5 Ways to Explore Your Hometown: Reno Redevelopment

Photo Credit: http://www.ralphandersen.com/jobs/city-manager-reno-nv/
Photo Credit: http://www.ralphandersen.com/jobs/city-manager-reno-nv/

I grew up and live in Reno, Nevada and to most people who have lived here, it is one of the friendliest and supportive communities to live. Somehow everyone is connected by two degrees of separation and when you meet someone new, it doesn’t take long to find out how you are connected in the community. Reno has been a constantly evolving city and offers a completely different feel than it did even a few years ago, especially in the downtown and Midtown areas. A $1.2 billion downtown reinvestment plan along with the development of Tesla’s giant gigafactory are just a few of the changes that are sure to host and inspire an array of new people and businesses to come to the area.

Reno has become a prime example of how reinvestment and change can bring new opportunities for the city, surrounding areas, and for the people and families who live here. New businesses and services have popped up all around town providing opportunities to discover self-investment opportunities in fitness and wellness, outdoor adventure, social interaction, community involvement, intellectual and career development, and creative exploration.


A substantial part of investing in yourself comes from seeking out new experiences, and what better place to start than in your hometown? (Especially when businesses give discounts to locals!) Whether it is signing up for a class or trying out a new running trail, stepping out of your normal routine can open doors that may lead you to find new interests and passions that you didn’t know you had. I find that even when I take my kids to a new playground or on a new trail around town, I am much more comfortable seeking out other new places to check out and experiences we can enjoy. In future posts I plan to highlight several local attractions, experiences and businesses in the Reno/Tahoe area in hopes of helping people in our city and others in their own towns to find ways to develop themselves through experiences close to home.

Here are 4 ways to explore your own hometown to discover how it can help your personal growth journey.

1. Visit local attractions

Reno and Tahoe are incredibly good about the amount of events that go on in the area, and many of them are free. Going to new places in town, especially with a friend, helps you to become more comfortable with areas you may not be familiar with. The more you can conquer around town, the more comfortable you will be to seek out and enjoy all that it has to offer. Cheer on your hometown team, find the best lake or river to spend the day, and take advantage of seasonal activities such as farmer’s markets, pumpkin patches and snowshoeing.

Great Reno Balloon Races
Great Reno Balloon Races

2. Check off your city bucket list

Try out some of the places that you have always wanted to but never got around to. I’ve lived in Reno almost my whole life, and the more I explore this city, the more amazed I am at the businesses and people that I find. Make a list of new things to do whenever you go out and try not to go to the same places or restaurants twice until you have made it through your list. Free community events such as concerts, movie nights, sports events, and arts are a great way to experience the culture of your town on a budget. Find a local charity that you are interested in and go to one of their fundraising events. This is a great way to step out of your comfort zone if you want to develop yourself in social situations.  You might be surprised at who you meet and the role they play in your community.


Ferrari Farms Pumpkin Patch

3. Take a class

Whether you’re interested in painting, sports or computer programing, take advantage of the classes that your community might offer. Reno has some great options for learning new hobbies like cooking, gardening, and art classes. Community colleges and universities usually offer a variety of vocational courses that are also great ways to explore an interest you may have. Even Home Depot and Lowes offer DIY classes for adults and kids. You might find something you are passionate about.

4. Join a group

Since some of these recommendations are likely to lead you to meet new people and probably ones with similar interests as you, try and join a group that meets every week or month. Ask around at classes or search Facebook for local groups that might spark your interest. Running groups, mom’s groups, outdoor adventure groups, you name it, people want to find others that like what they like. It is nice to have a place to belong to, and sharing experiences with others is a great way to feel good about your journey.

 5. Go on a date night

It is almost always easier to try new things if you have a partner or a friend join you. Arrange some time with your significant other or a friend to do new things that you wouldn’t normally do on your own, like going on a new hike or taking a class. If you decide to do it again, you might feel more comfortable on your own knowing what to expect, and if it is a good place to bring kids or pets next time.

I hope some of these tips encourage you to go out and see the people, places and businesses that make your home town great! What is your favorite experience around Reno and Tahoe that has helped you grow? Share in the comments I will make sure to go experience it too!

Breaking the Negativity Habit


Investing in yourself can take many forms, and it does not have to be a tangible skill that develops you. Everyone is motivated by something different, but almost everyone has something that they are uncomfortable with or afraid to do because they have negative emotions tied to it. It is easy to tell people to say, “Yes” to everything and to pursue their dreams without fear, but it is no simple task to overcome negative emotions that we have associated with obstacles, change and the potential to fail.

Sometimes it seems like it is so much easier to remember the negative things that have happened to us during our days than the positive. Our brains have a natural tendency to spot the negatives, while it takes more effort to see the positives. Unfortunately, we carry negative emotions in our minds much longer than we do the positives, and it takes longer to build ourselves up than it does to tear us town.

Research shows that positive emotions contribute to essential downstream life outcomes, including social development, satisfaction in your relationships, higher incomes, and better physical health.  “Positive emotions temporarily broaden our attention and thinking, allowing us to draw on higher-level connections and a wider range of ideas. These broadened outlooks help us find and build important personal resources which can be cognitive, psychological, social or physical.” (Fredrickson, 2017). People with these resources are more likely to effectively seek out and meet life’s challenges and take advantages of its opportunities.

So how can we rewire our brains to focus on the good things? We can practice actively looking for the positives and over time build a habit of thinking in a different way. Here are seven tips to help us escape the negatives and focus on the positives so that we can overcome whatever it is that is holding us back from becoming the best version of ourselves.

1. Focus on learning.

Don’t get stuck on a negative event or emotion. We are all human and everyone of us has a bad day or makes a mistake. Failing does not make you a failure. Turn your mistakes in to lessons and praise your process for getting it right next time.

2.  Listen for and identify negative self-talk.

Try to recognize when you are beating yourself up over something. We are our own biggest critics and our thoughts are very powerful. Put a positive spin on a negative outcome or even try and laugh at yourself. Shrink the problem because it is probably a bigger issue in your mind than it is in reality. Self-image is made by self and not by people.

3. Rehearse the good news. 

How common is it to come home from work and vent about the annoying things that happened in your day. Negativity feeds on negativity and your story will likely lead to someone else venting about their bad day. Instead, try and play up the good things that happened, no matter how small they were, and ask about the good in other people’s day.

4. Forgive people for negativity.

We can’t all be positive all the time, but dwelling on someone else’s negativity or holding a grudge can weigh you down. A lot of negativity stems from misinformation or miscommunication. You never know what someone is going through in their personal life, so forgive them and move on. Someone has probably forgiven you along the way too.

5. Surround yourself with a positive community.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Surround yourself with people who you respect, share your values and inspire you to do great things.

6. Emphasize the Positives.

Spend a few minutes each day writing about what you are grateful for, whether it was a great day with your family, a good meal, or even a funny joke you heard. Even Oprah does it! She says, “I got so focused on the difficulty of the climb that I lost sight of being grateful for simply having a mountain to climb.” Be grateful for the mountain.

7. Spread the good.

Words can empower or debilitate someone. We all have the power to spread kindness and positivity, and you never know when someone might really need it to get through their own negativity.

Start today! Be conscious of how you can bring positivity into your day or into someone else’s in a small or big way and make it happen.




Sources and Citations:

  1. Fredrickson, Barbara L. et al. “Open Hearts Build Lives: Positive Emotions, Induced Through Loving-Kindness Meditation, Build Consequential Personal Resources.” Journal of personality and social psychology 95.5 (2008): 1045–1062. PMC. Web. 21 Feb. 2017.

2.  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal


Building Self-Reliance Through Experience

Few things feel more amazing than accomplishing something on our own that we didn’t think was possible. Have you ever known someone who is really handy and can fix or figure out anything? Or maybe they are the kind of person that can travel on their own to unknown places almost fearlessly? Many of us would describe ourselves as self-reliant and open to learning new things, but in reality, self-reliance is diminishing.  We live in a time where we have such a vast amount of resources available that sometimes it may be easier or more convenient for someone else to do things for us. Life skills build on experiences that we have and people that we meet, while putting us in a position to better serve and help others who we care about.

How do we build self-reliance? It happens through investing in our own skills and abilities. It comes from asking questions and seeking out answers in new experiences. Comfort and stability drives us to maintain our lifestyles through day after day routines and habits. When a daily routine turns into monthly and yearly routines, it makes it harder and harder for us to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. The less that we make a conscious effort to make a change and continuously improve ourselves, we lose the confidence in our capacity to do something else; something better.

Through my own experiences of becoming a mom, a wife, a student and a professional, I have learned the powerful effects of breaking the habits that were holding me back from success. I used to be someone who made plans all the time. I would agree to any crazy idea that was thrown out there, and then when it came time to actually make it happen, I backed out. I loved the idea of going on adventurous trips and dreaming about what my life was going to be like in the future once I had accomplished something big, but I could never put it into action. I felt like I just didn’t have time, but later I realized that I was uncomfortable and afraid, and holding myself back. Growth can come from facing anxiety, discomfort and even pain, but overcoming those feelings once you have accomplished that new task is one of the best feelings in the world. The more new and uncomfortable experiences you have, you will gain the confidence to trust in your intuition and your own skills to shape your path for your future.

I hope to use my own experiences and new experiments along the way to help people find their paths and create new habits that lead to resilience, wellness, self-respect and confidence. Follow along with me as we explore baby steps to life changers in the world of self-improvement. Ask yourself, what if you could do more? We all have the capability to obtain what we need, especially happiness.