Mood: Motivation

“With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I’m writing today’s blog post almost as a reminder and a kick in the rear for myself. I have always been drawn to transformation. I think most human beings are. Seeing someone transform in the classic rags-to-riches tale, or watching someone get a life changing makeover on some mindless TV network always seems to leave me a little teary and emotional. I think most of the reason we love these types of stories is it restores a little bit of our faith in humanity. Seeing the underdog prevail can be almost as satisfying as when we prevail ourselves. I think another reason we enjoy transformations is because it gives us the inspiration and hope that we can transform our own lives in the same way.  “If they can do it, I can do it.” Well. Guess what. You really can do it. You can be almost anything you put your mind to, BUT it takes endurance and grit to stick to the new habits that you’ll have to create in order to achieve your goals and dreams.

I struggle with starting new workout regimens and diet plans, because I am known to reward myself after only a few short days of progress. Usually that reward involves letting go of some of the newer, healthier habits that I implemented in order to get to that milestone. I think there is something to that. If I could stay in control of my thoughts and feelings when I feel accomplished and successful, maybe I could see the big picture and stop derailing myself in the early stages of my journey. Don’t get me wrong, celebrating small victories is something we all should do more often, but there has to be a balance between celebration and still keeping your end goal in the forefront of your mind.

You CAN do the thing you have been longing to do. There are so many people with similar or even identical circumstances that are doing or have done EXACTLY what you are longing to do. It’s time to dig deep and commit to your dream habits and routines. Become the person you want to be. Each night, forgive any slip ups that you’ve made throughout the day, and recommit to your goals the next morning. Recommitting and finding that motivation every single day will be one of your greatest tools on your way to achieving whatever it is your heart desires!

I hope this post gives you a little motivation or that push you were needing to commit to your new goals. ❤ ❤ ❤

 

My Journey to Veganism

I grew up in a relatively small town in Idaho and in a family that upheld the standard meat and potatoes type of diet when it came to meal times. My father and multiple other family members are extremely active outdoorsmen, spending practically half of their time in the mountains fishing and hunting. I grew up eating wild game, usually killed with a bow and arrow, vegetables grown from our massive gardens, and drinking glasses of whole milk with my cheese sandwiches. I don’t resent my upbringing at all – and I respect that I grew up knowing that these animals weren’t dying just to be tacked to the wall, they were our food.

I have vivid memories of my father showing me how to clean fish and larger animals like deer and elk. I’ve been inside taxidermy workshops and on more than one occasion during hunting season, I walked outside to find an elk or a deer hanging up in the garage.

I know to some reading this, it sounds horrific – and hunting definitely isn’t something that I agree with – but I do think in some strange way I developed a respect for animals and their part in this world through my dad and the way he hunts. My dad is a terrific artist, and though he draws as a hobby his work is almost always centered around wildlife. He always slows the truck down to show the passengers something their eyes have missed on the side of the road – usually a grazing deer or sometimes a moose and her calf – if you’re lucky. He despises poachers, and is more himself sitting in a tree stand or hiking in the mountains than he is walking around in a department store in suburban america. Growing up in this environment shaped my respect for animals, especially the wild ones.

At a young age I decided I wanted to be a veterinarian, as most children at some point do. Eventually the dream faded as my love for the performing arts grew, but I’ve always had a deep love for animals – even though the larger ones scare me (I’m lookin’ at you horses.)

I remember the first time I decided to go vegetarian I kept it a secret because I knew that it was something that went against the grain during that time. I peeled the pepperonis off my pizza at lunch, and said that I just didn’t like the taste – I cut my steak into tiny pieces at dinner with my dad and scooted them around the plate so it looked like I was eating them, until one day I finally caved and ate some orange chicken. I was always very picky about textures and smells when it came to food – especially when it came to meat.

I would say by the time I finally decided to go completely vegetarian in 2014 the process for me was easy. I made the decision while doing a show at the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Our music director was a vegetarian, and I watched as she ate just as well as the rest of us on that trip, and I felt so inspired that when I returned home I promptly gave up meat.

Some of the most amazing benefits of going vegetarian or vegan is it limits your fast food options – and that is the first thing I had to detox from. It really made me aware of how much fast food I was eating on a regular basis – and though this can be one of the most frustrating things about being a new hangry vegetarian, it is one of the most beneficial parts of your new diet. I started to cook at home more. I sought out healthier fast food options and *gasp* walked inside grocery stores to buy items that fit my diet. (In my eyes the best vegetarian fast food option is a sofritas burrito bowl at Chipotle)

For the first few years I was definitely not eating as healthily as I could have – but that wasn’t the point. You really can eat a lot of junk food as a vegetarian, mostly in fried potato and cheese form. I finally got fed up with my weight gain after I stopped dancing for three hours a day after college, and I hit the gym and ate more salad.

I started toying with the idea of giving up my beloved cheese when I first found my way into the fitness industry. Finally, in 2016 I did my first two month stretch of being a full vegan. Unfortunately it was a time when I was severely depressed, and I attributed it at the time to my veganism, thinking I was probably missing out on some vital nutrients that I was getting from cheese (HA) – so I switched back.

Ever since then I have been flip flopping back and forth in an aggravating cycle, vegetarian to vegan, vegan to vegetarian – until finally in October of 2017 I decided that I was done caving into the animal products and committed to one full month of vegan eating.

I don’t know why that first month of being a strict vegan was difficult. It was the little things that really got me. Things like cookies people would bring to work or the fact that the bread I bought had milk in it and I hadn’t thought to even check the label. It’s times like that where I had to really dig deep and remember that it wasn’t just about my health anymore, it was for the animals – and the fact that I wanted to prove that I had the freaking will power to say no to a cookie or a cube of cheese.

I survived a month of pure veganism…. well aside from a few bites of pie here and there. I think some of the best tips I can give someone starting out in veganism is to let yourself eat the junk for the first month. Eat the vegan cheese, the cinnamon rolls, the vegan pizza! It will help you feel less deprived. ALSO… be prepared for the hanger, that is when I almost always cave and eat dairy or eggs. Aways try to have something on hand that you can eat quickly so you won’t let the hanger run your life! Once I got through the first month of veganism it got immensely easier, and I have continued with this vegan diet into 2018 as well without breaking a cheesy sweat!

There are so many AMAZING vegan options out there nowadays that switching to vegetarianism or veganism is a freaking breeze. It makes my heart so happy to see so many new vegan restaurants and products popping up left and right!

If you’ve read this far I hope that this helps you on your vegan journey and gives you a little insight on why I chose this lifestyle and diet. 💕 I never want anyone to feel that I judge them for eating differently than me. I believe people should eat whatever makes them feel best, and this is the diet that feels best for me.

Huckleberries

I have been thinking a lot about my childhood.

I remember a day when we got up so early that the moon was still shining and our breath came out in billowing plumes of visible vapor. We drove to the Grand Tetons and picked berries in the early morning light. The foliage was painted a beautiful pale blue in the dusky morning haze. The trees were tall, usually pine. I remember wearing at least three jackets to arm myself against the chilly mountain air.

Picking huckleberries is a frigid, but rewarding business. You pick and pick and pick until your white bucket is filled to the brim with the small violet berries and your fingers are stained a vibrant shade of purple. We came home with four buckets full of huckleberries and for the next year we had huckleberry flavored everything for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I think I actually became a huckleberry.

The last time I told that story was to someone who grunted a response and continued watching the television. In fact, I doubt that person even recalls that I was speaking to them. It was more like I was speaking at them. Trying desperately to be heard. Trying desperately to get someone to listen and care about something that seemed to mean something to me, even though it was as mundane and ordinary as picking berries.

It strikes me as odd that society has evolved to tune out story telling and the art of listening to each other, especially listening to the ones closest to you. I myself find it hard not to reach for my phone in the middle of a conversation. I wonder if there is something sad about that – the lost art of caring and communicating. The fact that story telling by word-of-mouth has dwindled and decayed to a point where we end up repeating ourselves multiple times for Karen who responded to three text messages while we were disclosing one of our deepest secrets – or the fact that we are only listening to respond with a bigger and better story that blows the previous one out of the water.

I visited a crystal shop today with my cousin, and we purchased a few items from an older gentlemen who seemed to be a man of few words. He was seated and bent over his wares, avoiding eye contact with anyone and everyone. My cousin and I are quite loud and we seemed to overwhelm this poor crystal peddler almost instantly, and he resorted to scratching at a polished rock nearby to show that he was extremely busy and couldn’t chit-chat with us any longer. I felt like I understood him. What is the point of all this meaningless conversation if nobody is actually listening.

I guess the takeaway of all of this is I hope that society begins to evolve in a direction where we use our screens as a way to connect a little more with each other. The art of active listening is something that I truly believe is worthy of being upheld and practiced and I hope that by adding a little more of it to my everyday life it will help change things for the better.

Flourish – My Word of the Year

Flourish

  • To grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.

 

Hey beautiful people! I can’t believe it’s 2018 – but honestly I’m excited to leave 2017 behind and enter a fresh new year.

As you can tell by the title of this blog post, I have selected my word after much deliberation. I want to learn in 2018. I want to absorb as much information and knowledge as I possibly can, so I can feel confident and sure of myself when I talk about my thoughts and beliefs. I want to be an activist. I want to speak my mind and stay level headed. When I stumbled across my new word I instantly felt connected and I knew that it encompassed everything that I want to be in the new year.

“Flourish” is a special word for me because it has to do with growing and achieving in an environment that is healthy and ideal. I definitely feel as if a switch has been flipped in my brain when it comes to my surroundings and the things I have in my life. 2018 is about clean spaces, taking care of myself and my loved ones, banishing toxicity, and creating emotionally safe environments to thrive in. This year is about rising above. This year is about growing.

As a testament to creating the best environment and surroundings for yourself, I can already say that while focusing on this for the past month I have already been reaping the rewards and benefits. I have nearly tripled my income, reduced my anxiety levels, and lost weight that was clinging on for dear life because of all the stress I was constantly under.

I plan to flourish this year, and I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come.

“The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud — the obstacles of life and its suffering. … The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. … Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. ” Goldie Hawn

4 Things to do Before the New Year

Hi beautiful people. 2017 felt extremely long as it was a year packed with transformation and learning for me and so many others. As I’ve mentioned previously, I always pick a word or a theme for the new year, and the word for 2017 was “heal.” Little did I know, it wouldn’t be a clean uphill climb, and that there would be high points and low points along the path, rather than a smooth course to ultimate healing. As I type this, I can say without any doubt that the universe helped me with my theme in 2017 and that I can only hope that 2018 is filled with as much growth and transformation as the year before. I am using the steps I talk about in this post to help me achieve my goals in the new year, and I want to challenge you to follow these four steps to help you ready yourself for the future and for the limitless new possibilities ahead of you.

Leave the Past in the Past

People carry around so much negativity. We all have traumas and heartbreaks and problems that need more time to navigate through and heal, but the small stuff should stay behind in 2017. Small things that you are holding on to like guilt, reliving past memories that you can’t change, overthinking – these things hold us back like we are stuck in a sticky tar pit of despair. Petty arguments, guilt over eating too many cookies over the holidays… leave it all in 2017. Try meditating on this. Take deep breaths. Imagine these small, toxic problems falling away from you and leaving you at peace. Set yourself free from any extra negativity that can easily be brushed off or left behind. Give yourself the gift of a clean slate.

Reset Your Mindset

It’s time that you start believing in yourself. Our subconscious is riddled with toxic thoughts and beliefs that we tell ourselves on a regular basis. Start trying to listen in on these toxic thoughts. You have the power to change your mind and the way it thinks, it just takes a little time and a little more effort. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a loved one. Cheer yourself on. If you start to feel like the goal you are setting for yourself is too great or that you are not capable, ask yourself why you think that way. Is it because you are scared? Is it because your goal might be taking you outside of your comfort zone? Is it because you think you don’t have enough time? Replace these thoughts with positivity. Get in control of your own thoughts and your own behaviors and stop letting your negative subconscious thoughts run the show.

Declutter – Organize Your Space

Go through your things. Donate items you haven’t used since the stone age. Rearrange your furniture. Open a window. Light a candle. Hang those pictures up that are sitting in a box in the garage. Getting rid of physical things that weigh you down can help freshen up your life and reinvigorate your spirit just in time for the new year. If you are trying to manifest love, get rid of things that are holding you in the past. If you are trying to start a business, organize and set up your desk or home office space. Martha Stewart the heck out of your life.

Journal It Out

I’m a huge advocate for writing things down. I am also an advocate of not setting too rigid of goals for yourself; I think having a goal or destination is key – but try to stay flexible and go with the flow of the universe on your way to achieving it. With that said, I do think it’s so important to write down and memorize the goals and dreams you have in mind for the new year. How do you want to feel? How do you want to live? Who do you want to hang out with more? Write it all down. Write at least two full pages of what you hope to achieve and how you want to feel in 2018.


 

I hope these steps serve you well – I have a lot of exciting things on the horizon that I can’t wait to share with you all. ❤ See you in 2018.

Self Care – 10 Simple Steps

Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. – Christopher Germer

Self Care. Let’s talk about it. A lot of people are severely neglecting this incredibly important habit – and I’m not just talking about taking care of your appearance. I don’t really care what you look like. In fact as I type this I look quite hobo chic… minus the chic. I’m talking about self care that heals and feeds your inner being – your soul. Are you constantly stretching yourself too thin? Are you letting people walk all over you? Are you eating shitty mcbloopin sandwiches from random fast food joints just because you don’t feel confident enough to try to cook a nice lunch for yourself? We’ve all been there. I definitely find myself here quite frequently – and when I notice that my stress levels are reaching Empire State Building heights, I try to take a step back and breathe.

I’ve compiled a list of steps that I think are great for implementing a little self care into your life. Because you are worth it. Because you deserve to live the best stress-free life you can live. These tips and steps range from minimal to a little extra bit of effort. I know we all have a different definition of busy, and we all have different personalities. If you’re anything like me, when I’m stressed it’s too difficult to coax myself into driving to a park to stare at the ducks – so I’ve definitely put a few easy options for my like-minded hermits out there.

START A JOURNAL

I don’t care if you have the handwriting of a serial killer. Get a pen and a piece of paper and write it out. I like to journal in a stream of consciousness style where I don’t even think about judging my mad-woman scribbles or ill formed sentences – I just write. When you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure of what to do in a certain situation, brain dumping on one or two pages can really help.

WATCH YOUR FAVORITE MOVIE OR TV SHOW

I know. Television is not really that great for you in large doses – but I know I have a few very specific movies and tv series that cheer me up almost immediately. So escape reality for a few moments. Watch one episode. Watch a film. Feel the feelings.

EAT FOOD LIKE YOU LOVE YOURSELF

I don’t think eating junk food is a dumb idea. In fact I think it’s a little crazy town to cut out every single thing – but if you’re the type of person who hasn’t eaten a vegetable since 1999 then maybe it’s time to start looking at the food you eat as giving yourself a huge hug or a pat on the back. Food directly affects our mood and our stress levels. Trying to eat less of the bad stuff is an act of self care. Drink some herbal tea. Eat a carrot or two. Take the time to find and research healthy options that you actually enjoy eating.

CALL A GOOD FRIEND

Call that friend who unconditionally loves you. Talking it out and shooting the breeze with a loved one will brighten your spirits immensely. If you have anxiety talking on the phone with people, engage in a text conversation! Choose a person who won’t spend the whole conversation gossiping or zapping your energy levels down.

TAKE A HOT BATH OR SHOWER

Take some candles. Your essential oils. Your favorite podcast. Decompress. I know some people seem to be passionately against baths so I included the shower option. Deep breathing and hot water can help calm your anxiety.

CLEAN YOUR SPACE

I’m extremely unorganized and I know when I am trying to relax among piles of my laundry and old coffee cups it’s almost impossible to unwind. Set a timer. Put on some happy music. Straighten up as much as you can. Make your bed. Open a window. Light some incense, run your diffuser. Make your space feel better.

MEDITATE

This one is so incredibly important. If you can do it for five minutes a day even you will see amazing improvement in your stress levels. It’s an instant stress reliever and a good tool to use to ease anxiety. I would start out with guided meditations. There are plenty of awesome ones on YouTube.

PRACTICE YOGA

If this sounds impossible, try some of the ten to fifteen minute flows all over YouTube. Yoga and stretching can help you feel more in tune with your body and it can set your mind at ease.

LEARN TO SAY NO

There comes a point when you have to start taking care of yourself by not stretching yourself too thin. Do not over schedule yourself. Don’t give so much that you are left without any energy or effort to spend on your own well being. Don’t let people say harsh, uncalled for things about you or to you. Stand your ground. Incredibly important. Your self-esteem will plummet if you can’t even have your own back.

TAKE YOURSELF ON A DATE

Get outside. Go to a coffee shop. Go to an art museum. Take that cooking class. Take that spin class. Go rock climbing. Go to a petting zoo. Take your dog for a walk. Look at the stars, the clouds, the moon. Go window shopping. Get your hair done. Buy a new journal and write in it. Think of a thing that lights you up and go do that!

 


I know that we are all busy people – but implementing self care into your life is CRUCIAL. Some of these things can take as little as five minutes to complete – and if that seems to daunting, maybe start with a few deep breathes. I hope this serves you and I hope you know that you are a beautiful soul that is worthy of self care. ❤

 

Self Worth – What I Wish I Could Tell Past Me

I have been really struggling with what to post on here – because lately I have been wrestling with a lot of change – and a lot of fear that what I share won’t be received warmly. I have meditated on this a lot – and this morning it hit me. I am worthy of love and sharing my message and thoughts. If the people I’m afraid of not accepting what I have to say receive this and it triggers feelings of dismissal, it has absolutely nothing to do with my life, my compassion and love for others, or my self worth. You can’t do the work for others. You can’t fix people who do not want you to succeed.

This leads me into the real topic: Self worth, and the ability to heal yourself so you can know when it’s time to leave a situation that is toxic, unhealthy, or abusive.

The first important thing I can share is that it is not your job to fix other people. By all means, if they are receptive and respectful and are open to what you have to say then go right ahead – but you are in no way obligated to stay and help someone who is treating you like crap. It took me a long time to realize this. I have been stuck in the same story for years. If I stand up for myself and the feelings that I know I should honor, what will happen? Will people desert me? Will I be alone? I think this is when the low self worth seeps in and it’s easy for manipulators to gaslight you into thinking that the toxic situation or relationship you are in is normal and you are crazy for thinking that you deserve something else. The fear can be unbearable.

If you raise your self worth and leave the situation, will it mean isolation? Maybe it will, but only for a moment – you need to look your fear in the face and remind yourself that there are so many beautiful, kind hearted souls that will embrace you with open arms out there. SO MANY. THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST. You may just have to put in the extra effort to find them – and you may be alone for a few moments. They also might be there already. Being in toxic relationships and situations can consume your mind 24/7 – try taking a step back and thinking about the people in your life that have always been a positive light – reconnect with them.

If loneliness and isolation are what you fear, then that is the unhealthy relationship talking. YOU ARE ENOUGH. YOU ARE WORTHY OF FORMING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS – AND YOU CAN. Share your feelings. Be vulnerable. Live authentically. The right people will be with you every step of the way.

Find. Your. Tribe.

Find the ones who light up when you talk about your successes – That GIVE as much as they take. Find the ones that you know in your heart would never share your secrets – Those who beam when their fellow humans succeed and accept the praise and love when they also succeed. It’s not a one way street. It’s not a competition. It’s a give and take. It’s an ebb and flow. It’s love.

Stop the negative self talk. Listen to your thoughts. Listen to what you are saying to yourself. Are you constantly cracking self-deprecating jokes? Are you constantly exclaiming, to whomever will listen, what a dunce you are? That stuff leaves its mark. Try replacing the negative self talk with something positive that you love about yourself as often as you can. You will see a huge improvement in your self worth. Learn when it’s time to stand up for yourself. Don’t chase praise from people who relish keeping it from you.

You have the power within you to stop being a victim. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to sit at home all day and recharge – but never let dark situations stay too long in your psyche, taking away your power. You have the power to change your reality and the circumstances around you. You are strong. You are capable of rising above.

To be completely transparent, I was in the most toxic relationship of my life a few years back where I felt that I was completely worthless. I couldn’t keep the attention of the person I loved. I was never ever good enough. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of friends and it manifested in raging social anxiety where I could barely talk to people over the phone or go into a grocery store. I slaved away at the gym and counted every calorie. I isolated myself from my family. I tried to mold myself into this image of perfection in order to keep (what I thought) was the love and the most important relationship of my life. I quit auditioning for musicals – something I have been passionate about my entire life. I started telling myself that I should find a more realistic career. I allowed myself to fade away from my own life, my own passions and goals.

Everyone is capable of finding themselves in these relationships and situations and being on both sides of the fence – and when I think back on my past-self the one thought that blazes in my mind is I wish that someone would have told me that the isolation of leaving that toxic situation would not be the death of me. Maybe they did, and I didn’t feel worthy enough to believe it.

So here I am. Writing this. Hoping that at least one person suffering in silence finds some hope. Raising your self worth and leaving unhealthy situations will not kill you. Love is abundant and waiting for you. Take care of yourself so you can love and be loved in the healthiest way possible. ❤