us and a sweet sweet baby to be sent our way. If you’ve never gone through the adoption process, here are some highlights.

Finding the right adoption place for you – The research alone was long and arduous. We took many breaks over the span of two years, but finally through a friend of a friend who had such a positive adoption experience we were able to decide on our adoption agency.

Putting together your adoption profile – Eek! Basically, you have to explain your entire life, with photos! Also, everything about your family, your personal values and how you plan to raise your future children.

The states approval – FBI background checks, a home study with fire safety plans, and up to date fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and window and door alarms. Interviews with adoption professionals detailing all of the places you have ever lived, every school you went to, what your family life was like growing up.

Then everything gets piled up into a case file and gets sent to the courts for approval and viola! We are approved to adopt and just can’t wait to meet our baby.


So, as you can see, the last 4 or 5 months have been a lot! I am looking forward to spending two weeks with my hubby as we make room for our new addition and just practice some self care. We will return with a new newsletter on March 6th, where we will go over Folate! In the meantime, I will be posting older food posts on Facebook and Instagram. Take care and thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for following along.




I'm Elena, the driving spirit behind Savor Paradise, where the Culinary Travel Lifestyle meets unique Airbnb experiences. Join me in a flavorful journey, discovering exceptional recipes and hidden Airbnb gems, as we embrace the adventure of culinary travel.

2 thoughts on “Personal Announcements 2021”

  1. I am so stinking proud of you!!!! You’ve grown into a beautiful, independent, strong, courageous, bold woman!!!!!! Keep being you! XOXO Bex

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