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Tips to Show Your Home During COVID-19

I know that we have all heard this so many times that our heads might explode if we hear it again, but these are unusual times. Many of us have not gone through a pandemic like this in our lifetime and it has thrown us all for a loop in every aspect of our lives. 

One unexpected outcome during this pandemic is the fact that our Real Estate market in Arizona has surged in the past few weeks. It’s extremely difficult to not want to take advantage of this hot market that’s showing houses receive multiple offers, including offers over asking price. There has been a wave of buyers in our market, but our inventory has not caught up to the demand. 

Some of my clients have cited their concern about COVID-19 causing their hesitation to list their home on the market. I’m going to highlight 3 safety precautions to take when listing your home during the pandemic. I will list them in no particular order because they are all important if you are concerned about your health.

*These tips do NOT guarantee that you will be protected from COVID-19 when selling your home.

First, put a limit on the number of people allowed in your home per showing. Your realtor can write this in showing instructions and confirm this with any possible buyers/agents that want to view your home. I would suggest three as your maximum limit. That way two representatives from the family can come with the Realtor. This number can also limit the amount of unsupervised hands touching all surfaces within reach. Trust me on this one, stick with a limit of three or even less.

Second, turn all lights on and open all doors before each showing. This will limit the amount of touching on doorknobs and switches throughout the house. This should be done every time you show your home anyway because it makes your house look more open and welcoming, but now definitely do it to limit high traffic touching. Again, you can request that your Realtor put in the showing instructions to not close any doors or turn off any lights. I would suggest you use a disinfecting wipe to clean all doorknobs, light switches, and counter tops after a showing just to be safe, but to each their own.

Third, require masks, gloves, and booties when viewing your home. Yet again, this is something that your Realtor can put in showing instructions. To make it more likely that people will follow this request, make disposable masks, gloves, and booties available in the entryway. Some Realtors already have them for houses that they are listing, if not, they can be found at local stores if you wake up and head out early enough. If all else fails, check Amazon.

Unfortunately, even if you follow these tips you are not 100% safe from COVID-19, but these could help protect you from it more than our usual showings in a typical market. If you are still not comfortable with these safety measures, or the fact that people can say they will follow showing instructions but don’t once they get in the house, then wait to list your home until you are more comfortable. Just know, we do not control the market and there is always a chance that it won’t be as hot when you are ready. Either way, we wish you luck, and please call us with all of your Real Estate questions and needs! #RedKeepinItRealEstate

Encourage Playing a College Sport (Even Without a Scholarship)

As most of you know, I️ was a collegiate athlete and now I️ coach 16 girls that are striving to play softball in college. They’re overwhelmed with the whole recruiting process and I️ find a lot of them and their parents ask me, what’s the point of playing in college? What’s the benefit when I could save what I pay in fees and put it towards her education? For a long time, I️ didn’t know what to say. I️ had a great experience playing at Arizona. I️ did some things that no one else can say that they did and I️ wouldn’t change my decision to walk on there for anything, but what if they go to school and their playing experience isn’t what they wanted? Then what is the benefit for someone who isn’t as passionate about softball as I️ was? Recently, it has been really clear to me why playing at the collegiate level benefitted me, besides the obvious part where I️ got to play the sport I️ love.
The majority of parents say they put their kids in sports to learn how to be a team player or to learn how to cope with failure, which you can definitely learn at a younger and less competitive level. However, nothing has taught me how to cope with failure more than playing collegiate softball. There were times that I️ gave the game everything I️ had and it still wasn’t good enough. When you have been dreaming about achieving these goals your whole life and you fail, that is a hard pill to swallow. I️ wanted to be a national champion, an all American, someone who gets remembered just like all the people I️ looked up to as my heroes wearing the red and blue. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be for me. For a long time, I️ didn’t understand why. I️ did everything I️ could. I️ showed up to practice early, left late, did extra cardio, read sports psychology books, improved my batting average about .200 points, but I️ still didn’t get what I️ wanted. This part of playing at the college level, though absolutely heartbreaking, taught me that just because you work hard doesn’t mean you will achieve everything you want. However, if you truly did everything in your power to reach your goals, then you know it wasn’t meant to be. There wasn’t a single thing I️ could have done differently to make myself better in college and that allows me to understand that I️ didn’t truly fail. I️ still did amazing things and had an incomparable experience, but I️ didn’t get the titles that I️ wanted. This taught me that failure isn’t always you not achieving what you want. I️ know that mine was a lesson telling me it’s not about the titles or the rings or being remembered. It’s about the experience I️ had, the lessons I️ learned, and the person I️ became because I️ always pushed myself to be my best.
Alright, now we are past the somewhat disappointing part (sorry to start off with a downer), let’s talk about some awesome reasons to encourage playing a sport at the college level. Depending on your sport, you usually have a team of over 15 athletes that you spend all of your time with. Obviously, you get annoyed sometimes because you are surrounded by the same people all day every day, but you also build some unbreakable friendships (which is great for some socially awkward people like myself). I️ have some teammates that I️ still see at least once a year even though the closest one is 2 hours away from me. In fact, I️ just went for an impromptu Disneyland trip with Kenzie Fowler, my teammate for 4 years and roommate for 2 years. We both had 9 hours to kill while we were in California and decided to spend it together at Disneyland. When I️ go to Colorado in June, I️ know I’m going to see one of my other teammates Shelby Babcock. Not only did I️ play and live with these girls, but we went through hell together. We pushed through a Neil Willey ladder after doing 8 stadiums, if you don’t know what that is BE GRATEFUL! They were there for me when I️ went through my knee injury senior year. They were my shoulders to cry on when I️ lost my dear Eboney in the middle of my junior season. They were some of the first people I️ told about my engagement, just behind my family and my Matron of Honor. The bond I️ have with these girls is something special that we developed over a four-year period. They were there to pick me up when I️ was down and to celebrate when we overcame anything. It helped show me there are good people who you can rely on besides your family and childhood friends.
Yay for warm and fuzzy feelings thinking about my friends. Not everyone will gain lifelong friends from their experience in college. So why else is it beneficial? College sports are grueling. They take up at least 50% of your time between lifting, running, practices, games, traveling. Then you have to figure out how to balance that with school, having a social life (you know being a normal 18-22 year old), and sleep. This is a lot to balance when you have usually had your parents help you plan out your day for the past 18 years. Now you have to figure out your major, full course schedule (find all the classes you need that will work with your lifting and practice schedule), be mentally prepared for a full practice and conditioning after, try to become a starter, get good grades, and (one of the most important things to me) figure out what you’re going to eat every day. This gets overwhelming, even in your later years when your body gets exhausted from consistently training for multiple years and rarely giving yourself days off. This ability to manage your time stays with you after you hang up your cleats. Even now, I️ am learning a bunch of different things with technology and real estate, I️ am coaching a team, planning a wedding, doing lessons, going to my nephews’ games, and saving to buy my own house. Most people would be overwhelmed being pulled a bunch of different directions at the same time, but I’m balancing it while also fitting in time with my family and traveling all around with softball and to visit family. It’s still nothing compared to what I️ used to do and if I️ didn’t have that instant independence being a collegiate athlete made me gain, I️ would be overwhelmed right now and I️ doubt I️ would be able to do all of this without imploding. I’ve still got nothing on my sister who got her law degree, bought a house, and had a kid all in the same year (she was also a collegiate softball player), but I️ do my best.
There are so many benefits to playing a college sport, but right now I️ will leave you with this one: Nothing compares to representing and being a part of something bigger than yourself. While I️ played softball at Arizona, we didn’t win the national championship, we didn’t go to the Women’s College World Series, we didn’t win a Pac 12 title, but I️ cannot put into words how gratifying it is to button up that uniform and see the school you are representing across your chest. You aren’t just a student there, you are one of the faces of the school. There’s a sense of pride when you walk around and people know that you are an athlete. Not only are you going to school and working your ass off for your degree, but you are working with your teammates (some that will grow to be your lifelong friends) towards a common goal. You’re part of the less than 1% of athletes in the country that make it to the collegiate level. That’s something to be proud of, no matter what school you go to.
I say all of these wonderful things that come with the opportunity to play college sports, but there is a catch. You have to work harder than everybody else that has the same dream as you. This is where I see a lot of young athletes get hung up.The grind to get better is grueling (probably why they call it a grind, duh). In order to get to the next level, you have to be willing to put in more work than every other girl. You have to have better grades, be a better athlete, be a better teammate, make a good impression while you’re in front of your prospective coach. There’s a demanding list that you have to fulfill in order to even be on the list to possibly be seen by the school you want to play for. It’s a lot, it’s damn difficult, but it’s so rewarding.
I️ might romanticize college sports, but it’s hard to not feel a little dreamy about it because achieving that goal was one of my greatest and most difficult accomplishments. I️ had a special experience, and I️’m lucky for that. I️ know a lot of other people that aren’t as satisfied with their experience, but they don’t see all the positive lessons they learned through the adversity. Even though it can be trying, demanding, and heartbreaking I️ would hope that all collegiate athletes want others to experience the thrill they felt or learn the lessons that made them grow into the people they are now. Please, don’t get me wrong, you can learn these things without being an athlete, but it’s so extremely rare.
When I’m older and build my family, I️ won’t push my kids to try to be college athletes, but if it is something they strive for I️ will encourage it wholeheartedly. There are some experiences and lessons that should be taught through blood, sweat, and tears. Trust me, there are a lot of tears. It was the most difficult time in my life, but I️ wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Thanks for reading! Keep it Real!

Lesson From the GOAT

Sometimes, life starts to move really fast. Problems start lining up and knocking you out one after the other and you get to a point where you feel you’re being pulled 100 different directions. I’ve felt this way MANY times in my life and I felt so overwhelmed that I couldn’t continue to function, at least not in a healthy or productive way. If something went wrong, I would be consumed by it. Especially if it was a situation that was beyond my control. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from the GOAT (Greatest of all time) softball coach, Mike Candrea. Almost every day after practice, or a game, he said, “control the controllables.”
Before I get too deep into the things Coach taught me, I just want to give him a little praise. He is one of the few people that really develops a family culture in the world of sports. While I was at U of A, I was never afraid to talk to him about anything, we had an open line of communication and I could address personal or team issues without him passing judgement. He was always there to try to help us. I spent a lot of time in his office discussing the game we both loved or just life in general and what to expect after college. The lessons that he taught me will resonate with me for the rest of my life and I will try to pass them onto the kids that I get to coach every week. Basically, he is more than a softball coach to his players, and he treats each girl like she is one of his own and makes sure they are taken care of.

Now, onto the most valuable lesson he taught me. He would make it about softball (because that’s what we were doing), but it could be applied to any situation in life. Control the controllables. He would continue on and say, “There are two things you can always control in your life, your attitude and your effort.” If my boyfriend reads this he will probably start laughing because I’m a bit of a control freak. I like driving myself, cooking my own food, doing my own work, sometimes I will try to take over things RJ is doing (if you know you will do it right, why let other people do it is my motto). Yeah, I realize I might be a little crazy.
Anyway, back to Coach. On the field he always reminded us that we can’t control what our teammates, the umpires, or the fans do. We don’t control anything, except ourselves and what we bring to the table. As long as you put forth your best effort and keep a positive attitude, you will find that things have a way of working out. 
As someone who struggles with trying to come to terms with the fact that there are some things out of my control, this little bit of advice has changed my life. I’ve always believed that I can make things happen the way that I want them to as long as I work as hard as I can. As adults, we realize that even if we work our hardest that does not mean we get what we want (that’s not what Disney movies taught me though). So, how do we continue on when we work hard and still don’t get the promotion we wanted, or our deal fell through, or we struck out when the tying run was on base in the last inning and we have been working to succeed in that situation for years?
Before Coach (haha that’s B.C.), I would be down for days. Why didn’t I get that hit when we needed it? Why didn’t that school want to recruit me when I hit a homerun and a double in front of them? Why are others getting all this attention when they don’t work as hard as I do? Looking back now, I realize this was a terrible and unproductive way to think, but as a kid I couldn’t help it. 
In one of my many meetings with Coach, I told him how I felt like I was going through this grind for nothing. It was my sophomore year and I was showing up to practice early everyday. I hit extra, I fielded extra, and I conditioned extra, but I was still hitting a dismal .100 and not finding my way in the lineup. Coach, as always, was honest with me. He said I was working hard, but I wasn’t working smart. I showed up at practices and was trying to show I was better than other players, but the person playing ahead of me was hitting well so I couldn’t compete offensively. However, defensively I was better and my work was paying off there. He told me to capitalize and I became a defensive replacement when we were in close games. So, at the end of the year Coach gave me homework for the summer. I could turn from a right handed hitter into a lefty slapper because this would give me a better opportunity to start and it would utilize my speed.
For those of you that know baseball or softball, being a hitter for 15 years on the right side and switching to the left side (and trying to master it in a matter of months) is an extremely difficult thing. This is when Coach’s lesson really started clicking with me. I knew he needed another slapper to put pressure on the defense in the lineup, it couldn’t be denied and I had no control over it. I had never really slapped at a high level before. I couldn’t go back and change the past, but I had control over my future. 
In order to succeed at such a difficult task, I had to adapt. My effort was always through the roof at practices and games, but my attitude needed to be less pessimistic and less all consuming. I listened to Coach’s talks more and really bought into them. Control the controllables. To me that meant do my best, give everything I have and that is all I can do to give me the best opportunity. The lineup was still up to Coach. Finally buying into Coach’s mentality helped me achieve success from the left side of the plate. I finally knew that I could only do my best and nothing else could be done to give me a better chance. 
Realizing I only have control over myself made me much more relaxed as a person and a player. Now that I was more relaxed, it was enabling me to focus more on my skills and how to hone them and make it so it wasn’t obvious that I had only been a slapper for 8 months by the time season came around. 
This change of mind thanks to Coach allowed me to be more successful as a player because I wasn’t worried about things I couldn’t control. However, I use this mentality now more than ever before. As a Realtor, I have to work with several other people in a transaction and sometimes it can get frustrating to wait for others to finish their task in a timely manner, but all I can do is remind them and keep notifying them that the deadline is coming up. I also have had to learn to control what I can in my coaching club softball. I can only give girls the tools to become successful and do my best to motivate them, the rest is up to them. 

Of course, I still have times where I get frustrated because I want to take control of more, but I know that won’t really help the situation. When people are rude, unappreciative, or aren’t doing their designated job, I know now that I can’t change that. I only have control over myself. Just like Coach said, if I give my best and keep a positive attitude, then good things will happen. Just trust the process (another thing Coach said after almost every practice) and remember, Keep it Real.

Make Your House a Haunted Home!

As a Realtor, I love working with different families and learning about the different traditions they like to do around the holidays. The most rewarding part about helping people find their new home is discussing the memories they plan on making there. My family has always gone all out for holidays, including Halloween. We carved our pumpkins one night during the week, we had our costumes planned months in advance, and we planned our route around the neighborhood beforehand. As you get older, it can be hard to feel that same excitement for the holidays. Especially the ones “for the kids” like Halloween. So I wanted to give everyone some tips to have an awesome Halloween and help build some traditions that help you get excited to celebrate at every age!
1. Figure out your costume in advance and make it.    

        I know, a lot of you are shaking your heads saying “you’re out of your damn mind, it’s easy to say that when you don’t actually have kids.” Just hear me out. A lot of times you can just throw some things you already have together and make them into a costume. Pinterest always has some great ideas too. Just trust me, if you want you or your kid to get the most compliments on their costume MAKE IT AT HOME! Anyone can go out and buy one of those factory made costumes, be unique!!
2. Dress up, get into it! (This probably should have been number 1)

    I know a lot of adults that won’t dress up because they’re adults or whatever, but I’m telling you put a costume on. It makes you feel like a kid again, or hey even throwback to your crazy college years! If you think you’re too mature or cool for it, let me tell you that your kids will not think you are cool no matter what so just have fun with it and get into the holiday! Then at least you give your family a fun memory to look back on and laugh at.
3. If I convinced you to dress up, do a group costume!

    Again, it’s fun and it’s something you can either do with your friends or you can do it with your family! Great memories will be made and people will anticipate what you will do every year. 
4. Pumpkin carve together

    We love carving pumpkins and it’s funny how our designs usually show how different our personalities are. Mine is usually a poorly executed intricate design (I don’t have the patience to be a pumpkin master). Heather and Georgia have perfectly done detailed ones if they have time to do a difficult design (they love that artsy crap). Brittany has a normal perfect pumpkin that is well carved, but not too hard of a design (she is somewhat artsy). Then there is Justin, my nephew, that carves an easy design poorly because he only likes the idea of carving pumpkins, then he gets very bored and does not want to continue. Still, all of us carving together makes it more fun and we try to see who does the best one. 
5. Have a plan!

    My nephews are pretty interesting because they prefer to give out candy rather than go trick or treating. They go for about 30 minutes and then they come back to the house and join the rest of our group that stayed. We know that they’ll trick or treat for a bit, but then we are back at the house so we better have something to keep them distracted (like Hocus Pocus playing on the TV).

    If you don’t know, we have 3 dogs and they bark every time people knock on the door or ring the doorbell. So, we figured out pretty early on that our evenings are more pleasant when we sit on the drive way and give out our candy. We get to sit there, talk, eat, drink, and relax and no one has to worry about getting up and doing candy duty all alone.
6. Have a drink!

    This is obviously for those of us that are of legal drinking age! It is fun to have themed drinks to really get us in the spirit (pun intended) for Halloween! I have two recipes that I think are awesome, one for a single drink and one for a party punch!
First drink is delicious cocktail that was actually my signature drink in college (once I turned 21 of course). It’s called “Vampire Blood”. It’s a mixture of vodka (if you get flavored make sure it’s some kind of berry flavor), cranberry juice, ginger ale, and a little dry ice to give it the spooky look. I usually put 2 oz of vodka, 3 oz of cranberry juice, 4 oz of ginger ale, 1 tablespoon of the dry ice and enough regular ice to make it cold without watering it down. 

    ***Tip: Sierra Mist has a cranberry splash flavor you can get instead of having cranberry juice and ginger ale.
Second drink is more for parties, but it’s my favorite ever because it’s Harry Potter themed! It’s called “Polyjuice Potion.” I found this on Pinterest and tweaked it a little bit to make it a little more fun and flavorful :). It’s 1 carton of lime sherbet, 1 bottle of dry champagne, Midori (bright green melon liqueur) put in anywhere between ½ or a whole bottle (this depends on the kind of party you are trying to have). If you want the brewing look you can add dry ice, but I didn’t try it with this yet. 

    ***Make this kid friendly by replacing champagne with sprite and add neon green food coloring!
7. Make sure you have an Ewok spear (A Scott Lavine favorite)

    We all know a group of teenagers that come try to get candy from your house multiple times. The year that my nephew was an Ewok, my dad kept the spear and would wave it in front of the bowl when the same kids would try to pull one over on him. This obviously isn’t a serious tip, but it always makes me laugh when I think of my dad waving the cardboard spear in front of the high schoolers trying to take more candy than they were supposed to get.
8. Create a “Haunted Playlist”!

    Create a playlist full of some classics that bring you back to Halloween as a kid. Some examples are the Monster Mash, or Thriller. Another thing you could do is pick creepy songs from horror movies. There is a song from Final Destination (who knows what number) that has the lyrics “there is someone… walking behind you…” It’s supposed to be a love song, but I see it more as a stalker anthem.

Those are all of my tips for Halloween! I am a firm believer that holidays should be enjoyed at every age! You’re never too old to make new memories with your friends and family. My family has worked hard the past couple years to make it something we can all look forward to so we can keep building memories together. I hope you try some of these tips and traditions and let me know how they go! If you have other traditions you would like to share with me please send them my way because we are always looking for new fun things to do as a family! Please like and share and don’t forget to keep it real!

I’ve Got This (Confidence)

This has been my hardest blog to date (that’s probably why it took me two weeks to do it). Confidence is such a difficult topic to discuss because most people will discount it and say you either have it, or you don’t. However, I’m an example of what can happen when you take someone that doesn’t have confidence and give them the tools to build it.
Most of you know my story. “Alex you will never play here, go to another team.” “Ok, you play on our team now, but you will never go D1.” “D1 schools are looking at you, but you’re not good enough to go to Arizona.” “You’re going to walk on there? Alright, well you will never see the field.” “You played your freshman year, well that was a fluke.” “Alex you should think about transferring because I don’t see you making the starting lineup here again.”
Yes, all of those things were said to me, many times throughout my softball career. They were said by coaches, teammates, friends, some of my own (extended) family. All I ever heard from people, besides my parents and sisters, was that I wasn’t good enough. So, the big question, how did I do it? 
My process wasn’t easy. Like I said, people were telling me I couldn’t every chance they got, but I was resolute in what I wanted. That’s part of the reason why I was able to gain so much confidence, I was honest about how desperately I wanted to play softball at the next level, specifically the University of Arizona. I knew how passionate I was about my dream, so I did everything I could to achieve it.
One of the major influences of confidence is knowing what you are willing to sacrifice to succeed. Can you give up your social life? Will you wake up a little earlier? Are you willing to possibly get hurt? What are you willing to give up if you know that your sacrifice will ultimately mean you will not fail? That in itself built me up, I knew what I was willing to surrender to succeed. My social life, my sleep, my off days, boyfriends, many would argue my sanity. When you are willing to do whatever it takes and persevere through the process (which is a total b*tch, by the way) then the only thing that can get in your way is your own self. 
As a kid, I lacked confidence. I know it’s hard to understand why when you read the things I was told consistently (insert eye roll here). Somehow I had to figure out how to be confident because I would be damned if I hindered myself and let those haters think they were right. This is where my family helped me and I will never be able to thank them enough. 
My sister, Brittany got me into the Harry Potter series. I know I have discussed how much it influenced me already, but this series still helps me believe I can do anything. It reminds me that everyone that becomes the greatest of all time, started as a normal kid with a huge goal or obstacle to overcome. So why couldn’t that be me? Why couldn’t I push myself and keep improving everyday to become what I wanted? I could, so I did.
My sister, Heather, was a little more direct with her support. I told her I wanted to go to U of A and she told me I could. She was one of the first people to actually tell me that I was capable of doing it. If you know someone with a big dream, support them. Tell them they can do it as long as they do everything they can to achieve it. It will help them a lot more than you would think. Plus, it feels good to know you helped someone through their process.
I know a lot of parents read this, especially the ones from my Storm team, and what I want them to know is that even though it might seem like their kids aren’t listening when they are trying to give them a pep talk, they are. Let me rephrase, if they really want the thing you are trying to help them with then they will listen. I cannot tell you how many times my parents talked to me on the way to/from practice about being confident and having swagger, being a leader even though girls would try to undermine me because they were complacent and didn’t want to raise the standard. I remember all of these talks, but at the time I had to pretend my parents had no clue what they were talking about (sorry parents but teenagers cannot and will not admit you are right about anything). Don’t stop talking to your kids, don’t let them ever wonder, even for a second, whether or not you believe in them. If I didn’t have my parents to be my (very tough and honest) cheerleaders, I wouldn’t have been confident enough to go after my dreams. 
Now, I’ve talked about how the support of others can make someone build confidence, but what if they don’t have the support that I had? In fact, what if they only have haters? Now it’s time to build that confidence yourself.
The best advice I could give anyone is to find someone great at what they do that had to fight their way to the top. My examples are usually Muhammad Ali, Eminem, J.K. Rowling, Tom Hanks, Lil Wayne, this list could go on forever. I would look up quotes from people like this and I would print them out and put them everywhere. Each one of these people had a quote that helps define me as a person and I’m going to share them to help you see how I shaped my confident frame of mind.
First is my favorite: “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision.”- Muhammad Ali. This quote is the one that helped me gain the confidence to realize I had what it takes to succeed. I had that desire burning within me whenever I thought about my dreams of the future, this quote finally got me to act on it.
Next is Eminem because he is pretty awesome. “Cause sometimes you just feel tired. Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.” -Eminem. This quote helps me stay confident because it reminds me we are all human. We will all have our days when we want to quit and don’t want to work, but as long as you push through and don’t quit then you are still on your path to achieving your dreams.
“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” -JK Rowling. This one explains itself, but it helped me because I knew that nerve was something I never lacked. 
My second favorite: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” -Tom Hanks in a League Of Their Own. There were so many days that I wanted to give up, but I would play this quote in my head over and over until I finished practicing, or conditioning, or working out, because going out and just playing games wouldn’t make me better. The grind that I pushed through every day would get me prepared mentally and physically for any opponent on the field. I started thinking about how for every extra day I worked or every extra rep I took there was another person I was beating out. When you are working all the time you know you are out working a lot of people, the confidence almost builds itself.
Now for the last quote. It’s weird that two of these quotes are from rappers because I hate rap! “Ain’t lookin’ down, but I see no one above me.” -Lil Wayne. After I discovered this quote is when I really started to develop some swagger. If you want to build your self confidence, read things that make you feel strong and bold. I started putting this quote in my binder my freshman year of high school and I looked at it every day for all four years. When you see quotes like that, that just exude confidence, you start to change your mentality and think the same way. 
Even now, when I’m feeling down about work or a bunch of life’s obstacles just stop right in front of me, I go on Pinterest and look at quotes. Everyone has the potential to be confident, just like everyone goes through adversities. What sets people apart is how they react when obstacles are trying to tear them down. I know that nothing can stop me, I’ve been through hell and I made it out just fine. I’m confident that nothing will stop me from achieving the goals I set for myself. You better hope you’re not in my way ;).

May Angels Lead You In 

In light of the horrific incident that took place in Las Vegas on Sunday night, I changed my blog post for this week. Unfortunately, many people I know have been impacted by this terrible event. Especially for those of you that lost a loved one, I’m here to support you and try to help you navigate through these new and rough waters. 

There isn’t a way to properly describe the feeling that overcomes you when you find out a loved one has passed away. For a long time I was blessed because I had only lost three people in my life and I was much too young to understand what that really meant and feel the full impact of their loss. That changed when I was 20 years old. 

I lost my close friend from high school, Eboney Joshua. She was much too young and it was a complete shock because I just talked to her earlier that week. She was telling me how her classes were fine, her roommates were annoying her, she was ready to go visit home and she would come to my games against ASU later in the month (she loved the rivalry). Unfortunately, she didn’t make it to that series, or to any of my games again. 

My Eboney, the amazing soul that she was, left a gaping hole in many people’s lives when she left us. She was such a warm and welcoming person, but she could give you some attitude if you tried to mess with her. I loved her so much, and I still do. 

I remember the exact moment when I found out. I was in the airport after a tough road series where we were swept by Oregon State and I was livid about our performance for the weekend. I thought that was the lowest I could get, losing to a team when we had them beat in all three games. Then Coach Candrea came to me when I was sitting by myself in the airport and said something happened at home and I needed to talk to my mom. So, Georgia called and told me the news, I would never hear my Eboney’s infectious laugh again. I broke. We still had about 4 hours until our plane boarded and I spent the whole time sobbing and wishing I would wake from this nightmare. 

When you lose someone you love, it helps if you surround yourself with good people. I was lucky to have the team that I did at the time. They surrounded me, some holding my hands, rubbing my back or my knee trying to console me in anyway possible. The thing that helped me the most in that time was talking about all the amazing times my wonderful friend and I had. Chelsea Suitos and Kenzie Fowler kept asking me questions about how Eboney and I met, what she wanted to do when she graduated, what made us click and which moment was the one that made us become such close friends. 

My teammates continued this for the rest of the season. My team had met Eboney a few times and they knew how special she was. So, when the ASU series she was supposed to attend came up Suitos made black ribbons with a silver “KSA” on each end. This was to help us “Kick Some Ass” like Eboney always told me to. I wanted to be better for her. I wanted to savor every moment I had because now I knew, things could change in a flash. 
I believe that everything happens for a reason. I still don’t understand why I lost my Eboney, but I do know that because of her I started to live more passionately. I have to work my hardest, love the deepest, and laugh uncontrollably because that’s what Eboney would do if she was here. 

Everyone grieves differently, and there is definitely no right and no wrong way, but I think when we lose our loved ones we cannot let their deaths be in vain. Eboney is my strength. She helped me discover the best part of me when she left, that is how influential she was. 

I believe that’s how we can best honor the loved ones we lose, or how we can honor those strangers that lost their lives going to a country concert on a Sunday night. We cannot cut ourselves off from the world. We cannot be afraid of our inevitable ends. Instead, we must live to the best of our ability. Celebrate the time we did have with those that made everyone’s lives a little better, even if it was too short. Lastly, we should use their memories to overcome our fears. They are proof that life is too short to wait until later to do something. Start living the life you’ve dreamed of today because someone kind, hard working, and loving had their life cut short. Let their legacy live on in you. 

This blog title is a line from the song “Hear you me” by Jimmy Eat World. 

Let Me Be Your MOTIVATION 

 Hello everyone! I’m sorry that I’m a day late, but Georgia and I had an event last night at our $1.88 million listing and the clean up went much longer than expected! I figured posting it at midnight wouldn’t be a great idea, hence why it’s coming to you tonight instead. I think I might like Thursdays better anyway, but you guys can let me know which day you prefer. Now, for the blog post. ONWARD!

I didn’t mention it in my previous post, but I coach a 16 and under club softball team. For those of you that have never played on a travel team, it is a major commitment. These girls practice every Tuesday and Thursday night from 6pm-9pm, and on the weekends they either play 5-7 games, or they practice from 8am-12pm. When you join club softball, you cannot make that decision lightly. 

I started coaching this particular team last summer and I think the hardest, but most beneficial, thing that I have taught them is how to get motivated and stay motivated. 

I did not start my softball career as someone that people believed would be U of A bound. Actually, it was quite the opposite. I was the worst player on my team. I’ll save the story about how I became one of the best for another post. For now, I want to talk about motivation (insert song that gets you pumped here **mine is Space Jam).

If you’re familiar with my story, you know that I have done some pretty difficult things. In club softball I went from the worst player on my team to one of the best in Arizona, in college I went (again) from the worst player AND a walk on to a starter on scholarship, and now I’m a blossoming realtor finding myself trying to reach that next level with my business. For all of these situations I found myself going back to the basics when it comes to staying motivated. 

First things first, if you want to get motivated to actually do something you have to have some passion. It doesn’t necessarily have to be what you’re doing that you’re enthusiastic about, but your “why” can be your passion. For example, Real Estate isn’t my biggest obsession in life. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do. However, my passion lies in helping people achieve their dreams, and that’s how I stay motivated as a Realtor. Seeing how excited people get when they are about to take that next step to reach their goal is my “why” and it keeps me motivated to work harder and reach more people.

My next tip to stay motivated is surround yourself with people who motivate you and support you. I think this is the easiest way to be motivated without over-focusing on what you want to do. If you are surrounding yourself with people that make you want to be better and also make you believe that you can be better (in a positive way) then you’ll find yourself encouraged to achieve your goals. I have always surrounded myself with friends and family that believe in me. It’s not in the fan club, they think I’m awesome, kind of way; it’s more like I tell them what I want or my goal and they try to help me achieve it in any way that they can. If you don’t have people like this in your life, YOU NEED TO FIND SOME. Surround yourself with good people, then you get good vibes and then great things happen.

Now that you are getting motivated and are surrounding yourself with a supportive squad, you need to develop a routine. Having a schedule that you follow everyday makes your life less hectic and it makes goals easier to commit to. Also, when you commit to a schedule, plan ahead, and execute it you get a strong sense of accomplishment. That feeling of accomplishment will go a long way to help you stay motivated because you will have your routine down and you know you have time for all of your plans for the day. So now, you have no excuses!

I do the next tip EVERY DAY, it’s my favorite one. Find little “cheats” and tricks that get you inspired, ESPECIALLY if you are just not feeling it that day. One of my tricks is just thinking to myself, “if Harry Potter can defeat the darkest wizard of all time as a 17 year old, you can workout today.” It might be corny and weird, but it works for me. In fact, it’s so crazy and ridiculous that it makes me laugh a little bit and think “Ok, shut up and do your workout now.” If the Harry Potter thought doesn’t work for me, then I think of something really difficult I did that everyone told me I couldn’t. For instance, I tell myself “you played centerfield a month and a half after you tore your ACL, you can call strangers on the phone!” In my opinion, the more motivation you need, the crazier your inspiring thought has to be. 

I know after that last tip you all probably think I’m out of my mind and I know everyone in my direct family probably rolled their eyes while they read it, but here is my last tip and I would argue that is the most important one. When trying to get/stay motivated focus on yourself. What I mean is, focus on your abilities, your goals, and your schedule because there are going to be other people that seem to be doing everything you want, but at a much faster pace. If you focus on them that will just frustrate you. Focus on you and your goals and make sure you’re doing everything in your power to achieve them. If you feel you can do more, then do more, but if you are giving it everything you have then you will achieve your goals in time. It’s a process, not an overnight magic pill.

Along with focusing on yourself, make sure you block out the naysayers. Take it from someone who is constantly trying to improve, there will be people that are unhappy about you raising the standard. They will try to tell you that what you’re doing is impossible or just a waste of time, THEY ARE NOT SAYING THIS BECAUSE THEY CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR TIME. These people are complacent and they are toxic to your motivation. Again, focus on you and what you want. If you need support, go to your inner circle and tell them your difficulties. If you find someone in your inner circle is becoming a naysayer, you don’t have to cut them out, but don’t discuss the goals they don’t support anymore with them. Otherwise, it’s like banging your head against a wall and no good comes from it. 

Some of these tips to stay motivated are things you will have to do everyday. I will yell crazy things to my girls to make them laugh and stay relaxed. Whenever they complain about conditioning I tell them about having to condition in a huge brace in 100+ degree weather. They laugh, they roll their eyes, but they always give me their best after that. Most of all, they know that if they need support and they need someone to lift them up when they are down, they can come to me. I extend the same support to everyone reading this. If you need some motivation, come to me and I will help and support you and tell you how damn awesome you are, because THAT is my motivation! 

Thanks for catching up with me! Please like and share my post! Remember, Keep It Real!!

Red Keepin it Real (Estate)

Well, I’m finally doing it… my first blog. I have been going back and forth on this decision for months, no exaggeration needed. For a few years now, I have been told that I should share my stories with people. I’ve been through a lot so far in my 25 years. Mostly happy stories, at least in my opinion. However, when I tell other people they look at me like I’ve sprouted an extra head when I claim that everything I went through was my norm and I could handle it. 

I’m not going to get into anything too deep this first time posting, or maybe anytime (maybe I’m superficial and don’t know it). I just want to introduce myself in case you don’t know me very well. 

I’m Alex Lavine. I take pride in being a ginger, even though I used to hate it. I have been playing softball for 20 years, I was a collegiate player at the University of Arizona and now I play in an old lady league because I just can’t hang up my cleats. I am obsessed with Harry Potter, Disney, Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars, but Harry Potter is definitely my number one. My family comes before anyone else. I’m one of three girls. Don’t say anything about feeling bad for my dad because I will find you and cut you. I am currently a Realtor. My mom, Georgia, and I make up the Lavine Team at Berkshire Hathaway (the Real Estate company owned by Warren Buffet) and work out of the Berkshire Hathaway Northwest office. Then, there’s my extended family, my awesome boyfriend, RJ, whom I have been with for three years. RJ is incredibly supportive of all the crazy passions I have. 

Now, onto the reason we’re here. Life is full of choices. We all know that one seemingly small choice can have a huge impact on the future each of us builds. I have made some seemingly small, but life altering choices. Once a week, I’m going to talk about some of these choices. What they were, why they were so important, how they impacted me, and what I would do if I were faced with that same choice again. 

I’ve always been someone that feels everything very deeply, although I generally don’t show it outwardly. I believe things happen for a reason and everyone has a purpose. Basically, I am a believer, kind of like Smash Mouth. I believe that my purpose on this Earth is to help people believe. Not in God, or aliens, or mermaids, but in themselves. In my posts, I’m going to talk about some of my more difficult moments and detail the path that helped me overcome them and come out stronger. 

This blog won’t be for everyone, and that’s ok. If you feel like life is getting a little overwhelming and you need a little help, then check in every week. As long as we work together and stay positive, we can overcome anything.