The 2016 Collection: Finding Your Passion 

Finding Your Passion

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“The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.”

“ Being healthy, active, busy, soaked in sunshine and helping other people as much as I can fills me up”

“No one has an idea and knows where it will take them, they just fight for that one idea and let it evolve naturally.”

“ ‘Being enslaved by the exigencies of life and by our constitution does not preclude the possibility that we can feel free. We experience freedom when we choose a path that provides us both meaning and pleasure.’ Although life itself is full with responsibilities (especially this whole adult gig) when we are choosing what life we make our own it is much easier to feel free and satisfied.”

“Never let someone else’s view of what you SHOULD do with your life steer you away from what you want to do with your life. Even if that means you are saying you don’t know what you want to do. Why is everyone so scared to admit they don’t know what will satisfy them in their career? Why can’t people just say they haven’t found it yet, but they are still actively searching? I respect someone who is constantly trying to better themselves, taking risks, making mistakes, pushing themselves to live a life that fills them with passion much more than someone who pretends to be satisfied by mediocrity.”

“Through The Power of Now I am realizing what all of my passions have in common. Writing, exercising, traveling, children, helping, talking; they all require all of your attention. They force you into the now. I could get lost in my mind FOREVER. I need extremely interactive outlets to channel my Being into being.”

“Creating a life that you love is a tiring roller coaster ride of grit, resilience, inner strength and determination. But loving the LIFE in you, bringing yourself to life, that all lies in the power of now. Our power is infinite but we must tap into ourselves and listen to our hearts, and remember to enjoy simply being. Adventures are by far my favorite thing, so I choose to make an adventure of now.”

“Cheers to having the courage and living the life you imagine and the humility to CHANGE THAT PLAN if it isn’t what you want anymore. Life is simply too short to do anything less. Make it count.”

“I love surrounding myself with good people, not people who have it all together, people who graciously accept not having it all together and always provide an open ear and open heart. I love inspiring(verb) people and I love inspiring(adjective) people. I love moving my body, connecting my mind, body and spirit and challenging myself to expand. People often talk about growth, but the most interesting part about growth for me is I haven’t gotten bigger, I have simply gotten closer to the voice inside my heart. My growth has expanded my mind and my perception but it has lead my back into myself. “What you choose to focus on becomes your reality.” I choose to focus on growth, happiness, adventures and most importantly helping others to do the same.”

“Listen to yourself and what makes you feel at home. If you haven’t found it, keep looking and keep your mind and heart open so when it arrives you won’t be too jaded, frustrated, or scared to find a different home.”

“I think people spend too much time worrying about finding their “passion” and not enough time feeling it out. When you do a job or an activity that you are good at and that brings you happiness, you feel joy. You feel flow. You feel satisfied. You feel on top of the world. DO THINGS and if they feel good, keep them. When they don’t make you feel good, don’t do them again.”

“I am learning to let go of my over analytical mind and accept that finding your passion in life is not a direct flight. We are human beings. Passion evolves as your life evolves and life is a measure of your ability to adapt your behaviors and actions to match your ideals for success and happiness.”

“But here is the thing, although we think we matter a lot, in the scheme of things we matter very little. Some people use this as an excuse to live on a small scale. I view it as the opposite. I use this fact to propel me forward into my future with as much passion, action, adventure and chutzpah as humanly possible. In the end, the only one who knows if you lived the life you are capable of is you.”

“If you haven’t stopped and asked yourself these questions in a while (or maybe ever) please do it now. When do you feel the most like yourself? How often do you do that activity? Does your work incorporate what makes you feel flow? When is the last time you went for an adventure? What is the most beneficial thing you can do with the next hour of your time? Are you living a life that suits you ? Are you experiencing flow more than you are experiencing hardships and pain?”

“Many people don’t take the time to figure out what they actually want, that’s why they never get it.”

“Don’t give up and do not be stagnant. Unless you are bursting with pride and happiness about the life you are creating, you gotta find what is missing by trying something new.”

The 2016 Collection: Happiness 

Happiness 

“Between all these goals, plans and dreams for the future I refuse to forget the invaluable moments that are happening right now.”

“Sometimes you just wanna set the cruise control button. But no one ever won a race on cruise control.”

“Ask yourself what matters MOST to you and if you give that the MOST attention, not just in theory but in practice.”

“Nature reminds me to be a human being not a human doing.”

“It doesn’t matter how happy you are, what job you have , how much money you have in the bank- we all get overwhelmed by the stress and curveballs that life throws our way. Just because I consider myself to be a positive person, does not mean that I am immune from these feelings or situations. What it does mean is that I know how to fix these feelings… quickly.”

“If you love yourself fiercely and unconditionally you will treat yourself with the same kindness and respect you would treat anybody else. Focus on how you respond to what is happening in your life NOW instead of what could go wrong in the future. The future will NEVER be exactly how we imagine it. How boring would that be?”

“Too many people remain silent because they are afraid to seem weak, negative or crazy but truthfully staying silent is what makes you feel trapped in the negativity.”

“Don’t be afraid of depth. Don’t be shy about what you feel. Don’t be shy about not knowing what your passion is. Go with what feels right and constantly seek more of it. Don’t accept the status quo of being half alive, half involved, half motivated or half jaded. The most important thing I have found is to feel heavy, feel fully, feel deeply and find others who feel like you do.”

“Regardless of what uncontrollables are happening in your life, even things that affect almost everything about your future, you still have a responsibility to yourself to find peace, control what you can control, and just keep swimming.”

The 2016 Collection: Travel

Travel

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“My biggest takeaway from all of my adventures living abroad in two radically different countries and returning back home to America in between, has been that the world is an absolutely captivating and magical place, if you allow it to be. Being open minded is the key to happiness, success, relationships and quite honestly, life.  I truly believe that for the most part people are their own worst enemies and let their fears hold them back from the life they deserve.”

“Traveling has forced me to be okay with not being in control(which if you know me was a VERY hard lesson for me to learn.) Traveling has forced me to see how taking risks is worth the reward. Traveling has forced me to savor the moments as they pass because you may only have a few nights with these new friends who you feel like you’ve known a lifetime. Traveling has made me realize that you don’t need a lot of money to travel you need a lot of GUTS. You need a lot of resilience. You need the willingness to get out of your OWN way and take some risks.”

“You have to be open minded in your approach to your traveling or you could circle the whole globe and not change a thing.”

“You are someone who decides that the desire to see the world is stronger than any other guiding factor.”

“Every traveler holds those stories in their memory, some to share and some to keep, but no two people will see the same world twice.”

“You can see a big and beautiful world or you can see a world full of pain and darkness. That is totally up to you.”

“Good and evil have existed since the beginning of time and will continue to exist. Traveling has reminded me to be open to the magic that this universe has to offer. Not just when you feel like it. Not just for a week or a stage in life. Be open to what the world has to offer you and see the magic in everyday life. Don’t ever stop seeing life as an adventure and that mindset will manifest your reality.  Leaving home does not mean that I never look back, I look back all the time. But my eyes have changed, my mind has expanded, my heart has opened.  I take life as it comes and I take people for what they are. I control myself (this is without a pitcher of sangria in my blood) because I know that’s the only thing I can control. I EMBRACE uncertainty because instead of holding myself back or being afraid of it, I am learning to celebrate the fact that I have no clue what’s next. None of us do. The more authentically you open your mind and your heart to the world around you the more the world around you opens. Allow the world to be the magical and captivating place that it is. Get out of your own way. I’m not saying everyone should quit their job to travel the world but DAMN, I am glad that I did.”

“The travel bug isn’t a creature you want to take lightly.”

“Traveling pushes me to my limits and pushed me out of my comfort zone to allow me the room to blossom into who I want to be. Or at least put me on the road to who I want to be. Traveling gave me the reason to start sharing my writing and the confidence to believe I had something to say.”

“When I lived in Syracuse last year for a short time, I might have taken for granted a nice dinner with Mom, an afternoon with my niece and nephew or getting ready with one of my best friends, but now, these moments feel like memories as they are happening. I cherish them with the sense of fragility and preciousness they deserve. Because I can’t see everyone I love as often as I want, I am able to invest fully in those moments and give my full self.”

“Wherever you are, and however you celebrate, remember to make this holiday season about love, celebration and admiration for life and the many blessings you have been given. It’s not wrong to miss what you’ve left behind, but don’t let it stop you from experiencing what is right in front of you.”

 

“Home will always be home for me. But the greatest feat of all, is feeling at home within yourself. I can be alone on the other side of the world but I am confident enough in who I am and where I’m going to feel at home.”

The 2016 Collection: Health

Health

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“It is not selfish to work on yourself first, it is compulsory. You do not need to be perfect to help other people, I am so far from perfect it’s not even funny. You need to be willing to be both earnest and light hearted about this whole self-improvement business and speak from a place of genuine concern for others.”

“Only you understand your own mind and body and so often we listen to what society thinks, our boss thinks, or what our inner circles think that we stop thinking at all.”

“How can I connect to you if I didn’t have 50  or even 10 pounds to lose? Because I have had hundreds of pounds of internal struggles that I have had to work SO HARD to shed. Those “pounds” affected my world and my mental health just as much as physical pounds. And because I am a compassionate human being, that my friends, has no dress size.”

“ ‘Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.’ Let the light shine on you so you can let your light shine. Self love is not arrogance or cockiness. It is so far from that. Self love is treating YOU how you would your  best friend or your lover. Give yourself those positive affirmations and encouragement. Give yourself a break. Look at yourself in the mirror and don’t criticize everything you see, embrace it, compliment it and accept that you are SO MUCH MORE than that vessel. My strength and my self love have so much to do with what I have done with and to my mind. The more we love ourselves, the more we allow others to do the same. When I look in the mirror today I am proud of who I am. Not just the girl I see but the girl I hear in my head. Mind, body and soul. No matter who you are or what you’ve been through in the past, it’s up to you to start today and to love yourself ferociously. Stop living in your own shadow.”

“We need to be women who speak up. We need to be women who champion for others, not just other women, but anyone who is an underdog that will not champion for themselves. We need to be strong and fierce. We need to be vulnerable. We need to teach little girls that it’s not about who has the most Barbie dolls or the prettiest dresses but who shows kindness and compassion to others. We need to stop telling little girls how pretty they are and start asking them what books they are reading…We need to drink beer when we want to  and wine when we need to. We need to make other women feel powerful, beautiful and sexy no matter what they wear, what their body looks like or what happened in their past. We need to gain respect by simply living in a manner that demands respect. We need to stop comparing our lives to celebrities or our sorority sister’s instagram account. Her instagram account is not her life, it’s a projection of what she wants you to see of her life.”

“Mental illness is not something that can be detected by the way someone looks, the persona they present in public or the pictures you see of them. Mental illness does not discriminate. It is ruthless and isolating. It is destructive and consuming.”

“Being healthy is about so much more than what we eat, how often we exercise and how many pounds our physical body weighs; being healthy is a choice to treat yourself with the love and respect you would treat your very best friend or your grandma. Tender discipline.  Being healthy is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, not because you have muscles and toned arms but because you work hard on yourself day in and day out and you know no matter what life throws your way-you will always be your number one fan. Let me know when you find a scale that can measure that, and I’ll be the first to buy it. Step off the scale and step into freedom. Feel that weight off your shoulders? It’s infinitely more pleasant on the other side.”

The 2016 Collection: Change 

Change


“When you focus on changing yourself for the better, everything around you gets better too. My goal is to continue to fight HARD to be the best me I can be. I am so happy with my life right now but that is a continual process not a finish line.”

“I tried to get a few friends to come with me but everyone was busy, instead of NOT going I decided just to go by myself.People are friendlier than you think, JUST GO FOR IT.”

“If you are brokenhearted by the “perfect guy” I promise you that is not your good guy. As hard as that might be to accept, in hindsight you will see it all too clearly. A good guy is not your whole life but he makes your heart feel whole. You will never forget the pain of true heartbreak but luckily it shapes you into an even better partner to your good guy.”

“Traveling and being an entrepreneur have both opened my eyes to following MY path even if it’s not the path I expected. “A #girlboss is someone who’s in charge of her own life. She gets what she wants because she works for it…You’re a fighter-you know when to throw punches and when to roll with them”

I am learning and growing and being pushed to better myself every single day. I am immersed in a world full of dreamers and it’s so much better on the other side.”

 “Because I believed that the best was yet to come… the best came and is still coming.”

“So whether you are having a shit week or an awesome one, the moments are fleeting and the impermanence of your circumstance is what makes life the unique, fragile and beautiful experience that it is. Carry love with you and spread it around whenever you can and I promise if you do that, when you need love, it will be there for you.”

“I don’t just wake up everyday feeling awesome and motivated and ready to take on the world. I found things that MAKE ME feel that way, like exercising first thing in the morning, yoga, reading personal development books, and listening to inspiring podcasts. I also am highly influenced by the company I keep so I have learned to find a solid, positive and supportive tribe wherever I wander. When I don’t do these things, I don’t feel as motivated. I know myself and I know when I don’t keep myself busy I get into trouble, which is why I have designed a life where I am entertained, challenged and engaged constantly.”

“If you are making the transition to a healthier lifestyle, just remember it does not have to be all or nothing. Deciding that you are going to change takes effort, practice, and a whole lot of self reflection and control. But if you find things that speak to your soul, if you find things that make you truly happy- do more of those and less of things that drag you down.”
“But make a decision to consciously seek things that light you up and when you find them LISTEN. I feel so free to live my life the way I please. I feel free to push myself towards my dreams and have a damn good time while I’m at it. Don’t waste time sticking yourself into categories or worrying about what other people think- let your true self come alive and keep feeding yourself things your soul likes (mine really likes donuts and blogging.)”

“The day I gave myself permission to evolve was the day I started living.”

The 2016 Collection: Pain

This week I’m going to hit you with all 7 themes I collected from reading & reflecting on my 2016 blog posts. All excerpts are from past blogs.  Before we move on and chase new horizons, it’s important to acknowledge all we have learned on the current journey.  Hope you enjoy the look back… I know I sure did 

Pain


“I grew up with sadness. It shaped me into myself. I didn’t hide from my pain. Sometimes I definitely drank through it.”

“Today, if you meet me or when you look at me, you DO see a girl who “looks so happy” and for the first time in a very long time, I can say I genuinely am. Losing Corey at such a young age and fighting for myself in the sadness afterwards made me into this person who is not afraid to take chances. I learned my lesson quickly and painfully that our time is so limited and we must explore, absorb and cherish the world around us every single day. So many people don’t have the capability to follow their dreams due to a plethora of reasons, but I am so fortunate that I am capable, supported, willing and EAGER to live a life that matters. For such a seemingly happy person, it feels strange to have such a strong tie to death, sadness, grief and despair, but I refuse to be silent about things that matter. I am here to tell you and to show you that there is HOPE no matter what situation you are in, things will always change and things can always get better. Don’t shy away from how you feel. Don’t forget WHAT YOU FELT.”

” ‘Storms make trees make deeper roots’ Struggles give us a deeper connection to the world around us and to ourselves and successful people become unstoppable when they learn to mold that struggle into a message.”

“The more I learn about people the more I learn about myself. The more I realize how important it is to be vocal about things that hurt us. I genuinely believe on focusing on the positive aspects of every situation but not in a manner that discounts the pain. Pain and hard times are real and important. They teach us a lot about life and about others. Pain, like joy, goes away quickly…”

“What is meant for you never passes you by. Respond to life with courage, compassion and a dose of honesty. It’s refreshing for you and everyone that crosses your path. We all feel pain in different degrees and at different stages of our lives. Pain is powerful. Pain is real. Pain is not something we can avoid but we can construct what we do with it. The choice is yours. I choose to use my pain for you and for me. I choose to paint my pain in words like watercolors on a canvas hoping that slowly the colors bleed into something beautiful, meaningful and worth keeping. The pain isn’t worth keeping but the stories are. Remember that next time you start to worry, respond to life with action and transform the pain into passion.”

“We need to realize that everyone struggles, cries, eats a whole tub of ice cream for dinner (that can’t just be me) but we also need to recognize that we live in a world where so many women are still voiceless. We need to be the voice of reason, respect, and dignity for those women who live in places where they don’t receive any of that. We need to be women who our husbands are proud to call theirs, and our children and grandchildren will be proud of our legacy long after we are gone. We need to think about what we send out into the universe, what we represent and how we make others feel. We need to realize that being all of these things, does not mean we need to hide our flaws, shortcomings and imperfections. We need flaws to be. We need to constantly question who we are, where we are going, and what impact we want to leave on the world.”

“Right now, I feel vulnerable in pretty much every area of my life, but I refuse to lose my capacity to feel that. I refuse to wait until the storm has passed to find the rainbow. I truly believe that the ability to take risks is a double edged sword. When you risk it all, you also risk things not turning out the way you expected. It’s scary. It’s painful. But, fortunately, when you focus on all the abundance still overflowing in your life, the tides will turn and you wash ashore.”

2016- A Collection of Me

A Collection of Me 2016

(All excerpts from previous blogs pieced together)

My words are my weapon against the future, my cure for the past and my ticket into the present. Sure, I can think about the past when I write, I can still dream about the future, but the magic happens when I sink my teeth deeply into right now.

When something truly matters to us not only do we voice our opinion on it but we also live in a manner that manifests those core beliefs. Sometimes you just wanna set the cruise control button. But no one ever won a race on cruise control.

When you focus on changing yourself for the better, everything around you gets better too.

The pain isn’t worth keeping but the stories are.

Struggles give us a deeper connection to the world around us and to ourselves and successful people become unstoppable when they learn to mold that struggle into a message. The more I encourage others to take risks, take action and live the life of their dreams the more I continue to do it myself.

Many people don’t take the time to figure out what they actually want,

that’s why they never get it.

People are friendlier than you think, JUST GO FOR IT.

Only you understand your own mind and body and so often we listen to what society thinks, our boss thinks, or what our inner circles think that we stop thinking at all.

We live in a world where what matters MOST does not matter to most.

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Bah, Humbug: How to Cope with Holidays Abroad

How to cope with holidays abroad

This is the part they don’t talk about. Quit your job, travel the world, you will have the best adventures, change your life and find yourself. But what about the hard stuff? Moving across the world can’t always be easy… Missing weddings, holidays, birthdays, and all of the silly days in between is not easy. Sure, you are the one who chose to leave but that doesn’t mean you don’t miss the people who you left behind. It doesn’t mean that half the stories out of your mouth aren’t about your family, this one time in college or the adorable photos you just got of your niece in the Nutcracker. The travel blogs and instagrams you idolize may not show photos of them tearing up in the middle of the street because they just want to go home. Or the feeling when all of your family is together and you are sick in bed. As usual, I am committed to being raw and sharing all parts of my adventures with you, so here is the truth behind never being home for the holidays.

Moving abroad to Thailand and Australia and being able to teach and adventure in both places have been the most rewarding experiences of my life but that is not to say they haven’t had their fair share of lonely moments as well. Yes, you will feel homesick. Yes, you will get sick of being the face on the Facetime screen, so close and yet so far from being involved in all the memories happening at home without you. The holidays make it especially difficult so I wanted to send some encouragement to my fellow expats, travelers, or anyone who can’t make it where they consider “home” this holiday season. This is the most wonderful time of the year, but like all good things, that puts a hell of a lot of pressure on you to feel merry and bright. Here is how I survive the holidays:

Bring traditions with you– If you are far away from home, find a way to decorate and spread a little Christmas or Hanukkah cheer. Watch your favorite Christmas movies, bake your Grandma’s famous recipe and make sure to share it with the people you’ve met or love abroad. Sharing our traditions with others makes them special for a whole new set of people. Luckily, I am a teacher so I always get free reign to teach my students all about American culture and holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Let’s Talk Transformations

It’s not Tuesday, but my headspace is all about transformations. In the social media universe #transformationtuesday has become a beloved hashtag of fitness fanatics, entrepreneurs and motivators. Every Tuesday my Instagram is filled with tons of before and afters. Of course, our eyes are attracted to the photos and usually they are discussing a new fitness program, nutrition plan or diet they have been following. But usually, when you read the caption you find that there is so much more that happens when you shift your lifestyle and take control of your life.

My Transformation Tuesday this week was a little different and I shared a very raw but what I thought was evident story about myself. When you are constantly sharing your journey you forget not everyone has followed along the whole time. I forget that I meet new people both in person and on social media almost every single day. I forget that with all of the growing I am doing I am changing a lot more than I realize each day. I spoke about my internal transformation and the freedom I have gained from leaving behind my “party girl” lifestyle and diving deep into my writing, traveling and healthy lifestyle. If you have known me for a while this transformation might be more apparent to you but I realized it may not be something I have necessarily opened up about. Based on the response to that post and the countless personal messages I received about I feel as if I should elaborate a bit because it seems to me like this is a topic that many women my age and people in general connect to.

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Let me start out by saying, this is absolutely not a post to claim I am a “forever changed person” and I will never drink or party a day in my life. I mean, Cabernet Sauvignon will always be a part of my vocabulary. I fully appreciate a good espresso martini. I can drink crisp ciders in the sunshine. And, yes I will still get down on the dance floor when presented with one. But from a girl who was voted “Life of the party” in high school and started drinking as a young teen, to a crazy sorority girl in college…to who I am now-I feel I have made leaps and bounds with my habits and quite honestly my desires have changed. I used to feel free when I was out dancing, drinking, going to clubs, bars, house parties, and anywhere in between. I went to WVU for heaven’s sake, WE KNOW HOW TO PARTY! I do not regret one second of those memories (or lack thereof) but I have realized that is simply not what lights me up any more. And I don’t know if it was ever truly lighting me up or just helping me escape.

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My Space

As I sit and stare at the Opera House on a sunny Thursday afternoon in Sydney, my mind is taken to so many different places and spaces. I want to live in this moment again and again. I’m not sure how …

And then my laptop died. To me, a sign from the Universe to drink in that moment and write about it later. Remembering it now, it still feels like just as sweet of a space.  

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I feel as if I am neglecting my words like the VCR that slowly got replaced by the DVD player or the walkman that got tossed aside for the iPod. But every time I turn to them again it feels like an old, familiar, and comforting friend. My words are the ratty t-shirt you wear to sleep that has a hole and some permanent stains but still feels just right. Even when things steal my attention (Facebook Live) or make it difficult for me to write (broken laptop) I still know in my heart this is my purest form of expression, therapy, joy and creation. My words are my space. 

So here I am, on a Sunday night, with my ever looming to-do list and my stack of ungraded papers. My apartment is clean, my workout is complete and my inbox is empty- all of which give me great satisfaction. But my words are still looming waiting to form and reflect. My words still give me the deepest satisfaction I can ask for and that’s how I know they are my truth and my space.

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