We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Nicole Ferraro, 28, who is the definition of a “NOT YOUR SUGAR MAMA”. This girl doesn’t stop! She is committed to her community, working as a wellness coordinator with Boston Public Health Commission, and is currently enrolled in an intensive yoga teacher certification course. She’s traveled all over and dreams big - and can’t help but inspire those around her to do the same!
What keeps you busy Monday through Friday?
Encouraging people to live active lifestyles and creating/implementing systems and programs to support healthy living in Boston, lots of communication, yoga, cooking and catching up with friends, usually over food.
Probably spending a year in Juneau, Alaska. In addition to being absolutely breathtaking, it was a very new, unfamiliar place that gave me exactly what I needed at that phase of life. I had the opportunity to figure out who I was outside of the system and structure of life in my hometown and in college. I learned (was forced) to slow down and appreciate the beauty in simplicity, that is so apparent if you take the time to look for it. I caught and filleted salmon, hiked to glaciers and inside ice caves, had encounters with bears, whales and lots of porcupines and most importantly, made some really great friends and felt supported and encouraged by the warm, close-knit, quirky Juneau community.
One of my AmeriCorps years as a recess coach at a Boston elementary school. It was long hours that required me to be very high energy and "on" the whole time. Nine year olds can be pretty mean, and I had a hard time not taking all of the kids "stuff" home with me at night. That being said, it was one of the greatest learning experiences and one of the most rewarding and fun jobs I've ever had.
What do you do to give back?
I'm pretty involved in my community through my job, working in Community Health. I work for the city government and am learning more and more each day how small of a world this city really is. For the last few years I've volunteered my time to work at a week long camp for kids with disabilities in Western NY and to lead High School Sophomores in MA through a weekend long leadership conference called MassSTAR. They are both super life giving experiences that I look forward to all year long.
Favorite healthy snack?
Avocado mashed up with a hard boiled egg on toast.
Favorite healthy meal?
Brussel sprout, apple & leek veggie burger from howsweeteats.org. I make them every couple weeks and keep them in the freezer for really exciting lunches. Exciting lunches are a real game changer.
Most cherished possession?
This is a tough one... my most sentimental possession is probably the tie dyed sweatshirt blanket that I got at camp in 9th grade. It lived on the end of my bed in high school, and has since came on many trips and adventures with me. It was my "comforter" for the air mattress I slept on during my year in Juneau and is currently my favorite blanket to cuddle up on the couch with in my apartment in Boston. It's a great reminder of different phases of life that led me to where I am today. I also really cherish my food processor and my camera "tripod" that screws onto a wine bottle.
Favorite beauty product?
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind under eye stick. I don't wear a ton of makeup so it's perfect for those inevitable bags under the eyes when you're on the go. And coconut oil, I put it in my hair overnight every few weeks and use it as lotion daily.
Yoga teacher training. And some Kate Spade Saturday/New Balance sneakers.
How do you ‘treat yourself’?
I take the time to find a new recipe, go to the grocery store and spend hours in the kitchen with Van Morrison Pandora station in the background and glass of red wine.
What do you do for fun?
All things food related (cooking, eating, reading food blogs, cooking club that meets once a month), long city walks or hikes, quality time with family and adventures to see new places and/or catch up with old friends.
How do you keep fit?
Yoga, lots of walking and always taking the stairs.
Advice to young women?
Find a practice. Any practice. Whether it be yoga, writing, knitting, juggling... anything! Something that you do regularly, that you can grow in and that grounds you and makes you happier, healthier version of yourself.
"You can do anything" has been my life mantra for most of my adult life. I appreciate its positivity and simplicity. Recently the following quote has become a powerful daily reminder: "Unclench your fists, unlock your knees and also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, and begin to swim. Begin to let the waves do their work in you." -Shauna Neiquist
Unclench my fists (see above), do less (say no to more things/have less on the schedule so I can be a better version of myself when doing the things that matter most), do a handstand & bake bread!
A yoga teacher once shared a quote with me and it changed my life:
“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.” [Alfred D. Souza]
Up until that point, I had looked at my life in terms of milestones... Once I finish college, I’ll really be an adult. Once I get promoted, my real career will begin. Once I pay off my loans, then I can start doing the things I love.
Then I realized that it’s all real life and it’s all worthy of being loved.
Having long term goals is an important way to keep life in perspective and to make sure you’re on track to achieving your dreams. But having small daily goals is just as important to keep you motivated and moving forward. By achieving small goals on a daily basis, you instill in yourself sense of accomplishment that makes it easier to take on the big stuff.
Here a some easy ways to love your life every day:
What in your life are you avoiding right now? Notice the energy that this feeling creates in your body. See if you can drop the urge to change whatever this thing is and just accept it for what it is (even if just for a moment) and send it love. Notice the energetic shift that this creates. Let us find peace in our lives by fully accepting what is in front of us instead of resisting and avoiding what is. When we are looking at our lives through the lens of fear, we create feelings of suffering and want things to be different, but through the lens of love, we remove the veil of illusion and everything feels lighter and just as it should be. This way of viewing things takes a little more conscious effort as we are collectively programmed for fear but this is not normal even though we've grown to believe that it is. Love is real, fear is not. In what ways can you be more loving and accepting of your life?